Jurassic CART

Jurassic CART in the News!
Jurassic CART in the News! (The video is currently not available)

Presented by the 2015/16 CART Interactive Game Design students, with web space and Vuforia licensing sponsored by Step 2 Digital.

Page Contents


AR Viewing Instructions


  1. Download the Argon3 AR Browser for iOS (Android is not currently supported)
  2. (*Note: this demo is currently down while students make upgrades. It will be back soon. For functional demos, please visit hello.step2digital.com) Once installed on your iPhone or iPad, touch the address bar at the top of the Argon3 Browser, and go to jurassicAR.step2digital.com
    • Load times for your initial viewing of the AR page will be long. It will likely appear that your camera is freezing, and/or updating slowly. There is about 50MB of data that is being downloaded (keep that in mind if you’re using a phone data plan). After the initial viewing the models will remain, and subsequent viewing should load faster.
  3. With Argon 3 open and the jurassicAR page loaded, view any of the following images to see the AR dinosaurs.
    • You don’t have to view the images on your monitor. You can print the images and view the dinosaurs where and however you like!

Application Beta Note* As this is a browser based experience utilizing beta software, and coded by entry level students, it is possible that the application will not always work as described. Some inconsistencies may occur. It will likely be an ongoing project that students refine as their skills grow, and future students may port it to Unity3D.

Current AR Enabled Images (print them, or opening in separate tabs can yield better results)

apato  micro raptor rexcartWall


What is Jurassic CART?

The IGD program at CART is unique in that the technical portion of the course is merged with student’s senior year English requirement. This year the student’s read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Jurassic CART is an Augmented Reality experiment created by the students, and is a companion technical project for the book. In addition to the AR Project, a subset of students worked on an interactive 3D simulation of the park using the Unity3D game engine.

What is CART?

CART is a high school in California’s Central Valley. It is jointly owned by the Clovis and Fresno Unified School Districts. CART is not a charter school. CART is for any student who wishes to experience a project based approach to learning. Entrance to CART is based on a lottery system, and not biased to any one type of student. More information about CART and the IGD program can be found at the official CART website.

What Did the Students Do?

For this project students formed groups based on specialties and interests.

HTML5 Tech Unity3D Scripting Technical Artists
Implement JavaScript Libraries: three.js, argon.js, others; Use/modify XML to pass information; Write functions to initialize models; Use Blender to convert DAE models to JSON; Plan logic for wondering dino AI; Plan logic for raptor pack AI; Plan logic for additional tasks as needed; Implement logic as code in either C# or JavaScript; Model; Rig; Envelope; Animate; Export in FBX for Unity3D; Export in DAE for JSON conversion; Use Photoshop/Illustrator as needed for supporting imagery;

What Technologies did the Students Use?

  • Unity3D – Game Engine
  • ThreeJS – JavaScript WebGL Rendering Library
  • The Argon Project – A JavaScript library created by students from Georgia Tech, to work with their Argon3 iOS AR Browser
  • Vuforia – A 3rd party solution for image target tracking in AR applications
  • HTML5/XML – formats for display and passing information
  • Autodesk Maya – Industry standard 3D Modelling/Animation software
  • Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator

What Did the Instructor Do?

With a project like this, it’s easy to wonder how much the teacher “helped”. For the most part the instructor’s role was to simply guide the students through use of the technologies/software, and to assist in brainstorming logic solutions for programmers.

With the following 3 acceptations, everything assembled by the students with instructor guided use of the technologies/software involved.

Three Acceptations ( for those who don’t mind a little tech jargon )

WebSQL – A solution was needed to store more than 5MB of data locally, so that the 50+ MB of models do not need to be downloaded with every use of the browser. The instructor devised a way to store large JSON files as text entries in a local WebSQL database. The code would check the local database, before downloading. If an entry exists, it would use that instead of eating up data transfer. This solution was presented as one of our 3rd party technologies, and the students were instructed in how to implement and modify it for the app.

Extend ThreeJS JSON Load Functionality – The ThreeJS JSON loader only worked with a supplied path to a JSON file; however, our new WebSQL solution supplied the JSON code directly. A new function was needed to load the code directly, and not from a file. This was demoed to the students, and they were instructed in the use of this function to work in the app.

3D Model Optimization – 3D artists Developed high poly models, so of which looked amazing. The created lower poly versions optimized for the game engine; however, it was found late in the project that even their low poly models were too complex to be practical for Web based AR. The instructor assisted in getting the 3D models to optimal detail levels for Web based AR.

What Is Step 2 | Digital Design’s Involvement?

Step 2 | Digital Design is the name that CART IGD instructor Matthew Hodge uses for his work as a digital freelancer/game developer. Step 2 has sponsored this project by providing web space for the online components. Additionally, Step 2 has paid for the cost of the license required by Vuforia, in order to ensure that the image tracking portion of this project remains functional.

Additional Project Credits for CART Product Development & Robotics

Island model with mechanical “sky cam”.

For the showcase event on 1/12/2016, physical display components were created. As part of the Product Development and Robotics Courses at CART, students fabricated a model of the island, a mechanical sky cam to view AR on the physical model, and an autonomous vehicle created from Mr. Hodge’s RC Jurassic Park Jeep. Pictures will be posted here after the event.