Marvin’s Puzzler Project

As part of the Udacity VR nanodegree, I designed, tested and iterated a mobile VR experience called Puzzler. It is a game that challenges users to solve a puzzle in a dungeon like environment.

Project Challenge

There were several challenges for the project including creating an environment to display the game, crafting the appropriate atmosphere with lighting, sound, movement, etc. and presenting intuitive user interactions.

Puzzler

This project was quite successful presenting a fun, intuitive experience to beginners and users new to Virtual Reality. User experiences were very positive during testing while providing useful information needed to iterate and improve the game. All users were able to play and solve the puzzle and understand the game play elements.

Process Section

Puzzler is a mobile VR application for new VR users, which challenges them to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a new way.

Persona

Name: Troy, Age: 28, Occupation: Financial Analyst, VR experience: Tried some.

“Always work hard and play harder”

Troy is smart and successful. He likes what he does and is very good at company valuations and finding ‘diamonds in the rough’. He is single, sociable and likes to stay up-to-date on the technology trends.

Sketches

The initial planning process included sketches of the overall layout and graphic user interface for the game.

User Testing

User Test 1

The first user test focused on the environment to ensure all elements were the appropriate scale and proportion in relation to the users perspective. Users varied when asked if they felt an appropriate size inside the environment. Erin felt “about the right size. Everything seemed good”, Owen was “to big” and Emily was “small”.

When asked about the lighting users agreed, “ it is a creepy, dungeon” feeling. One user thought the light might be a little low.

Test 1 Iteration
Based on the user feedback and my own experiences the scale of the building was slightly increased and the lighting was moved and increased.

User Test 2

This test focused on the GUI elements to make sure they were legible, properly scaled and operational. Users were all able to interact with the buttons and felt the text was legible but might be a little difficult to read the middle text.

Test 2 Iteration
Based on the user feedback and my own experiences changed the text color, centered the canvas and standardized the distance for all GUI elements to keep consistency.

User Test 3

The third test focused on the movement in and out of the game play area. Emily and Erin both thought the movement was “too fast”. In addition, Erin felt she was going to hit the wall on the entry.

Test 3 iteration
Slowed the movement and adjusted the position of the waypoints.

Final User test

The final user test was for the overall game and to ensure playability. All users were able to play the game but thought there was a lack of visual quo when there was an incorrect selection.

In addition, there was no environment outside the dungeon.

Final iteration
Added an orb color change for a wrong selection. Also added a success sequence that included a visual show, audio and animations.

Breakdown of Final Piece

Item 1

The game starts with a welcome screen giving a brief introduction of what to expect. The player moves inside the dungeon to play the game/solve the puzzle by clicking a start button.

Item 2

Once inside the dungeon, the player will notice five spherical orbs floating in front of them. The orbs will light up in a random sequence that the player will need to replicate in a Simon-Says style.

The orbs will light up as the player Google reticle gazes on that specific orb. When a player selects an orb it will light up the same as the initial sequence and play the same sound if the selection is correct. If it is incorrect it will light up red and play a different sound and it will restart the initial sequence.

Once the player successfully replicates the initial sequence and triumphant presentation will be displayed and the player will exit the room.

Item 3

The final part of the game is a end screen congratulating the player and displaying a restart button to play the game again.

Conclusion

The final is an enjoyable puzzle game experience for players that are beginners to Virtual Reality. The process detailed above helped to continually and easily improve the game during the development process.

Next Steps

Continue to improve the game by adding difficulty after players solve the initial puzzle. Look at adding additional levels with different style puzzles like riddles, trivia questions and puzzles.

Links to Additional Work

https://profiles.udacity.com/u/jasonmarvin

https://github.com/jdmarvin