This project came about when Sony approached the university to port the game PieceFall (2014) to the PSVR platform. I was the first student in the UK to use the PSVR kit.
I produced initial designs for the new UI and gameplay improvements to the game and got to grips with the pre-release version of the PSVR kit and the large PieceFall codebase.
As the PSVR kit was the first in the studio I had to teach myself how to develop for the platform by studying the PhyreEngine code samples and worked with Sony's support team, to report bugs and engine performance issues.
My dissertation project consisted of me prototyping two new control schemes and playtesting these along with the original scheme in VR to identify their effects on comfort and gameplay.
After this project, a team of one programmer and three 3D artists were brought on board to produce a new level and optimise & remaster assets.
This was part of a university module, so we only had 13 weeks together. We decided to prioritise performance issues, UI and the new level. I was responsible for managing the team project during this time as well as completing tasks in all areas of the game with the other programmer.
After 13 weeks the team disbanded and I continued working on the game taking it to DevCon 2017 to get feedback from industry devs. I am still working on the game putting it through the submission process for release on the PS Store in September 2017.
Piecefall PSVR Review | Zen VR Tetris Game
PSVR Frank reviewing the game.
After Upgrading the Engine
This is a very early video of the game running just after I upgraded the version of the engine the codebase used to latest at the time which let me access the new VR capabilities PhyreEngine has.
Very Early Gif Of the Main Menu
This GIF was recorded before we had sorted out the performance aliasing issues. Probably in march
One of the new controls schemes I tried out
This is one of the 30 play testing sessions i conducted to obtain data to see if the original control scheme was sufficient for VR. It turned out it was.
The New Level We Made
Unfortunately this island had to be cut in the end as it still needed more work to bring it up to the standard of the other levels and the artists had moved on to other projects.
PieceFallVR (c) - recent build
This is a recent build after many asset, game and engine improvements. The game runs at 120 fps and has a brand new VRUI. This is not the final version of the game.
Whispé Prototype (PS4, Phyre Engine/Unity)
This was a project for a course module in my 3rd year.
My roles on this project were:
- Project management
- Tool Development
- Level Design
- UI Design and implementation
- Game play Programming
This project was part of a year long module (3D Games Prototyping) it consisted of a group of 3 programmers and 3 artists working together to make a prototype for the PS4 using PhyreEnigine for the first time. However 6 weeks before the deadline the team had to split up due to conflict within the team.
So after making a fairly complex and unplayable 3D platformer prototype for the PS4 with minimal artwork the programmers decided it would be best to start over. We discarded 5 months worth of work, to make something simpler and with a smaller scope.
We knew more about the engine so one of our programmers was able to incorporate PhyreEngine's dynamic mesh system into a new project which is what we used for the levels. I set to work on making a small gameplay prototype in Unity, and using what I had just recently learned in another module to build an integrated tile level editor into Unity which exported text files which could be read by our PhyreEngine project.
The team could try out and refine new ideas fairly quickly in the Unity project and then implement them in the Phyre project when we were sure we wanted the features. This meant spending less time rewriting C++ game play code and helped us to deliver more content than any other team and in less time!
This project really taught me the importance of a good workflow.
The game went on to win a prize for best game at the uni's end of year which got alumni working in industry to judge the cohorts work.
This project also taught me that using a point light for a player character sounds like a good way to make a decent looking asset on the cheap but is actually more trouble than its worth.
The game in action there were 15 levels made in the end. A major goal of the level design was to teach mechanics without text.