Planet Creator

UI and UX Design for VR game prototype

January - May, 2017

Overview

The Planet Creator is a VR experience for the HTC Vive that let's players experience and take part in planet formation. It focuses on mixing experimentation and puzzles to teach players about the formation and chemical composition of planets in our solar system.

Contributions

  • Research & Ideation
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Storyboarding
  • UI Design
  • UX Design
  • Playtesting

Research and Ideation

The Problem

Firepoint Interactive came to us with a brief to create a VR experience that combined fun puzzle mechanics with an educational astronomy experience for kids.

Collaborating with our contact Joe, we explored a number of ideas and narrowed down to one where players would be able to create planets through the combination of materials.

Whiteboard showing four ideas for the Planet Creator

Testing mechanics and puzzles

In the early stages we did a lot of lo-fi testing of throwing things in VR and various puzzle combinations in order validate our decisions.

Low fidelity prototypes used to test assumptions before production

Defining the Experience

User flow

While testing out mechanics and puzzles, we also mapped out each step of the experience to help keep track of the user journey and decisions players would need to make.

User flow diagram of the whole experience

Storyboards

A full storyboard of the experience was created to help visualize and review the experience before any production work began.

Storyboard frames taped to a white board to view the entire end-to-end experience

Result

Challenges and Takeaways

This was the first time any of us on the team had built something in virtual reality, and there were a lot of challenges and learning opportunities including:

  1. One of the biggest challenges we faced was building for HTC Vive in a fully 360 degree environment. Players would become tangled in the cord while exploring and looking around the environment. We solved for this by moving the envinronment around the player, rather than moving the player in the game space.
  2. Unfortunately we didn't have the opportunity test with our target audience (kids under 16) during developmen, but in later exhibitions we observed that kids playing the game picked up quickly and enjoyed it.