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Terwey's Puzzler mobile VR game for Google Cardboard
Terwey’s Puzzler VR game – A Virtual Reality Game for Google Cardboard

What is this project about?
For this project, I designed a simple mobile VR game app targeting as audience users who are  interested in VR, but who have not yet had any experience with a Google Cardboard app.
My main focus was to show VR basics to new users, to guide them through the very first steps when trying a Google Cardboard app for the first time, and to keep them interested in VR.

For performance reasons, I wanted to use just low-poly models as well as 3D models from my archive. Another goal was a clear and easy to use UI in order to communicate further steps and other information.

Statement of Purpose
A children’s game as VR experience
„Terwey’s Puzzler VR game“ for Google Cardboard is an experience for new VR users, inspired by the „Simon says“ game.
Design & Development

Phase 1

Persona, characteristics of our typical user
Chris is a student, pupil, or person of high education, aged 10-50.  
Chris is interested in fine arts, architecture and new state-of-the-art technologies, is familiar to mobile devices, but not yet very familiar to VR. Chris is curious and eager to learn new things. Chris likes playing games on mobile devices
A quote: "Nothing impossible. There is always a solution."

Design development details

Player movement
In order to avoid simulator sickness and other uncomfortable feelings, I attached importance to smooth, linear movements in continuous speed.
In order to avoid sticky app performance, I worked on finding the right balance between low-res textures and good visual quality, low-poly 3D models and more or less realistic appearance.
I spend much time on the lighting setup to achieve a good appropriate atmosphere which should be mysterious and should suit the exhibited art work.
While playing the puzzle game, visual and audio effects are played to let the player know whether his orb selection was correct or not.
In order to polish up the overall atmosphere, different background sounds are played.

Pictures below: First sketches for the UI and scene.
User test no 1
of the very first prototype

At this point, the scene showed a dungeon in a dark, abstract, generated environment. The user could „walk“ on button click from the start entry point to the dungeon, and then to the end/ restart point. (See picture below)

User 1 & User 2 
1. How can you describe the mood of the environment you are in?
It looks dark and mysterious.

2. Could you describe how you feel yourself in the scene?
I think I feel as tall as I am in reality, neither too tall nor too small.

3. Do you see everything clearly?
The environment is very diffuse and abstract. The billboards are well readable. The lighting might be a bit too dark.

4. Could you describe the overall design of the scene?
The scene and its models look conventional, not very special. A bit old-fashioned, medieval.

5. Do you have any other comments?
Yes, I would prefer text info in German language.

Picture below: first prototype
Phase 2
I improved the lighting, and set up a totally new scene with some other models and textures. As textures, I used fine art paintings by Bernd Terwey.
Implementation of the game logic, a timer, game levels. In our scenario, the timer is a moving sword  as described in the novel „The pit and the pendulum“ by E. A. Poe.
I also added further UI elements, sound and visual effects for better interactivity, and did some bug fixing.

User test no 2
User 1-3, feedback:
"The scenario looks very interesting and makes me curious. I really plunge into another world and feel comfortable.
As a new user I understand immediately what to do next. The puzzle is fun.
The paintings are awesome, who is the artist and what is their title?"
Phase 3
I added some more billboards with information about the art work.
Added a German localization which will be shown depending on the user’s language settings of his device.
Final design adjustments. I also adjusted the speed of the moving sword in accordance to the chosen game level.

While working on this project, I kept an eye on making the user experience as comfortable as possible. I took also efforts on design an interesting, good-looking appearance with low-budget assets.
Finally, the game app has become an interesting, intuitive, and nice mobile VR experience altogether.
Next Steps

Adding further localizations and more art work so that the scene will become as interesting as an art gallery.
Integration of a web view so that the artist’s web site can be displayed.
Implementation of an alternative non-stereoscopic view for users without a Google Cardboard.
Implementation of a score, bonus points etc. in the game logic.

credits: 3D models and textures for the mountains, sounds provided by Udacity.
other textures by Bernd Terwey.
Terwey's Puzzler mobile VR game for Google Cardboard

Terwey's Puzzler mobile VR game for Google Cardboard

A simple mobile VR game app targeting as audience users who are interested in VR, but who have not yet had any experience with a Google Cardboard Read More


Creative Fields

Attribution, Non-commercial, No DerivativesAttribution, Non-commercial, No DerivativesAttribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives