Virtual Reality Experience Documentation

startscreen

about a VR Minigame project for Google Cardboard.

I developed this project as a part of my coursework in the online course „VR Developer“. The game challenges new VR users to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a new way and let them dive into a spooky and mystical Halloween night atmosphere on an old graveyard.

The Halloween Pumpkins Hall
My intension as a 3D Artist was to design an interesting environment for the users and invite them to look around and explore everything. I attached importance not to make the users feel uncomfortable or get very scared whithin this experience. It should be fun to be in this place and only just a little scary.

After the idea was born I modified the course project into a special Halloween Pumpkins Hall. I modeled an additional mausoleum front building, new walls for the interior scene and some pumpkins in 3Ds Max. The unwrapped models were textured in Photoshop. For the Halloween UI I made the graphics in Adobe Illustrator and imported the .pngs into Unity 3D.
While working on the scene,  I had to be a little bit carefull about the model and texture sizes and the lights in particular, to avoid from running into performance issues.  So, here you can take a look at some documentation material of the working process:

Outcomes
Final „Halloween Pumpkins Hall“ VR Gameplay screencast:

Technical Information
I used Unity 2017.3.1f1, GoogleVR SDK (GoogleVRForUnity_1.130.1 ) and iTweens 2.0.9. and I build for Android on a Samsung Galaxy S7.

Screenshots
from the Unity editor interface

Gebaeude_vonOben

Gebaeude_seitlich_unten

kuzerbisse

Innenansicht

1st iteration – the lighting inside the hall

Editoransicht1

2nd iteration

Final iteration – final lighting – with new assets + Halloween pumpkins

Screenshots
from the modelling process in 3Ds Max

modelling

Process Section
Statement of purpose
„Halloween Pumpkins Hall“ is a mobile VR application for new VR users which challenges them to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a modern way. The challenge for the player is to memorize a sequence of lighting up pumpkins and to repeat this pattern in the same order – to win the game.

Persona
For whom? Families with kids, grandparents and with dog 😉
Age: Parents around 30/40 years, children 13, 16, Grandma/pa 65/70 years
Occupation: Doesn‘t matter… I guess.
A quote: Stay curious and have some fun!
VR Experience-Level: Beginner

Sketches
My first quick concept scribble: An old windy graveyard environment.

sketches

Scribbles for the User Interface

UI sketches

User Testing
I tested a few people, male + female. Here are some Q&As:

User test 1 – Room experience + atmosphere
1. How big are you in this VR experience?
– Like in real life. The room is approximately 2,80m high.
2. Discribe the atmosphere of the environment.
– A quite place, like a cellar or dungeon of an old castle –
mystical somehow but I don‘t want to stay here for longer.
3. Is there anything, you would like to look at? But is is difficult to see?
– I would like to go outside. It‘s brighter there. Maybe there is a path…

User test 2 – User Interface
1. Can you see a panel?
– Yes, I see a kind of board in front of me, about 1m high and 2m wide.
– It‘s good readable. A welcome screen with a button.
2. What would you think happends, if you click on the button?
– Something will start then. Maybe I can go inside.

User test 3 – Movement
1. What happens, when you click the button?
– I start moving into the building.
– In the begining I thought I felt dizzy, but just for a short moment. Then everything was fine. The movement is very flowing.

User test 4 – Game mechanic
1. Do you know how to play the game? Do you know how to leave the hall?
Some users didn‘t know what the pumpkins stand for and they didn’t know how to leave the hall. They needed a hand or asked for an additional screen with informations about the game play.

Ideas for changes
– For untrained VR users – helpscreens and smaler steps with the sequence
– Different game levels (start: 3 pumpkins, mid: 5 pumpkins, exp: 8 pumpkins)
– An exit button to leave the game or a pause button to take a break

Ideas for extensions
– A help book on one of the wine barrels.
– Possibility to go upstairs or to look closer at different things
– Additional waypoints outside the building

Breakdown of the final piece
Item 1
Start screen with the info panel and start button

Moving into the hall

Item 2
In the middle of the building, Gameplay: Sequence of lighting-up pumpkins


Item 3
Endscreen with restart button.

Conclusion
It was a very nice project and I loved to work on it, especially after I had decided to do the Halloween look. Challenging was the lighting situation. I tried out a lot of different ways with realtime and baked lights and GI. In the end I had one direct light which was realtime and all the other things were baked. The scripting was challenging too, because I wanted to have some additional animations to be controlled.

Next steps
There came a lot of ideas into my mind while I was working on this project. I’ve learned very much! Maybe I will work on a „Halloween Pumkins Hall 2.0“ to implement a few changes in the game mechanic, I’ll see what can be done. But now, I can‘t wait to focus on my next VR experience! This will be fun.
Have a nice day and thanks for reading!
Tanja

P.S.: VR rocks! 😉