Our final push for this product was to flesh out the rhythm game component along with a few additional features to tie everything together. This included a new feature for therapy use that allows users to set the minimum force required to register a drum and a menu to choose from a preset list of songs.
Technical Sophistication : As we wrap up this project, we feel strong about the technical sophistication of the product. It may not be exactly perfect, but in such limited time we were able to create an accessible rhythm game that allows users to place drums anywhere in space, resize them, set a minimum force required to interact with them, choose from six preset tracks, pickup the drumsticks into a locked position without any reaching, easily see when each drum should be hit regardless of setup, and track successful hits.
Novelty : Our product has several unique features to expand accessibility and provide therapy applications in a novel way. These include teleporting the drumsticks into reach, setting the minimum force required per drum, resizing the drums to precise targets, and allowing for seated play. Our goal was to make a traditional instrument accessible to all people and expand its use to include physical therapy, which is something we have not seen in the market.
Social Impact : Playing the drums is a super fun way to explore musicality and exercise your arms to improve coordination. drummvr extends this experience to include users with muscular dystrophy by prioritizing accessible design such that anyone with any amount of muscular strength or any range of motion can play to the fullest extent.
XR Emphasis : drummvr is entirely dependent on virtual reality and its ability to transcend the limitations of the physical world. Users can literally reach out and place drums in the air, designing their own drum set to play. They can set drums to any size to require more or less precision, and set thresholds for velocity at 'impact' to measure strength. Finally, our game places indicators for proper beats right on top of the drums, tracking successful hits in ways that cannot be replicated with a physical set of drums.
Financial Sustainability : See our Pricing page for more details. We offer three different tiers of subscriptions. Our basic plan is a typical ad-revenue system that only saves calibrations between songs (not sessions!), while the personal and therapy plans offer the full package with the ability to save calibrations between sessions (for one or several user profiles, respectively), an expanded songbook, and a complete exercise log for an appropriate monthly or annual fee.
We primarily focused on expanding the accessible gameplay elements of our product this week. This includes an overhaul of the calibration mode to reduce the reaching elements, a way to pick up the drumsticks without bending down, and the beginning elements of the rhythm game component.
Technical Sophistication : As we add more elements to the game, the biggest challenge we face is finding a way to seemlessly integrate them all together. That said, we have made solid progress towards a rhythm game within the constraints of ensuring it is highly customizable and accessible for users with limited mobility.
Novelty : We continue to expand the accessibility of the product and have begun implementing the rhythm game components. While the underlying feel should be familiar, the inclusion of certain design choices allow for novel real-world application.
Social Impact : There were two additional considerations we kept in mind this week. The first was that some of the elements of our game required a significant amount of reaching, which we did our best to limit. The second is that, in order to allow for more specialized therapy treatments, having the ability to resize the drums is very useful.
XR Emphasis : Just as before, our game capitalizes on the limitless potential of virtual reality. This week, the best reflection of this is the addition of the menu placed on the wrist. VR allows for this component to be dynamic, even though it is fixed to a specific place in reference to the user's hand.
Financial Sustainability : After hearing feedback on our Pricing page, we updated some of the prices and removed a tier that had an unclear use case.
This week, our team made major progress to define the next steps of our development cycle. We have moved away from the mini-game playground and instead settled on "drummvr: an interactive rhythm game designed for individuals with muscular dystrophy". Major steps that we took include the creation of a tutorial that allows the user to place drums in reach to ensure accessibility and beginning work on our background setting and rhythm game components. While we have not yet been able to marry these two parts together, we are confident that the product is headed in the right direction.
Technical Sophistication : Our team began work on some of the more novel parts of the product this week. The biggest demonstration of technical sophistication is the ability to place the drums in space and have them maintain their location while playing. Our next steps are to incorporate this with our other environment and add the rhythm game components.
Novelty : Novelty was one of the elements that we focused on primarily this week. With the inclusion of the tutorial to setup the drumset, users can now make the game accessible, regardless of their physical limitations.
Social Impact : As before, we hope that this game acts as a novel and fun way to do physical therapy, while simultaneously making the drums an accessible instrument to individuals with muscular dystrophy.
XR Emphasis : Without extended reality, a user would not be able to just reach their arm out and place a drum, which is a core element of the product. These drums also sound without any impact, drastically reducing one of the largest limiting factors of the instrument in the physical world.
Financial Sustainability : We have updated our Pricing page to more accurately reflect ideal use cases, while retaining the tiered subscription approach.
Still missing a name, our project aims to create a Guitar-Hero like music game in VR environment. But instead of playing guitar, our player will be playing drums. This idea is inspired by one of our team member’s experience in tutoring a student with muscular dystrophy. Playing drums was a fun and stimulating way for them to get some exercises in the arms, but the instruments were not accommodating enough for them to fully enjoy the experience. Therefore, we believe that by moving the instruments to a VR environment and giving the player control over how hard they should hit the drums, we could make drum playing both fun and training-effective.
Technical Sophistication : Our team implemented the intial drumset this week, considering several complex elements to replicate reality most appropriately. First, the drums were designed to have proper dynamics, calculating the impact from the drumstick to tune the volume of the sound played. We also used vector normalization and dot product to ensure the drums can only be played when hit from above.
Novelty : VR rhythm games are not unheard of. What’s innovative about our project is that we are combining games, music, and physical therapy. We believe it hits the sweet spot of making physical therapy enjoyable yet effective, which is a field not previously explored.
Social Impact : We believe it has the potential to make physical therapy a bit more fun. It might not be life-changing, but why reject a little more pleasure when exercising is a must for your health?
XR Emphasis : Letting the player move around their arms and hit drums is not something that can be done in a 2D environment. Our project also has the advantage of being highly customizable, which makes it adaptable to people with different physical conditions and different needs.
Financial Sustainability : See our Pricing page for a full breakdown on our initial pricing strategy.