Look and Click Adventure

An original VR demo by WayForward

Last updated - May 10, 2015


Look and Click Adventure was primarily designed to be played on the Samsung Gear VR. However, we have made available versions of the game which run on other platforms for community members who do not currently own a Gear VR. Please see the “Other Platforms” section below if you would like to play one of these other versions.


INTRODUCTION

Look and Click Adventure is an original third-person Point and Click Adventure Game in the tradition of classic LucasArts and Sierra PC games, but designed from the ground up specifically for virtual reality!

In the game, you take control of a man trapped inside an everyday living room by his meddlesome guest. Use items and actions around the room to bypass your obstacle and advance to the next location.

CONTROLS

Below is a breakdown of controls for this demo:

  • Using the Gear VR HMD

    • Look: View different areas in a room and aim the interaction cursor
    • Tap the touchpad: Walk / interact / use / collect / speak
    • Back button: Skip current dialogue line, close inventory menu, put away current item

(See below for controls when playing on other platforms.)

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay takes inspiration from classic third-person Adventure Games of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but injects new life into the genre by reinventing it for virtual reality, resulting in a completely unique, immersive experience.

Upon putting on the HMD, you are positioned at a fixed pivot point in a room; you can can look around to see in any direction. (Our prototype features only a single room, but in a full game, each room would have its own specific pivot point to provide you with the best vantage.) Although you are unable to move about the room yourself (in part to alleviate simulator sickness), you do assume positional control of a separate, third-person player character.

To make the player-character walk to any non-interactive spot in the room, center your gaze on that spot and tap the touchpad on your HMD.

To interact with an object or non-player character, aim your gaze in its direction. If it is an interactive object, text will appear above it describing the interaction which is possible at that time. Tap the HMD to trigger that interaction.

Interactions in this demo include:

  • Speak to Character: To speak with the character blocking the door, look at them and tap the touchpad. At times you will be afforded an opportunity to influence the outcome of a conversation through the means of dialogue options which will appear in front of you. When this happens, select one of the four options by gazing at it (causing the option to brighten) and then tap the touchpad.

  • Collect Item: To collect an item, look directly at it and tap the touchpad.

  • Inspect Object: To inspect a non-collectible object in the room, look directly at it and tap the touchpad.

  • Access Inventory: To access your inventory of currently-held items, center your gaze on the player-character and tap the touchpad. This will cause a visual display of all held items to appear floating in front of you. Look at the item you want to use; then tap the touchpad to select it. The inventory display will close, and that item is now equipped for use.

  • Use Item (or cancel item use): To use a selected inventory item (after selecting it), look at the in-world object you wish to use it on and tap the touchpad. To cancel using an item and put it away, either center your gaze on the player-character again and tap the touchpad, or press the back button.

To advance through the demo: explore the room, investigate objects, experiment with item combinations, and make dialogue choices to uncover the solutions that advance the story.

PROJECT GOALS

The traditional third-person Point and Click Adventure Game has been rare in the VR scene up until now. This may be because most virtual reality developers tend to instinctively drift towards the creation of first-person experiences. However, the genre, with its fixed camera perspective for each scene or room, is a natural fit for the current state of consumer virtual reality technology in which users have the freedom to look around in all directions while locomotion is absent or limited.

With its Realism-styled visuals and real-human–scale characters and set, Look and Click Adventure feels a bit like a dynamic, interactive, and immersive stage play unfolding around the player.

With this demo, our primary goal has been to explore and establish the basic mechanics of third-person virtual reality Adventure gaming, rather than to focus on extensive content. The scope of this demo is limited to two characters, one room, and several interactive objects. However, we hope to later grow the systems and game structure showcased here into a full-scale experience.

NOTABLE FEATURES

This is a list of some of the features and qualities which we feel distinguish Look and Click Adventure from many existing VR games and demos, or which are noteworthy in other ways.

  • Use of Comedy Most virtual reality experiences tend to either fall into the action or horror genres, or are the sort of exploration-based experiences that try to evoke a sense of wonder in the tradition of Myst and Journey. Look and Click Adventure doesn’t want to scare you or get your adrenaline pumping or fill you with a sense of awe; it just wants to make you laugh.

  • Third Person Experience We wanted this project to feature an engaging, vocal, and comedic protagonist. Depicting a player-character in third person, so you can see them moving around, reacting to other characters, and interacting with objects around them is an approach seldom taken in the VR scene.

  • Use of Animated Characters A large number of existing VR demos are fairly static or rigid, but Look and Click Adventure features fully-animated 3D characters. We also use real-time inverse kinematics to make it clear what characters are looking at and to direct the user's gaze in those directions.

