VR Game - Across the Stars
Updated: Feb 10, 2022
Date: Oct 5, 2021
Role: 3D artist, shader artist
Tools: Maya, 3D Unity
platform: Quest 2
Producer: Em Tyminski
Game Designer: Yingzi Qu, Em Tyminski
Artist: Yingzi Qu, Em Tyminski, Abhijeet Singh Malhi
Programmer: Hsuan-Ju Wang, Abhijeet Singh Malhi
Sound Designer: Nolan O'keefe
Voiceover: Nolan O'keefe, Em Tyminski
Across the Stars is a VR game focusing on creating a free experience for naïve players. The game expresses a love story happening above the clouds and players can explore the sky city by themselves without any direct instructions. The aim of this game is to break the entry barrier of playing games and create a natural experience in a virtual world.
An important inspiration for the story is The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, a traditional Chinese folk tale. Because the love between the cowherd and the weaver girl was not allowed, they were separated to live on the two opposite sides of the milky way and can only meet with each other once a year, with the help of a flock of magpies.
Inspired by The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, it was easy to decide the elements we wanted to use in the game: sky, stars, clouds, and some traditional-style towns. The gameplay part was much more difficult as we tended to design a VR game for completely naive players, the interaction part must be intuitive and natural. We came up with the idea of collecting stars and four potential ways of how to collect. Finally, among walking and touching, fishing, flying, and shooting, we decided to work on the first direction.
However, after we did several playtesting, we got a lot of feedback saying the whole game was just way too simple and too many repetitive experiences. Everything was too predictable. To solve that problem, we decided to iterate by adding more elements without changing the gameplay as collecting stars was still the most intuitive interaction that we could think of. In terms of how to add more elements, we worked on two things, designing two different landscapes and adding interactive items to collect stars instead of just touching. And we believed these two directions had a lot of space of development.
Game Scene/ Environment Design
The map is made up of four pieces of clouds with different landscapes. The original one is the tutorial prepared for the guest to learn how to move the obstacle, the cloud, away, and collect the star, which is basically the main gameplay.
The interaction on the icy one is the guest needs to get the torch to melt the ice and get the star.
On the forest one, the interaction is the guest needs to pick up a pickaxe to cleave the stone and get the star.
Once they collect a star, it will appear as a piece of the bridge that connects the original cloud and the one where the goddess stands, which is also obviously the destination.