A View of Campus: WPU Students Create Virtual Reality Tour

May 31, 2022

Virtual reality headsets are a fun way to play games, and now, a fun way to learn more about William Peace University. A new VR tour of WPU offerings was created by students for high school students, and will be soon available on Oculus headsets. 

Six students in Advanced Graphic Design spent the spring semester creating the VR tour, building a virtual room that looks like the campus Welcome Center. Users can interact with objects, pick things up, and click on images to learn more about WPU’s majors, financial aid, admissions, and campus life. For example, the user can pick up a brochure about WPU’s majors or click on a video of campus. 

Meet The Team

The students all have different skill sets, explained Miles Carter, a senior in Communications. Those different skill sets were put to work as a team to create the tour. 

  • Nathan Lembo – specializes in 3D modeling, level design, and computer programming
  • Adam Lembo – specializes in 3D modeling, level design, and computer programming
  • Emerson Scollo – specializes in level design and 3D modeling
  • Kaylah Derlus – specializes in level design and 3D modeling
  • Fredy Gonzalez – specializes in audio production, level design, and UI design
  • Miles Carter – specializes in UI design

The team presented their work to WPU’s Director of Marketing every other week, just as if they were hired as an outside agency. Carter, who led the presentations, said it was good practice for real-world client work. The team had to trust each other’s skills and rely on one another to do the work they’d each agreed to accomplish.

“While creating this project, we faced a lot of difficulties because we were learning new things, and we all had to figure it out together so trusting each other that we will be able to do what we need to do was important,” he said. “There were some ups and some downs but I feel like we made each other better in the process.” 

Creating a virtual environment is harder than people might guess, Carter said. So when one team member struggled, everyone would pitch in. 

“We realize that a lot of us had our moments where we were struggling in certain points so we made sure to work together to support each other to get the project done. That was one of the most rewarding parts of this project was just working with each other, leaning on each other, and being able to see the product at the end.” 

Creating the Environment

Building virtual reality is just one example of how WPU practices immersive learning, meaning hands-on experiences both inside the classroom and out. 

“The VR project was a perfect opportunity to provide something useful for the University and give students a chance to work on a real project,” said Brandon Crews, assistant professor of Simulation and Game Design. 

“Building a virtual reality tour took some time. It was really about getting the virtual world together. The team had to go to the Welcome Center to take pictures and get measurements to create a ‘room’ that matched. This virtual reality tour required consistent work and team effort, and I’m proud of the work this team did.” 

Time management was one of the key lessons about team and project work, Carter said. 

“One of the challenges was hitting some key deadlines, mainly because we would have trouble scheduling meetings due to our conflicts with other classes, and just figuring stuff out together,” he said. “It got better as the project progressed, and at the end of the day we had a lot of fun and this was a great learning experience.” 

Next Steps

Two of the students will continue working on the tour this summer, finalizing some details. They will then install the tour on two Oculus headsets, which WPU Admissions counselors will use during high school visits to demonstrate the type of work students here do. The goal is to someday include the tour in the Oculus store, as a free game people can use.