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HMS Unicorn Virtual Museum

Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Captain Murphy, Apr 21, 2016.

  • by Captain Murphy, Apr 21, 2016 at 6:21 PM
  • Captain Murphy

    Captain Murphy Actually a Captain TOP CONTRIBUTOR Programmer News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

    Nov 3, 2013
    Software Developer
    In association with PiratesAhoy! and The Unicorn Preservation Society we are proud to present the HMS Unicorn Virtual Museum project. Our goal with this project is to create an interactive and ‘living’ ship that can be explored using VR devices such as the Google Cardboard, Saumsung GearVR, Oculus Rift, and more. We also plan to build a web front version for browsers as well for those without a VR device.

    The model for the HMS Unicorn is being built in-house by our very talented modeler Christian Tornholm-Lehn for PiratesAhoy! for both the VR Museum project as well as the project Hearts Of Oak: Conquest of the Seas. Due to the detail of the model needed for both a museum quality replica and use for gaming it will be one of the most accurate 3d ship models made to date. Because the real HMS Unicorn is ‘in ordinary’, meaning it has a house over the deck and does not have rigging, we are using the sister ship HMS Trincomalee as the base of the rigging portion. Both are Leda class ships, with minor variations in design so the rigging should be extremely similar.

    Planned Builds:

    • Android (with and without Google Cardboard or GearVR)
    • iOS (with and without VR)
    • Windows (for VR devices and without)

    • Create a set of interactive displays to allow users to understand the function and correct nomenclature of shipboard items and tools
    • Allow users to freely explore a ‘living’ ship as it would have been outfitted during the period
    • Teach users how life aboard a ship was lived through representation of crew and officers for certain displays
    Windows x86

    Windows x64

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  • Categories:


Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Captain Murphy, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Thagarr
    This is absolutely brilliant work mates, well done! :cheers
    Black Iron Oyster likes this.
  2. Pieter Boelen
    You managed to find a good use for that Oculus Rift after all! Very awesome. :woot

    A remember there was some contact before with people from a museum.
    Is that this museum?

    Even though I think it was me handling that initial contact on Facebook, I really can't quite remember.

    Either way, this sounds super cool! :onya
    Black Iron Oyster likes this.
  3. Captain Murphy
    That is very possible that they are the same museum. The original concept was because @Flannery was already building a high quality model for them to be used in HoO. After the HMS Sphynx demo video I have been wanting to do another ship VR project and this fits the bill quite nicely since it is a pretty low complexity project. Aiming for the mobile platform should open it up to a lot more people since the current level of VR is a bit too pricey to be mass adopted.

    If anyone has ideas for exhibits or demonstrations, let us know. I am working on some simple UI concepts and should have a non-cardboard switchable version available soon that way it can run on just a (somewhat modern) phone.
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  4. Pieter Boelen
    Hmm... can't find the reference to it now. There WAS something about a museum though, but I can't remember the specifics.

    Anyway, being involved with such a project certainly lends a lot of authenticity to both your own development and the PiratesAhoy! Community as well.
    Really very cool.
  5. Pieter Boelen
    Looks like @Thagarr posted about this on Twitter, so I took the liberty to copy his post onto Facebook too.
    This does deserve some exposure, I reckon! :cheers
  6. Captain Murphy
    The goal is to bring the history and general interest in age of sail to the masses of folks that just don't have the time/money to travel to see the last restored ships that exist today. It would be great to teach a new generation (and a few older ones) things about sailing ships that may never be covered in the movies or tv shows that are currently around. It is also possible to show them in a way that may not even be possible on a real ship or on a medium such as television. My idea is to make some of the exhibits into interactive 'tutorials' that walks the person through activities such as firing a cannon, raising a sail, manning the helm, etc.
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  7. Flannery
    Just to clarify though - the ship in the project right now is a test version of the Swan Sloop I am making for "Tides of War".

    It is a placeholder while we flush out the concept and test some ideas.
    It will be swapped out with the HMS Unicorn as soon as it is done.

    The real deadline is for September, as that is when the anniversary event a starts for the ship.

    This is also the deadline for the VR exploration version.

    But there are some additional anniversary events for the museums now in May, and we are aiming for a working model in normal 3D view that the museum can show off during some press-releases and events already at that point.

    We will of course keep you posted and updated on the progress ☺
    Thagarr and Pieter Boelen like this.
  8. Captain Murphy
    I just got the starting menu working, it is mostly placeholder for now until I get the real one I want working. Running into fun issues with mobile and water solutions right now as well as some interesting UI problems with VR but it is starting to come together. This latest build now allows for non-VR and has a selector at the startup to switch.

