virtual reality
game design

Game Designer

NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017 Finalist

Two others and myself were selected by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment to represent them at the NASA Space Apps Challenge event, a 48 hour hackathon where teams rapidly ideated and prototyped solutions to real NASA problems with real NASA data.

My team decided to focus on utilising data in a more visual way to enable users to understand patterns and trends better. 
We built a Virtual Reality Data Experience tool.

The Problem

The event provides multiple broad categories of challenges and within them more specific areas of focus.

We chose to use NASA Earth Science data to study ecological systems and generate solutions to understand life here on Earth better. Our challenge was to overlay Earth science data with human dimensions data from resources like NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Indicators Database, to see if any interesting patterns and stories emerge.


We wanted our users to experience data in a completely unique and different way. Our goal was to expose people to data via a different medium, with the hope to inspire new ideas and solutions.

"I worked with Ryan on the 2017 NASA Space Apps Challenge in Sydney, where we won second place.
Ryan was an invaluable cornerstone of our team, and worked with tireless enthusiasm. For the role of presenter, artist and collaborative designer, we could not have picked a better candidate.
I have no doubt that without Ryan's organisational skills, enthusiasm and professional manner, we would not have placed in the competition.
I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Ryan again in the future, and can wholeheartedly recommend him to any prospective employer."


Scott Purcival, Games Programmer on -KEN-

Designing for a purpose

The intent of NASA Space Apps is to come up with fresh and innovative solutions to real NASA problems. Competing in this challenge was an opportunity to think about how technology can be used for helping the greater society and was a cornerstone for me in wanting to work in human-centred design.

Lessons learnt

  • How to rapidly prototype and iterate
  • The value of clearly defining the MVP
  • How to utilise complex data
  • Design principles for virtual reality experiences
  • How to design for virtual reality