catescape

 

VR HMD is getting increasingly prevalent in home entertainment as the introduction of consumer devices, yet several years may have needed before its ubiquity. Meanwhile, we can foresee the most popular multiplayer games won’t be solely relied on VR HMD as game console, but also allow devices from other platforms to participate in the game. To fill in this gap, we designed CatEscape, an asymmetrical multi-platform game across VR HMD, augmented physical space, and tablet device. The devices define players’ role and strategy according to the platform’s unique strength. The VR player having more immersive experience in the virtual world plays a survival game.  The AR player who has the knowledge of the relationship between physical space and virtual world plays an explorer game. The tablet player with a god-like view on the 2D screen plays a strategy game. The game is expandable from one player mode up to three players mode by yielding information from NPC to additional players.

We superimposed virtual world onto the physical environment for the AR player by mounting a portable projector onto a VIVE controller. The room is correctly mapped thus the virtual objects have a direct relation to tangible surfaces. This connection brings in new dimension to the non-HMD player. We designed and implemented the game CatEscape based on this system, and further explored its novel possibilities.

 

First Place at CHI PLAY Game Design Competition 2017

Published in CHI PLAY WIP & SGDC

 

Gameplay

The VR and AR players are locked in the room together with a grumpy cat, which always attacks from people’s back when they enter its attention area. They have to catch the cat and find the key to escape the room. The tablet player, away from the house traveling, tries to defeat anyone invading the house by using laser tag to attract the cat’s movement. The game scene is designed to have asymmetrical visibility to different players on each platform. The cat is invisible to VR player, while only AR player can reveal its shadow with the magic torchlight. Tablet player can only see partial movement of the VR player and the torchlight to predict their movement.


VR Player - A Survival Game 

To survive from the cat's deadly scratch from the back and catch it with buckets

(Note : All cats in this section are visible just for illustrating the game play. They are invisible to VR player in the game)


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Scan Room

The player needs to carefully examine the room to observe furniture’s tiny movement caused by the sneaky cat.

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Furniture Block

Rearrange furniture or potions may block the cat from approaching.

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Game Over

Last minute under sneaky cat's deadly paw.

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Dodge Cat

Predict the cat's movement and always try to run away facing it. The sneaky cat only attacks from the back.

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Shoot Bucket

Find buckets in the room and use it to catch the cat.

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Level Up

If one cat is caught. The game will level up to another difficulty with two sneaky cats.


AR Torchlight Player - An Explorer Game

Reveal virtual objects’ shadow in physical space with the magic torchlight

Find the key to escape the room


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Magic Torchlight

AR torchlight player unveils the hidden dimension in the real world through positional tracked portable projector superimposing virtual objects onto physical environment.

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Find Key

There is a hidden key in the room. The only way to find it is through its shadow revealed by torchlight.

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Escape Room

To win the game, AR player needs to find the key and use it to open the door.

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Find Shadow

Scanning around the physical room, AR player tries to find the cat’s shadow and hence make strategies to protect VR player from its scratch.

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Throw Pie

The player carries limited amount of pies to attract the cat. When the pie hits the cat, the cat will hesitate and eat it – which is the perfect chance for VR player to run away. The throwing pie could also be a hint sent from AR player to VR player.


Tablet Player - A Strategy Game

The traveling house owner needs to strategically guide the cat to defeat the players using laser tag


Broken Surveillance Camera

Only shows approximate motion of VR player and part of the environment lighted up by the torchlight.

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Laser Tag

Loved by all cats, the laser tag guides the cat's movement to catch the intruders.

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Lose Game

The intruders unlock the door with the key.

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Retain Sight

Predict intruders' movement and memorize surroundings to avoid misleading the cat. Accidentally killing torchlight player may make the owner lose sight of surroundings.

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Avoid Buckets

Try to avoid cats step on the buckets by themselves.

 

A torchlight to the other dimension, reveal virtual reality in physical space

 

Advisor:  Panagiotis Michalatos

Partner: Honghao Deng