Explore the world one jump at a time!
In the game Kangaroo Dash you find yourself stranded in a unknown world that consists of multiple floating islands. In order to find your way back home you will need to visit multiple islands, overcome obstacles and avoid deadly traps in order to collect the vital information needed to repair your ship and begin the voyage home.
The control scheme challenge
Since traversing and exploring large open worlds in a first person view is one of the most difficult things to undertake in virtual reality we first need to solve two problems.
- Natural motion is hard to mimic with the currently available input solutions, nausea often sets in if the player makes sudden movements in unnatural directions which is damaging not only to the game but to the VR movement as a whole.
- The loss of presence that using available control methods like gamepads or touchpads infer.
In Kangaroo Dash I have solved these issues in one single blow.
Using accelerometer input the player is able to traverse the world by jumping between points in a fixed grid. The inherent unpredictability of the human jump combined with the player doing the actual physical movement keeps the nausea at a minimum while still being able to freely roam the environment. Since the input solution is natural it is very easy to get into “the zone” when the game loop tightens later in the game.
To keep the game running at a cool 60 frames per seconds the game uses low poly aesthetics combined with baked textures to keep the draw call and vertex count to a minimum.
If the game is somewhat successful in the community it would get a makeover before releasing it into the wild. I do think that this game has a “you gotta try this!” potential from a user and a spectator perspective, which would make it an excellent title for an emerging platform like the Gear VR.
About the video
The video was recorded at my "real job" during the final week of the jam. All but one had only had brief encounters with VR before.
About the author
As a .NET programmer by day and a game developer / heavy metal enthusiast by night I entered the 2013 VR Jam with the somewhat successful game V^Bert. This time I'm back for revenge (and the possibility to quit my day job).