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  • Designing A Thrilling Arcade Experience For VR

    [09.29.20]
    - Vincent Trinel

  • Physics

    We designed the physics in a way that it helps and always advantages the player. We iterated a lot on it. We made sure that the velocity of the ball is always high (even with very small shots). Our limit was to make the action clear and easy to follow. We found that in many other racket games, the ball was too slow and at the same time harder to catch. We thought this was way too frustrating for the experience we wanted to design. So, we increased the speed when the players hit the ball and reduced it when the ball was moving towards the player's position.

    We worked on the trajectories to make them as simple as possible. We want them to be easy to anticipate when the player strikes the ball.

    In addition, the ball is automatically moving to a position that can be easily reached by the player when it comes back in their direction.

    The ball always adjusts its trajectory to get back in the blue areas around the player

    Collision

    Once again, we cheated a bit (but in the right way). The racket's collider is actually much bigger than the mesh itself. We did this to avoid the frustrating moment where the player misses the ball when it is visually very close to the racket.

    Score & numbers

    We displayed the number of score points earned by each brick at their location. This seems to be a strange decision; many bricks are often destroyed at the same time. It is impossible for the player to count and know how many points they earned in a single hit. But that's not why we did it, we did it just for the feeling of "earning a lot". If the player sees many numbers appearing at the same time, it will be perceived as "having more value" than only displaying the total of all those points added. Our goal with the scoring system wasn't scoring itself, but to emphasize the feeling of being powerful.

    The pile of bills on the left seems at first glance more valuable than the bill alone on the right.

    Scaling & dimensions

    The scale of the object is super important in VR. We had trouble with this at the beginning of the project. We didn't have a realistic scale for each object. The texture patterns were too large, the ball and rackets were gigantic, and the walls were not in believable proportions. So, we started to re-scale each object to realistic dimensions. With the right sizes of props and environments, it immediately feels more immersive. Once we got realistic dimensions, we started to adjust the scale of the objects a little bit and ended up with a big ball and a bigger racket. The ball got bigger to be easier to hit and more visible in the action. The racket was extended to hide the cheating we did with the colliders.

    Shake it!

    Camera shake is a very useful tool to make a game feel more enjoyable. It's easy to do and we can modify the shake to get a wide range of different effects. But in VR, camera shake is not as useful as it is in PC/Consoles/Mobile games. It can produce disturbing effects and we obviously didn't want that. But we wanted something similar to emphasize the destruction of bricks. We first tried to shake up the "world" around the player. But it didn't feel as good as we thought it would, so we found another solution: shake only the wall!

    The effect is very subtle and almost only visible in VR. We found that shaking small parts of the world/environment can be a great way to replace our precious camera shake in VR.

    Usual polished effects

    In addition, we used the usual effects (such as post-processing, particles, etc.) to make each player's action more enjoyable and spectacular.

    Each effect has only one purpose: to communicate a single piece of information to the player. But this will be explained in detail in the process part.

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