Game type : Cooperative multiplay
Graphic Style : Abstract
Dark times are upon us. Our lands are falling! The darkness is eating away the lands and the only way to persevere is for the protectors to activate the Arks. These mystical objects, once activated, capture the essence of the lands and by doing so, give us hope that out of nothingness, new land can rise again.
The game is basically a 'race against the clock' memory game. Players need to collect keys from stones that have a shape and a certain color. These keys can be used to unlock Arks. Arks that, once activated, will start to collect essence and render essence points.
All this within a limited timeframe of 15 minutes as the darkness, represented by an apocalyptic storm, is eating away the players' playing area.
Because an ark slot has a shape and a color that both need to be kept in working memory under time pressure, a psychological effect called memory interference can make this game quite challenging.
For innovation we have thought about what makes VR a truely special experience. For us, this has a lot to do with the true perception of scale and complete immersion through the full 3D experience in a virtual environment.
To experience scale we put the players on platforms between floating arks in the air and stones on the ground, some of them really big in size. This way when a player is close to a floating ark or is lifting one of the bigger tones using the essence beam, scale perception is really strong.
For a feeling of true 3D we use gameplay at different height levels and make extensive use of particle systems. Those particles always seem to give a nice 3D feeling as they float into view.
Pulling in artifacts using the essence beam also has a nice 3D effect, as the artifact is pulled in close at hight speed.
In addition to the above, because the GearVR, due to the lack of cables, gives you 360 degrees of looking around freedom, we have emphasized gameplay on look (focus) mechanics, this way stimulating the player to look around a lot.
To significantly decrease feelings of VR sickness we decided not use any player movement other than instant teleporting from platform to platform.
Because playing is a social event, we implemented multiplayer 2P gameplay and added a player GUI-Menu that let the players communicate during the game. Single player gameplay is also supported.
A final note would be that we found it very challenging to seek out the performance boundaries for the GearVR. I think we came quite close but just close enough.
An object (Platform, Ark, Stone, Artifact) that you want to interact with has to be focused first.
- You focus on an object by looking at it.
- You will see a green focus indicator when the object becomes focused.
- A red indicator means you are too far away and need to get closer.
- TIP When 2 players focus and beam the same platform or stone, it can be moved faster.
The darkness is the swirling storm around the playing area. it will reduce in size during the playtime of 15 minutes. while shrinking it will eat the land and it will be game over when it has devoured all of it.
The platforms are the working points in space of the player(s). From a platform a player can use the essence beam to read arks, move other 'free' platforms, lift stones and extract keys from them.
- You can teleport to another platform by getting a focus and use controller Button 1.
- You can move a platform using your essence beam and the controller left and right stick.
- It is game over when all platforms are devoured by the darkness.
The arks in the air need to be activated by unlocking their keyslots. Once activated they will start collecting essence that will render points.
- By using your essence beam on a non-activated ark you can read the keys you will need to collect to activate it.
- You can unlock a ark slot using a key that you collected from a stone.
- Unlock a slot when you have both ark slots and player GUI-Menu active in view and use the 'Unlock Ark Slot' command in the player's Keys Inventory Menu.
- When all slots are unlocked the ark will start collecting essence automatically.
- It is game over when all arks are filled or devoured by the darkness.
Stones are halfway burried into the ground. They are colored by the ground they are burried in. A stone holds several keys that can be collected.
- Lift a stone using your essence beam and move it around using the controller left and right sticks.
- While the stone is in the air, you can extract the nearest key from the stone using controller button 1.
- By 'dipping' the stone into a colored piece of land, the stone and all its keys will be colored.
- Keys in white stones can not be extracted.
- A stone that is no longer beamed, will fall back into the ground.
- Keys you collect will show up in a player's Keys Inventory Menu (toggle using controller button 3).
- Keys can be transfered in the GUI-Menu to another player.
Artifacts fly high up in the air and look like giant colored meteors.
- Pull in an artifact by getting a focus and beaming it.
- An artifact has a specific color.
- It can be 'splashed' into the ground to color it.
The Player GUI-Menu has commands to unlock ark slots, destroy and transfer collected keys, has info about the controls and let players communicate with each other during the game.
- Toggle the GUI-Menu in/out of view using the controller button 3.
- Look at a button and press controller button 1 to select it.
- To select a key in your inventory or select a shape or color in the communications panel, look at it and press controller button 1
For this game you will need the Samsung bluetooth gamepad controller.
Some tips for the controls :
- Look with the cursor (hex crosshair) at an object to focus it. A green focus indicator will show up briefly (it will be red if you are out of range)
- You need to focus something first before you can use the beam to move (platforms/stones) , pull-in (artifacts) or read slots (arks)
- Move beamed stones and platforms using the left and right sticks
- Right stick (left+right) to rotate a beamed stone to get a good look at all keys
- Activate your essence beam by keeping one of the bumber buttons pressed down
- You can only move stones that are not in the ground.
- Teleport to a focused 'free' platform using Button 1
- Extract the nearest key from a beamed stone using Button 1
- Toggle the GUI-Menu on/off using Button 3
We would like to improve and build upon the current version to extend and implement :
- Improved multiplayer communications ( gestures, emoticons)
- Up to 6 player multiplay
- Team vs team multiplay game mode
- Player leveling
- Darkness challenges (to make it even harder)
- Persistent world map
- Some system to spend earned essence points
- Player and community stats