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
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)
The player needs to carefully examine the room to observe furniture’s tiny movement caused by the sneaky cat.
Rearrange furniture or potions may block the cat from approaching.
Last minute under sneaky cat's deadly paw.
Predict the cat's movement and always try to run away facing it. The sneaky cat only attacks from the back.
Find buckets in the room and use it to catch the cat.
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
AR torchlight player unveils the hidden dimension in the real world through positional tracked portable projector superimposing virtual objects onto physical environment.
There is a hidden key in the room. The only way to find it is through its shadow revealed by torchlight.
To win the game, AR player needs to find the key and use it to open the door.
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.
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.
Loved by all cats, the laser tag guides the cat's movement to catch the intruders.
The intruders unlock the door with the key.
Predict intruders' movement and memorize surroundings to avoid misleading the cat. Accidentally killing torchlight player may make the owner lose sight of surroundings.
Try to avoid cats step on the buckets by themselves.
A torchlight to the other dimension, reveal virtual reality in physical space