  • Immersive Soundscape (Including Voice Acting) We use a positional audio system and carefully-timed sound effects to build a believable soundscape all around the user—even character voices are spatialized—which increases immersion and helps with gameplay by reinforcing the location of objects in the scene.

    The game also features a character who does not appear in the scene. His voice and certain accompanying sound effects are heard by the user over a pair of virtual headphones. It’s a subtle effect, but the use of conventional stereo for this portion of the audio brings the spatialized sounds into counterpoint and serves to further enhance the believability of the overall soundscape.

  • No Gamepad Required We designed the gameplay and interface around the capabilities of the GearVR HMD, allowing for control entirely through the use of gaze direction and touchpad taps. One-button controls allow the user interface to get out of your way and lets you be immersed in the experience.

  • High VR Comfort Level Look and Click Adventure avoids simulator-sickness issues associated with VR locomotion that doesn't match what your body is experiencing in real-life, simply by removing user locomotion from the equation. The third-person player character moves through the scene while you pivot in place.

  • In-World Caption for Object-Verb Interactions Many Adventure Games feature a caption which tells the user what action a click will perform while their cursor is over an object. Traditionally this caption is in the UI, but in Look and Click Adventure, the caption is in-world. It is placed as far from the user as is the selected object to avoid convergence issues and to create a clear association between the object and the caption it's describing.

    • Future challenge: what to do when objects (like the player character) between the user and the caption partially or fully occlude it? Possibilities include rendering the occluded portions as stippled or translucent. Our current solution is simply not to render the occluded portions.
  • Reinvention of Traditional Dialogue and Inventory Interfaces In classic Adventure Game fashion the demo allows for dialogue or item selection at certain points. We have designed gaze-based interfaces for both of these situations which are fully at home in virtual reality.

  • User Interface Behaviors Designed for VR When user interface elements appear, they appear in the direction that you're facing at that moment, so that you'll notice them.

    If you look away, they'll follow you after a moment (they don't just stick to your view) so that you won’t “lose” the interface and forget that you're in a UI state and not the ordinary game state.

    • Future challenge: we've designed the scene so that none of its static contents are closer to the user than the title logo, dialogue tree, or inventory display. But the player character can technically walk closer to you than that, occluding the UI. As well, this constraint may not make sense for all scenes, and future platforms which support positional tracking will force us to allow the UI elements to appear anywhere in the scene, depending on where the user is standing.

      One possible solution is to dynamically adjust UI depth position depending on the viewer’s position in the scene as well as the positions of nearby objects. Another possible approach would be to use a stippling/translucency effect similar to the one we'd like to add to the in-world caption mentioned above.

KNOWN ISSUES

At seemingly-random times, the game may cause the Note 4 to entirely freeze, requiring a reboot of the device. In spite of days of valiant effort, we have been unable to track down the source of the problem or even determine reliable reproduction steps.

The search for a solution continues, but in the meantime, should you experience this freeze, please remove the Note 4 from your Gear VR, power down by simultaneously holding the power and volume down buttons for ten seconds, boot up your phone, and try running the game again.

We hope that you will be lucky enough not to encounter this freeze while playing, and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that results if you do.


OTHER PLATFORMS

(The Gear VR version can be downloaded by following the “Try it Out” link below.)

Windows (Oculus Rift or Desktop)

Setup
  • Install Oculus Runtime for Windows version 0.5.0.1 or later. (This is necessary even if you want to play on your desktop using a mouse.)
  • Download the Oculus Rift version of Look and Click Adventure here. Extract the ZIP file to the folder of your choice.
  • Run the “Direct to Rift” EXE. (This too is advisable even if you want to play on your desktop.)

If you have an Oculus Rift plugged into your computer, the stereoscopic side-by-side version of the game will appear on the headset display. If you don’t, the monoscopic version of the game will appear in full screen on your desktop monitor.

Controls
  • Look Around (when using Oculus Rift) or Move Mouse (when playing on the Desktop) View different areas in a room and aim the interaction cursor

  • Spacebar, left mouse button, or XBox 360 Controller A Button: Walk / interact / use / collect / speak

  • Esc key, right mouse button, or XBox 360 Controller B Button: Skip current dialogue line, close inventory menu, put away current item

  • ”R” key, middle mouse button, or XBox 360 Controller Back Button: Recenter view

Android (Google Cardboard)

Setup
Controls
  • Look Around View different areas in a room and aim the interaction cursor

  • Google Cardboard Magnet: Walk / interact / use / collect / speak


We hope you enjoy our demo! We really enjoyed making it. :)

Built With

  • 3d-studio-max
  • annosoft-sapi-lipsync-console-program
  • mixamo
  • photoshop
  • unity
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