acura: mood roads
lead unity design & dev, 2017
Tool of North America asked me to help with Unity design and development for their mood roads installation.
Info: The Mood Roads were plotted out in advance, somewhat like designing a rally course or a cool Hot Wheels layout. Once plotted, these roadscapes were malleable to allow for the different articulations dependent upon the user’s EMOTIV output. Interactive vector-mapped contours grew or flattened hills, or straightened or tightened curves, dynamic colors capes reflecting the user’s current mood and participation level.
One constant were the passages through tunnel-like structures to connect the levels. These bold, futuristic, and shape-shifting volumes called ‘Mirror Portals’ were dynamic and all-encompassing, designed to provoke even a greater reaction in the user and transport them from the levels with a continuity in its mirrored design. Some scenes had tactile surfaces punctuated with illuminated verticals, almost like highway lights, composed of large bands of light. All the scenes had dynamic skies - the passage of time being represented as time-lapse from sunrise to sunset, the majority of the driving time captured in beautiful golden-hour lighting to ante up the artistry in each level.In terms of trajectory, some later level mood roads performed radical, gravity defying changes in direction like the crazy Rubik’s Cube landscapes of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception.’ The team thought the more stimulating the driving experience, the more rich and immersive the feedback from the Biometric data would become. However, one constant throughout was the sense of remaining grounded, rather than flying. The Motion Sphere was key here, following all six axes; twisting, turning and vibrating, always maintaining the sensation of being in a road-hugging NSX as opposed to some hot little star fighter.
Another constant in the design direction was allowing the users to always be aware of the road ahead. This ability to anticipate an upcoming curve or hill or radical change of direction was a key contributor to the virtuous cycle of our feedback loop: the user anticipates a change in direction prompting his or her heartbeat to increase, which accelerates the ride’s motion which stimulates the brain which intensifies the streaming light patterns flying by.
© ecco screen