Jesse Willis

Junior Developer

Jesse is an upcoming graduate from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Digital Media in Game Design. He is currently a Junior Developer at a digital agency and has done web development for the past 4 years. Through school, he learned game engines such as Unreal Engine 4 and Unity using C++ and C# languages respectively, and has experience leading a small team creating VR games and collaborating on various other projects.

Panel Description:

Postmortem VR exhibit at the Gray Fossil Site and Museum
(Panelist include: Todd Emma, Benjamin RileyRobin KomanGreg Lyons)

East Tennessee State University’s department of Digital Media is currently working with the Gray Fossil Site, Dr. Chris Widga, and a small group of upper division Digital Media students to establish a virtual reality exhibit at the Gray Fossil Site and Museum.
The service project implements the latest VR and photogrammetry techniques inside of the Unreal Engine. The project highlights the exciting work being done in Digital Media at ETSU and Gray Fossil Site.

Current and potential end goals for the project are:
● creating an exhibit inside the museum.
● cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Gray Fossil Site and Digital
Media Department leading to several potential externally funded grant

Working closely with the Gray Fossil Site and Museum, the Digital Media Department created a simulation of the dig site. The Gray Fossil Site kept point cloud data for the fossils it located. Our lead scripter created a small plugin able to pull the coordinates from the database and use spheres to create a visualization of the site. This fossil’s “star field” is fully navigable in VR and PC.

The Gray Fossil Site has laser scan data for some of its recent fossils. Using Zbrush and photogrammetry we were able to create game ready assets for VR and PC.

In this presentation we discuss a brief history of the Gray Fossil Site and how this project came to be. We cover in detail working the database and photogrammetry tools and workflows needed to create the simulation. We will also discuss some hurdles and challenges we overcame in the creation of the final project.