VR Game Design & Development Class

Game 1: Can’t Touch This (Basic Object Interactions)

14 February 2020 – 6 March 2020

Time: 2 Weeks (5 class periods)

Purpose: To understand the fundamentals of Unreal Engine 4, Blender, and game design.

Skills You Will Build:

  • Writing a game design document
  • Using Unreal Engine 4 to make a basic VR game
  • Using Blueprint scripting
  • Understanding basic color theory
  • Making and exporting 3D models in Blender
  • Applying colors to 3D models in UE4
  • Communication with peers
  • Researching answers to technical questions
  • Time management

Grading Rubric:

  • 20% – Design
    • 10% – Game design document reflects your game as it progresses.
      • Use it as a working technical document.
      • The game in your final game design document must be the same game you built.
    • 5% – Game was designed to implement the development requirements in a meaningful way.
    • 5% – Consider the core play aesthetics of your game when designing the dynamics and mechanics.
  • 30% – Development
    • 2% – Can look around using the VR headset.
    • 2% – Can move virtual hands with controllers.
    • 4% – Include some type of object movement in the game.
    • 7% – Can grab and move an object other than the default Pickup Cube.
    • 10% – Have 2 objects (other than your hands) be able to interact in some meaningful way (collisions). – tutorial
    • 5% – Mechanics of the game reflect the intended design.
  • 30% – Visual Art
    • 10% – Make all the 3D objects in the game (you may use existing basic shapes from within unreal such as boxes and spheres but no using complex assets like pre-made furnished rooms).
    • 10% – Make a color pallet and get it approved.
      • Color choice must be intentional!
      • Do they work well together to set a mood or theme for your game?
      • Do the colors allow the player to see what he/she must interact with?
    • 5% – Apply colors to all the objects.
    • 5% – Demonstrate consideration of color in your game.
      • Ex. Don’t put light yellow text on a white background because that’s very hard to read.
  • 20% – Work Ethic
VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 4: Off To The Races!

It’s finally time to start our first project! You were assigned groups today, so talk with your partner this weekend to get 3 unique fleshed out ideas ready for Tuesday. Know what the core play aesthetics each idea will deliver on, and make sure your idea is something you can finish in 2 weeks. No submission needed, but make sure you’re ready to present in class.

Part 2 of your homework is to play a game you’ve never played before! Figure out what core play aesthetics the game tries to delivers on, explain how the game attempts to deliver on those aesthetics, and tell me if you think the game did so effectively (don’t just say it did or didn’t, explain your reasoning). Submissions are due before next class.

VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 3: Color Palettes

  1. Make 3 color palettes and submit screenshots of them (with the specific hex value for the color).
    1. Use to make them.
  2. Also include written descriptions of your color pallets to explain their purpose in a game and why they look good together (Are they complementary? Are they similar in tone? Are they all a bit washed out like in hollow knight?). Each one must be made for a specific purpose such as…
    1. Setting moods
      1. gloomy
      2. happy
      3. confused
      4. hungry
    2. Specific environments/scenes
      1. Lava (like in Mario)
      2. Underwater
      3. Forrest
      4. The Moon
    3. You can say “because the colors look good” for only one of your palettes.
      1. If you use this as your justification, you must explain why they look good.
  3. Look up examples for inspiration.
    1. Use those research skills we talked about!
  4. Be creative! I don’t want to see everyone doing a happy color palettes that’s just a bunch of yellows.

Grading Rubric:
– 2 point for each of 3 color palettes (6 points total)
– 2 point for each description (6 points)
– 2 points for not using more than one of my examples (2 points)

*As always, half off for late assignments.

VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 2: Aesthetics Of Play

Due 27 January 2020

  1. Watch the video by Extra Credits ‘Aesthetics of Play – Redefining Genres in Gaming’ (linked below).
  2. Think of a game you enjoy (it can’t be one of the ones referenced in the video or from last class).
  3. List the core play aesthetics of that game and describe why the game delivers on each of those aesthetics.
    1. Descriptions cannot just be “because it uses X,” explain yourself fully.
    2. The game you pick must include 2 or more core play aesthetics.

Superstar Submissions:

The main aesthetics of the game “Snipperclips” on the Nintendo Switch is Fellowship and Sense Pleasure. The game requires you to cooperate with a friend or AI, and you must work together in order to form the right shape, or achieve the goal. It plays on a sense of togetherness with a friend, since you have to discuss with that friend while you are playing the game because it is a puzzle game. It also plays on Sense Pleasure, because the graphics of the game are unique in that they are shaped like paper and are cute and have faces on them. The cute expressions on the characters keep you coming back to replay the game because it’s fun making the characters make different faces.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild’s core game aesthetics are fantasy, discovery, and narrative. Link is a brave knight trying to rescue Princess Zelda from the great threat known as Calamity Gannon in order to save Hyrule from destruction. That definitely isn’t something that happens in our everyday lives. And with all the amazing races and environments to explore, it makes it feel that much more immersive. That leads to the discovery. I can’t even begin to list the enormous amount of freedom and experimentation in this game. For example, using the boulder damaging mechanic and mixing it with the time freezing mechanic, I was able to launch a boulder at monsters in order to clear a path. And the exploration mechanics also tie into the narrative. Discovering new villages, items, and NPCs help show you a bigger picture of the situation that you are in. You can see how the people of Hyrule feel about the dark presence, and how it now affects their everyday lives. Traveling also allows you to discover secret cutscenes that explain the events that lead to the Calamity Gannon awakening. I felt emotionally invested into this world and story, and it drove me to keep on playing and see what else I could discover in this massive map full of magic and adventure.

VR Game Design & Development Class

Classwork: Pre-Development Practicum (Designing A Video Game)

One student per group must submit the design documentation you worked on in class on Thursday (the 16th). This must be pasted in or uploaded as a document, do not send me a link to a google doc.

All students in a group should be working together and giving roughly equal input. Both of you will be asked to explain your game to the class on Monday and you won’t know who will talk about which parts before the presentation.

The design document must include:

  • A description of the major topic of your video game. (What is the game about?)
    • ex. This game is a visual novel about the daily life of an ODA student. Players will spend time in class, interacting with fellow students and teachers, and making decisions to effect their RISER meter. At the end, their RISER score will determine if they get an A on their quarterly report or if they’ll be asked to leave ODA.
    • hint: write this part last
  • List of key elements of your game (maps, characters, art style, etc.)
  • Expounded descriptions of each key element with enough detail to give readers a clear idea of all the essential components of your game.
    • You should be able to begin programming and doing art for the game after reading this document.
    • Hint: Don’t get stuck on one element! Move on or ask for the opinion of someone in another group.
VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 1: Video Game Ideas

Due 16 January 2020

Think of 3 distinct (very different from each other) ideas for video games that you and your partner could flesh out for the pre-development assignment on Thursday. These do not have to be VR game ideas.

You must submit your 3 ideas before class on Thursday. The assignment closes at 10:40am. You need these ideas to do your work in class.

Each idea must include a 3 sentence description. You need to submit a total of 9 sentences to me. No more, no less. In game design you must give thorough descriptions without being too word-y.