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Asymmetric Party Game

Description

Project:

Asymmetric Party Game

Role on team:

Game UX/UI Designer & 3D Designer

Logline:

Try to survive extinction by reaching Paradise City as a climber or choose the right people to enter as an almighty God. 

Essence statement:

Embark on a life or death climbing experience to reach Paradise City at the top, racing against the rising toxic ocean and survive environmental extinction while an almighty God hardens your path to salvation by throwing rocks on your way, leading you to a trap or releasing thunder in your way. God may consider you worthy or condemn you because of your past actions. 

Game overview:

The Climb is an asymmetric game using VR and PC where the VR player has to climb to the top of a mountain to win and the PC player has to prevent them from doing so. The PC player has a tool menu available from where they can choose different abilities to prevent climbers from reaching the top: throwing rocks at them to slow them down, creating new paths to trap the climber into a dead-end, or throwing thunder their way. To avoid being drowned by the oceans or thrown back by the rocks the climber can reach different safe zones on the path to the top where nothing can damage them. 

Key features:

RACE ABOVE THE OCEAN

Climbs as fast as you can before the water level reaches you. 

STOP THE UNWORTHY

As a God, make the climbers path as hard as possible or consider them worthy of surviving by helping them reach the top. 

REACH PARADISE

Survive the climb by reaching the top and entering into Paradise City to avoid extinction. 

User Journey:

 

Concept Art:

A brown or grey color scale is used to represent a futuristic setting, where the Earth is dying and humans are facing hard times. Vivid color is added to accentuate the contrast between the Harshlands and Paradise City. In general, the environment is designed to look difficult to survive. Floating rocks with a waterfall illustrate that something is wrong with the gravity in this harsh land, as the background motif indicates the end of the world. Thunder in the daylight is an unnatural feature, as thunder is mostly created under a cloudy sky as in an old saying in Confucianism goes, “The secretive criminal will be revealed by a thunder even the sky is dry and under the daylight.” This concept fits the god’s almighty ability to punish the climbers and prevent the sinners’ ascent to heaven. Foggy clouds around the mountain imply that there is a lot of moisture in the air. Based on its surroundings, such as floating rocks and “dry” thunder, shows that it is a long way to the top where the paradise awaits. This mystical landscape creates a dystopian atmosphere.

CORE LOOP

GOD & CLIMBER 

Here you can find the different core-loops in the game.

God Core Loop

Climber Core Loop

LEVEL DESIGN

In this section, it is explained how the levels work.

The game follows a non-linear narrative and is divided by levels. Each level the difficulty for both players increases. Following you can find a flow chart of how one level works for each of the players and a list of which elements will help increase the difficulty during the progression of the game.

VR player – Climber

 

PC player – God

CONTROLS:

This section explains how each player interacts with the game through the controls.

GOD MODE:

The god mode is viewed on an orbital camera that can be rotated around and moved up and down along the main climbing structure. If the god selects any of the climbers during the game, the camera smoothly focuses on that specific climber. 

  • Holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse around moves the camera in the direction that the player wants.
  • The left-mouse button is used for selecting climbers, as well as choosing different skills and using these skills, such as throwing rocks and creating thunder.
  • The mouse scroller is used to zoom in and out the camera in god mode.

VR CLIMBER MODE:

The VR player uses two HTC Vive controllers to interact with the world and climb structures. The controllers are tracked in room-scale VR allowing the player to move their hands while playing.

Using the trigger button, the player can grab objects in the world.

The player must pull their hands down while holding onto objects in order to climb in VR.

 

USER INTERFACE ELEMENTS:

Climber’s profile:

Each of the climbers, including the VR player, has attached a profile that grants them specific points. The God player can’t see the points they grant but they can read their profiles. These profiles describe important facts of their past lives.

Purpose:

The profiles make God’s play mode more interesting and challenging. They bring a moral choice element to the game. They will also influence if the players collaborate or compete, depending on the VR player’s profile. 

UI Design:

Play mode selecting screen:

This screen enables the player to choose the role they want to play: either God mode or VR mode. By clicking on the God mode, the player’s screen will jump to the third-person view. By clicking on the climber’s mode, the player will receive a notification to put on the VR headset then join in the game.

Play mode selecting screen

Cooldown screen

Onboarding Screen for God

Level selection:

It’s a level selecting screen. This screen includes all the levels. Players are able to click on the level by choosing each select box. Level 1 is the beginning of easy mode play. As the number goes up, levels become harder. 

There are 2 function buttons for going back to the previous menu and for the next menu. When the level’s icon is locked it appears greyish and when it is unlocked it appears white. 

Level Selection

Climber Profile

Climber Crosshair

UX in Sketch

PLAYTEST & ANALYSIS PROCESS

User Test:

FIRST PLAYTEST:

The first playtest was conducted with a sample of 26 participants, all Digital Media Master’s students from different background areas and different nationalities.

The users test the first iteration of the game, which included the following features:

  • Throwing Rocks
  • VR Climbing
  • Dual Mode

Main Conclusions:
Most players found the game to be easy or moderate.

Most players enjoyed climbing in VR, the social aspect of the game, the immersion that VR provides as well as the competitive aspect of it.

We also identified a need to implement more features to God’s mode because the balance of the game was off and it felt as if the player had no agency.

SECOND PLAYTEST:

The second playtest was conducted with a sample of 16 participants, all Digital Media Master’s students from different background areas and different nationalities.

The users test the first iteration of the game which included the following features:

  • VR Climbing
  • Throwing Rocks
  • Rising Water
  • Create a new path
  • Asymmetric Mode

Main Conclusions:
For VR Climbing, most of the players agree that the difficulty is moderate for them to climb to the peak. 

Most of the players said that the rock-throwing ability was generally useless as no collision effect was implied. Moreover, The rising water level was too powerful for the PC player to win the game.

In addition, from the interview, many testers mentioned that there is no clear objective for the PC player to play against the VR player. 
In conclusion, we decided to change the water rising ability and add a new ability, thunder. Also, a new objective for the PC player would be implied.

THIRD PLAYTEST:

The third playtest was conducted with a sample of 27 participants, all Digital Media Master’s students from different background areas and different nationalities.

The users test the third iteration of the game which included the following features:

  • Thunder
  • Rock throwing (with collision effect)
  • NPC climber
  • climber profile

Main Conclusions:

For VR climbing, most of the players agree that climbing is now challenging enough.

 

Most players agree that rock-throwing is impactful after adding the collision effect, while thunder is trivial despite no feedback (audio/collision effect) was implied.
For VR player:

 

For PC player:

 

After implying a new objective for a PC player ( selecting climber to climb up the hill by reading the climbers’ profile to get the score), 72% of the testers understand the objective. They also agree that it makes the PC part more engaging.

It was also interesting that different players showed different player styles in the game. From observation, some of them tried to torture the climbers and some of then showed mercy to the climber. It provided engaging dynamics in the game.

Last but not least, 96.2% of testers were satisfied with our game.

Categories: Interactive Design