    Latest build on the Project page

    Thagarr likes this.
  9. Flannery
    Hey all!

    Thought I would give you a quick look at the work on the HMS Unicorn herself.
    It is very early in the build - I have only laid out the basics of the hull, stern gallery and rigging.

    Right now I am working on the Figurhead iteslf - which is almost done - just minor details left, but the Unicorn itself is done (minus texturing of course)

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Figurhead.jpg Unicorn EarlyBuild.jpg Unicorn EarlyBuild2.jpg

    Thought I would also leave you a picture of how the HM Unicorn looks today - 192 years old.
    She functions as a museum in Dundee - Scotland

    leaving the link to their website as well :)
  10. Pieter Boelen
    She looks great! Very promising. :woot
  11. Armada
    How did you go about making the figurehead, out of interest? Organic modelling is one area I personally haven't had much luck with.
  12. Flannery
    I searched through the pictures I could find on the internet, I was lucky to find a picture with the figurehead right from the side, which I loaded up in blender and modeled the initial shape over that.
    IMG_24042016_052738_20160425_215411.jpg IMG_24042016_052558_20160425_215409.jpg

    I guess the painter in me always look for obvious shapes in the subject to start off from, and that is a workflow easy to bring into 3D modelling.

    Then I start working the model and add geometry and shape it. Don't be afraid to add too much geometry. It can be cleaned up later. At least when you are new at it it's better to use too much and learn from it.

    At this point it is a variation of molding from the "blueprint" and using other pictures as reference and add details

    IMG_24042016_174233_20160425_215419.jpg IMG_24042016_200530_20160425_215421.jpg IMG_25042016_005144_20160425_215422.jpg

    Sadly I don't have any screens from making the legs and chain. But the legs I started off as a separate block and followed more or less the same process as with the neck and head. Then merged them later and polished it.

    There are of course numerous ways to model, but this is my peferred way for something like this.

    Hope you got something out of that @Armada
  13. Pieter Boelen
    That's really impressive, that is! :cheers
  14. Armada
    So you didn't use any sculpting programs? That's surprising, and impressive that you got that result from what is essentially box modelling.

    I have never been good at drawing organic shapes in 2D, so I think that partly translates over to 3D.
  15. Flannery
    No I have never used any so far. I will probably eventually. But when you have to make deadlines I tend to stick to known methods to make sure I make the deadline...hehehe :cool:

    But I definitely must say that my background and experience with painting, sculpting and making model planes and ships definitely does help allot - by just purely understanding the processes and "simply" just having to transfer that knowledge into doing it in a 3D modeling program :)
  16. Captain Murphy
    I have been working on some of the UI elements, and have been testing multiple different ways to display information in a VR environment. It has been an interesting week, with a lot to learn about how the UI reacts to motion and users being able to move their heads. As a result I have finally settled on make the UI VERY basic, which actually makes for a better experience overall rather than having fancy looking elements that are somewhat distracting. Here are a few previews of the UI's.

    They start off hidden from view until the user moves to an interactive location. Currently the user can still 'fly' so there is a smooth lerp into view from being invisible. Makes it less jarring to have something 'pop' into view.

    Once in an interactive location you get a view of the UI object. Each one will later get a 'hide' gaze control (i.e. you look at the buttons to interact rather than click) so they can be hidden.

    My biggest concern was making the objects readable in VR on older devices (800x600 resolution) and surprisingly they are readable without any issues. Once I get the new movement system written we will release an updated version for people to test and give feedback on the UI's. I am currently just putting placeholder information on the displays that will later become real info for the ship.
    Flannery, Thagarr and Pieter Boelen like this.
  17. Thagarr
    I think that simple UI is a good design choice, simple is always better. :onya
    Flannery likes this.
  18. Flannery
    Just a quick update on the work on the Main Deck. Its almost ready for being armed :)
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  19. Flannery
    Stern Gallery.png

    Stern Gallery is finished - Only lacking the plaque with the Unicorn name on it.
    Captain quarters is now closed in with windows and a internal wall and doors out to the gunnery of the Main deck.
    Now doing the last external details of the hull, rudder/keel, the upper deck and I will start the rigging.
    The last step will be to place the cannons.

    - ARMAMENT -
    Main deck will have 28 x 18 pdr Cannons, the quarter deck and forecastle will have 14 x 32 pdr Carronades and 4 x 9 pdr long guns.

    Gun Deck render:

    The first Pre-view of the model that will be used towards press/media is now 14th of May. This will just be a 3D model that can be explored externally with a camera - Much like the view of "Sketchfab"

    After the 14th of May I will again continue the work on the different lower decks and all the internal details.

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