Man Overboard!

Become a human cannonball to collect treasure before your ammo runs out!

Man Overboard! is a pirate themed game which turns you into a human cannonball. The player’s mission is to collect treasure chests, and avoid falling into the water. With a limited number of cannonballs, the player will have to aim strategically to accomplish their goal. In the process of building our initial concept, we've discovered that the most fun and challenging gameplay feature is to shoot yourself high and far. The addition of a mechanism to view the trajectory of your previous shots is helpful in finding your bearings and correcting your aim. Due to time restrictions, instead of creating a multilevel game we have produced one fun, challenging level that will require the player to explore and use their wits to successfully complete the objective.

  • Controls: Our game is controlled through a combination of gaze, and touch pad. Aim the cannon using your gaze, then fire using the touch pad.

    • Tap the touch pad to start
    • Look where you want to shoot, then tap to fire
    • Tap the touch pad again to reload after hitting the water or ground
    • Hit the back button to pause the game (free look is enabled, allowing you to visually explore the scene while paused); tap the back button again to unpause
    • Exit the game to Oculus Home by pressing the back button when you're at the main menu screen
  • Mechanics: The main mechanic of the game is aiming using your gaze. The player must aim for the target, adjusting appropriately for distance. Then, they fire, and fly through the air while passively viewing the scenery.

  • Innovation: Most of the UI elements and instructions are presented within the game world, in a context that makes sense for the setting; some of these elements are even incorporated directly into the objective of the game, encouraging exploration and multiple attempts. The core game mechanic is extremely simple, and understood easily with very little instruction.

What we have done so far

  • Cannon Launching mechanics are completed and we now have a solid working cannon, which launches you across the scene.
  • Aim directly with your head for the most natural feel
  • 3D Cannon overlay is complete and gives you true a sense of motion through the barrel of a cannon.
  • Reset mechanic points cannon in the natural direction of your head when you return to the ship. This helps reduce disorientation after taking your shot and getting loaded back into the cannon
  • A vibrant cartoony scene that gives you a sense of an infinite horizon line that limits draw calls and runs great in the Gear VR
  • Environmental ambient sound effects immerse you in the scene
  • Pirate-themed music and voice overs provide context, instruction, and excitement
  • Designed a challenging level to explore, with multiple treasure chests to collect and interesting scenery to observe
  • Win and lose states and a high score that stores on the device (unless you uninstall and re-install)

Lessons learned so far

  • Unity 4.4.3’s stats button in the editor is extremely handy to show draw calls and vertices counts.
  • It’s easy to turn off stereo view by disabling a few OVR scripts and mimic head tracking with a mouse look script. So handy and was extremely helpful in streamlining testing.
  • Snapping a cannon to a user’s face, then launching them through it is tough work! Sure, launching a user across the screen was easy the first time we did it, but resetting the user back in the same location again and again, retaining the head tracking, aligning the positions all perfect; that took a lot of work to get it right. In the end, we found the simplest solution of aligning duplicate geometry together which both had no mesh renderer or colliders. One in the cannon and another a parent of the head tracking (OvrCameraRig) center piece.
  • Raycasting on mobile devices can be difficult. Creative solutions were required to detect the tops of dynamic waves.
  • Resetting the scene, while also resetting the music was frustrating for the player; carrying over progress for the in-game music after resetting the level helps maintain immersion.

High Score Notes:

  • You start the level with a 10x score multiplier
  • The multiplier decreases by 1 each minute
  • Every treasure chest you collect is worth 1, multiplied by the score multiplier
  • When you win, you get 10 points for each cannonball you have left, so aim carefully!

Audio Notes:

Thank you for viewing our submission to the VR Jam 2015. It was an honor to take part and we had a blast!

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