Welcome back to the 2nd devblog post for Project Double-Time. We are hard at work with this title and it is definitely not without its challenges. Let’s dive in and see what this week’s update is all about.
In our last blog post, we talked about working on luge movement mechanics. We feel that we’ve implemented a pretty good system that feels natural, but is easy to tweak if need be.
As we do not have a proper VR headset in the office (with the exception of Google Cardboard), it’s very tricky to figure out how to design HUD and user-interface elements. However, we took a look at our Google Cardboard setup, downloaded a few games, and got a rough idea of what to expect with a fully featured VR headset. With VR, everything is rendered twice. At first glance, it may seem like each eye is rendered the same exact image, however this is not the case. If you look very closely at one eye’s viewport over the other, you can see that each image is slightly turned, revealing small details that the other eye’s viewport cannot see.
We learned that HUD and UI elements are also duplicated for each eye rather than rendered once, as in traditional games. Furthermore, the distance the from the camera to the actual UI element is important – too far and the text is hard to read; too close and it takes over your entire viewport.
So our first objective was to create a prototype luge board and then figure out a camera placement. Being a VR game, we obviously want the camera to be near the position of where a rider’s head would actually be. With some figuring and calculations, we were able to pick an area for the body camera to sit. A ‘hood-cam’ as well that sits at the foot of the board in case we wanted the ability to switch between cameras without seeing the rider’s body. It’s unsure if this will remain an actual feature of the game or if we will stick with the single body camera.
In using Unreal Engine 4, we can simulate a VR experience in the editor to get a rough idea of UI placement for a VR headset. We added our HUD with basic information (speed and timer) and figured out an idea of where to place it on the viewport. However, we didn’t want it static on the viewport so it was always visible. The element is visible by slightly tilting your head to the lower right corner, where the speedometer will come into view to see how fast you’re going. This allows for a completely immersive experience.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s update. We’re excited at how this project is shaping up. Stay tuned for more details soon!