Newsletter Week 13

Our week In Recall

Week 13 was a crunch week for Project Spearhead. In this week our objectives were to progress in prototypes 5 and 6, complete our documentation, and prepare for softs.

What we Accomplished

The prototype code named “Rift and the Bees” has been given a Wall Street theme. In this game you will collect coins and dodge gavels as you try to collect the most money in two minutes. Our gameplay explores features such as using a monitor with the Oculus Rift as a second screen, treating the Oculus Rift as a game object and, position tracking of the Oculus Rift. We chose these features because we believe that they are likely to become common mechanics in future games.

The other current prototype is codenamed “Rift in the Wall”. We hit our stride this week in the direction of the game. We decided focus gameplay off of a more developed version of the rocket inverted controls test. In “Rift in the Wall” Players will be forced to navigate a course of Obstacles as they continue to speed up. The player can grow, shrink, or rotate their avatar using the Razer Hydra, while they control their direction with the rotations of the Oculus Rift.


Austin Testing Prototype 6

Along with our prototypes, we completed our Softs preparation and finalized the documentation covering our tests. Our document is 48 pages long and discusses our data collected, our hypotheses and our conclusions. In preparation for Softs, we began packaging our tests and prototypes into videos for our team promo and the beginning of our Softs presentation.


Frank Testing Riftdaq

What’s Next

Next week, Softs and Thanksgiving will take up most of our week, but we plan on beginning the process of polishing our prototypes and creating our ETC exhibit.

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Newsletter Week 12

Our week In Recall

This is the 12th week of the project and we just finished wrapping up prototypes 3 and 4. Our main focus this week was to balance numbers in Rift Swarm and add more levels to Headless Horseman. We also began brainstorming for next two prototypes

What we Accomplished

Rift Swarm was in a state where all the mechanics were done but a lot of numbers needed to be balanced. The laser was doing too much damage thereby making the turrets and walls somewhat useless. So it was essential to spend time and balance out those values. Next step was to add sound effects and music to the experience. Sound effects were crucial for the experience, as they mentioned where the enemies were getting spawned. With these changes in place, we were successful in creating a “poor man’s holodeck” world and finally wrapped up Rift Swarm.


Rift Swarm

Headless Horseman got trickier levels dealing with visibility and navigating the body. The overall game was also shortened and fine tuned in order to produce a strong interest curve.


Headless Horseman Puzzle layout

The rest of the week was spent brainstorming for the next two prototypes. We knew that we wanted to make one futuristic prototype which uses the position tracking feature. We wanted to understand how this would impact designing for the oculus rift. We also wanted to incorporate the Razer Hydra in a meaningful way. One of our biggest challenges was to think simple because documenting for softs was also on our timeline for the next week.

What’s Next

The next step is to figure out game design elements for the position tracking prototype and a simple design for the Razer Hydra game. In addition documentation is going on for softs.

PS_Newsletter_Week 12

Newsletter Week 11

Our week In Recall

This is our 11th week working on Project Spearhead and the second week working on prototypes 3 and 4. Our main focus this week was to finish our current prototypes. Our constant secondary focus was to continue our documentation and work towards getting our deliverables out to the public.

What we Accomplished

When we began this week we had very rough mock ups of Prototypes 3 and 4. In regards to ‘Werewolves and Vampires’ (now officially ‘Rift Swarm’) we had the stage, the main tower, and the laser in place. Since then we’ve created models and textures for four difference enemies and three different towers. Each of those were also given different properties and balanced in relation to each other.


Our four different enemy units.






In addition, we added a system for lives, the path finding system for the enemies, and created a logic system for spawning the enemy units. Lastly, as part of our polishing we created sounds for the weapons firing, titles screens, and particle effects for the enemies and main laser.


The two title screens for our prototypes.


Regarding ‘Headless Horseman’, last week we were able to control a 3D character and move the camera with a PS Move controller. This week we’ve refined the movement of the head (in-game camera) to allow for a greater range of motion and we’ve added the ability to throw your head around the level and recall it back to your head. Once this ability was in play we added a accuracy meter that allowed you to control exactly where you were throwing your head. From there we concentrated on creating a single level that pushed you to utilize both of these mechanics. For instance, in order to pass through a door, you have to toss your head onto one button,
turn around, and guide your body onto another button, then the door will open.

The last thing we accomplished was to submit our project to the IEEEVR 2014 conference to give a tutorial on Experimental Game Design for the Oculus Rift. We should hear back from them by the end of the month.

What’s Next

The next step is to keep pushing on. We will begin brainstorming for our next two prototypes and then start working on them. In addition, we are compiling our data and conclusions and looking for places to showcase our work.

PS_Newsletter_Week 11

Newsletter Week 10

Our week In Recall

This week saw the very beginnings of our third and forth prototypes. We worked on getting the basic mechanics added to our prototypes, meeting with professors, and deciding on the more general aspects of our designs and art styles. In addition we continued our efforts to complete our tests and organize the data that we have gathered in the past. Particularly we are focusing on presenting our data in a easily read and understood way that will be of us to others outside the project.

What we Accomplished

As a recap, our next two prototypes are code named ‘Werewolves and Vampires’ and ‘Headless Horseman’. ‘Werewolves and Vampires’ is a new form of tower defense. The player will use a continuous laser firing from the in game camera to eliminate enemies and activate ground turrent which will help destory enemies. Their point of view will be fixed on top of a plateau and they will have to spin around (360 degrees) in their chair in order to keep track of the entire battlefield.
The first step in this prototype was to get the Oculus Camera set up in the position shown in the previous picture. We needed to see what it was like the be fixed in a single position and have to turn your entire body to see the whole game area. The result was a ‘poor man’s holodeck’. It was immersive and unique without needing to mimic reality.


