VR - The Puzzler
The Puzzler is a VR game that is similar to Simon Says. Instead of following instructions from someone, you have to follow the pattern in which the spheres light up. The Puzzler is a great intro app for those with no VR experience, this project focuses on how to design VR environments in a manner that is understandable and pleasant. Designing and developing this game gave me experience in creating environments efficiently by taking advantage of axis of symmetry. I was also able to set interactive elements in the game, things like walking, clicking buttons with responsive sound were great things to learn as well.
The building of this app also taught me about the design process. The design approach I took was to figure out a persona or whom I wanted to build this app for and then going through sketches to have an idea of the end result. I concluded this by doing some basic user testing to make sure the interaction was clear and efficient. I’ll describe each step in more detail next.
Statement of Purpose: The Puzzler is a simple and easy to use mobile VR app that engages new VR users to solve a puzzle similar to the Simon game in a challenging and fun way.
My user for this project is my husband. The user can help the designer understand what can be improved in the VR app. A seamless VR experience is such where you don’t have a feeling that you are in a different space, where things like motion sickness are minimized and your objects have a realistic dimension. Updating every time there is a change can be tedious but it definitely saves time and you can finish your project with more confidence.
In my sketches I tried to draw what I wanted in my VR app, having something on paper helped with how I wanted to start building.
User TestingUser test 1
For my first user test, I asked a user with very little VR experience the questions below to help judge if the scale of the building and objects in the scene felt appropriate.
Q: How big do you feel?A: Feel like this dungeon is either too small or I’m too bigQ: What is the mood of the place you are in?A: Feels mysterious, someplace I would not dare myself to go in if it were real lifeQ: How comfortable is it to see the things around you?A: I can see everything but feels really small, I feel like I'm in a can of sardines.Improvements
I had to increase the size of the building so it did not feel like the user will hit their head entering the dungeon.
My second test was done after adding 2 billboard signs to start and restart the game and background sound
Q: What do you see in this scene?A: A billboard that has a welcome message and a start button. And a castle building behind it.Q: How does the size of the billboard feel like?A: Feels right, looks like an “open curtain” thing.Q: How does the entrance speed feel like?A: Is just right, not too slow or too fast.Q: What do you see once in the dungeon?A: I see some orbs that are quite close to me and I have to look up to see the ones on topImprovements
Following the user’s feedback, I adjusted the users point of view distance so that all orbs are visible by the user when they look forward.
Last user test was done after the VR app was completed.
Q: How does the environment feel like?A: It feels nice, it feels pretty coolQ: Are you having motion sickness?A: No, not really, feels goodQ: How does the height feel like?A: Feels a little bit low, I feel like I am almost touching the floorImprovements
Moved the player up so it would be further away from the floor
Break down of the final build
The VR app starts with the player outside of the dungeon. The game starts once the “Begin” button is clicked.
Game starts by entering the dungeon, there will be orbs floating thatwill light up in a certain order. The player must follow the correct sequence to win, if there is a mistake they will be notified with a sound. At this point another sequence will start and player gets more chances to complete the correct pattern. After winning, the player advances to exit the dugenon and a restart billboard is shown.
This VR app project was a great learning experience. It gave me a sense of what the design process should be and the importance of understanding your user and getting feedback. Sketching helps with giving you a better picture of what was imagined in your head. Overall it gives you a sense of what to expect as a VR developer for end-to-end project.