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SUPERGUN_HARDWARE-PROTOTYPE
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Category Winner

2020

VR SuperGun

STUDIO / DESIGNER

Kieran Nolan

Kieran Nolan

www.kierannolan.com

CATEGORY

Experience Design

Digital

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

VR SuperGun is a custom hardware and software design allowing play of original arcade platforms through a network connection, reconstituting the material form of the arcade cabinet in digital space.

It extends the format of the standard SuperGun, a device that contains the wiring of an arcade cabinet in consolised form.

VR SuperGun reroutes the arcade PCB’s visual and audio outputs to the display of an arcade cabinet in VR space. This virtual arcade environment visually recreates the presence of a full size arcade cabinet, including its internal design and electronics.

In addition to playing the game presented, the user can inspect the cabinet and it’s surroundings, while accessing the technical specifications and history of the game and cabinet.

As arcade games move from public space to private collections and museum exhibits, this hands off access allows player access while causing no damage to the arcade cabinet’s physical enclosure. https://kierannolan.com/vrsupergun

How the brief was fulfilled

VR SuperGun delivers a unique working prototype that connects legacy arcade platforms to web based virtual reality environment through a custom hardware and software interface.

It is an original design solution that has not been replicated since. There are other VR arcade environments that act as 3D shells for arcade emulators, but there is no other product that directly connects to and interactively streams from physical arcade hardware into virtual reality space.

VR SuperGun’s graphics are delivered in a low polygon style fitting a mid-1990s arcade vector graphics aesthetic. The visual style was chosen both in honour of the era of 1980s and 1990s arcade gaming it is inspired by, while also optimising network speed and browser performance.

As an experimental prototype, VR SuperGun attempts to bridge the gap in-between the authenticity and tangibility of experiencing arcade gameplay through original hardware and in situated space around the arcade cabinet, netplay, and the gameplay spectatorship afforded through livestreaming.

This software aspect of this project is built largely upon JavaScript and open web standards, including A-Frame, Socket.IO, PhaserJS, Johnny-Five, and Node.js. The A-Frame enabled VR interface allows VR SuperGun to act as a scalable experience, accessible from basic desktop and mobile browsers as flat 3D, and also through WebXR compatible Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality headsets.

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The idea of allowing the user to inspect the cabinet and hardware is unique and educational

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JUDGES THOUGHTS

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