VR + Psych

Planetarium: Goal setting with the help of data visualization and gamification

With the vast number of distractions that exist in our lives today, it is very hard to stay focused on our goals and accomplish our tasks. Smartphone apps have the potential to be very constructive, but unfortunately sometimes have a destructive effect on our lives. Smartphone-based goal and activity tracker applications can provide users with data to support self-reflection, allowing the user to be more aware of their behaviors, and how those behaviors map to explicit goals and values around attention, focus, etc. The use of gamification and data visualization is becoming more and more popular in lifestyle and social applications, and it is proven to be useful in increasing the users’ productivity. There are many goal setting apps available on different platforms at the moment, other than a few, they mostly lack engagement with the users; in other words, they do not provide any sort of tangible reward for the accomplishment of tasks. Planetarium is a project that brings gamification to users’ short term and long term goals as well as the opportunity to reflect on personal well being and productivity. This major research project explores ways to bring productivity to the user’s day to day lives through gamification and visual representation of the users’ progress in their goals and daily behavior.
About the Author
Roozbeh Moayyedian

Roozbeh graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. As a digital product designer, he focused on developing websites over the past year, with a keen interest in immersive digital experiences. Roozbeh joined the Master's of Digital Media to pursue newly emerging mixed reality technologies such as augmented and virtual reality as well as projection mapping and volumetric filming. Roozbeh is exploring ways to use procedural content generation to bridge the gap between reality and the infinite digital worlds.

About the Project

Planetarium is a lifestyle and productivity app designed for smartphones, aiming at helping people introduce new constructive habits or get away from their existing destructive habits, as well as keeping track of the goals they set for themselves. It is in the form of a dynamic, ever changing universe that evolves based on the user's real life activities.

Planetarium uses data visualization, gamification, and visual design to engage with the users and keep them up to speed with their progress. The application’s data visualization does not consist of charts or graphs; it rather uses an ever-evolving universe consisting of stars, planets, and all that exists in the endless skies of the night.

Each month, the user has a new planet. Their actions during that month depict the planet's look and well being for that month. Following their goals in real life helps the planet evolve and prosper and have a chance of containing life, but not following their goals and plans corrupts the planet and devoids it of life. This is done with the use of Procedural Content Generation, without direct input from the user, but rather through a series of questions, asking them about their daily activities and how they are following up with their goals and plans, providing them with a self-reflection on each day.

Providing self-reflection by asking about a day's activity
A newborn planet(left), a successfully evolved planet with life (right)

The users can compare their planets with their friends' and family's, compete in challenges, customize their world, wander in their universe, and more.

The user checking up on their planet
The sun going supernova as a result of user's negligence!!

This project is developed using Unity 3D.

The pandemic has forced us to use new ways of interaction and experiences, most of which through newly created digital media. At this point, it is unclear whether our lives will ever go back to how they were before or not; but one thing is certain, the pandemic has created new forms of interaction and has helped the rise of the existing digital medium. It is fascinating how these new forms of media took over the world and how they succeeded to reserve a perhaps permanent spot in our lives, from daily video conferences to virtual reality experiences and recording live performances using volumetric filming. It goes to show the strength of digital media and how quickly they continue to evolve based on the situation of the world.