The second prototype, ‘Headless Horseman’ was centered around the concept of holding your head in one hand. The player would use the PS Move to actually hold the in game camera, which would be connected to the Oculus Rift screen. Our second mechanic was the ability to throw the player’s head around the map in order to see over walls and around barriers.
The first step to this prototype was to get the PS Move and Oculus to talk to each other. This required the use of Move.Me, a Playstation add-on. Once this was done, Frank created a mock up of our mechanic and after playing for a while we concluded that it was a strange but not uncomfortable experience.
Our final accomplishment this week was completing our Walking Test with the Oculus. We compared walking blindfolded with walking with an Oculus Rift loaded with a virtual world. In short we learned that while walking with an OR can be very distracting the device can provide a fixed point of reference which allows the user to walk in a straight line.

What’s Next

We are pushing forward on the art assets and the implementation of the secondary mechanics in each of the prototypes.

PS_Newsletter_Week 10

Newsletter Week 8

Our week In Recall

Week 8 was dedicated to refining our firsts two prototypes: 3rd Person Rig and Space Bball and preparing for our ‘Halves’ presentation to the faculty. Halves’ is requirement of the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), we present the progress and findings of our project to the ETC faculty along with our plan for the rest of the semester.

What we Accomplished

The greatest thing we accomplished was building the backpack rig fro the 3rd Person Rig and organizing our presentation for halves. This has been a tough week fro the team but we are confident that we are progressing at a good pace. We are also learning many new things about the limitation of the Occulus Rift.

You may view out halves presentation through the Youtube link above. The presentation took place Monday of Week 9. Feedback is discussed in Newsletter Week 9

What’s Next

Once Halves prepearation is over we will continue to brainstorm our next prototypes and finialize our first two prototypes: 3rd Person Rig and Space Bball.

PS_Newsletter_Week 8




Newsletter Week 2

PDF Download of the Week2 Newsletter – PS_Newsletter_Week 2

We learned to be careful with certain textures on the Oculus.

We learned to be careful with certain textures on the Oculus.

Our Week In Recall

This week we started out by showing our posters and branding material to Ruth. We had finished a few rough ideas during week one and wanted to make sure we were headed in the right direction. Well, we weren’t.

This left us with some work to do once Tushar made it back from PAX. So on Wednesday we had our second major team meeting. The idea was that we needed to brainstorm the feedback Ruth gave us and come up with Poster ideas that better represented our project. Also, we needed to get organized and get started on our 20 deliverables for our project.

After we created a plan for our first two prototypes we split off and got to work. Tushar and Frank began work on the prototypes, while Austin and I got to work on completing the projects branding (website, logo, half sheet, etc).

As we near the end of the week we are still in work mode. Progress continues on the first two prototypes as Austin and I finish our work we will start contributing art assets needed by Frank and Tushar.

What we Accomplished

The biggest thing we accomplished was getting organized. We have a roadmap to our first official two tests of the Oculus Rift, one being a motion test and the other being a series of gesture tests. The work is going well on both, but we are noticing some issues that come with the Oculus.One of these is that enclosed spaces are dangerous. The motion tests require us to create a hallway very similiar to the 2nd Floor of the ETC. Our first though was to construct some quick walls in Unity that mimic the 2nd floor’s walls. It turns out that such measurements, though not claustrophobic in real life are very claustrophobic in oculus vision. And so we are remodelling our first test map.

Other than that, our first section of the gesture test is nearing completion, the newsletter template is done, and the poster is finished.

It takes a lot to get a project moving. Each of us has many other responsibilities to worry about, and while it may seem like we are falling behind with 2 weeks down and no deliverables finished out of the 20 promised; it’s important to remember that building momentum is a project in it of itself. Even a 4 person project is a large beast to move, but in week 2, we’ve managed to lumber our first step forward.

What’s Next

Once we have completed our first two tests for the Oculus we will do an in-house playtest (making sure the tests actually test for what we are looking for. Then we will refine and put them away for friday. In the interim we’ll move on to our next deliverables.  Come friday we’ll perform our first testing day.


Newsletter Week 1

Hi Everyone,

We are Project Spearhead and we are a student pitch project that focuses on exploring and testing the limits of the new virtual reality head-mounted display, the Oculus Rift.


Our goal is to develop 20 test and prototypes that utilize the Occulus Rift in new and experiential ways.
During our research we found that many project utilizing the Occulus Rift focused solely on on utilizing the rift as a camera but we feel that this new piece of technology has far greater potential.


What we Accomplished

This week we started out by meeting as a team, researching fellow Occulus Rift Projects and discussing everything we wished to accomplish with the Occulus Rift. From our brainstorming session we were able to develop a thorough list of mechanics and potential limitations we wanted to test.

As the week came to a close we were able to develop three ideas for our branding material (website, logo, half sheet, etc.) We also finalized our vision and definition of what test and prototypes consist of.

Our TEST GOALS are to:
Learn about the abilities of the Oculus Rift while testing a hypothesis regarding it’s usability in a game design context.

Create a fun experience using the Oculus Rift and utilize knowledge gained from tests to inform our mechanic; this will either cement our findings from the tests or open our eyes to real life exceptions to the data we gathered.

What’s Next

Our next step is to brainstorm our first two test and develop the design of our posters and branding material.

PS_Newsletter_Week 1