An AR illusion puzzle game where a player must use their physical environment in order to explore a mysterious antique shop and solve shattered objects.
Role: Game Designer, Visual Art Direction
Timeline: 4 Months
Genre: Causal, Puzzle
Platform(s): iOS and Android
Tools: Unity Engine, ARCore
AR Illusion-based Puzzles
Find a recognizable silhouette from a collection of shattered three-dimensional objects.
Pitch Proposal: designed and prepared an initial pitch presentation for the project to the team.
Puzzle Design in AR: contributed towards the visual design and game mechanics surrounding the 3D puzzle objects that the player would solve in AR.
Player Interactions in AR: aided in designing how the player would interact with the puzzles using AR Space
Visual Art Direction/World Building: researched and developed a visual aesthetic for the gameplay assets and the environment.
3D Asset Creation: modelled and textured four shattered puzzle objects from a rough concept to being in-game.
Design documentation: outlined the various systems and mechanics in the game, as well as the production schedule on how the team was going to build it.
Pre-production Design Process
But, what should the objects be composed of?
Early Design Problem
The core mechanic of the game is to solve shattered objects.
As an initial test, we created two rough puzzles where one used abstract shapes and the other was a television. Through playtesting, it was found that it is more satisfying to the user to solve a recognizable object, than an abstract structure.
The player would be presented with a chaotic mess of floating parts. They would have to use AR space in order to decipher what the object is.
Shape Language of Puzzle Objects
Through playtesting of different 3D puzzle objects, it was found that less boxy shapes were more interesting to solve.
How to Display When a Puzzle is "complete"?
The puzzles are designed in a way so that if you are within a 10 -15 degree difference away from the solution, the object will snap its pieces. In addition, the use of colour, particles and shader effects allowed the “solving” aspect of the puzzle to be more recognizable and satisfying.
Visual Design & World-Building
A self-contained world for the player to explore.
Why Make a Diorama?
Design Problem: How to Select Levels in AR?
One of the early challenges of working with AR is how would we go about putting a level selection menu that would allow a player to select a puzzle object to solve. The solution was to create an immersive diorama that a player could look at and interact with. All the puzzle objects are placed within the old antique shop.
In order to deliver art assets in a timely manner, there was a defined production process that was laid out. It detailed how an asset would be produced from concept to in-engine.
What did I learn?
Significant involvement and focus towards the design process. (i.e. taking going through an initial pitch proposal to a polished vertical slice of the game experience)
Rapidly prototyping features and user testing often to evaluate the usability of the game
Researched and designed game mechanics for a new/unfamiliar piece of technology
Designed game mechanics/player interactions that use AR in a meaningful way
Applied visual design principles in order to have a cohesive visual style
Preparing design documentation that clearly communicate the outlined features/systems