EDF Energy – Reactor Builder

Challenge

Create an interactive, engaging learning serious game that challenges learners to utilise the knowledge gained from the Fundamentals of Nuclear Power training content, combining competition, teamwork and effective communication whilst remaining to encompass the range of abilities of employees from across the business. At the time, the current wave of VR had only just begun and so hardware was in its infancy, however tracked input controllers that gave users virtual hands were available and to be explored for integration.

Use Case

Following on from the time saved from efficiencies of delivery around the learning content available on Android tablet device, Reactor Builder was designed to repurpose the 3D content for further experiences to test knowledge. The desire was to create a competitive serious game that enabled the learnings to be tested against the clock with a range of difficulty levels.

Hardware

Reactor Builder was originally developed for Oculus Rift DK2 and the Razer Hydra tracking input controllers, providing a seated experience. Once the HTC Vive was commercially available in 2016, the experience was updated to include support for room-scale VR and freedom of movement of users within a tracked space. Through SteamVR support, Oculus Rift commercial units can also be used as an alternative. The application is PC VR delivered via Windows-based computers.

Test

A range of users were put through the experience to test the usability and suitability of the simple mechanics of picking up components and sticking them together. These tests were repeated when the VR hardware support was updated to ensure the additional capabilities remained logical and fairly competitive.

Build

All versions were developed with Unity 3D engine, however the VR support had to be upgraded from initially Oculus to Steam when the VR hardware support changed from the Rift DK2 to HTC Vive. This was the first project Make Real had undertaken using room-scale and Steamworks development environment. 

Other changes taking the experience from seated to room-scale involved the location and positioning of the nuclear reactor components, since initially being positioned on the virtual floor, which was initially within arms reach when seated, suddenly became far away when virtual and real floor planes matched. Therefore the components were placed on a virtual glass shelf, raising them up off the floor back within arms reach when standing.

An alternative version was created that made the serious game an asymmetrical experience, where the component connection layout was removed from within and only available for the non-VR users to see, encouraging audience participation and collaboration together to complete the puzzle.

Impact

Qualitative feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with users marvelling at the sense of scale between component connection puzzle scene and the ability to stand beneath a 1:1 scale version of the nuclear power station reactor, steam generators and water pumps once complete. Reactor Builder has bee repurposed as part of the EDF ‘Pretty Curious’ STEM compaign to encourage more young women into science and engineering, being used at skills events for schools and colleges nationwide with the asymmetrical version.

Key Facts
Date Deployed
2014 / 2016
Hardware
HTC Vive
Key Features
Sense of scale in VR
Gamified challenges
Localised in English & French

Get in touch

We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about VR, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.