RETREAT

 
 

STARTED: 2014

ENDED: Ongoing


ASPECTS: VR Game

PLATFORM: Oculus Rift, Gear VR, SteamVR, others tbd

 

A relaxing virtual reality game that involves moving objects using very slow head movement and listening for ambient sound cues to navigate an ephemeral architecture.

 

Early Gameplay Video

 

Gameplay

The game takes place on a platform hovering over a minimal landscape. The player can move the platform through space by changing the position of a gaze-powered "token". Success entails very slow movement and correctly responding to sound cues.

 

VR Comfort

We're paying careful attention to player comfort in our design. Keeping the platform always in the player's field of view completely negates motion sickness, and the deliberately slow action prevents neck fatigue. We're also making sure the main objects that the player interacts with are at a comfortable distance to minimize eye strain.

 

Gaze-based UI Testing

The video below demonstrates a few ideas for a gaze-based UI (from an earlier project that was devised mainly as a way to cut our teeth on VR and UE4). As limited as this kind of interaction is, we think there's plenty of potential here for crafting a complete and engaging game experience.

When we first got the DK2 it was immediately apparent that input would be a problem. The mask makes it so you can't see your body in the real world, and any attempt to represent your body in the virtual world tends to break the magic of the DK2's 1:1 positional tracking. Some of the demos we tried were tracking the rift's forward vector with a reticule, so you could interact with objects using just head movements. This was unexpectedly comfortable and intuitive and Jesse built a menu system to demonstrate one possible setup (see above video). Like pretty much all design choices in VR right now, poorly thought out interaction can be physically detrimental to the player. In the case of gaze-based interaction, it became obvious to us that you want to go easy on the player's neck and keep head movement to a minimum. Slight directional nudges are pretty comfortable. Once hand input does become available we think hand and gaze interactions can work in tandem with fluidity.

 
 
VR and GAMESveronica graham