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IT’S TIME TO KNOCK IT OFF!

Do you want to be a contender in a wonky gameshow, but without the public ridicule of having it displayed on TV? Then the VR game Knock It Off is the game for you! In Knock It Off, you have to make sure that only the right ingredients ends up in the pot and knock the rest of them off conveyor belts with balls, grenades and projectiles, whilst protecting it from hazards and knocking down the rat mascot for some bonus points! Enjoy great music, immersive audio feedback, juicy particle effects and set in to the VR television gameshow – Knock It Off!

The Game Project

Platform: PC, Oculus Rift
Genre: Arcade/VR
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Team: Three designers – Four 3D artists – Three 2D Artists
Development Time: 4 weeks

With this game project, we were tasked with creating a VR game based on a mix of 2 out of 4 themes –  Security, Horror, Surgery, Cooking. My team wanted to try something different, so we decided to try and mix Cooking and Security. This led us to create Knock It Off, a musically themed, arcade styled VR gameshow, where the player is the contestant, and their goal is to get the right ingredients into the pot in the center, whilst knocking of the wrong ingredients and keep the stew safe from hazards.

My Roles

My roles in the development were

  • Project Manager
  • Lead Designer
  • UI/Menu Scripter

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Managed the project through an agile project method; holding daily morning meeting, organizing milestones, setting up and managing our scrum tool (KanBanFlow)
  • Kept communication between our artists and designers
  • Organized play test sessions and questionnaires, both internal (with the team) and external (with people outside of school)
  • Created and held presentations of the game for school execs and the final jury
  • Created and managed the design document with feature and asset lists
  • Took an executive role in final design decision after discussions with the team
  • Designed and scripted functionality for our UI and menu system

 

The Menu

We had some basic requirements which we needed to see to – we needed to have an options menu with 3 changeable options, the player had to be able to stop a game session and exit the game from the menu, and we needed to have a credits section with our team names and a brief description of the project.

To set up the menu, I used Unreals Widget Blueprint system and created enumerators to switch between the different menu screens. For the interaction, I decided to use the built in Widget Interaction Components, and after some feedback that it was hard to know where your “aim” was on the menu screens, I decided to draw debug lines when the player hovers over a menu option.

The options that we decided to add were changing the sound volume, spawning more grenades, and disabling hazards. We chose these options because we wanted the player to be able to customize the difficulty and adjust the game to their preferred play style.

 

Click here to see Blueprints!

Click images to see full view

Reaching the Start/Quit/Abort functions

Scripts for options menu

Setting enumerators for screens

Setting visibility for screens based on enumerator

Basic functions for switching color and text

 

 

The Concept

Our idea behind Knock It Off! was to create a fun, rhythmical and fast-paced game were players could enjoy short play sessions, as we felt was suitable for VR. We wanted to focus our attention to the feel of the world and the visual/auditory feedback that the player got, instead of adding tons of mechanics and features. We thought that simplicity could actually be beneficial, especially when working with VR, since the platform is so new to the mainstream market, and lacks standard conventions for e.g. controls.

GAME PILLARS

  • Sound matters – One important element to the game was the sound design, how the music was queued up to the conveyor belts and their pacing, and how we could teach players about the games pace with the music. We recorded voice lines for a game show host that will call out when ingredients are changing, or when a hazard has spawned, and used the dramatic curve of the songs used to pace the difficulty of the game session.
  • Capture the feel of a game show – We wanted the players to feel like they were in a wonky game show, and therefore, we focused a lot on the visual style and feel of the level, adding lights that pulsed to the songs, using bright color schemes to tap into the style of family game shows, and added cameras that will move around the room. We also added a game show mascot, and an audience, both of which will react to how the player is doing in the game.