AJ Cyborg is a part of the VR Storytelling project collaborating with LCCS, an elementary school in New Jersy City. This project is about fulfilling a story made by a specific kid in VR space. Our partner, Aiden, a 7-grader, developed the story with us and we make a VR game from it. The story by Aiden is: AJ, an American soldier who was made into a cyborg, wants to rescue his brother Dave, who had been kidnapped.
In terms of gameplay and design, this game was built surrounding one theme, throwing items in VR. It is amazing that how much we like a baby when we were in VR, we want to pick up things, throw things and break things with our new hands, the virtual hands. That was where the idea came, so we made many bombs that player can grab and throw to the enemies to stop them from moving and attacking, in order to get through and eventually arrive and rescue Dave.
This project is collaborated by 4 people, Kabeer, Zon Zhang, Jimmy Yu and me. Kabeer and Zon are in charge of researching and communicating with Aiden, and I am in charge of the development of the VR game.
Kabeer, Aiden and Zon
Aiden is a very clever kid, who knows what he wants and what he does not. He has some super solid storylines and he loves sci-fi theme. Below are some storyboard illustrations provided for us by Aiden.
Storyboards by Aiden
We took these storyboards, refined them and found a suitable part to make it into a VR game. We developed his story forward: AJ got on the road to rescue his brother, Dave, after being altered into a cyborg, because finally, he has the ability to fight the evil organization. The game happens at this robot headquarter, there are many deadly robot guards go back and forth to protect the place from invasion. But AJ has these special bombs that he can throw against enemy robots to paralyze them in order to get through and reach Dave.
Throwing with HTC Vive in game
In the exploration of the Vive kits and building this project, we encountered many technical challenges, and I, as the main designer and the only programmer, after reading tons of youtube videos and websites, eventually managed to overcome them. The foundation of the coding of the project is to let the enemies move every x seconds, and I used the IEnumerator in Unity C# to do that with effectivity and simplicity.
IEnumerator scripting snapshot
As for level and experience design, we made this one level filled with two simple elements, deadly moving bots, and laser-shooting turrets, in order to make it intuitive for kids. By mixing those two enemies and different terrain shapes, we delivered 3 different levels in this one map. After all the making was done, we also tested the game a lot to make it accessible and not too difficult to play. It was very fortunate we had done this because it was impossible to finish at first.
The Whole Map