Once Upon A Wolf

An AR-based interactive game

Date

Sep.2021 (2 weeks)

Role

UX Designer

Level Designer

3D Artist

​Narrative Designer

Platform

HoloLens 2

Tools

Maya

Unity 3D

Substance Painter

​Substance Designer

Full Production

Programer: Shan Jiang, Shiqing (Alyssa) Tang

Artist: Wenbo (Glendon) Guo, Yingzi (Eiko) Qu

Sound Designer: Tuesday Becker

 

Design Process

 

​The design process follows: 

Research - Ideation - Prototype - Play test​ - Iteration

Research and Ideation: Interaction and Gameplay

​We started our design process with a series of research and comparison between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (or MR, Mixed Reality) games.

​VR

​AR

VR Goggles
AR

Immersive

Freedom

​By comparing the two different virtual technologies, we found that AR is less immersive but has higher degree of freedom, which result in different content in the different platform. In general, contents tend to be 'smaller' in a piece of AR experience.​ Thus, we decided to utilize AR as media, to make our players be able to influence and change the terrain and path.

We ideated based on the gameplay of  'Block Marble Race', and developed unique ways of interactions in AR.

Marble Race

​We break interactions into two 'layers', the first is media-based interaction, and the next is in-game control. Game control includes lifting and rotating; both are actions directly control on the landscape and then indirectly influence a character (marble).

Based on the previous design decisions, we designed a draft of the interaction map. The failure status has two types and the success has one.

Prototype : Level Design

Based on the design for gameplay and interaction, we develop level phase I. After play-testing in HoloLens 2, we prototyped level design to the final version (phase II). Compared with phase I, the final version is more friendly to players in visual and operation.

​I

II

​In phase II, we designed a 'mini-level' with in the whole game level. The first action, which need two actions (lift and rotate), served as an 'intro-level' or 'education level'. Instructions (arrows) are provided for the first step.

Play Test and Iteration: Reform Story

Based on the feedbacks from play testing and showcase session (hold after week 1), we complete storyline by drafts of storyboards.

The gameplay is built on a story of 'travel' between fairy-tale books; a lonely little wolf is traveling from his beloved 'home-book' to another mysterious world. In this story, we want to emphasize a delightful mood and a trip full of wonder.

Art Assets

​2D Illustration

Based on the storyboard, Eiko Qu draw a series of illustrations which would be embedded in the game as the intro and the ending.

3D Models

​Based on the game mechanism and level design, we used Maya to design and develop a series of 3D models for the game scene and character (partially presented here).

Texture

Texturing are done by me with Substance Designer, Substance Painter and Adobe PhotoShop.

Generate Fur Material / Substance Designer

Finalize Texture in Substance Painter

Finalize and Combine Art Assets in Unity

Add Details and Decoration

 

Takeaways

 

When designing interactions and experiences, we should always consider the 'materiality of interactions'. In other words, take the media and the device as important parts in the design process. We should always pay more attention to the actual device and think about how the physical equipment can influence the experience. We should also think about the formats and the media: how can we design to utilize the advantages (of the certain media) and eliminate the drawbacks?

​Besides, play testing (usability test) plays important role in the design cycle. By observing guest players' actions, we can figure out details or bias which we ignored during the design process. Iteration according to all the feedbacks helped a lot for finishing a completed work.