KELLOGG'S MARVEL'S CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR VR
Role: Game/Level/UX Design
Genre: VR Action On-Rail Shooter
Developer: Bully! Entertainment
Client: Kellogg's / Marvel
Total Dev Time: Roughly 6-7 months
I had been planning how my own Sonic game would pan out for years, so this fan game was very much a passion project.
I first concepted out the level I wanted to make first, a shipping harbor, and made all of the assets for a school project. Another fan had recreated the modern "boost" style of gameplay in UE3, an engine I was already familiar with, so I began constructing the level in his engine.
One of the most important parts of a Sonic game is the level design, if that wasn't solid then the whole thing would fall apart.
I carefully studied the level design of Sonic games that matched best with the gameplay provided to make the best use of the engine.
I finished in around 4 months, just in time for an online fan game expo and released the 1st demo on Feb 23rd, 2014. The game was very well received and was voted 3rd best in show at the expo and was even on the front page of gamejolt for a while. To date it has currently been downloaded 93k times and has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Its definitely my most successful personal project.
When designing this game I started where every VR game starts; what headset is it for and how do you get around the motion sickness issue? Given the input limitations of the mobile VR platform it was clearly best to go with a gaze based solution as it would require no buttons what-so-ever. This lead to the decision to make the movement beacon based and make the combat relatively simple. The old school rail shooter genre seemed perfect for this criteria so I studied the best of that genre and adapted it to our needs.
Once I had that framework I then started focusing on achieving our experiential goal; making the player feel as powerful as the heroes they were playing as. Any additional depth and mechanics were designed around achieving that idea while keeping in mind our client, audience, and pacing.
Since this was a tie-in game for a movie I wanted the levels to have a cinematic feeling or a narrative progression. We didn't have the budget for a fully fledged story so instead we focused on putting the narrative into the environment instead. We had pretty short levels so I made sure that each level visually changed significantly through out it so that the player would feel like they were traveling a lot farther than they actually were. This also gave an opportunity to put in some visually appealing set pieces and arenas.