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


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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
  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