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

competitive 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

In the prototype weapon ammo was dictated by mana, charge, and cooldown timers. Casting a spell drained a player's mana bar. Cooldown timers would initiate after casting a spell, and prevented players from casting spells in quick succession. And finally, charge was essentially a separate mana bar designated to a special weapon.

Having all of these ammo types created a complex resource management system that distracted from the fast paced Overwatch gameplay we wanted. I redesigned this system by removing the Mana and Charge, and focused on a refined cooldown timer system. Now spells now have multiple uses, called charges. Each spell has a varying amount of charges, which are visualized as a segmented ring around the spell's symbol. Below are a few examples of how this is visualized.

 
 

These cooldown timers have varying visual states to display their status. If a player uses all of the spell charges, the spell is unusable until it recharges. But spells are constantly recharging over time, which is indicated by a red progress bar. Once the progress bar fills up, the charge segment and spell icon flash to indicate it’s usable again. The spell will continue to charge until all of the charges are refilled.