CONCRETE GENIE VR
ROLE : GAME DESIGNER | DESIGN TEAM SIZE - 2 | TOTAL TEAM - 10
SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT, JUNE 2017 - OCTOBER 2019
Concrete Genie is a Sony first party title about making everyone feel like an artist. Instead of painting on a wall, the player grows objects and brings a world to life. What is it like to shape a tree, command a gust of wind and hurl a trail of shooting stars through the sky? As interaction designer my role was to transform gestural motion to make player's feel powerful and create something beautiful with ease.
Listed below are some high level learnings and design process involved in the creation of what we called "3D Painting"
IN THE MEDIA
INPUT SCHEMA AND HAND REPRESENTATION
- In Concrete Genie VR, the player's hand is represented as a brush, which has a pointing affordance. This greatly influences the input schema for creating objects.
- In CGVR, the player pulls the trigger to begin "growing" an object. With trigger held down, they make a gesture to scale the object.
- Our first approach mapped the scale of the object to the distance from the point the trigger was pulled. We measured translation off hand from the point at which trigger was pulled.
- However, this didn't feel right because of the pointing affordance the brush gives you. Instead we created an imaginary plane where the object is created and projected a ray from the brush to the plane. The object scale was then mapped to the point of intersection.
- This felt much better because it utilized the brush as a pointing device.
RESOLVING INPUT SCHEMAS
- For some brushes, it was not immediately clear what input schema would be best.
- Flowers could either be individually grown or spread in clusters.
- Originally, we attempted to support both modalities. This caused confusion in the hand off point from one modality to the other.
- A high level learning here is to keep the player’s mental model for an input schema as simple as possible.
- When thinking about making each interaction feel "juicy", design drew inspiration from the IOS paradigms of bounce and stretch.
- Instead of mapping player input to objects 1:1 (painting), object scale accelerates based on speed of gesture.
- Once objects have hit their maximum size, they begin to stretch resisting further growth.
- When released, the object bounces back to the max possible size like a spring
LEVERAGING REAL WORLD MENTAL MODEL TO MINIMIZE TUTORIALIZATION
- The wind brush is an instance of a complex sweeping input schema where the player can manipulate an object in three dimensions
- The imaginary plane discussed above becomes an imaginary sphere whose radius the player controls based on how far they “push”.
- However, despite the abstraction it leverages an existing mental model of “push = further away” and “pull = closer”.
- This meant that no additional tutorialization was required to get player's comfortable with the input schema.