13. The Scourge of the Worms… and Thanksgiving

With our new, clearer goal, we were able to more clearly define the goal of the game and the mechanics that players will use. Now, when the player starts the game, instead of a long winded and confusing intro scene, they are taken directly to the game. However, they don’t start off with the Tango on the headset. They start off holding it as a tablet. They are prompted to scan around the room a little bit before putting on the headset and slotting the Tango into place. We spent a lot of time experimenting with how to get players into the game smoothly without confusing them and we feel like this works quite well.

Screenshot_2015-12-07-15-21-36 Screenshot_2015-12-07-15-21-16

Once in the game, cubic wireframes spawn in the world, the goal is to fill up these wireframes to create objects in the world. Objects range from different types of trees and shrubs to flowers and cacti. We found that the experience of creating something in the world, and the moment of discovery when the rigid wireframe changes into a clearly defined object was really enjoyable to players.


We went a step further and added a light story to the gameplay. The world is being infested by worms. Your job is to remove the worms and restore the world to its original state. So in keeping with this theme, areas around wireframe objects are cracked and destroyed. By filling in the wireframe and creating vegetation there, you remove the cracks and restore that part of the world. As players fill in more wireframes, they are presented with an additional challenge. New wireframes are guarded by worms! Players must first destroy the worms (using the same mechanic of filling up a wireframe above the worm. We’ve found that kicking works best, and is the most satisfying). Once that is done, they can fill up the wireframe and restore the environment.


This design has the benefit of being very responsive and clear in it’s goals. Previously, when we had animals in the game, there was a lot of dependencies in the gameplay. Players had to wait for an animal to do X before they could do Y. Now, players get to do what they want when they want, allowing for much more responsive gameplay.


We also completely redesigned our website! It is now a much better reflection of the awesome work we are doing on the project!


Though this was a short week – just 2 days – because of the thanksgiving break, we got a significant amount of work done. Soft opening happens on Wednesday next week and we are pumped to show people our near-final version! Starting this year, the ETC has decided that a few of the faculty will try and grade every project as part of soft opening. So we will be sending out a build to Pittsburgh where they will try out our experience and give us grades and feedback.


As the semester comes to a close, we feel we are in a good position to finish strong and hit all the goals that we set for ourselves at the start of the semester.