Production Blog — Dungeon Quest VR #1

Where Does Passion Come From?

I have a theory about how people get what they’re passionate about. I think that sometime in your childhood you do something, perform some action, that “lights up” another person and you see them get “lit up”, excited by what you did. It makes you feel so good to bring another human being joy in such a way, that you unconsciously decide that whatever that thing is that you did you want to do that over and over, for the rest of your life.

I think that deep down what we want to do most is contribute to other people and bring them happiness. For many people this “thing” gets covered up in a variety different ways and that leads to the group of people who have to “find their passion “, or people who don’t know what they want to do with their life. I think that for artists it is often much easier because it’s obvious if you are a singer, dancer or visual artist the action that you did that got another person excited.

I think for some people this happens very early in life like between ages of four and seven and for other it takes a little bit longer into their early teens perhaps. I also think that after it happens the first time then the experience is repeated and so reinforced over time.

Dungeon

For me it happened around games. I was about 9 or 10 years old when I got a board game called Dungeon. Dungeon was a simplified version of Dungeons & Dragons and was produced and published by TSR. I remember reading the rules and then getting a small group of my friends together to play the game. I was staying with my grandmother at the time in North Philadelphia where she lived in a huge stone & brick row home. There was a patio of sorts between the homes which is where my friends and I would set up and play. During warm whether that space in between the homes provided shade and relief from the hot sun. The buildings were kind of castle like and added to atmosphere and feeling of the game.

I was fascinated that with some shared rules, cardboard, dice, and little plastic pieces, I was able to transport myself and my friends into a medieval dungeon where we got to face off against ghouls, mummies, slime, giant rats and dragons. We defeated them with our swords, battle axes, fireball and lightning spells and were rewarded with immense treasure and a great deal of fun .

Quest VR

I started my company Online Worlds Entertainment 12 years ago to create virtual worlds for movie and TV IP. The goal has always been to create amazing immersive experiences for people based on the story worlds that they are fans of. The ability to accomplish this has never been more possible due to the latest tools and technology.

At last year’s Oculus Connect 5 I witnessed the announcement of Quest VR headset and I actually got the opportunity to experience it for myself. This got me very excited as my mind started racing with all of the tremendous gameplay opportunities from this new platform. In anticipation for the release of the headset I have been brainstorming ideas of what I’d like to build first. I also have spent a good deal of time the last several years contemplating and developing business models for location based entertainment that utilizes augmented and virtual reality.

So I finally decided the first project I like the produce for the Quest is an adoption of the Dungeon board game into VR.

One of the coolest things about the Dungeon board game is the design of the board itself. Even though it’s a flat 2D board, the way it’s drawn there are stairs that lead down so there are actually six different levels that you can travel to during the game. Of course the deeper the level the more challenging the monsters and the more valuable the treasure. This leads to some pretty great game play as it is a race and as you play you have to decide if you want to stay in higher level of the dungeon where you might defeat the monsters more easily or if you want to risk going to the deeper levels so you can accumulate the treasure that you need to win faster but face much more challenging monsters. Everyone starts the game in the same place at the entrance of the dungeon and whoever reaches their specific treasure goal and makes it back to the start is the winner of the game.

I’m planning to use the Unreal Engine to build a prototype and use library assets. I think the biggest challenge in building the experience will be the UI/UX design and the combat system.