UX, and interaction design
Explored and created flows for user interactions and gameplay for the experience, worked closely with developers to maintain a comfortable user experience for virtual reality with the specific hardware.
Protyping, play testing and user research
Worked on prototype with dev team, participated in extensive play testing, examined user sessions, and adjusted user experience based on results of learnings.
Our goal was to create a unique virtual reality experience within 48 hours.
Welcome to hack days
Oh shit. We had 48 hours to go from ideation to finished product, Jam3 teams are challenged to learn, experiment and grow. Hack Days allow the team to explore new ideas and technology in a fun and collaborative atmosphere. Whether it's the HoloLens, Microsoft Kinect, or a VR headset, nothing is off limits.
Casting a wide net to start
Our process took a very roundtable approach that was very collaborative. We knew we didn’t want to be overly ambitious, so we cast a wide net with our ideas, and narrowed down what was feasible.
The real MVP 🏆
We created an open-ended experience that had simple and engaging core mechanic, inspired by titles such as Job Simulator. The main crux of the gameplay was picking up and dropping items into a virtual campfire – the rest of the game builds itself.
We started white boarding. Immediately.
We hit the white board (
literally figuratively), quickly mapped out the user flow and all the possible interactions, scenarios and outcomes of user actions that were key to creating an immersive experience.
Test quickly – add polish later
Due to the limited time available, we purchased assets and quickly tossed the 3D models into the Unity Engine and started creating a believable campfire scene.
Creating a true-to-size world and believable campfire scene was an iterative process that was akin to level design. It involved us going back and forth between our laptops and the HTC Vive headset, making sure that every environmental prop was positioned as intended.
Results of user tests
Our play tests resulted in varied experiences, but the common thread was the time-spent in head set. Due to the open-ended nature of our intended experience, users spent over 6+ minutes exploring the world – well over the time spent in our sessions experienced in other VR titles at the time.
From our research, most VR experiences that have a specific pass or fail gameplay mechanic is more likely to result in the user removing their headset when they do either of that – pass or fail the game, which is around one to two minutes.
More interesting results
What we realized was the HTC Vive's head tracking is so accurate that it makes the user feel completely immersed in the world, despite it looking stylized.
Campfire today 🏕🔥
Since the Hack Day, the prototype has been fleshed out into a full experience with added gameplay elements and user experience by blending story-integrated, voiceover narration with UI elements - keeping the player motivated and entertained.
The result is a robust and addictive mini-game that's super fun to play, but also shows what we can do quickly in the VR space.