Samsung VR Jam – Maleficus


NameMaleficus
Short DescriptionA Virtual Reality game for the Samsung Gear VR about avoiding a wizards traps.
CategoryJam
DateJun 2016 (~40 hours)
EngineUnity
RoleProgrammer
Team Size4

About

Maleficus is a game we created for the Samsung Virtual Reality Jam hosted at NHTV. In Maleficus, you are exploring a mages’ tower. The mage has set traps to stop you which include books, spikes, and lava.

Concepting

We spend quite some time on thinking about the concept of your game even though time our time was very limited. The requirement for a project in the Samsung VR Jam was that it had to be made for the Samsung Gear VR. The hardware we had access to includes a Samsung Gear VR, Galaxy S6 Edge, a VR controller and a Samsung smart watch.

We decided to stick to the Gear VR alone to make it as user-friendly as possible. We also decided to only use rotation for the gameplay, which is the unique advantage of the Gear VR over all other VR sets at the time because it doesn’t have a cable. After playing around with various concepts, we decided on a game in which you are in a wizard’s tower which contains books which will fly at you, spikes which can stab you and lava which forces you to keep moving up. You move and avoid the dangers by turning left and right.

Challenges

It was challenging to create a game in the amount of time we had due to the small team size and time restriction. To make it more complicated, most of us had close to no experience with Virtual Reality development. This proved to be challenging for programming, art as well as design due to its many limits.

After playtesting the game, we found that people moved their head sideways when a book flew at their head rather than turning left or right. Unfortunately, the Gear VR doesn’t track the position of the players head which means you can’t really check for this. It does, however, track the orientation of the device. After some brainstorming, we decided to work around this problem by checking the horizontal orientation of the VR set, because when a person dodges to the left or right, they also always rotate their head.

Dodge Check

 

One hard limit to game development for the Gear VR is the very limited power which means that with everything you do, you have to think about how heavy it is. Instantiating new objects in Unity is heavy. That’s why I optimized it by having a book pool which can be activated.

Book activation

 

Screenshots & Download

  • The traps
    The traps
  • Lava forces you to continue
    Lava forces you to continue
  • The tower is full of dangers
    The tower is full of dangers

The .apk file for the game can be downloaded here.