Project Houdini

  • Time: Jan 2019 -Present (On-going Spring 2019 semester)
  • Place: Entertainment Technology Center
  • My Role: Game Designer / Programmer
  • Platform: Tap, Android
  • Engine: Unity
  • Output: 11 Interaction Pattern Prototypes, Audio-based Experience Sky of Echoes
  • Website:

Project Houdini is my final semester-long project at ETC focusing on discovering interaction design pattern of the Tap device.

Tap wearable keyboard

Tap is an input device using one hand and finger tapping. It is used as a keyboard with special mapping in Latin letters by default, but its SDK allows us to program a total of 31 different combinations (basically, it has five binary signals) as input. 

The project began with getting familiar with the device and its developing environment. I designed and implemented a simple rhythm game, Tap Hero. Here is a video of the game:

I ported it to Google Daydream VR to test Tap’s compatibility with Virtual Reality. After playtesting I found VR version is more preferable by playtesters and Tap is indeed a good VR controller.

I also programmed a level-design tool in Unity for easy level arrangement.

The second prototype focuses on music education. As my colleague Kristian said, Tap’s  is a natural interface for piano, and therefore I developed a piano tutorial VR app for practicing piano. In the demo, users need to use correct fingering to play a three-octave C major scale. I started from developing it on touch screen interface, but later found out that the small-sized screens are not a good fit for such tutorial. Furthermore, the target user group for this demo are piano learners with some level of experience, and since I wanted to emphasize on correct fingering, the position of keys doesn’t matter. In the end, I switch the platform to Daydream VR. Here’s a short video demonstrating this demo:

After the first half of the semester, we decide on gathering the entire team for developing one, complete experience to demonstrate our research. Among 11 prototypes (including the aforementioned two prototypes) we decide to take the direction of an audio-based game incorporating with Tap. In the game, player pilots a spaceship in an unknown star system and seeking evidence on the location of the solar system in order to go back home. The game is named Sky of Echoes.