Much like sketching the first few lines on a blank canvas, the earliest prototypes of a VR project is an exciting time for fun and experimentation. Concepts evolve, interactions are created and discarded, and the demo begins to take shape.
Competing with other 3D Jammers around the globe, Swedish game studio Pancake Storm has shared their #3DJam progress on Twitter, with some interesting twists and turns along the way. Pancake Storm started as a secondary school project for Samuel Andresen and Gabriel Löfqvist, who want to break into the world of VR development with their project, tentatively dubbed Wheel Smith and the Willchair.
In their first video, they begin by exploring a telekinesis-like manipulation mechanic, combined with a simple locomotion choice of a motorized wheelchair. (With any luck, it will turn out looking like one of these wheelchairs!) The interaction loop is fun and simple – look at an object and lift it with a telekinetic gesture, take aim, then push out to fire the object at the target.
Locomotion is one of the biggest challenges in VR development, with solutions ranging from omni-directional treadmills and Blink, to Superman-like flight in Leap Motion demos like Weightless. Pancake Storm’s demo is explicitly designed as a seated experience where your locomotion is controlled by leaning with the Oculus positional tracker – an approach that reinforces the user’s sense of body presence.
With the darker mood of the second video, we can see the seeds of a darker narrative that will drive the gameplay forward. Samuel and Gabriel found themselves thinking about a classic dungeon crawler combined with telekinetic powers and antagonistic AI. “When you put on the VR headset, you’re stuck in the game. We’re going to have a voice in the background, pretty much bullying you.”
In this latest video, the core concept comes more clearly into view. The lighting is less dark and moody, and now feels more like an exploratory puzzle game. As Pancake Storm keeps iterating on the project, we can’t wait to see how it evolves from here.
How is your 3D Jam project evolving? Share your progress on Twitter @LeapMotion with the hashtag #3DJam! Remember to post early demos and videos on our itch.io site ahead of the November 9th deadline for valuable community feedback.