School of Science and Technology 科技學院
Computing Programmes 電腦學系

Dr. Cell : An Immersive, Controller-Free VR game for Promoting Health Awareness from The Perspective of Human Body Defense Mechanism

Jensen Howard LEUNG, Ki Chun LAW , Tsz Hang YEUNG, Ki Sum YEUNG

ProgrammeBachelor of Arts with Honours in Computing and Interactive Entertainment
SupervisorProf. Vanessa Ng and Dr. William Lai
AreasVirtual Reality Applications
Year of Completion2020

Objectives

The aim of this project is to create an immersive VR gaming experience to let players learn more about health awareness from within the human body. Currently, many VR games are played using the VR controllers that come with VR headsets. To move an object in these games, players have to point the two controllers to an object, and then press a button on each controller to be able to grab it. This control method is unrealistic and not immersive, as in real life, we just have to use our hands to pick up an object. To solve this problem, we decided to use gesture sensors and muscle sensors to capture players’ input. With gestures and muscle sensors, players can use their hands and muscle to control their character in the game.

The project has defined a number of objectives as follows:

  • Deliver messages about health awareness to players.
  • Implementation of gesture and muscle sensors for interactions in our VR game.
  • Ensure the controls are smooth and intuitive.
  • Design a compelling game story that can support the interactions in the game.
  • Design visual and audio elements that can increase the immersion of the players when they are playing this game.

Video Demonstration

Background and Methodology

Background

In the thematic household survey (no.63) conducted by the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong SAR (2017) – a survey about the health status of Hong Kong residents – the government found that more than one third of the interviewees think that they have only fair or poor general health. More than 80% of the interviewees think that their health is more or less the same as the previous year. With these numbers, we can gather that more than 25% of the interviewees perceive their general health to be fair or poor and it is not improving. To help increase the health awareness of younger generations, we decided to make a game that can deliver messages about health awareness.

Techniques and technologies used

HTC Vive, LEAP MOTION, Myo Armband and Unity have been used in the project.

HTC Vive

For our project, we need to find a suitable and compatible VR headset, and the HTC Vive is chosen. It is a VR headset created by HTC which has a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a 110 degree field of view and supports Windows platform (Martindale, 2019).

LEAP MOTION

A computer hardware sensor device. It supports hand and finger motions as input.

Myo Armband

Another computer hardware sensor device. It is an armband that is worn on the most dominant arm of a person below the elbow.

Unity

A game engine and development environment that provides us a platform to build our project.

System architecture

About the Major Component, Our game is created with those components, UI, Hardware equipment, the script of gesture control script, 3D model and element inside the game, the functional script of the game content.

Figure 1: Major Component

System Design and Implementation

Dr.Cell’s level design is to simulate the environment inside the human body. Since the target audience of our game project is young people, the theme of the whole game would be in cartoon style and the related content to symbolize a human body.

There are 2 main areas in the game, lungs and respiratory system. Each main area represents an organ of the human body. The theme of level designs is to use a mix of factories and flesh to symbolize the human body, based on the structure of human organs. We want to use this style because human organs work like a factory which has a division of labor between different organs (much like different machines in a factory).

For character design, our main character would be a little cell ball with hands. For the design of the enemies, we classify them into two types: viruses, bacteria.

Game Level Modeling

For the game scene, We used a factory as reference to build a human lung scene at our game level. The level has two main parts: Lung part (Figure 3) and respiratory system part (Figure 4). The game scene is modeled and textured by MAYA and then exported to unity.

Figure 2: Dr. Cell’s Game Level

Figure 3: Dr. Cell’s Lung Part

Figure 4: Dr. Cell’s Respiratory System Part

UI Design

Figure 5: Three UI

Character Modeling

For our game character, we would create an enemy, each character contains animations. There is the draft of the monster model, we are trying to improve it to be more like a coronavirus.

Figures 6 & 7: the rig and the model of the monsters

We add a boss which is the spawn point of the enemy, players need to defeat it to complete the level.

Figures 8 & 9: the rig and the model of the boss

Point cache effect is made for creating particles that stick on objects. In Dr. Cell, point cache effect is used to represent grease (Figure 11) and tar (Figure 12). Moreover, point cache effect is used on the particles that stick on the columns (Figure 10).

