The Top 10 Lessons We Learned Moving Our Mobile Game to VR | Guy Bendov


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Delivered at Casual Connect USA 2016. Come learn the top 10 development lessons to consider when extending your games to VR. User orientation in a VR sphere, proper immersion for the players as well as camera movements, speed balancing and frame rate can have a huge effect on players experience in VR. Side-Kick Games has learned many tricks of the trade in adapting mobile games across all current VR headsets and will cover these issues and more.

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The Top 10 Lessons We Learned Moving Our Mobile Game to VR | Guy Bendov

  1. 1. Adapting Your Mobile Game To VR (Top 10 Tips) Guy Bendov CEO, Sidekick VR
  2. 2. 2 Sidekick VR • 2015 – spin off Sidekick VR to focus on mobile VR game publishing • Offices in California and Israel • Partners include Lionsgate, DeNA west • Focusing on Mobile VR – cross platforms • Team is Sega, EA, Eidos, Sony executives
  3. 3. 3 Why expand existing games to VR ? • With expected 18m* mobile VR headsets by end-2016 it is still hard to see return on investment on a $500k-$1M dev budget (*Deutsche Bank) • Retention is based on deep rich content = development costs are higher • Early customers of a new platforms prefer a reference to something they recognize - known game brands and game mechanics win • One solution for the introductory phase of the market: Leverage existing known mobile games to VR Problem: New platforms are a risky business but also an opportunity
  4. 4. 4 Case Study: Romans From Mars
  5. 5. 5 Case Study: Romans From Mars
  6. 6. 6 Case Study: Romans From Mars
  7. 7. 7 Romans From Mars was a good start for a VR game… • It already had a 1st person viewpoint • It was a 3D game • Movement was not required within the world and so there were no player nausea issues to overcome • Controls are simple and were easily able to be ported across all VR platforms – including the most limited • It started as a full mobile game and contained a high level of content and playing time compared to other VR titles
  8. 8. 8 •And so………..
  9. 9. 9 VR is an extreme experience, simulating real life • Emotions are stronger (chemical rush ) • Speed effects your mind • Sizes (you are IN) So: • Tone your game • Expect rebalancing time
  10. 10. 10 The 60 frames per second challenge • 60FPS+ is critical for the VR User experience. • Low FPS make people uncomfortable. • Consistent FPS is as critical as minimum FPS • Updating to the latest engine version and plug in updates. • Consider stylized optimizations: • Shaders • Poly count • Level design • Draw calls
  11. 11. 11 Arena and camera • Modeling a 360 (full) environment. • Photo realistic vs stylized art • Add “Chicken fat” • Prop sizes and proportions may change due to camera settings. • Play with sized and edit textures to tone down the deforming elements. • The FoV in VR is smaller than regular screen – and changes between HMDs • Use of space around the player for orientation.
  12. 12. 12 Head-up display / Status display / Messaging (HUD) • Flowing “air force pilot” HUD • Tracking the player • Static in space • “Organic” part of the environment • Always static in space but maintains the immersion and the integrity of the “real world” environment • We found this to be the better solution, when possible.
  13. 13. 13 360 Arena + embedded HUD
  14. 14. 14 Menus • Project on a sphere / cylinder …..Or part of the game’s universe • Initial menu system (start menu) need to make sense and be 360 • Consider generic “back” and “recalibrate” options
  15. 15. 15 Launch “menu”
  16. 16. 16 Directing player’s attention • Designing the space in front of and around the players • Use the environment and characters • Use sound prompts • Use lighting, arrows and alerts Courtesy of Visionary’s frame system
  17. 17. 17 Mapping controls Type Remarks Gaze / timed selection Clear and explanatory reticle Lowest common denominator One button Click and Click+Hold Cardboard 1.0 and 2.0 Tap + Hold + Swipes Side panel or an accessory Gear VR, LeTV 2nd button Merge Remote motion controls + buttons External accessories (Rift, Vive, PSVR, Daydream, Ximmerse) Hands recognition Leap Motion and other cameras Voice recognition Movement recognition Mostly tilt and shake
  18. 18. 18 Gaze to aim, tap to evoke heavenly powers
  19. 19. 19 Moving players in VR • In 1st person view, never take players freedom of control to look around, even if you move the camera. • Don’t move the camera too fast - extreme speed, velocities and vectors (regularly used in games) are disorienting in VR. • Scene-changing achieved with short fade-out and fade-in. • Looking forward to having “head and movement tracking” feature in mobile VR 
  20. 20. 20 Tuning gameplay progression and monetization • Calibrate your game as a premium priced game • In-app purchases (IAP) are an integral part of players progression in free games. IAP model is a challenge until the market reaches 20m players • Adapting a F2P game to premium means you need to “give” extra resources to your players at the right time
  21. 21. 21 Store featuring • To be considered for featuring (or publishing), Oculus, Google and other headset makers will provide you with specific requirements, strong suggestions and overall feedback about the game • The game teams in both organizations are accessible and looking to present mobile VR games in the best possible way • Consider additional time and budget to go through the feedback process
  22. 22. 22 Results • Romans From Mars 360 was a Gear VR launch title (one of only 7 games worldwide) • The game has been ported to 4 different VR platforms – Oculus, Cardboard (iOS and Android), Merge VR and Ling VR • The game has been on the stores for over a year with purchases for the premium version • The game’s rating on the Play Store is 5.0
  23. 23. 23
  24. 24. Q & A THANK YOU for your time. Guy Bendov