Devlog 1: Beginnings
I first started working on this project a couple months ago after deciding to participate in Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play competition. At the time, I had been thinking about trying my hands at VR game development for quite a while and so picking what platform I was going to build for was quite easy.
After being interested in VR for several years, I finally caved and ordered a CV1 + Touch bundle this summer when it went on sale. Three days later, I tried out the headset for the first time and was absolutely blown away. I remember spending several minutes in the First Contact tutorial just staring at my hands as I waved them around touching things and laughing like a maniac because of how exciting it was.
VR opened my eyes to an entirely new dimension of gaming with potential for tons of interesting game mechanics that would not be possible to implement with regular 2D games. Having been exposed to this new paradigm, as someone who enjoys creating things, I could not help but want to dive in and become a part of it.
Evolution of an Idea
I started thinking about ideas for the game by first thinking about what kind of locomotion mechanic I wanted. The two mechanics I tended to see a lot in VR experiences were:
- Teleportation: the player points the controller at a location and can teleport there immediately there
- Cockpit: the player is stuck inside a vehicle that moves through and interacts with the virtual world.
With teleportation locomotion, I found the act of pointing to an area of your choosing didn't feel quite right as you would have to stop whatever it is you were doing for a brief amount of time, breaking the natural flow of actions performed in the game. Cockpit locomotion on the other hand feels pretty good (minus the motion sickness) but normally doesn't allow you to interact with the environment using your own body.
I wanted to create a mechanic that felt as natural as cockpit locomotion but also allowed you to interact with the virtual world with your own body. The initial idea was for the user to be stuck on a raft where he/she could move around freely and to move through the game world, the user would find ways of moving the raft (paddling through water, pushing off walls). Being a huge fan of the magic system from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, I thought about how cool (and easier to implement) it would be if the user didn't need to paddle the raft but instead could move it by pulling and pushing on objects. With that in mind, I started working on a little scene in Unity to test the idea out. While writing the code, I just wanted to get the bare minimum down and so decided not to add the ability to push on objects. This was the end result:
Eventually, after playing around with different aspects of the scene, I increased the speed at which the raft was pulled and was pleasantly surprised by how fun the locomotion mechanic was. A couple weeks later, and this was the result:
The initial neon look was decided upon as Tron was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about games and the player moving fast on a surface. Because we were no longer floating on water, I got rid of the fixed platform part of the locomotion system.
Ultimately, because I only had three months to work on my game before the submission deadline, I ditched the neon theme (it looked pretty bad in VR) for the simple low-poly style in the current prototype.
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