Ocean Exploration


Ocean Exploration

Updated 11/4/2021: - Added animated kelp (see more)

Originally published: 5/22/2020

Check out how this was made on the live stream Youtube video:

Or explore it in the Builder, your favorite VR device, and on your smartphone. We would love to see your Virtual Aquariums as well!


  • PC: Use W, A, S, D to move around.
  • VR: Press on your thumbpad/joystick to jump around.

For this experience and livestream, we wanted to tip our hats to the many aquariums around the world that are going virtual, and also show off the graphics flexibility of the Builder!

Recently, aquariums like the Monterey Bay Aquarium have set up virtual exhibits where you can watch a tide pool or tank from a webcam. We wanted to help increase awareness for the aquariums' online exhibits and also create a fun facsimile for virtual reality! On a personal note, I had visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool a few times as a kid, and wanted to recreate the mysterious and murky realm I saw then using the Builder.

For this challenge, we explored the Builder's lighting settings and re-created an "underwater" feeling using just lights and FX! The Builder's animation and navigation systems also made a cameo with animated fish swimming around the scene. Instead of a fixed webcam perspective, we really wanted to give the player the freedom to move around and explore the virtual tide pool in their own way.

I would have loved to gamify this scene by making some kind of "hungry fish" scenario where you swim around and can only eat fish that are smaller than you. The game logic behind that idea is very doable in the Builder: just a scaleBy event on a fish you control and a few variables to track your size vs. the size of other fish. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to add those features, but if you try out the Aquarium Challenge yourself, definitely give it a shot!


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