Flat games

The term I first heard from Pawel Gajda (Carbon Studio) on Game Access (What the hell is GameAccess?) conference. Flat games are non-VR games. I am not sure whether he coined the term or not, but I like it. Non-VR sounds stupid. Flat games are perfect description for videogames we play on flat screens.

Of course “flat games” was not the only takeaway. Bunch of stuff actually about Virtual Reality.

There has been a good overview of simulation sickness.

Making believable NPCs in VR is hard. Facial animations can get creepy – put a mask on their faces!

Take advantage of synergy of senses – combine visual, audio and force-feedback. It works pretty well.

Players will be tinkering with your simulation. Make it believable. Design all those interactions. Have a fireball? Make grass flammable. Have consistent object scaling, accurate physics, correct lighting.

Touch controllers allow for interactions which are impossible in flat games. For example – catching a rocket and throwing it back at the enemy. Movement of head is separate from movement of hands. Use it! You do not event have to look at something to interact with it.

Original Prey-like gravity ramps, growing/shrinking are pretty awesome in VR.

Subtitles are problematic in VR- it is weird to have floating text. We dont get that IRL. Breaks immersion.

Helmets are tricky. It is hard to focus on UI which is so close to your eyes.

There is no frame.

Classic RPG style dialogue options feel a bit strange in VR.

When character who is controlled by player speaks in VR, it does not feel like player is speaking. Is it my own voice or is someone else speaking? It is confusing. Perhaps in the future with speech recognition we can solve this.

In VR players can look anywhere. Trigger actions you want player to see only when they gaze in that direction.

Cutscenes only work in VR when you play them around the player. Like a theater. Why? Because player IS the main character and has freedom to move the camera.

When developing for multiplatform VR swap Oculus for Vive and vise-versa. Test both sitting and standing. Have different people (height, size) test it. Do not trust other VR devs. Test with other people too. Use VR editor for level design (proportions, etc). Put HMD on frequently.

Implement comfort mode.

Level design for wheel-chairs.

Free movement in VR is possible, however only allow constant speed to evade simulation sickness. Avoid artifical locomotion (good solution is 1:1 mapping – eg. Job Simulator).

Fade-in and out when loosing head-tracking. Motion-to-pixel latency is important for simulation sickness. Keep 60/90 fps.

Thats all folks!
Here are all of my posts about Game Access.


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