Virtual and Augmented Reality

Outbound and Beyond: An Exploration of Space and Virtual Reality Through An Academic Partnership Between CCS and Oakland University

Stacy Hutchcraft, CCS
July 25, 2023
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Photo by Stacy Hutchcraft

Photo by Stacy Hutchcraft


An academic partnership between CCS and Oakland University’s Augmented Reality Center (ARC) is showcasing the intersection of engineering, science and art through Augmented Reality.

The ARC features an immersive lab where engineering and science students and industry professionals can explore new opportunities in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

College for Creative Studies BFA Entertainment Arts and Graduates Studies User Experience Design students developed a game for the ARC that explores the future of spatial navigation through virtual reality. The “Outbound” VR game was created during a Winter ‘23 special topics course. Students gained a keen understanding of VR and how to interact with it in an impactful and enjoyable way.

Run by Assistant Professor of Entertainment Arts Chase Holton, the semester-long course brought together students from different majors to combine their skills into one team. This is the first course CCS has offered to exclusively investigate VR game development with industry professionals for guidance, including:

  • Siemens Digital Industries Software
  • GM
  • LightGuide
  • RAVE Computer
  • Vectorform
  • Augmented Reality Center at Oakland University
  • Epic Games
  • AM General LLC
  • Oakland University

Students were involved in all aspects of the concept design, lighting, visual effects and sound design. Graduate User Experience Design students Hoda Solati and Shima Solati also integrated user experience design into the development of the game. While Entertainment Arts student Alex Tsangaris used his experience with VR software and design to help direct and drive the project.

Holton believes this interdisciplinary work dynamic fueled students’ creativity and problem-solving abilities when creating their final VR outcome. “When you mix in just a few outliers from other departments you encounter answers to questions you didn’t know you had. So having these more technically minded students helped make the art direction, lighting and visual effects really come together.”

And because of Outbound’s success, on the horizon will be more opportunities for students to create and collaborate on Virtual Reality experiences. If you speak to Holton about this project, you’ll encounter his enthusiasm and pride in what the students achieved in only 11 weeks. “The students outdid themselves and set an incredibly high bar for future semesters as these types of projects come up. We will be using Outbound and the overall structure for the VR project as a template moving forward. I am incredibly proud of everyone involved.”

You can explore Outbound starting this summer at Oakland University’s Augmented Reality Center Lab located on its Rochester campus.

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Stacy Hutchcraft, CCS
Stacy Hutchcraft, CCS

As the College of Creative Studies Marketing and Communications Manager, Hutchcraft is an innovative and energetic Marketing and Communications professional, excelling in increasing brand awareness through compelling story-telling.

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