Oceangate Project

         Creating a Virtual Reality Design Narrative



When I decided to create a Virtual Reality Simulation about an underwater expedition I came across quite a few problems. First I did not have the equipment and the models that I could actually base off the submersible which is important to get the right scales right, no one prefers to sit in a meter long submarine. That's when I reached out to OceanGate in Everett to meet with the team in order to do research and get measurements.


Inspecting the Submersible

At their Headquarters there was a skeleton of the Cyclops 1 (submersible) due to undergoing improvements and inspections. This gave me a chance to actually see the metal part of it and how each of its parts are structured. I took every step to interview all of the team, from the engineers to pilots, even the Executive Director of OceanGate which was extremely helpful in my research. It gave me a true sense on how it feels like to be under the ocean and actually control it under different yet unique circumstances. While I was there I also had the incredible opportunity to climb inside of it and record some details about the interior. When it was time to say goodbye the director gave me the permissions to use their 3D model obj. (object) files to help me in my build. this way I was able to re-create every single buttons, controls and levers.


Creating the 3D Model outline

As soon as I got home I immediately began installing the files and started adjusting the numbers in order to make the importing process simple to Virtual Reality. By 3D modeling the submersible it allowed me to create the skeleton of the structure and also some of the exterior details such as the glass panel (or as they call it the eye of the Cyclops, since it has a single glass panel in the front), engines and the sonar equipment. 


Import and build the model in VR

There is an uncanny resemblance between the submersible vehicle in VR and Real Life. Looks are not the only thing that they have in common, when inputting the fine details it was the key to pay attention to the controls and simulate the physical elements of the real Cyclops 1. Not only they both measure acceleration and deceleration in percentage increments but to also allow the pilot to control the extendable arm to interact with objects underwater. Details like this could not have been done without using Virtual Reality.


Building the Virtual ocean expedition

Designing the actual Ocean and Ocean floor was just as important as creating the 3D model. Here the underwater submersible could be used to carry out specified tasks {Special Environment for Specific Tasks}. This allows to create high fidelity interactions and highlight the spacial immersion of the given environment. This allows the viewers to see the natural habitats filled with wonders, just like the Marine Sanctuaries that our world has in Real Life.



Once the prototype of the submersible was finished it was time to get the virtual cameras out of the box and start recording the expedition throughout the underwater environment. During the recording several elements of the capabilities of the submersible are shown, such as fixing a leaking oil pipe, finding iconic shipwrecks that are potentially full of treasures and admiring the programmed sea-life full of of unique fish types and even a Blue Whale! Editing is the most difficult process of all, making sure that all of the glitches are cut out, includes an excellent narrative/story-telling and that the overall content is clear, logical and fluent.


publishing our simulation

The final step for the Design Narrative process is publishing the content and the simulation to our audience such as the University of Washington and the OceanGate Foundations. This allows our users to give them a strong sense of social {Aware of people around us} and spatial {Aware of being in the environment} presence in the interactive environment around them. It engages the audiences senses and increases the overall surrealism. This project has the power to relieve OceanGate from some of the costs related to training the crew. Our users can use this virtual environment to teach trainees about the possible physical applications for the Cyclops 1. This Simulation provides the crew with safe educational environment where they familiarize themselves with the submersible and learn how to operate the submersible. This is the reason why people often choose the virtual world as their platform of training and simulating. This can be used to significantly cut down the cost, time and resources needed for OceanGate's training program.

"This Virtual Immersion is Persistent, Simulated and Real Time."