TAROT was a project I began in the Fall of 2018 as a part of Kim Grinfeder's Intro to Prototyping class at the University of Miami. We had received the prompt for a project to create a prototype for a Virtual Reality experience that allowed a user to have a "religious experience". I was really into self divination at the time and wanted to explore experiences that were much more introspective, rather than the grand nature of places like churches or mosques.
Virtual Reality is a very intimate experience for a user, and I wanted to focus on enhancing a type of experience that was of a similar nature, so I decided to explore tarot card and tarot readings.
The first concept was a simple one, and what remained through the first prototype. A user stands in the middle of a room and is surrounded by all 78 cards in a full tarot deck. They then select however many cards they wish, then one by one they become immersed in the world that is depicted in the card. While various artists depict the the imagery on the cards differently, there are always key elements on each card that must be included. For example in The World, a naked woman hovers or dances above the earth holding a staff in each hand, surrounded by a green wreath, being watched by various creatures. So all of these elements would be animated into this world that the user summons by picking the card. They would be then left to interpret what the card was trying to tell them, much like one does when interpreting the card during a normal reading.
Mackenzie and Laura Miller joined into the project, and as a team we developed the concept further over the next few weeks. Laura developed what would become our interface and design elemets, while Mackenzie handled our audio. I handled the concept development and world building for the prototype.
The final prototype as it stands asks the users a few questions like, how many cards to they want to draw, and what question they have for the cards before loading the first room with the deck.
Once a user touches or select the deck, the cards unfurl and surround them in a circle.
The users must the select whatever amount they had chosen in the beginning and the cards will glow when selected. Once all the cards are chosen, the reamining will fly away and the selected cards will be reshuffled into a small deck in the order they were chosen. The first card will flip over, this will then prompt the room to fall away reveal the world that is within the card. Our plan here is for a "booming voice of god" to then narrate when the generic meaning of the card is, and then allow the user to internalize the meaning based on whatever question it was they asked. For the prototype we chose the 8 of Cups as our card as it was a very dramatic scene in the card and easy to depict.
In the Eight of Cups, we see a cloaked figure taking off to a barren land leaving behind eight golden cups. The world itself was built entirely will low poly assets from the Unity Store, the scene was exported as a 360 photo from the camera view and then the interface of the cards was ovelaied on Sketch. To preview the scenes we loaded them into the GoPro VR Player app and took screengrabs of the environments.
As part of my next class which is Building Virtual Worlds, I wanted to expand on this project and build it out so it would actually be interactive and we would be able to move from scene to scene. Eventually I would like to create all 72 worlds so the game is fully playable as a tarot game. But for now I'll settle for adding one or two more worlds to the deck.