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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Blair

My Latest VR Project

Brittany Blair


Summary


This August I've embarked on a new personal project to develop a VR game. I've always had a fascination with VR from the moment I was introduced to it and so its always been a dream of mine to create and work on VR games. I've decided to document the process here on my website and I'll be posting weekly development blogs to document the process. I invite you to join me on this journey. Unlike my portfolio project blogs I won't be linking documents for this project for download until the project is finished. I will be however showing previews of the document to show how they will change and adapt over time.


Week I


at the end of July I knew that I wanted to start working on a personal project, In my academic studies I wasn't able to participate in VR projects nearly as much as I had hoped. So I knew I wanted to make a VR game. Coming up with a viable concept took me some time. I dedicated a weekend to whiteboarding ideas, looking back at previous projects, and game ideas I had written down throughout college. I knew I wanted to make a project that was scalable, I wanted it to be a challenge, and above all I wanted to make a game that I would want to play. My weekend of brainstorming was almost up when I finally had my Eureka moment.


In the past few months a close friend and I have taken up tarot reading, and have found it a very helpful form of self reflection. I have always had an inclination to explore and experiment with occult topics and spiritual practices. Tarot reading was something I had always had an interest in and when I reviewed one of my previous games "Tarot Match Attack" I had the Idea of making a VR game where you own your own magic shop.


Pre-Production


This first week of the project I spent a majority of my time working on the GDD, asset list, project management tools, and other documentation. The GDD was the most important part of the process because it was where I defined all of the gameplay concepts, mechanics, features, and the narrative. When I work on projects, even if I know they have to start off as a vertical slice. I tend to think in terms of the big picture. I have always found that the positive thought of "When this game is complete" helps me to figure out the main components of the vertical slice I'm working on. This line of thinking has helped me start a project small, and have creative ways to increase the scale that make sense.


Game Design Document preview.



once I had a solid draft of my game design document, I made an asset list with google sheets. I organized the assets based on weather they are Art or Code and categorized the assets based on two facts. If the assets will be in my vertical slice, and by order of importance. I wanted to organize the list this way, to preserve the big picture feel of my documentation while maintaining priority for the current project's scale.


Asset Sheet Screenshot


After the asset list was completed I decided to track and manage my tasks using Trello. I created two boards for this project, one focused on game development milestones and the other focused on art creation and production. I find that I am less likely to become overwhelmed if I am able to break down my tasks into smaller parts. I find that if I make one task card in Trello that has a huge list of things to do, Its hard for me to estimate the time it will take for me to complete it. So in my Trello I created on card for my current goal, and then a list of other cards that are parented to it as the requirements for the goal to be completed. This way I have my goal and major steps to complete it, and inside of the card I break down the step by step process for completing that task. From an outside perspective I can see how it may seem overly complicated but as a person who tends to think in a big picture perspective most of the time, breaking things down and isolating tasks helps me to be more detail oriented in my workflow.


Trello Organization Screenshot


I am Lucky enough to have a friend, who is going to be working on some of the art for this project. Together we bounced ideas back and fort about the general art direction to come up with a top-down map and alter and expand the asset list. As she progresses I'll be adding tasks that we disuses to the Game Art board and she will be documenting her progress as she goes. If she decides to write her own production blog I'll link any progress updates in these production blogs.


Magic Shoppe Top-down map


The last step I've done this past week was set up the project with the Unreal Engine. The decision to use unreal was not an easy one for me. I have more experimental Virtual Reality experience in Unity but I wanted this project to push me outside of my comfort zones. So I created the project in Unreal and I'll be working hard to learn all I can in the process.


Next Steps


My next steps going forward are to start designing the level. I'm going to be using the top-down map I created as my starting point and build upon it. I'll be starting with the larger shapes and objects and working my way down to furniture, hero props, and finally smaller decorations. Once the level is designed and to a scale that works in VR I'll be exporting some of my placeholders as OBJs and giving them to my friend so she can use them as a reference for scale when 3D modeling.

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