Week 7 – Bringing the LSE to Life / Playtest Session 2

Giant Combat saw some decent-sized (almost giant-sized) progress during Week 7.

We continued with our question of “What is correct behaviors for the LSE reacting to the player?” and implemented a lot of interesting features. While not all of them are in quite yet, we plan on finalizing what we’ve done during the early part of next week as we brace for our Half Semester Presentation.

While we brainstormed last week about how the LSE should react, we came up with a new way for it to react to you while simultaneously aiming to eliminate the use of fake walking we have all come to dread.

After the LSE forms, it stomps the ground and roars causing stone spires to erupt from the earth. These spires all have hookable points on them, with the added bonus of (hopefully) preventing the need for the aforementioned fake walking.

In addition, the LSE now has a visible cone of sight. While this still needs tweaking to feel right (ie. eye doesn’t have a pupil, head doesn’t always tilt to follow you, etc.), the basics are in place. If the LSE spots the player, it will throw part of his body at them. A single hit will cause instant death (and after a couple of seconds a respawn at the platform), but this body part can also be used to get to the LSE faster since it will recall that body part after a beat. It made sense to us that having the LSE react to your presence in both a hostile and ranged way.

Some quality of life changes were also put into place. hand occlusion was removed since the climbing bars are good enough to aid in climbing feedback, the auto aim accuracy on the hookshots were tweaked to make them feel better, and we are bracing ourselves for some potential performance issues that could rear their heads down the line.

On the art side of things, a new sword model is in the works to fit the aesthetics of our world. The details are being worked on as we speak, but here’s a sneak peak:

Our world is undergoing a facelift as well!

The details of the environment, skybox, lighting, and fog will really serve to add more flavor to the landscape

While we have taken many steps to make the hookshot easier to use (such as not having to grab them from holsters on your waist), there is still the hiccup of having the trigger associated with climbing as well. To this end we decided to try and either onboard people without the trigger and have them press a button with their thumb to activate the hookshot, or eventually move the trigger to the thumb permanently and have the trigger in use for more concise finger animation when climbing. Clearly, more testing will have to take place.

Speaking of testing, our data collection system for playtesters is growing. A playtest UI system is in progress so we can pause, fast forward, and so forth through our playtester’s experiences as we see fit to better get an insight into their comments and actions overall.

We were able to do a solid playtest session with more ETC students today and recorded 9 testers. The data revealed some potentially interesting pieces:

  1. How did you feel about the scale of the LSE? = 5.2
  2. How difficult was it to slay the LSE? = 3.2
  3. How tough was knowing where you were on the LSE itself (ie. disorientation) = 4.3
  4. How did it feel traversing the LSE? (7 = hard) = 3.0
  5. How did the LSE’s actions/reactions feel? (7 = bad) = 3.7
  6. We also asked “how are your motion sickness symptoms (like dizziness, nausea, etc.) on a scale from 0 (none) to 3 (severe)” after the experience, and received an average of 0.6

While the questions involving traversing and actions/reactions were new, we were able to see some changes in comparison to past playtests. Specifically, we compared the data not only to the previous playtests with high school students, but specifically with our past ETC playtesters. The former has little to no experience in Virtual Reality, while the latter has a solid foundation with some having experience with the Valve Index controllers in the past.

Feeling of Scale-24%-10%
LSE Actions / Reactions0 (3.7 baseline)0 (3.7 baseline)
Motion Sickness+5%+5%

The difficulty going down was a nice to see, and was definitely intended with the hookshot changes. The feeling of scale shifting as much as it did requires some further introspection, but we did end up moving the LSE further away to be able to execute the spire moment. Again, more playtesting and more data might even out some percentages or could shine a brighter light on some of the changes.

As we were playtesting, we also noticed that the addition of the spires emphasized hook shots more and more. An interesting thought questioned our minds; “Should the prototype revolve just around swinging while another focuses just on climbing?” This is something we will be thinking about a bit more in the coming weeks.

So, without further ado, here are all of these changes wrapped in a neat little video!

2/28/2020 Build