Experience Designed for Virtual Reality
This experience is an academic project made by 5 people in two weeks. I was the level designer on this project. This game is made for HTC VIVE and made with Unity.
Ziheng Xiao: Level Designer.
Ram Iyer: Programmer.
Yifan Deng: Artist.
Ruchi Sanjay Hendre: Artist.
Chuhan Wu: Sound Designer/Producer.
Designed the grappling hook mechanism by using add force on each frame to make the movement feel realistic.
Designed trees in specific locations to make sure that players will always have bushes to hook up to.
Build the world by using 3D models in Unity by implemented interest curve and learning curve.
Made the cloud model by using MAYA.
Collaborated with the other four team members during the project by divide work clearly and help each other resolve their problems.
This experience is designed for naive guests, which means for people who never used VR before. And we are not allowed to use text or verbal instructions in the whole experience.
We inspired by the game called Windland. But after we dive into that game, we find out that this game is not designed for naive guests. And players will feel strong motion sickness when they play the game. But that game is a good reference.
So our goal for this experience was focusing on providing excellent guest comfort, a good learning curve, and a good interest curve.
For the guest comfort part, our major challenge is motion sickness, because the movement for grappling hooks is non-linear with complicate acceleration and de-acceleration. We tried multiple ways to avoid motion sickness.
The first try was to make the movement linear with constant speed. When the player hooks up something, we disable the gravity and translate their position to that point. But it doesn't go very well, because when the players reach the point, they are going to fall down, which makes the experience super dizzy.
The second try was to add an impulse force to the players every time they hook up something. So they are traveling super fast and very easy to lose control. Which increases the frustration level to the players. So it doesn't work well too.
The final try was to stick to reality. We add force in each frame to the player so it feels like they are actually flying in the environment. And we add a vignette to the camera, which minimizes the field of view in the experience. Surprisingly, this is the most comfortable one. It has a weird movement, but players will always have a focusing point when they are traveling, which really helps to reduce motion sickness. And since hanging over trees in real life gives people a strange feeling, even you feel a little bit weird, you won't consider it as motion sickness. And it worked out pretty well. We did broad playtests and over 90% playtesters agree that motion sickness level is pretty low.