This is a quick overview of a project I made in order to learn to develop and craft VR experiences.
The approach taken to build this experience was te be user validated.
In this document, you’ll find the end result in the shape of screenshots and video, but also some explanation of the process that led us to the current experience
Through this document, we will be describing the process of creating a game of the “simon says” type.
The game is a short VR experience that can be played on a mobile device using Google VR
To give an overview of the final product, here is a video of the final app with a complete walkthrough of the user:
Story of the process
My ideal first user would be someone in their mid-30s. He is a tech lover, and is very curious, not hesitating to test out new concepts
Norman, 35, Marketing manager
Married, 1 child
He likes to play all kinds of games: board games, sudoku, crosswords, family games, video games… He likes to share his experiences
Never used VR before. He thinks VR is a bit “antisocial” as you are playing alone, without involving people around you
Developing this VR game is done by iterating a lot and making sure that each stage of our product is tested with real users in order not to waste time building the wrong game
The process is the following:
Break down the game is several phases where each is focusing on a particular aspect of the game:
- 3D world and overall mood
- User interface elements and signs
For each phase, I usually sketch what I want to achieve on a piece of paper that allows me to quickly sort my ideas:
Then, I build a first version on Unity and test it with real users:
Finally, based on the user feedback, I iterate to address the most important feedback until I get a satisfactory experience
User testing outcomes and iteration
At each stage of the development of the game, some user testing has been done in order to get feedback from real users.
First user test: inside the dungeon
- Does the scale feel right? — Yes, scale and size seem correct although the “dungeon” seems pretty small
- Can you describe the mood? — We are on a castle, there are torches. However, torches do not have fire and yet they seem to glow. This is weird. The color of the light on the floor seems odd as well. But in overall, the environment is beautiful and I can see we are in a dark, spooky environment
3. Do you enjoy the experience? — It’s good. But I feel like I would like to move and I can’t, which is frustrating because I’m testing this standing, ready to walk into the room. I think people should test it sit.
Changes done from user testing
After some iterations, I have added some fire prefab on the torches, that I found on the asset store. And I also updated the color of the floor to make it more realistic with a more blueish/white kind of color
About the movement frustration, I decided not to do anything as this is part of the technology used.
Second user test: panels and signs
- Do you see the panels? — yes, a start panel is displayed in front of me. However, it is blocking my view to the castle. I can guess there is something behind
- What do you think the panel is for? — it’s for starting the game, there is a “start” button shown which seems pretty obvious. And there is some text explaining it
Changes done from user testing
I decided to offset the panel a bit on the right and also rotate the camera start position by 10 degrees so it could be seen completely and yet, I did not want to move the start position as I did not want the movement, which is a straight line, to “traverse” walls
I also made the final restart panel bigger
Third user test: movement and sound
- How do you feel while moving? — Movement seems ok, did not feel any sickness. It’s slow and makes it easy to understand what is happening
- Did you feel sick? — no, nothing at all
Breakdown of final piece
The final product is made of three places:
The start position
This is where the player starts and is presented a panel to start the game (in French) . A text explains what the player is expected to do:
The playing position
This is the place where the player is taken once the game is starting. This position is located inside the dungeon, where the game actually starts
The end position
Once the player has solved the puzzle, he is taken out of the dungeon, being greeted by a panel telling him he won the game and giving him the possibility to restart the game:
This project gives the possibility to create a VR experience from start to finish, including all the steps and processes which happen outside of the computer. Putting the end user in the loop very early allows us to catch mistakes early, avoiding tons of rewrite or wasted time.
In the end, creating VR experiences involves various skills: computer programming, 3D design, user empathy and an agile, iterative mindset