Exploring London by Bus is a mobile VR experience for people from all over the world, that helps them explore places they haven’t visited before.
With the new VR technologies, we can create a totally different level of immersiveness and interactivity in the learning processes.
The project lets one take a bus in East London stopping at random locations of the bus route 43.
The user starts in the bus and picks one of the 4 stops to get off and look around.
Some of the stops also lead to other scenes to explore the location more. Each scene is accompanied with the sound of the location to give a more real feel to it.
After exploring the place, the user can opt to go back to the bus, and choose another stop to explore.
19 y.o., female, mechanical engineering student, Tianjin University, China
Xiao Lin has had some basic VR experience. She tried cardboard to play mobile games.
Xiao Lin just moved to Tianjin from a small town in Northern China. She is planning to travel to the UK, but doesn’t know what she should see first and what to expect. Her English language vocabulary is quite good, but since she comes from a small town, she never experienced communicating with foreigners, and doesn’t feel confident enough to communicate in English during her classes at the University.
“I am scared to make mistakes, and feel too uncomfortable to speak foreign language in front of other people. What if they don’t understand me?”
Coming from Xiao Lin’s language learning struggles, it would be great to create a mobile travel VR experience, where she can explore different places.
1. Xiao Lin takes a cardboard viewer and launches the game;
2. She is in the London bus, rout 43, that starts at London Bridge, and stops at Bank, Monument, Finsbury Square, and St. Paul’s Cathedral;
3. She picks a destination – St. Paul’s Cathedral in London;
4. She is in a 360 image / video on St. Paul’s back yard. There are sounds of environment, birds are singing, people are walking around;
5. She explores the place, and upon (or clicking) on an environmental arrows can go to a different scene;
6. Xiao Lin can then take a bus again and go to another stop, or go home (quit the game).
To recreate an experience and make it more immersive, I went to the aforementioned bus stops in London and took 360 photos and sound effects of those. I took quite a few photos in the area to be able to pick the best ones for the mobile app experience. You can take a look at them on [Google Street view]
Upon choosing the right photos, I then moved to Unity and created scenes with spheres for each location. Each scene had a sound effect relevant to the location, and a UI element that would let user know what they are meant to do next.
The next steps
The game can be expanded to many more places to explore; also with 360 video spheres not just 360 photo spheres.
The voice over with some information about the place can be added as an overlay to the spacial sound effects.