Experimental VR game based on distorting reality.

VR experience/Mixed reality game


Escapist is a VR experience with mixed reality mechanics.
Slowly get drowned in the main hero's inner world by listening to the therapist's voice. There the protagonist has to face memories that he has oppressed in his mind. By following pieces of reality, a psychologist's voice finds a way out.

The core of this concept lies in the action of reality distortion: "Is it real?"
PC/HTC Vive⠀⠀⠀⠀
VR experience game⠀
Interactive environment
Pickupable objects, level triggers, enemies - all of it combined in one level that you have to pass through.
Voice narration
Listen to the voice of your therapist guiding you through the game.
Experimental mechanics
Combination of VR technology and real-time video translation.
Prototype trailer
Experimental mechanics
Escapist is a story-driven VR experience with new immersive mechanics that are dissolving the border between reality and game.
Environment mechanic
I have used HTC Vive camera output as a material in the scene.

This allows to connect player reality with a virtual one and gives more depth to the game level and narrative.
Interactive object mechanic
In order to provide additional player interaction I have used the dynamic material on the object with a web cam output to the bitmap.

By simply putting an object in front of it, players can transfer it to the level and then interact with the game.

Box with green screen bottom is an addition to that mechanic that allows putting objects without background.
Development process
Initial idea
Can we dissolve the border between real and virtual in games, and if yes, how? Escapist is a new step in mixing the real and virtual world.
First concept
Using VR setup and simple streaming mechanics built in the engine, we can create a mixture that will emphasise distortion even more.
Task management
Development of the core game with a whole team, the conceptual creation of the game through sketches, character/world building and main mechanics programming.
First builds
Creation of prototypes including developed graphics assets and mechanics separately so they can be stored and used as templates later. Active testing and bug searching.
Bug fixing
Solving bug problems that were found and tweaking mechanics. Combining mechanics into one solid build.
Alpha build testing
Testing the solid project, finding incompatibilities of mechanics and perception borders.
Final build
Cutting down and polishing followed by optimisation of the build. Small tweaks followed by a final testing.
Next step
Building more levels and creating more interaction with a developed mechanic. Creating a deeper story progression.
Additional materials
Analysis for the game concept
I am trying to work on distortion between the real and unreal world. By making one solid gameplay based on both the real and unreal world, I want to achieve the feeling that the player can combine his world with the game world. The point is to make the player feel fun coming out from his reality and putting his reality on the same level of a game interaction as other mechanics created in the game.

Mixed reality games
A mixed reality game (or hybrid reality game) is a game which takes place in both reality and virtual reality simultaneously. Virtual reality games are not mixed reality games because they take place only in virtual reality.

How to make a new and fresh mixed reality game?

By looking at VR first-person games, we can assume that it is really hard to make a game experience that will have the same level of involvement as in the PC version. This is simply because in VR goggles, the player is an insight into the game world witnessing it literally from the first person view, therefore the 3D graphics environment is not as convincing as in PC version. What if we can bring back this involvement without adding more high-resolution graphics and renders? We simply can't use camera output that can provide us with this lack of reality in games.

Project Idea
The initial idea is simple: by progressing in the level, the player will get more and more output from reality. By reaching the end of the game, the player will completely wind up in the real world. This way we will make the real world the part of the game itself and we will encourage the mixed reality topic.

In order to create a space for such mechanics, I decided to search for the least time consuming and easiest way of transferring video into the game through the video camera of HTC Vive and web camera output.
In-depth project description
You play as the main character in a game who is at his psychologist therapy session. By hearing the voice of a psychologist he is slowly dragged into the memories of his past. There he has to face stressful situations that he has oppressed in his memory. By going through them once more he should find a way out and come back to reality cleansed from his bad memories.

Unique points
Unique selling points of Escapist are the combination of new experimental mechanics that are simple and possible to use in the normal HTC Vive set up and narrative that suits that mechanical combination. This allows this project to exist basically in exhibition areas and in-home setups.

Daniil Khokhonov
Game design/Programming
Cologne, Germany
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