Moon Island is a mobile VR application which is carefully designed for seasoned gamers to get their first taste of VR by immersing them in a fantasy moon island and solve a simple puzzle game in order to escape from an abandoned house.

Story behind the game

Awakening in an abandoned house next to a skeleton, the player soon realizes that he has to escape from the house before the skeleton wakes up. In order to cross the river, he has to solve a puzzler game by clicking on the “moons” in the musical order (similar to the idea of “Simon Says”).

Development

The environment of this game was inspired by a picture I saw online when I researched for Moon Garden. I wanted to create a magical Moon Garden with a Halloween twist to it.

(left) Idea #1 — Moon Garden, (middle) Idea#1 Inspiration, (Right)Idea #2 Cave

As I started to sketch out my visions of the possible environments, the garden idea (idea #1) didn’t work because why would anyone want to escape from a beautiful garden? Instead I thought of escaping from a cave (idea# 2). I did research on the different looks of a cave but I like the idea of having water in my scene more than a cave. So I decided to tweak the initial idea and turned it into a Moon Island where the island is divided into two sections by a river. In order to go across it, the player will need to solve the puzzler game. Then I added a skeleton in the house to urge the player to run away from the house. I also thought the effect of flying over the river was quite fascinating and can be easily incorporated with the movement mechanism taught in the class. So I decided to go with this direction, and started assembling my scene

1st User Testing

After I put the UI and the scene in place, I deployed it to my iphone and conducted the initial user test with the user to make sure the scale of the environment and objects around him made sense and felt like he’s actually immersed in it.

1st User Test Feedback

  1. It’s a little too dark
  2. Scale feels right, but the text looks off.
  3. Why is there a bridge outside? If you have a bridge, you shouldn’t have a problem escaping from the house without solving the puzzler game.

After the users feedback, I adjusted the lighting and most importantly took out the bridge. I also changed the typeface used for the UI.

2nd Lighting Adjustment

2nd User Test Feedback

  1. It’s cool! I like it. I love the glowing orbs
  2. Still a little dark looking from inside the house
  3. OO I like the the movement from inside to outside.
  4. I feel like I am on the ground when I am outside

After the 2nd user test, I changed the position of the camera on the playpoint, baked the lighting and made the sky brighter. Then I realized I was using an older version of Unity not the recommended Unity 2017 1.0f3 or f4. So after downloading the wrong version of Unity several times, I had to re-do the entire scene, and I also realized I had to update the GVR SDK also. Then the real problem began…

After I installed the new version of Unity and GVR SDK, I had trouble positioning and installing the GVR camera because they had some major updates on the SDK. For example, they use GVR emulator and GVR event system instead of GVRViewer. It took me quite some time to find out how to fix that. And changing the position of the camera to what I need. Eventually I got it to work and deployed to my iphone after trying it several times and eventually I conducted the final user test and gained good feedback!!

Final User Test Feedback

  1. I love that skeleton!
  2. The game is hard but love the glowing orbs!
  3. O wow I feel like flying over the river.

Conclusion:

From lighting, to choosing music, to modifying the scripts, to everything associated with it, I learned a lot of new tricks and became much more comfortable with Unity. As usual, there are always a few more things I can add to the game. For example, changing the shader of the water to make it look more realistic, and adding animation to the skeleton so it shakes or make sudden movements and maybe even climb out of the house when it takes too long for the player to finish the puzzle game. But for now, I am happy with the outcome and should move on to my next assignment.