** The GCC is Chaos Theory tradition, where each fortnight we pitch a game concept to each other restricted by a particular theme and genre. **
After enjoying our contemplations from the previous fortnight, its back to reality (of the virtual variety) for GCC#46 but with a restriction on scope such that these games could be made within a 6 month timeframe.
Genre: Virtual Reality
Theme: Limited Scope
Take control of a raindrop as you plummet from the skies in this atmospheric virtual reality experience. Maintain your mass and avoid obstacles to survive while you free-fall in a turbulent storm, exploring your vivid environment through simple gameplay for PC, Mac and Linux.
Droplet is a third-person free-fall experience for the Oculus Rift where the players control a droplet of water, falling from the upper atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. Using keyboard controls, or alternatively a motion sensing controller such as the PlayStation Move, Razer Hydra or Sixense, you can manipulate your droplet as it falls while the Rift controls the camera perspective. (Alternatively, the entire system could be controllable using only the tilting of the head). Your mass slowly drains away from you, and you must collect droplets moving at a similar pace to maintain it, while avoiding heavy droplets and other environmental obstacles that threaten to break you apart.
The primary objective in Droplet is survival, and there is no score or any UI elements to track it. Players progress through a series of levels that increase in difficulty and shift in environment, where each level is completed when the player hits the surface. The droplet’s movement is intended to be incredibly organic, and as such glancing blows from passing objects or sliding off fast-moving raindrops and obstacles will result in motions and accelerates essential to gameplay in later levels.
One major experiential issue which has to be resolved with testing is the dissonance between experiencing a virtual reality free-fall and experiencing it sitting upright.
Droplet is a unique experience for VR that capitalizes on the paranormal excitement and dread of free-falling. By immersing the player within the environment and closely coupling their actions with the game world, the game promotes an almost-realistic falling experience that cannot be found elsewhere in gaming.
There is also a gap in consumer needs within virtual reality gaming that is not being met, built around more casual experiences than the more typical, hardcore simulation games that dominate the platform. Although many casual experiments have been done predominantly by artists rather than game developers, there are very few casual, commercial experiences available for VR gamers.
In this adversarial multiplayer game one player must take over the role of the prison warden to try and stop the rest of the players from succeeding in their escape attempt.
The game is set up as a 1 vs. many scenario where the “many” ranges from 1-4 ideally. The game is played locally, most likely all using controllers but probably run from a PC. The controller only players use a split screen setup for their side of things. For them the game is first person and set in what looks like an obstacle course / maze style arena with bright lights and geometric shapes. Their objective is simple, they must get to the other side of the arena where there is a large door for them to walk through.
The complication for them comes with the role of the warden. The warden plays in the same game as them, but is wearing some form of VR headset (most likely the Rift) and so can’t see what’s happening on the screen. They control, from the first person, a warden who stands on a balcony high over the top of the arena that the other players are in, above the door that they are trying to get to. He cannot move from this position and his field of view is controlled by the headset. He must try and spot the escapees before they can reach their objective. The warden has two ways he can stop the other players. The first is by looking at them. If the wardens view is zoomed in enough that he can see a player clearly, then holding his gaze on a player for a long enough time period will lead to them getting caught. However this eventuality will likely not occur very often. The main way that the warden can catch the other players is by ordering around his patrol units. After seeing a player (or otherwise) the warden can request that the closest guard walk over to the area and check it out. If a guard catches a player in their light they will be caught.
The difficulty here for the warden comes from a limited supply of guards. Guards take time to get from A to B and so sending one guard from a point will leave it vulnerable for the other players to sneak through. The players would likely have a few tools they could use to aid them depending on how the balance of the game plays out. Things such as smoke bombs, holograms and speed boosts may be in order to allow for a more level playing field. Other than that the players would need to try to work together, moving from shadow to shadow, trying to remain undetected as they make their way to the exit.
The innovation of the game comes from the use of the headset as a second screen, effectively isolating one of the players from the room without actually making them be in another room. This allows the non VR players to play a stealth style game against a non-AI component all within the confines of a single room, something that would not be achievable on a single screen.