Feiko van Dijk: Game & Technical Designer

QUANTUM: VR

Summary

Main Role: Product Owner. Design Lead.

Additional Roles: Technical Design, UX Design.

Project Timespan
4 weeks

Team Size
6 Developers

Quantum is a Proof Of Concept created in 4 weeks with a team of 6 developers. The goal of this project was to prove the viability of our concept; A VR Puzzle game using room-scale movement & non-euclidean geometry to create an immersive, room-scale experience.

Date: December 2019 – February 2020
Team Size: 6 (2 Programmers, 1 Artist, 3 Designers)
Platform: PC (Oculus) 
Software Used: Unreal Engine, GameAnalytics, Perforce, Jira
 

My Responsibilities

Product Owner

  • Manage and update backlog & manage sprint planning meetings
  • Lead daily standups and standdowns
  • Responsible for pre-production planning through Gantt charts
  • Responsible for shareholder communication

Technical & UX Design

  • Responsible for researching & creating prototypes about motion sickness in VR
  • Responsible for overall 3Cs

Design Lead

  • Responsible for creating design prototypes, guiding design and answering design related questions
  • Assisting Programmers with medium-level technical tasks such as feature implementation & performance optimization
  • Guiding Design towards a shared vision and endgoal

Experiences & Lessons

Since we started off with 3 team members and later on expanded to a team of 6, I mostly had to switch roles and take on the tasks that were required for the project. The first two weeks were mostly focused around research and prototyping. Since VR is still relatively new, there are many ideas that have not been tried and tested. 
One of the main ‘issues’ with VR is movement. Players are always limited to either the length of the headset’s cable or the size of the room they are playing in. Most of the VR games I’ve played used some sort of restriction on movement, for example in I Expect You To Die, where the game is played with the player sitting in a chair.

These issues were our main inspiration. Another game we researched was Shattered Lights, a game made a year before by third year students of our school. Shattered lights is a VR horror game which uses non-euclidian geometry to create a fairly limitless movement experience. Non-euclidian geometry basically means that they used the magic of games and seamless teleportation to create ‘impossible’ spaces to trick the player into thinking they’re walking through a big environment, which they’re actually still walking around in their 3×3 meter play space. 

 You can probably guess where we were going with Quantum. We chose to create a VR puzzle game with Non-euclidian geometry & levels to solve movement issues, both because it would be a great learning opportunity for the whole team, but also because only a handful of (indie) developers have attempted this and the results are very promising.