Contextual Essay

For my digital artefact, I attempted to create virtual reality using a program called Unity. I was aiming to teach myself through self-exploration and also through Youtube tutorials, and documenting my successes, failures and just overall progress through a series of blog posts. My main goal was to try and make a house, however this aim changed as I progressed with my digital artefact and I realised that I wanted to create a virtual city, so a virtual reality environment in other words, rather than one specific thing. While undertaking this, I wanted to use my experience to teach others about using Unity and also quite possibly educate them on virtual reality.

My overall research explored what virtual reality is, how it’s being used, and also the negatives and positives of the technology. My research was kept quite broad, and acted as an overview, this was intentional in order to allow myself to fully understand how I could create virtual reality, and what I should be mindful of when I do so. From the research conducted, “virtual reality (VR) is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that can be explored or interacted with by a person.” (Virtual Reality Society, 2017). Virtual reality is used in many obvious fields such as the entertainment industry (gaming etc.) and journalism, and some not so obvious areas, such as the medical world and music industry.

One thing I found surprising from my research was that virtual reality’s hype was over, and that in the gaming industry it was declining. As stated in the article, “VR is underwhelming and the gear needed is pretty pricey.” (The Economist, 2017). I was a little shocked about this, as the whole reason I chose to do a digital artefact centred around virtual reality was because I was interested and curious about this technology.

With the making of my digital artefact, I originally had the idea to try and create the Brooklyn Nine-Nine precinct, which now in hindsight was a little too ambitious considering I was a complete amateur. I then aimed to try and create a structure of some sort such as a house, however I wasn’t exactly settled with this idea. Further research into creating virtual reality through Youtube tutorials led me to a series of tutorials by Jimmy Vegas, which had the creation of a virtual city. I liked this idea a lot, as it incorporated a whole range of skills using VR, and also because I thought my audience would be interested in either learning to create this themselves, or by following my creation of it.

The process itself was quite challenging, learning to use a completely new program took some time and patience, along with learning how to create certain objects. Overall, I feel as if my artefact was quite successful, I made buildings and a subway entrance, and for the future I’m hoping to finish this tutorial series and continue learning how to create virtual reality.

You can find my blog posts for this here:
Blog Post 1
Blog Post 2
Blog Post 3


Hoffman, H, Chambers, G, Meyer, W, Arceneaux, L, Russell, W, Seibel, E, Richards, T, Sharar, S & Patterson, D 2011, ‘Virtual reality as an adjunctive non-pharmacologic analgesic for acute burn pain during medical procedures,’ Ann Behav Med, vol.41, no. 2, pp. 183-191.

Justin Munafo, Meg Diedrick, and Thomas A Stoffregen, 2016, ‘The virtual reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift induces motion sickness and is sexist in its effects,’ Experimental Brain Research, 1–13.

Kavanagh, S, Luxton-Reilly, A, Wuensche, B, & Plimmer, B 2017, ‘A systematic review of Virtual Reality in education’, Themes in Science & Technology Education, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 85-119.

Smith, N 2017, How virtual reality is shaking up the music industry, BBC, 31 January,

The Economist 2017, ‘Game over for virtual reality?’ The Economist,

Vegas, J 2015, How to build a visual city, online video, 29 May,

Virtual Reality Society 2017, What is Virtual Reality?, Virtual Reality Society,



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