Figure 10: point cache (columns)

Figure 11: point cache (grease)

Figure 12: point cache(tar)

Energy ball (Figure 13) is made for shooting by the player. Virus energy ball (Figure 14) is made for the attack from virus. Compared to the player’s energy ball, the virus’s attack has a green color and the speed is much slower.

Figure 13: Player Energy Ball

Figure 14: Virus Energy Ball

Virus membrane (Figure 15) is made to cover the shortage of virus’s characteristics that modeling cannot be made. Viruses have a membrane to protect themselves.

Figure 15: Virus membrane

Evaluation

Figure 16: Effectiveness on learning human body

The majority of the respondents think that our game Dr.Cell can help them learn more about the human body. One of the reasons may be that our game is about killing harmful substances in the body. Also, our game level resembles the structure of parts of the human body to a certain extent.

Conclusion and Future Development

In the future, we plan to add more things to the game, including new monsters, new levels, new music, new sound effects, new UI elements, and so on.

To achieve a better gameplay and user-experience, it is important to use the characteristic of first person perspective, for example, player could touch there hand to pop up the menu for pause or back to main menu button.

Also, the objective text should be change to a animation or a raider that could match the theme, such kind of design would be more fancy and new to users, rather than the typical UI design.

Jonathan Chiu
Marketing Director
3DP Technology Limited

Jonathan handles all external affairs include business development, patents write up and public relations. He is frequently interviewed by media and is considered a pioneer in 3D printing products.

Krutz Cheuk
Biomedical Engineer
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

After graduating from OUHK, Krutz obtained an M.Sc. in Engineering Management from CityU. He is now completing his second master degree, M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, at CUHK. Krutz has a wide range of working experience. He has been with Siemens, VTech, and PCCW.

Hugo Leung
Software and Hardware Engineer
Innovation Team Company Limited

Hugo Leung Wai-yin, who graduated from his four-year programme in 2015, won the Best Paper Award for his ‘intelligent pill-dispenser’ design at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s International Conference on Consumer Electronics – China 2015.

The pill-dispenser alerts patients via sound and LED flashes to pre-set dosage and time intervals. Unlike units currently on the market, Hugo’s design connects to any mobile phone globally. In explaining how it works, he said: ‘There are three layers in the portable pillbox. The lowest level is a controller with various devices which can be connected to mobile phones in remote locations. Patients are alerted by a sound alarm and flashes. Should they fail to follow their prescribed regime, data can be sent via SMS to relatives and friends for follow up.’ The pill-dispenser has four medicine slots, plus a back-up with a LED alert, topped by a 500ml water bottle. It took Hugo three months of research and coding to complete his design, but he feels it was worth all his time and effort.

Hugo’s public examination results were disappointing and he was at a loss about his future before enrolling at the OUHK, which he now realizes was a major turning point in his life. He is grateful for the OUHK’s learning environment, its industry links and the positive guidance and encouragement from his teachers. The University is now exploring the commercial potential of his design with a pharmaceutical company. He hopes that this will benefit the elderly and chronically ill, as well as the society at large.

Soon after completing his studies, Hugo joined an automation technology company as an assistant engineer. He is responsible for the design and development of automation devices. The target is to minimize human labor and increase the quality of products. He is developing products which are used in various sections, including healthcare, manufacturing and consumer electronics.

Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMP S321FAdvanced Database and Data Warehousing5
 COMP S333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMP S351FSoftware Project Management5
 COMP S362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMP S363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMP S382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMP S390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMP S492FMachine Learning5
 ELEC S305FComputer Networking5
 ELEC S348FIOT Security5
 ELEC S371FDigital Forensics5
 ELEC S431FBlockchain Technologies5
 ELEC S425FComputer and Network Security5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 ELEC S201FBasic Electronics5
 IT S290FHuman Computer Interaction & User Experience Design5
 STAT S251FStatistical Data Analysis5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMPS333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMPS362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMPS363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMPS380FWeb Applications: Design and Development5
 COMPS381FServer-side Technologies and Cloud Computing5
 COMPS382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMPS390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMPS413FApplication Design and Development for Mobile Devices5
 COMPS492FMachine Learning5
 ELECS305FComputer Networking5
 ELECS363FAdvanced Computer Design5
 ELECS425FComputer and Network Security5