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  • Designing A Thrilling Arcade Experience For VR

    [09.29.20]
    - Vincent Trinel

  • The process on the game feel

    To work on the feel of the game, I used a very simple process that I apply to every game I work on.

    Atomic gameplay info list

    First, I start by making a list of all the gameplay information at an atomic level that I need to communicate to the player. By atomic level, I mean that I will break down each simple gameplay information into smaller pieces.

    For example, I need to communicate the movement of the ball. At the atomic level, it should be something like the ball's speed, trajectory, impact point, and so on.

     

    Making this list let me think about what needs to be communicated, what needs to be hidden and how much details is needed.

    To do this, I evaluate each gameplay information according to a criterion of precision: on a scale of 0 to 5. 0 meaning that the gameplay information must be hidden and 5 meaning that it must be extremely precise (like displaying HP as big numbers on top of a huge health bar in a HUD).

    List the ways to communicate

    Once I have a list with all the gameplay information I need to communicate, I think about all the possible ways to communicate those info. I always try to put too many things in my list so I can make choices later on. We never have the time and/or money to do everything. So, I always have to cut things and that's why I evaluated each piece of gameplay information according to a criterion of precision. This helps me to choose the gameplay info that needs more production and testing than another. But in general, and depending on the importance of the gameplay info, the more ways you have to communicate, the better. Another useful tip is to have a minimum of two communication channels (visual, sound, haptics, etc.) for each piece of critical gameplay info (Above or equal to 3).

    To sum up:

    • Make a list of all the gameplay information at the most micro level possible
    • Determine the importance of each gameplay information
    • Lists all the possible ways to communicate gameplay info
    • Sort according to the precision needed each gameplay information with the time/budget available
    • Make sure that each critical gameplay information uses a minimum of 2 different communication channels
    • Never hesitate to do too much, even if it means reducing the intensity of the effects later on

    THANK YOU ALL

    Designing Quash was not easy, we struggled a lot to find a clear design direction and we discovered many problems with VR that we were not aware of before we started development. And this article doesn't mention another beast we had to deal with: multiplayer.

    On top of that, the Covid-19 pandemic had a big negative impact on our production because not everyone on the team had VR headsets at home. In the end, we managed to overcome a lot of these problems and I'm really happy to see Quash on Steam. But it's not over yet and we still have a lot of things to improve thanks to the feedback from our community.

    To conclude this article, I'd like to thank the whole Quash team:

    Francois, Timothée & Alexis, our dear brave programmers.

    Timothé and Tristan, my design teammates <3.

    Geoffrey, our producer and great mail master.

    Sonia, for her wonderful VFXs

    And finally, Pierrick for his incredible SFXs and his awesome soundtrack!

    But mostly thanks to you who read this article to the end. I hope there are some interesting and potentially useful things for your projects. I can't wait to play your games!

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