How do you get a story to function in the Game Engine? That’s the question Sam Gage (Lead Technical Designer at TTF) tackled in his presentation at 2016’s VR World Congress.
With an extensive background in game and VR development (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories in 2008, PSVR’s London Heist, The Martian VR Experience), Sam has translated the visions of writers and directors into cutting edge experiences.
We don’t want to boast too much, but he’s really good. And here’s some of his tips and tricks for developers in VR:
– You can’t blame your player for not looking in the right place or doing the right thing. It’s our job to lead them through the story.
– It’s easier to have non-player characters not in your scene (e.g. on the radio). If they are in the scene, then get a good animator or else you’ll have a weird uncanny plastic character standing ominously in the corner.
– People want to see their hands immediately when they enter VR.
– But don’t put any idle hand animation, because it will feel like their hands are haunted.
– Don’t put an object in the experience if the user can’t perform it’s obvious function (e.g. don’t have binoculars if the user can’t look through them).
– Place an object’s universal grabbable point in an intuitive place where the user would naturally interact with said object. Indicate to the user that an object is interactive by having the user’s virtual hands open slightly when near.
– Vibration feedback – a little “tap” when a user picks something up or a “pulse” when they release it is helps the player navigate the interactivity.
– This is industrial design. You’re not on a screen anymore, you’re dealing with objects. So look to product design rather than UI design.
– Pacing is important. Acclimatize the user by ramping up the intensity of the experience, like a roller coaster. Design break points where the user can let down.
– Go for quality over length. No one likes a VR experience that’s crap and takes ages.
– Fail fast and get learning.
You can get the rest of Sam’s advice in the full presentation: