Learning to Code

My highest priority


I am a non-programmer. I won't wax on about how back in the day I did do my own HTML because that really was never programming, it was stringing very simple items or events together and, well really – that was a gazillion years ago. 

Why am I now considering the need to code?

Because in order to design in VR, I need to.

There is no way around it. I will not be the go to developer or programmer, but I do need to be able to get my ideas into the immersive space so that I may truly design the flow and interaction of the experiences. This is especially true as there are no InVisions or Flintos that can simulate VR experiences!

How am I learning?

Learning at this point would be an exaggeration. I am just beginning to get my head around the specific needs I have in terms of developing content in VR. The truth is there are a ton of tutorials out there for everything and anything you want. I have been focusing on learning how to code in Unity 3D via Udemy, but after about a third through the course find I need to get more basic concepts under my belt in order to properly sponge up what I need.

Where does one start?

The truth is it totally depends on your skill level and your ability to learn how to code. I reached out to the Launch Pad Crew and got some much needed support. So I'm going to pause the Udemy and focus on Unity’s Roll-a-ball Tutorial for now.

Some say I just need to learn enough to get started and fired up. I guess the key is finding just what that material is!



Roll-a-Ball Tutorial is great, but I still feel I need more foundational training on the basics of programming (such as functions, variables, methods, etc.).


Have put together a spreadsheet of all the tutorials I've signed myself up for. Since it's my own progress tracker so it's just for viewing.


Highlights & Incidentals

Inspiration is lurking in the hospital waiting area

I had to bring my daughter to the hospital on Wednesday, and oddly enough, we found this gem of a book. I thought we had a pretty substantial collection, but this one will soon be added. 

Flotsam has no words. It is purely illustrated, which makes it brilliant. The story depicts a child on a beach, he discovers an old mysterious camera. 

In the film, which he develops, he discovers that this camera has brought him the most unbelievable images of a creatures he already believed he understood. 

Not only that, but that the camera comes with a ritual, the finder of the camera must take a picture of themselves holding the last picture in the film roll and send it back to sea.

I loved this book, and am looking for ways to reimagine the role of taking pictures inside the experience.


Research is jumping out at me at the grocery store

Even though Moki's Adventures is primarily about the joy of connecting with animals in a wide variety of habitats, I would love it if it could be utilized and enjoyed by people who are in pain, suffering or isolated in some way.

Ultimately I know this kind of VR experience has a wide variety of options scalability-wise. It could go into a non-profit/conservational direction being an educational tool for organizations like WWF or Monterey Bay Aquarium for example. Or it could go into a fantasy-gaming direction. I'm still thinking about that at this stage. Fortunately I'll be spending next week in Monterey with my kids at a Tide-Pool Summer Camp!

In terms of demographics, I have hopes that it could be developed down the road for even younger audiences if the platform were completely safe for kids 8+, but I think there are plenty of adults like myself who would love it just as much.


Adding another book to my collection

I love the way he captures expressions so easily and plays with light and silhouettes.


Revisiting one of my favorite animators: Hayao Miyazaki

I first discovered Totoro when my daughter and I started watching Ponyo. We fell in love with the enigmatic story and characters of Hayao Miyazaki's imagination. If you're not familiar with him, or want to revisit his brilliance, check this video out! I find it to help in thinking about how I design the characters and tell the story through them.

Hitting a wall and bouncing back with help from friends!

Getting the fundamentals of Programming in 20 minutes from my husband

Part I: 9min

Part II: 9min

Part III: 16min

The End


Reflect & Plan

All in all it's been a pretty solid week. Feeling good since it was primarily focused on technical skill building, which will likely be a foundation I will build upon for the rest of my career in VR!

*Monday & Tuesday: Product Management Workshop*

As an Experience Design Director, having worked in a number of different organizations in several different countries, I've realized that my role has been increasingly one of a Product Manager.

This course at Cooper was a total revelation as it confirmed for me how long I've actually been operating in this role. It’s kind of crazy I didn't see this before, but in Sweden, it’s not as established and digital has been such a work-in-progress everywhere as a product design discipline anyway – so I guess it’s not all that surprising.

It’s just that it’s great to get this kind of validation at this intersection I’ve reached in my career. I can’t express enough how grateful I am for this time in my life and how much I look forward to properly building upon this foundation as I move into VR content and application development. 


Next Steps

I think the biggest priority right now is to continue learning to program. That said, I am eager to get the Story of Moki's Adventure more concrete. A script, storyboards and learning perhaps how to do build some kind of animatic is inline with my progress. 

Stay tuned!


Brought to you by Allison Ivmark, student of all things VR.