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Virtual Reality (VR) has transformed the world of gaming, offering immersive experiences that take players to new dimensions. VRArcades, in particular, have gained popularity for providing a social and engaging way to experience VR gaming. However, not all VR arcade games are created equal. To create truly captivating experiences, game designers need to follow certain principles. In this blog post, we’ll explore the 7 keys to designing VR Arcade games that don’t suck. This blog post is a summary of the VRARA webinar hosted By Bob Cooney.
1. Player Control and Input
The foundation of any great VR arcade game lies in its player control and input mechanisms. Players should feel connected to the virtual world, and this begins with responsive, precise, and intuitive controls. Whether it’s wielding a virtual sword, shooting a blaster, or solving puzzles, the mechanics should be easy to learn and feel natural. The frustration of clunky controls can quickly turn players away.
2. Core Loop
Every successful game has a compelling core loop that keeps players engaged. In the VR arcade world, this means designing a central gameplay activity that is not only fun but also rewarding. The core loop should be easy to understand yet challenging to master. Whether it’s defeating enemies, solving puzzles, or achieving objectives, players should find themselves drawn to the central activity, making them want to play more.
3. Challenge and Difficulty
A game’s longevity often depends on its ability to provide an appropriate level of challenge. VRArcade games should start with manageable difficulty levels and progressively increase in complexity as players become more skilled. Striking the right balance is crucial to keep players engaged without overwhelming them. When players feel challenged but not frustrated, they are more likely to keep coming back for more.
4. Progression and Rewards
People love to see their efforts rewarded, and VR arcade games are no exception. A sense of progression and rewards for player investment is essential. This could include unlocking new levels, earning virtual currency, or obtaining unique in-game items. These rewards provide players with a tangible sense of accomplishment and motivate them to continue playing.
Balancing gameplay elements is a delicate art. All components, from weapons and abilities to enemy strengths, should work together harmoniously. This prevents players from exploiting the game’s mechanics and ensures that the experience remains challenging and fair. Imbalances can lead to frustration and a decline in player interest.
6. Feedback and Communication
In the virtual world, clear communication is crucial. Game designers should employ visual and sound cues, as well as user interface elements, to provide feedback to players. Whether it’s indicating a successful hit, highlighting an interactive object, or warning of impending danger, effective communication enhances the player’s immersion and overall experience.
7. Pacing and Variety
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s equally important in VR arcade games. To maintain player interest and prevent fatigue, games should offer a mix of gameplay scenarios. Alternating between action-packed sequences, exploration phases, and problem-solving challenges keeps players engaged and excited about what’s coming next. Pacing is key to avoiding monotony.
Designing VRArcade games that captivate and excite players is a complex but rewarding task. By focusing on player control, core loops, challenge, progression, balance, feedback, pacing, and variety, game designers can create experiences that stand out in the world of VR gaming. To dive deeper into the art of crafting great LBVR (Location-Based VR) games, be sure to check out the VRARA webinar featuring game designers Chanel Summers and Joe Mares.
In the ever-evolving world of VR, staying informed and connected with game designer experts like Joe Mares and Chanel Summers, is essential for game designers looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible in VRArcade gaming. With these 7 keys in mind, you can embark on a journey to create VR arcade games that not only avoid the pitfalls but also redefine the standards of immersive gaming. Webinar Replay here.