#61: Mike Arevalo on VR Typing Trainer winning an Educational Game Jam & unlocking the brain for learning through gaming in immersive VR

Mike Arevalo talks about the process of creating the VR Typing Trainer, which was created as part of the Orange Country Virtual Reality Meetup’s 48-hour Educational Game Jam.

mike-arevaloMike talks about the process of developing the game, and the structure of the game jam. His day job is to create educational applications, and they are always talking about how to immerse students in environments to help them learn more effectively.

Mike says that studies have found that gaming can stimulate a student’s brain in a way that static presentations never can, and that immersive VR can be a powerful way to unlock the parts of your brain to make it easier to learn new things. His advice to other game developers is to focus on getting the immersion right in your experience, and that your other goals and learning objects are more likely to fall into place.

I had a chance to play the VR Typing Trainer at Immersion 2014, and it is a very immersive and fun way to improve your typing. Having the words flying towards your face does create a certain amount of pressure and tension that makes the ordinarily dull process of typing much more engaging and fun. I could see how playing this game could help to cultivate some useful typing skills for when you’re in VR, and it’s definitely worth checking out — especially for an experience that was created in 48 hours.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – VR Typing Trainer – Educational game to bring typing into VR to type without looking at the keyboard.
  • 0:36 – Sitting in Tron-like world, and targets at you and you have to type the word that’s printed on it. It’s an endless runner.
  • 1:00 – It’s a simple core game mechanic. Uses object pooling to take existing objects and get them to move towards the player. Have an algorithm to determine the difficulty depending on how long you’ve been playing the game.
  • 1:37 – Creating the Tron environment because it needed to something more interesting
  • 2:06 – Educational Hackathon
  • 2:26 – Ideas were pitched, and then broke up into groups
  • 2:53 – Saw Tuscany demo, and needed to get into VR
  • 3:09 – Use VR typing trainer to learn how to use keyboards more efficiency.
  • 3:47 – Hard to work with 7 programmers with different skill sets and not all Unity users. A lot of other art exhibits that were there. It had a bit more
  • 4:31 – A lot of planning required to coordinate.
  • 4:56 – Potential for VR. Mike is an educational app developer. How to immerse students to learn at a more effective rate, and gaming stimulates a student’s brain in a way that static presentations never can. Immersive VR can unlock parts of brain to make it easier to learn new things.
  • 5:48 – Advice to other VR developers to make an educational experience. Immersing the player into a place where they’d never be able to be otherwise. If you get the immersion down, then everything else will fall into place.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio