The IdeaFestival Play app was designed to be a set of small minigames available on iPhone and Android that serve as an introduction to virtual reality and augmented reality through Google Cardboard. It was released as part of IdeaFestival‘s initiative to promote new and upcoming technologies in September of 2016.
For these minigames, I focused on VR level design, rewards systems, ad integration, and VR gameplay mechanics.
Since these minigames are geared towards people new to VR/AR and assert no prior experience with video games at all, I focused on generating worlds that would range from familiar and relaxed (Garden) to unusual and provocative (Ocean Floor). Level layouts were designed to fit the simple goal of getting the player to look around and interact with the world. As such, points of interest were arranged at various positions around the player and at varying distances/elevations to ensure that there was something new to see if they continued to explore.
To further reward players for their exploration, a rewards system was implemented across all the minigames. Players could acquire IF Play Coins through by finding treasure chests hidden in each minigame or by engaging with the festival itself. For example, you could scan a barcode at the sponsors’ booths to receive a number of coins proportional to their level of sponsorship (i.e. – bronze sponsors were worth one coin, while gold sponsors were worth three coins). This system was initially designed to also serve as a means of unlocking new content, therefore rewarding players that engaged more with the festival. At present, all content is unlocked upon downloading the app since the festival coins can no longer be acquired.
It was important to the administration at IdeaFestival that the sponsors felt like they were included beyond the Coin-based reward system, so I designed and implemented a diegetic advertisement delivery system to allow for advertisements in a way that is not exceptionally intrusive to the player’s sense of immersion. The end result is that an airplane or submarine will occasionally appear in the world with a banner trailing behind it bearing the logo of a sponsor.
Mechanically, I wanted to promote a series of fairly straightforward experiences that allow the player to advance at their own pace. To that end, there is no failure state in any of the minigames and the player is never punished for their actions.
Below is Super Soul Studio’s video brief on our involvement with IdeaFestival, which includes some gameplay from the IF Play app.