Released for Oculus
Reception & Next steps
Conjure Strike was released for Oculus Rift and has received a very positive response from players. We are still refining the gameplay and plan to release updates in the coming months.
Research & Analysis
Overwatch is TribeVR's main precedent for the feel of Conjure Strike’s gameplay. Overwatch provided a clear sense for the fast pace of the gameplay TribeVR wanted, but I needed to look into dedicated VR first-person experiences to figure out how to translate that to the Oculus Rift's unique interface. Some of the games I looked into were The Unspoken, Echo Arena, Gorn, and Adr1ft.
Optimized for VR best practices
Due to the speed and complexity of Conjure Strikes gameplay, I did thorough research on the best practices of VRs interaction designs and methods to prevent nausea. One of the most helpful resources was the Oculus VR Best Practices guide.
IDEATION & DESIGN
modern VR game + classic tight controls
Players have a variety of spells they must cast with split second precision during gameplay, but the system for equipping different spells in the initial prototype required tremendous focus, which made it nearly impossible to cast spells with the precise timing. The system required users to reach down and grab from a series of wands floating at waist level. I realized this was a problem when during play testing when players would stop moving in amidst hectic action in order to focus their attention on switching wands. This unfortuately often resulted in the player being killed or missing the opportune moment they were switching spells for. I streamlined this design by removing the wand system entirely, and instead mapped all the player’s spells to the Touch Controller’s buttons. This new controller layout allowed for a player’s entire arsenal of spells to be readily accessible at anytime. This design update was validated during play testing, as the matches became much faster paced and engaging.
Character Locomotion system
In Conjure Strike player’s move by flying through the air. Players control their flight by simply simply pointing their left controller and pressing forward on the joystick. The system I created assigns all locomotion to the left controller, and shooting to the right. This allows users to fly through environments while simultaneously aiming and casting spells in any direction.
Simplified Gameplay systems
The initial prototype had a complex system of different resources associated with casting spells that was distracting from the fast paced Overwatch gameplay we wanted. These resources, were mana, ammo, cooldown, and charges. Mana was a universal ammo that was drained whenever a spell was cast. Ammo is similar to mana, but only used for a specific weapon. Cooldown is a timer that initiates after casting a spell, and prevents the player from casting spells again until the timer finishes. And finally, charges dictate the amount of uses a spell has before the cooldown timer is initiated.
I redesigned this system by removing the mana and ammo, and refinined the charge and cooldown timer interaction. In my desingn the amount of charges varies between spells, which are visualized as segments on a ring around a spell's symbol. Below are a few examples of how this is visualized.
The system has varying visual states that display its status. Everytime the player casts a spell, a segment is depleated and greyed out on the ring. But these charges are constantly recharging, which is visualized by a red progress bar that fills up the charge segment. If a player uses all of the spell charges, the spell becomes temporarily unvailable until a charge segment refills.