Game Progress from February 2016

If you've been following my Twitter posts lately, you've seen a few screencaptures of my current VR project. I've been working on it for about two months now. In fact it was during a dinner party Kayla and I hosted the first weekend of the new year that I tried out a prototype on a few friends. The idea was simple and they liked it. The object was to shoot a ball at a post several meters from the player, then teleport to the post when it hits. Repeat this to move through the level. Then I worked on a story/setting, which quickly spiraled out of control into an elaborate story about escaping from a sci-fi prison... Until I realized there was no way I had time to build something like that. I only have about 2 hours a day to devote to side projects, so I simply don't have the time. By the end of January, I finally conceded that I needed to simplify dramatically.

I started thinking about how some of the simplest games are still fun despite their lack of story or complexity: Angry Birds, Smash Hit, Crossy Road, Candy Crush, and Super Mario. They all have a few things in common:

  • They're colorful
  • The gameplay mechanic is super easy to understand and execute
  • Simple enemies or limited resources to keep things interesting
  • Simple assets that are just combined in clever ways to keep things interesting
  • Not much of a story, if any

This realization has resulted in where I am today. 

 Simple colorful, glowing assets. You can see a teleport platform, a few yellow projectiles, and some glowing lantern things. I'll refine the assets before I release, but for now, they're perfect.

Simple colorful, glowing assets. You can see a teleport platform, a few yellow projectiles, and some glowing lantern things. I'll refine the assets before I release, but for now, they're perfect.

Since I started on this idea about a month ago, I've built most of the major components:

  • Teleportation platforms
  • Teleportation logic that can accommodate player movement
  • Coins that increase your score when hit
  • Smart projectiles that know what they hit and react accordingly
  • Basic controls using both Xbox Controller and mouse for quick testing
  • Level switching
  • Score saving
  • Enemy movement
 The star in this image is my current asset for a "coin". You get a point when you hit it with a projectile.

The star in this image is my current asset for a "coin". You get a point when you hit it with a projectile.

I saved a ton of time by purchasing a couple scripting systems from the Unity Asset Store:

 Here you can see I've created a ghost enemy (modeled in Maya and textured in Substance Painter) and he's got a waypoint path that makes him circle the middle platform. When the player is in view, he'll speed up and fly directly at the player. Spooky.

Here you can see I've created a ghost enemy (modeled in Maya and textured in Substance Painter) and he's got a waypoint path that makes him circle the middle platform. When the player is in view, he'll speed up and fly directly at the player. Spooky.

The best part? I've been doing all of this work on my VR game without a VR headset. I actually sold my Oculus Rift DevKit 2 to offset the cost of the consumer version. My goal is to get to the point where I can start cranking out levels by the time my Oculus Rift ships next month (April).