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DESIGNING FOR
INNOVATION: SHIPPING
YOUR FIRST VR GAME
Laralyn McWilliams
Chief Creative Officer
Skydance Interactive
@lara...
DESIGN IS MORE THAN JUST DESIGN
WE’RE THE ARCHITECTS
INNOVATION & DEVELOPMENT IN THE
TRADITIONAL SPACE✦ Innovation
✦ Look at current market, competing
products
✦ Identify impo...
MAKE NO
ASSUMPTIONS✦ Working in VR changes many paradigms
✦ You can’t anticipate what’s different
✦ What makes players nau...
WALK IN EXISTING
FOOTPRINTS✦ Identify comp titles
✦ Competitive
✦ Feature examples
✦ Whole team should play them
✦ Analyze...
PROTOTYPE
EVERYTHING✦ Use comp games as shortcuts
✦ Start with highest risks and biggest
unknowns
✦ Work in quick, rough, ...
FOCUS ON ONE
INNOVATION✦ Innovation in VR is more challenging
✦ Assess difficulty based on comp games
✦ Consider your team...
EXPECT DELAYS
✦ Everything takes longer in VR
✦ Either:
✦ Prototyping is more extensive OR
✦ Multiple re-dos on most featu...
EXPECT TECH
CHALLENGES✦ Many many many (x100) unsolved or
difficult problems
✦ Different quality expectations
✦ Multiple p...
EXPECT PROCESS
CHALLENGES✦ High-spec PCs, headsets and
controllers…
✦ …for everyone on the team…
✦ …including QA!
✦ Review...
DESIGNING
INTERACTIONS✦ Wildly variable ability levels
✦ Wildly different levels of patience
✦ Requiring new skills
✦ Hard...
DESIGNING UI
✦ Completely different way of thinking
✦ HUD vs. in-world vs. “on screen”
✦ Resolution is challenging, especi...
DESIGNING
LOCOMOTION✦ Good luck with that.
✦ Study an array of other VR games
✦ Prototype, prototype prototype…
✦ …but do ...
DESIGNING
ENVIRONMENTS✦ Figure out your arc of view before building
“final” levels
✦ Test every environment in greybox, in...
Make no assumptions
Walk in existing footprints
Prototype everything
Focus on one innovation
Expect tech challenges
Expect...
DESIGNING FOR
INNOVATION: SHIPPING
YOUR FIRST VR GAME
Questions?
Laralyn McWilliams
Chief Creative Officer
Skydance Intera...
Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams
Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams
Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams
Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams
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Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams

  1. 1. DESIGNING FOR INNOVATION: SHIPPING YOUR FIRST VR GAME Laralyn McWilliams Chief Creative Officer Skydance Interactive @laralyn
  2. 2. DESIGN IS MORE THAN JUST DESIGN
  3. 3. WE’RE THE ARCHITECTS
  4. 4. INNOVATION & DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRADITIONAL SPACE✦ Innovation ✦ Look at current market, competing products ✦ Identify important features/systems ✦ Innovate on each feature/system or genre blend ✦ Add one key novelty ✦ Development ✦ Create a rough roadmap with time estimates ✦ Identify any risks ✦ Pre-production and prototype ✦ Develop vertical slice ✦ Execute against production goals
  5. 5. MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS✦ Working in VR changes many paradigms ✦ You can’t anticipate what’s different ✦ What makes players nauseous or disoriented ✦ What’s too intense ✦ What players won’t notice ✦ What limits performance
  6. 6. WALK IN EXISTING FOOTPRINTS✦ Identify comp titles ✦ Competitive ✦ Feature examples ✦ Whole team should play them ✦ Analyze what works and doesn’t ✦ Be willing to use as a starting point—or end result
  7. 7. PROTOTYPE EVERYTHING✦ Use comp games as shortcuts ✦ Start with highest risks and biggest unknowns ✦ Work in quick, rough, playable iterations ✦ Don’t worry about production pipeline yet ✦ Consider what needs context or a cohesive setting
  8. 8. FOCUS ON ONE INNOVATION✦ Innovation in VR is more challenging ✦ Assess difficulty based on comp games ✦ Consider your team’s experience, strengths ✦ Pick a single new element as your focus ✦ Work until you get that one element working well ✦ Use that element in context before you start another innovation
  9. 9. EXPECT DELAYS ✦ Everything takes longer in VR ✦ Either: ✦ Prototyping is more extensive OR ✦ Multiple re-dos on most features ✦ More iteration is required ✦ Iteration takes much longer
  10. 10. EXPECT TECH CHALLENGES✦ Many many many (x100) unsolved or difficult problems ✦ Different quality expectations ✦ Multiple platforms, different hardware ✦ Performance ✦ Performance ✦ Performance
  11. 11. EXPECT PROCESS CHALLENGES✦ High-spec PCs, headsets and controllers… ✦ …for everyone on the team… ✦ …including QA! ✦ Reviewing builds is challenging ✦ Working with remote team members requires extra coordination and hardware ✦ More need for in-engine performance and iteration tools
  12. 12. DESIGNING INTERACTIONS✦ Wildly variable ability levels ✦ Wildly different levels of patience ✦ Requiring new skills ✦ Harder to get player attention/focus ✦ Harder to do anything on a timer ✦ Wildly different controllers and sensors
  13. 13. DESIGNING UI ✦ Completely different way of thinking ✦ HUD vs. in-world vs. “on screen” ✦ Resolution is challenging, especially for text ✦ Transitions can be much more jarring ✦ Camera movement AND object movement can make players nauseous
  14. 14. DESIGNING LOCOMOTION✦ Good luck with that. ✦ Study an array of other VR games ✦ Prototype, prototype prototype… ✦ …but do it IN CONTEXT ✦ Don’t get lost down a rabbit hole. ✦ Good luck with that!
  15. 15. DESIGNING ENVIRONMENTS✦ Figure out your arc of view before building “final” levels ✦ Test every environment in greybox, in headset, in context ✦ Funnel and direct the player’s attention ✦ Design for performance
  16. 16. Make no assumptions Walk in existing footprints Prototype everything Focus on one innovation Expect tech challenges Expect process challenges
  17. 17. DESIGNING FOR INNOVATION: SHIPPING YOUR FIRST VR GAME Questions? Laralyn McWilliams Chief Creative Officer Skydance Interactive @laralyn

Designing for Innovation: Shipping Your First VR Game | Laralyn McWilliams

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