Our Deeper Dive projects are really picking up. Nadya and I are collaborating on an educational VR game about the California Gold Rush. The player engages in simulated activities with historical significance and is also presented with real historical facts about the Gold Rush. Since our timeline to complete the project is incredibly short, we created a very simple storyline and are utilizing lots of online assets. The biggest thing we still need to do is the coding. We are working on importing all the features and writing dialogue, but then we have to make our scenes interactive. I am very excited about our project, and I enjoy working with Nadya. I just hope we can get the game functional to where we want it in time!

Besides the Deeper Dive project, we are still working on our main research project, which is picking up as well. We are starting to get into the design phase, and I am realizing how much work we still need to do on that aspect. We are also ready to gather our real interview data as that is crucial to programming the avatars within our virtual research conference.

Regarding sessions, we recently had a class on plagiarism. It was a good refresher on things to avoid when writing with sources, and it was interesting to hear real-life stories of seemingly renowned people falsifying data to gain more recognition. Our lunch and lecture on Tuesday was with Kimberly Zarecor. She had an interesting academic journey regarding architecture and Czechoslovakia. I think it is neat how most (if not all) of the professors who have spoken at these lectures had “different” academic journeys in regards to where they started in their schooling, discovering what they actually love to do, and finding a career or research scope that is tailored to that. It’s not always a straight path, and that is okay.

Star Wars fun fact: did you know that some of the backgrounds of scenes in the original trilogy were paintings? Since the original trilogy movies were produced before realistic CGI was used frequently for movie effects, they instead created oversized matte paintings with oil paints and plexiglass as elaborate set backgrounds. Then the live-action shot was projected over the painting to complete the scene. Pretty neat, right?

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