Winter Medieval Puzzler
by Nishant Greene
Puzzler is an interactive VR game designed to introduce the fundamentals of VR to new users. The game requires the user to progress through the map and use their intuitive skills to solve a rhythmic puzzle.
This VR experience uses a combination of visual, audio, and technical aspects. This gives the user a feel of how the environment appears to them and how appealing the experience of the game is.
The Design Process
I designed this game with the intention of an appealing journey for the user, while keeping it as simple as possible to avoid any distractions from the game itself.
I started off by identifying what kind of person my user is.
After creating the persona of my user, I created a basic layout of how I wanted my scene to look like.
I offset the positions of the start and end gates to create an asymmetrical element. This helps guides the user’s eye through a fluid progression by traveling diagonally from left to right.
Because the player’s position is not in the center or the room. I repositioned the puzzler orbs to fit the perspective of the player, rather than make them horizontally equal.
This keeps the player focused on all of the orbs, as they all appear to be the same size based on perspective.
My intention with this scene was to give the player the feeling of being inside a medieval castle during winter. The torches were given limited light and the center of the room had a light blue spotlight in the center to compliment the effect. The room was scaled to be larger than most to give the interior a dark spacious feeling. This is the final result of the designed scene.
To provide simplicity to this appealing scene, the UI for the start and restart features of the game were designed to keep the players engaged in the scene, only as they are playing it.
The contrast of the UI color of the panel and button were designed to keep the player separated from the game, otherwise, the UI would blend in with the theme of the map.
I have conducted several user tests with the focus on the delivery and making sure that the user was comfortable with the game.
Question: “How do you feel in this environment?”
Feedback: “It feels like a very spacious room and the colors make it seem as if it’s cold. I am not sure if it’s the size or the height but it makes me feel short in this room.”
Improvements: I addressed the notes of feeling short in the environment by raising the height of the camera. This will let the user more comfortable in the game height-wise.
Question: “How do you feel about the design of the UI panels?”
Feedback: “I think it looks very simple. The words read well and they really pop out.
Question: “What do you think of the button?”
Feedback: “The button is big and readable, but the word inside it could be a little bigger.”
Improvements: Using that note, I increased the font size of the word in the button to make it more eligible than it was.
Question: “What was your experience playing the game?”
Feedback: “It was very fun and I was able to read the puzzle and solve the game without any issues. When I finish the game and exit the room, however, it seems very fast compared to how long it took for me to enter the room.”
Improvements: I took into consideration the speed of transition between the waypoints. The “start” waypoint was closer to the “play” waypoint than the “end” waypoint. The difference in distance when it takes the same amount of time to travel can affect the overall speed. I addressed the speed of the end point so it would match the starting point’s speed.
Learning about the process of user testing and VR design in this puzzler project was a very fun experience. The user testing helped provided an understanding of how this project reaches an accurate balance between what is desired and what is delivered while making sure that the users were comfortable through the whole process. Using all the information I’ve gathered, I came up with this final delivery of my project.
The Puzzler was the first project I designed for the Udacity VR Developer Nanodegree. The purpose of this project was to focus on what kind of game needs to be produced depending on who the user was. The design and simplicity of the game determine whether it is a game that the user will enjoy interacting with. With the help of user testing, I was able to go through trial and errors before I ended up with a final project that is deliverable for the intended user.
To make this Puzzler game production ready, I would further expand it to the point where it is not just one room and one game. I would add a series of rooms, followed by different games, each with their own mechanics. This would give the user a more adventurous feel in this interaction.