Metatron’s Poly Planes is a papercraft trickshot game built around a unique input mechanic only possible in virtual reality. The player is challenged to throw virtual paper airplanes through an increasingly challenging series of floating hoops. By completing the challenges present in each level the player progresses to the next level, in which additional techniques and challenges are introduced. Upon completing an individual hoop course, the player is given the option to experience the flight path in first person, from the viewpoint of a tiny papercraft rider. Note that the player is rooted in one location during the gameplay portions, and this flight experience is completely optional - in fact, the player will be actively dissuaded from experiencing it if he or she is not a VR veteran!
Poly Planes’ core input mechanic involves a combination of gaze-based raycasting and touchpad swiping. The player utilizes a barely-visible translucent sphere that can (via a touchpad swipe directed behind the player) be shrunk down to barely enclose the player’s head and waist, and can be extended (via a touchpad swipe directed in front of the player) to a radius beyond his or her natural reach. The point at which the player’s raycasted gaze intersects with this sphere is subtly indicated by a highlighted point not unlike a laser pointer dot. In order to enable challenging trick shots, the player is required to trace arbitrarily complex splines in 3D space. For example, envision a spline originating near the player’s chest, dipping below his or her waist, and climbing up to eye level 1-2 meters away; this spline would send a plane arcing downward to gain speed only to climb back upward to achieve a longer overall flight distance than a straight shot. To describe such a spline, the player would initiate a “throw” by touching and holding near the rear of the touchpad, orient his or her head to place the raycasting dot at chest-level, begin swiping forward while looking downward, reverse direction and begin looking back upward near the midpoint of the swipe, and release the touchpad near its front while simultaneously reaching a point with the raycasting dot near eye level. An animation of the player’s first-person avatar throwing a plane along that trajectory would then play.
More difficult hoop courses would require more complex shots. Series of moving hoops would require the player to throw planes that speed up and slow down while in flight; this could be achieved by swiping near the top of the touchpad to speed the plane up and near the bottom to slow it down. Some hoops could be linked, requiring that the player throw planes through the linked series in rapid succession; to avoid this becoming trivial, an animation of the player’s avatar folding a new plane after each throw could serve as a cooldown mechanic. Certain shots could be impossible to achieve without riding air currents; the player may additionally be able to influence the flight path of a plane after release by “blowing” at it with a quick touchpad tap. Circling papercraft birds could swoop down and grab planes in flight, and papercraft dragons could chase and burn any plane crossing their vision; the player may be able to select from a variety of specialized plane types following each throw.
A local scoreboard would be achieved in the form of number of planes thrown to complete each level. A global scoreboard is not planned for the Jam release, but would be a welcome addition, as would ghost trajectories of other players, additional levels, and additional techniques/challenges.
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