The idea of this project was to explore the idea of procedurally generated immersive game levels for virtual reality devices. The project is similar to an interactive installation. The environment responds to the quality of the player’s movements. For example, fast player movements will result in faster animation, object generation, music, and a more frenetic experience.
I wanted this project to be a visually stunning, immersive, animated experience. The incorporation of VR is inspired by the recent proliferation of virtual reality (VR) hardware. VR hardware is creating new possibilities for player immersion in games. I extended my programming skills to explore and incorporate the Oculus libraries and the unique challenges of developing virtual reality levels such as player comfort and player interaction that does not detract from the immersion.
The level is created procedurally. Color palettes were developed to correlate to the scale of movement and emotion. For example, slow player movements correlate with a muted palette and slowly moving objects intended to create a relaxing mood. Fast movements correlate with a bolder color palette, faster louder music, and quickly changing animated objects.
For this project, I chose mood boards from a variety of illustrations, games, and films.
Character: The user character will fly through the colorful abstract environment as a honey bee.
Goals: The user can collect pollen by flying through it.
Ending Condition: If the user has successfully gathered enough pollen they will join in this for the “end” animation of the win condition game.
Alternate Ending Condition: If the user has not collected enough honey, the hive will collapse off screen to reveal the losing condition.
Vision modes: I want to create an overlay of hexagonal shapes to simulate bee eyes if the performance does not deteriorate too badly as a result.
Environment: This game will take place in a procedurally generated abstract world. The has a springtime themed color palette.
Design: The flowers are geometric in nature and have a bold graphic style. The terrain is static but the flowers and objects in the level are create procedurally.
For this project, I generated the game levels procedurally in order to achieve maximum visual environment variation with a limited amount of time and set of assets.
Over the course of 9 weeks I was able to successfully develop a procedurally created world for the Oculus Virtual Reality Dev Kit 2. My goal in creating this project was to do a pre-thesis experiment to determine whether or not my graduate thesis focus should be virtual reality. I enjoyed the project immensely, learned a lot about VR development, and was able to narrow down my thesis ideas. The result is that I was able to reflect on my own interests and really narrow my thesis focus to where my interests and passion intersect: programming + design + animation. I realized with this project that the VR technology might be a possible vehicle for my thesis, however, VR itself would not be the focus. I am happy with the prototype, however, I can see value in recreating it as an endless runner style experience for a more re-playable experience that requires less turning for the player, as turning in VR can be disconcerting after a while.