Dustin Stephan

Dustin Stephan

Mixed Reality [MR]

Immersive Experiences

In addition to the immersive experiences displayed in my portfolio, I have developed an array of projects across a bevy of platforms. This includes experiences in a CAVE environment to dynamic DMX programming.

ETC Tomb

I produced content for an educational experience designed for an Egyptian tomb set.

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 1

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 2

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 3

Additionally, I designed a collaborative game produced for the CAVE where players communicated with each other to traverse an underwater environment. The story involved mythology surrounding Merlin and finding his spellbook which I modeled in MAYA. I also designed the layout of the 3D environment in UNITY.

Slay the Runway

Role: Producer, Designer, & Writer
Team Size: 4 (Zheng 'Simon' Diao, Xuefan Zhou, Qianye 'Renee' Mei)
Duration: 1 week
Platform: Microsoft Kinect

Slay The Runway

Slay the Runway was an Extended Reality [XR] experience built for the Microsoft Kinect platform. The experience was designed and built in a one-week rapid prototype and iteration process for the Building Virtual Worlds course at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.

Slay The Runway Notes

As the appointed leader for a team of four, I provided the overall vision for an experience utilizing the Microsoft Kinetic platform. Rhythm-based movement games have been designed before, but I imagined an experience where participants would pose down the runway in time with catchy music at 120 bpm.

Slay The Runway Freestyle

A major challenge the team had was to overcome how to give the guest clues as to what pose they had to perform next. In addition to giving them a chance to practice the poses "behind the curtain" / backstage (where no scoring would occur), we gave them cue cards in the corner of the screen. We captured their real-time image with an overlay of the next pose, so they could be as accurate as possible. We also gave a subtle hint of what was coming up by having the "model" in front of them perform the next pose they would be asked to do.

Slay The Runway EasterEgg

In addition to maintaining the artistic vision, I developed the audio assets for the experience. To give some variance from existing rhythm based movement games, we hid surprises throughout the experience. This included generating a flurry of bananas when the guest performed a "monkey" pose and a surprise freestyle moment at the end which would also capture images of the guest.

Egyptian Time Machine

Role: Producer, Designer, & Writer
Team Size: 5 (Ruili Tang, Trisha Surve, Guande 'Patrick' Lyu, Wonjae Kim)
Duration: 3 weeks
Platform: CAVE [MR] / [XR]

CAVE Wormhole

Developed for the CAVE platform with a motion equipped base, I produced and directed a location-based experience for the Building Virtual Worlds course at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. The experience was designed and built in a two-week rapid prototype and iteration process.

CAVE Experience

Guests would enter the CAVE and approach a "time machine" which they would control. A mad scientist would guide them through a tour of an Egyptian tomb only as a ploy to trap the guests in the tomb. In a twist, the scientist would leave the room only to enter the digital environment.

CAVE digital Dustin

I worked with the artists and programmers to build an interactive location-based experience where the guests would have agency by controlling the motion floor up, down, left, and right. The guests would also be given a "flashlight" where they could use the controller to shine a light in the digital environment to destroy enemies.

CAVE giving instructions & prop

I built the physical time machine prop, produced the audio, and maintained the production & creative vision for the project.

Augmented Reality Spy Game

Role: Designer, Production, & Writer
Team Size: 5 (Sahar Kausar, Ridima Ramesh, Guanghao Yang, Yuquiao 'Qiao' Zeng)
Duration: 2 weeks
Platform: Microsoft Hololens [AR] / [MR]

Click to free the Bunnies in a Cage

I was part of a team that developed an Augmented Reality [AR] Spy Game experience for the Microsoft Hololens platform. Part of the Building Virtual Worlds course at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center, the experience was designed and built in a two-week rapid prototype and iteration process.

Click to deactive the laser

With my background in movement, I envisioned an experience where guests would traverse through a digital environment overlaid on top of the physical space. Guests would take on the role as a spy utilizing clues to solve puzzles (like deactivating lasers) in the game.

Notes from the experience

Video played inside the Hololens

I aided to the overall puzzle design and produced video content that is played through the Hololens that created a holographic-like effect. In addition, I developed the audio content for the experience. I lent my experience in production especially in developing the video content and keeping the project on track given our short timeframe.

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Role: Creative Director, Producer, & Designer
Team Size: 5 (Daryl Choa, Min Pan, Weidi Tang, Jinyi Ye)
Duration: 15 Weeks
Platform: Physical Installation & Digital 3D environment [XR] / [MR]
Client: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

First model draft

One Small Act was a collaboration between the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. The Museum has an initiative based on having children practice Qualities of Kindness. As part fo this initiative, they are retrofitting their current "Attic" exhibit Space into a new 1,200 square foot gallery loosely based on Fred Roger's Neighborhood and Kindness. The museum tasked my team to envision a new installation for this exhibit.


Playtesting with paper prototypes

As Creative Director and Producer for my team, I held the creative vision for the project while being a conduit of communication between the team and client. I also lent my expertise in design to shape the experience for guests.

Rendered Model of the Expereince

Although the museum initially wanted a Virtual Reality experience; with the target demographic being children 0 - 12 (really 5 - 8), we quickly determined that would not be a compelling experience especially given the directive from the client that the installation should spark dialogue between caregiver and child.

SketchUp Model

We wanted the experience to be communal, so landed on a Mixed Reality experience combing physical props with digital elements. The inspiration was based on the imagery of a stranger holding an umbrella to shelter someone from the rain. We used this as a starting off point and quickly imagined a scenario where sheltering animals from the rain would be a compelling experience for children.

Expereince mockup in the ETC

The installation will utilize a large oversized prop umbrella on a linear track that is matched 1:1 with a digital umbrella that the guest will control to enact qualities of kindness. Since we cannot control the entry and exit points of guests in the museum; The experience is non-linear, with a sunny day to rainy day cycle on a loop.

I facilitated the communication between the programmer and the fabricator at the museum to make sure installation will be seamless. I kept the production on track while carrying the creative vision and making sure all of the digital and physical elements fit our installation and the exhibit as a whole.

Prototype setup at the ETC with VR tracker attached to an umbrella

I procured the technology to playtest the experience using VR tracking hardware and short-throw projectors and utilized my design skills to create documentation showcasing all of the elements. I maintained the Google Drive, ran meetings, kept the budget and timeline in check, and developed all of the audio for the experience.

For information on the project, please visit the project website:
One Small Act