Proteus: A cruise design tool for the future

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Proteus is a design tool and VR user testing system developed for the cruise industry. The main research question to answer was how to use elements of game design and user-oriented design to build a system that allows for fast and flexible prototyping of cruise ship interior environments before full scale structures are employed. Related to the main research question was finding ways to map and visualise user experiences and user data that happens during a test session, integrating the process of design and quick reiteration into a software smoothly and effectively, and what kinds of ideas can be piloted in a VR environment and how. Background studies examined emerging markets of new cruisers from new cultures and also the general growth and competitive nature of the cruise industry to determine a concept for a new tool which would provide the usability to test, improve, and communicate ship designs and interior layouts at a faster, better, and more cost efficient way than currently possible. Delving into game design to inspire new features and game design processes that would aid the cruise design process, a prototype of Proteus was made and tested upon students and potential users. The concept was to make rapid prototyping available to the interior designers of the ship, and the deck layout architects, while building on an architectural sound base, such as a embedded blueprint. The models built within the Proteus environment would be able to be fine tuned to accurate measurements of scale, while being basic enough to modify flexibly, such as changing the colour, texture, orientation, and scale, on the fly, even as user testing is running. The program is modelled upon a What You See is What You Get (WYSWYG) approach. User testing is run as a mini game or “mission” created in the ship design editor. The prototype was developed over the course of six months, and both a CAVE-like version and an Oculus Rift version exists. The result of the trial was that the Proteus system was easy to use for both marine technology related personnel and also for people with no experience in design software. The main user testing was done in a 2-wall CAVE-like environment, and further development was done in Oculus. The environment was enjoyable to navigate in both a CAVE and Oculus setting, although post-HMD adaptation was needed after some minutes of Oculus use, and extended use of Oculus lead to some nausea and discomfort for some users.
Ahola, Markus
Thesis advisor
Reunanen, Markku
Junnila, Miikka
ship design, cruise design, game design, gamification, virtual reality, CAD
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