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Racing down a waterslide with VR glasses on? Pupils of Leefschool De Vlieger from Ostend were able to enjoy this cool experience for the first time at Lago Kortrijk. The innovative game was developed by a group of final-year students from Howest's Digital Arts and Entertainment programme. At the same time, pupils were introduced to the game made by DAE students based on their own dream machines.

Sliding into a 3D VR world

As part of the 'Group Projects' unit, a group of final-year students from Digital Arts and Entertainment created, in collaboration with the company Virtual Reality Slide, a VR experience for one of Lago Kortrijk's slides. Second grade pupils from Oostende's Leefschool De Vlieger came to test it out.

"With VR glasses on, they come down the slide while racing through a real time, 3D VR world," explains Alex Vanden Abeele, lecturer at DAE. "We already knew 360° videos that play on the wall of a slide, but what our students created is more interactive. In fact, the children were given a controller, which allowed them to effectively play with their VR glasses while sliding."

The slide struck a chord with the test audience, who headed over to neighbouring Howest campus The Level after this spectacular experience.

Studenten DAE ontwikkelen VR-game voor Lago Kortrijk
Studenten DAE ontwikkelen VR-game voor Lago Kortrijk

Dream machines brought to life

Lunch was followed by a tour of the home of Howest's multi-award-winning games course. Afterwards, a second 3D game was also presented and tested. This was developed by another team of students based on the dream machines students had come up with in the framework of MyMachine Flanders. In the game 'Slumberlands', their machines are brought to life in 3D.

"The Howest students had already taken over the second grade of the school in Oostende for half a day at the end of September," said Aagje Beirens, coordinator of MyMachine. "Encouraging the students to invent their own dream machines allowed them to develop their social-emotional skills in addition to education-specific competences."

From (dream) idea to 3D computer game

The second project fit within MyMachine, an initiative of which Howest is co-founder and partner, where ideas from primary school children are translated into a design and  working prototype by students in higher education. In this case, a 3D computer game.

During the DAE students' visit to their school and the performance at The Level, the pupils from Oostende were able to discover that developing an idea into a working prototype - in this specific case, the development of a game - is a time-intensive process. They thereby realise that what happens in a classroom also affects the real world and that having ideas is important. 

Studenten DAE ontwikkelen VR-game voor Lago Kortrijk