Spirited Away, ‘The Boiler Room’ – VR – PART 4

I am pleased to announce that the boiler room is pretty much complete :)

Spirited Away, BoilerRoom for VR - the Boiler Room

The full Boiler Room. I tried to match as much as possible to the film, and so small details like the flaming boiler vents, the roof fans, gauges etc all animate. Kamaji himself goes through a little routine that loops. The soot sprites are a little more random and it’s fun to watch them go about their business.
Spirited Away, BoilerRoom for VR - pipes corridor The opening corridor in ‘Rift vision’.

Spirited Away, BoilerRoom for VR - soot sprites at the furnace

The furnace, with a nice healthy glow, courtesy of the coal sprites throwing in their payload.

Spirited Away, BoilerRoom for VR - Kamaji overlooking the room

Kamaji, overlooking the room.

Chihiro from Spirited Away as a VR avatar.

The player has an avatar, which takes the form of Chihiro. Well… her headless body at least. You see much less of this in the game, so I wanted to give a better view of her here.

A few notes of interest:

-The coal sprites (or soot sprites, if you prefer), are using RAIN AI combined with Mecanim and a couple of simple animations. They have a walk cycle that repeats, with RAIN pathing them as they follow around an empty object I have hand animated. When they hit the end of the gantry they hit a trigger that switches on their ‘throw’ animation, and then go into a walk animation without the coal. They return to their start point where they hit a ‘reset’ and go through it again. I would recommend RAIN as an amazing and FREE option for AI, although it does not currently support dynamic obstacle avoidance.

-Kamaji and other elements have a simple Unity toon shader, however they also have ambient occlusion baked into their textures. This gives a 3D look, but keeps the toon-look as well, which seems a nice compromise. Kamaji himself runs a simple animation loop without any real interactivity.

-The avatar Chihiro has animation which drives the crouch action. This might seem a very small thing, but it was a bit of a breakthrough when I figured to do it that way, rather than have the animation follow the action.

I’m so pleased with how fun and rewarding this experience has been. If it stays like this then perhaps I’ll end up doing this full time.

I am more than happy to hand out any advice or tips based on my limited experience, so please drop my a message here or on Reddit (reddit.com/u/redofpaw).

This demo will be posted up later in the week, but in the meantime it would be great if anyone who’s checking out this blog checks out the poll below to let me know what scenes they would most like to see next!

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  1. S0lll0s · February 26, 2014

    Holy crap! That looks incredible! I’m so looking forward to the demo!

  2. George Gray · February 26, 2014

    This looks stunning, Looking forward to the demo! (We really need a high res dev kit!!)

    • redofpaw · February 26, 2014

      I agree ;) although smaller scenes like this tend to fair quite well under the resolution, and I added a crouch in so you can get closer to the soot sprites :)

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  4. Sean Foreman · February 26, 2014

    That looks amazing. Nice job. I can’t wait to try this out.

  5. Steven Casteel · February 26, 2014

    Wow, this is gorgeous. I can’t wait to demo this when I get my hands on DK2. I’m excited to see your next project, but I’m even more excited to see the avalanche of other community recreations that come out soon.

    If you keep it up, you’re going to be in the history books as the first guy to do Ghibli VR well!

    Could I get a link to that Unity Toon shader?

    • redofpaw · February 26, 2014

      Thanks! The shader is actually just the toon shader that comes with Unity :)

  6. Alan Becker (@alanthebecker) · February 26, 2014

    REDOFPAW! THIS IS AMAZING!! You REALLY need to see my Spirited Away Minecraft project (http://www.spiritedawayminecraft.com) I feel like we have the same passion for experiencing Ghibli in real life!! I made the boiler room too! (http://i.imgur.com/JaQ2ytf.jpg) Can we be friends?

    • redofpaw · February 26, 2014

      Hey Alan! Wow, thanks :) I saw your stuff on Reddit a little while ago and was massively impressed. You’ve done an amazing job – and certainly covered more ground than I would ever be able to :)

      We can of course be friends :)

      • Alan Becker (@alanthebecker) · February 26, 2014

        oh you saw it, nice! Well, making environments in Minecraft is much easier than 3DS Max and Unity. But my intention is to be able to immerse yourself completely in Ghibli’s world, which seems to be your intention as well. How long did this one room take you? send me an email: thealanbecker@gmail.com

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  8. neohamsters · February 26, 2014

    This might be a stupid question but, do you have sound in this?

    • redofpaw · February 26, 2014


      • neohamsters · February 26, 2014

        woohoo! :D im downloading your demo now, you are awesome!!!

      • redofpaw · February 26, 2014


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