UCF Virtual Arboretum: Fall 2018


A download for this project will be available for free in January 2019. The public website was recently launched at http://arboretum.ucf.edu/virtual/.

The UCF Virtual Arboretum is a to scale, 1 km² sample of the Arboretum on the University of Central Florida’s campus. In the simulation, the user can walk, sprint, and crouch in the first person and interact with nearly every plant visible to them. Upon interacting with a plant, a WordPress site opens within the engine and displays information to the user. A journal widget keeps track of which plants have and have not been found.

I served as Lead Developer inside of Unreal Engine on an agile team of 15+ and was responsible for setting up source control using Amazon Web Services and TortoiseSVN, along with optimizing any content within the engine. This included collision, lighting, culling, and all blueprints. I also created the landscape, along with the heightmaps and alpha maps used to paint materials onto the terrain.

I also served as a Lead Programmer and was responsible for the player controller, UI, interactions, journal, audio, and all wildlife. I used Blueprints to drive all events within the simulation.

User Interactions:

A subtle cross-hair in the middle of the screen quickly transitions from white to a light green to indicate when an interaction is possible. This transition is driven by two different timelines in a Blueprint.


User Interface – Web Pages / Web Plugin:

After our other programmer got the web plugin running in our project, I connected it to the interactions and journal system. Only one of the three following widgets are ever visible at once.


User Interface – Journal System:

This scroll bar is cleared and repopulated every time a new plant is found. When being repopulated, the list of names is sorted first by found status, with found plants being displayed at the top. Then, each of these two sub-lists is sorted alphabetically.


User Interface – Basic Video and Audio Settings:

After creating three sound mixes and a master sound class, three matching sound sliders were linked to functions that were called when the values changed. The video options are all identical to the settings found on Unreal Engine’s Scalability Reference page, with the key difference being that shadows are not disabled in any settings of this project.


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