Designing Great Mixed Reality Games Part 2

Designing Great Mixed Reality Games – Part 2

One of the great things about the Magic Leap One is the ability of the headset to mesh the environment around you. As the Magic Leap One Creator Edition is designed mainly for indoor use, it will probably be a room or an office where you or your users will be playing the game.

Taking advantage of Meshing Capabilities

In this process, the physical area around you is reconstructed in 3D using Mesh Blocks, The developer can decide whether the meshing procedure will continue in the background and update every few seconds or just have an initial scan before the game starts.

This feature enables occlusion data for virtual objects and collision with the real world physical surroundings. This means that virtual objects can be placed on top, above, behind or below real-world objects. Once the room (or several rooms) or part of it is scanned, that mesh data can be used as a level in which the game will take place.

This is one of the most exciting features that Magic Leap One has. If you want to create a game that can dazzle others, the best way to do so is to take advantage of that feature. You can always create, for example, a tabletop game that played on a minimum sized surface but this will resemble many other handheld AR games that we’ve already seen before. This is your time to really make a difference and create a game that makes use of one of the most prominent features that the ML1 headset provides.

This means making use of a large area, maybe an entire room or at a large portion of it (Room-scale). You can create an experience that spans many rooms or even an entire apartment (World-scale). However, I think it’s better to start with something relatively small, especially in the first level and build up from there. We want the scanning process (if done manually by the user or in the background to be short, so the user can start the game as fast as possible.

Can you give me some Room-Scale Game ideas? Sure!

Let’s say that you’ve decided that indeed, creating a room-scale game and taking advantage of the mesh scanning features to create a new exciting mixed reality game. You probably wonder, what type of games can be fun to play at a large scale?

But more importantly, you understand that each level is going to look completely different for each user. The reason for that is because each user is going to play the game in his local environment, which is different than that of the other users. It’s like having a procedurally generated levels. However, you do have the building blocks which are the Mesh Blocks and the game characters/objects to which you can apply different behaviors and physics.

I think it’s always better to give a few ideas just to get into the mindset of developing games for mixed reality, so here are a few.

  • A hide and seek game – after scanning the room, a character spawns in the room. It’s a fast-moving character. The character first runs super fast all over the place (you can see it moving across your room, climbing on surfaces, moving behind them, this is to make the presence of the character believable and more authentic), then it counts to 10, some lighting effects occur so you won’t see where the character is actually moving and it hides in a certain place. Now it’s your turn to find it. Now you can even reverse than, make it so you hide and an AI character starts looking for you! you can make so if you make a sound, based on the range of the virtual character and you, the character can hear you and find where you are, so you need to be still and quiet if you don’t want to be found.
  • Imagine using image recognition technology, where after scanning your room, the app chooses an item, creates an image replica of it. It positions the item in another place in the room and asks you to locate it.
  • Creating a cooperative car racing game with procedurally generated tracks that spawn over surfaces (should automatically fill in where there are holes/gaps). The cars can ride on vertical walls or on the ceiling for once of a kind car racing experience that takes place in your entire room. Spice it up with some great multiple sound emitters and visual effects to make it really stand out.
  • Reimagine a competitive game like Splatoon, where users control a vehicle (can rider on surface and float in mid-air) and the goal is to paint as much area of the room under two minutes. Seriously, this can be such a fantastic game that everyone will want to play. Just imagine how cool it is seeing the room after players play it, super colorful! (you can use other effects of course)
  • Create a shooting gallery where creatures can come out from many places, Make them like cute characters with guns. They can come down from parachutes from helicopters from near the ceiling, sliding on couches and reposition for an attack, surprising you from below the table. Those little creatures are also very fast and sneaky. The higher the level,  the more sophisticated they get and therefore harder to eliminate. Create a really cool boss fight, one that might know the environment more than you do and take advantage of it.
  • Create a competitive 2-player physics-based game. There are two goals on each side of the room. Each player has a racket (the game is played with the Magic Leap One Control). The goal is to hit the ball so it hits surfaces and then scores the goal area (no direct goals are allowed). This will force players to look at the environment and try to hit the ball so it bounces until it scores. Adjust the ball physics so the ball is quite jumpy, so you can hit it hard and it will jump on many surfaces but make him decelerate after some time and once it slows down, it repositions in a shoulder height where it landed, floating in mid-air like in zero-gravity, so users can hit is back faster without crouching or stretching up.

Well, I can spend all day writing ideas, but these once will suffice for now. I think the idea is quite clear. You can create amazing mixed reality room-scale games when making use of the mesh collision and occlusion feature to create unique gameplay experience.

These type of room-scale games can really showcase the capabilities of the Magic Leap One headset and can be really exciting and engaging when played cooperatively or competitively with friends.

I get so excited just thinking of all those great game ideas that can be built for this platform that I cannot appreciate its underlying technology and its creative possibilities. This is why it’s important to start experimenting with the Magic Leap One as early as possible. The more you spend time with it, the more you are able to get into game design mindset that allows you to imagine game ideas that fit this new medium.  You can do this with guided imagination but nothing replaces the real thing and if you are planning to develop a mixed reality game for the platform, you obviously have access to the device and can start prototyping some ideas straight away.

coming from mobile AR, I know how important it is to get into that new mindset. Magic Leap talked about it more than once. This is the reason why I invest so much time not just reading the documentation but also getting into the APIs and reading many HoloLens developer articles just so I know how to tackle certain game design issues when designing a game or thinking of new ideas for a game.

Of course, you don’t need to be a developer to do that, but having some degree of understanding of the underlying technology can only help.

Summary

I will be very excited to see what type of room-scale mixed reality games you are going to develop for the Magic Leap One. I want you to get into that mindset of developing games that are larger in scale. I reviewed hundreds of AR games and most of them where small-scale games. I remember talking about large-scale AR games and how much I enjoy playing them.

Now there is a golden opportunity to make such a game. I’m sure users who will play your room-scale MR game will love and get excited about this new type of game that you’ve created. They will be experimenting with a completely new type of gameplay, something that they haven’t experienced before.

In the future, I will share more cool ideas, although I’m sure you probably already have a list of ideas of your own. However, for me, I will enjoy seeing those ideas become a reality and see you profit from it. I want to help developers see the great potential of the technology to deliver remarkable gameplay experience like we’ve never seen before. This is the time to do so, the time to make a name for yourself and realize that magic within the technology that awaits to breakthrough. I already see those type of games running in my head and I get ecstatic, I cannot imagine what it would be if I actually play it.