So I am working on a VR wave shooter type game and I got some Alpha testing notes. The biggest complaint was “I dont know when I am being attacked form behind”. So I pose the question to all of you.
What system would you employ in a VR shooter game to warn the player that they are being attacked from behind?
Currently I was thinking to put red arrows at the far left or far right flashing and stating rear attack or something. In my game you will be piloting a mech so the HUD does not have limitations. Another possibility was a proximity radar like in aliens.
Anywho! Any ideas are welcome and greatly appreciated.
This is a design question…
The key consideration here is that the player is piloting a mech. So, let’s imagine for a moment that we’re actually a mech pilot sitting in the seat of the mech. Really try to visualize the experience and how it feels. Someone shoots at your mech from behind. How do you know you got hit? What hit you? You’re NOT going to see any directional damage indicators. If you put that in, it’s going to break immersion.
So… the most important thing to consider is what the mech is getting hit by. If its bullets, the mech has thick armor, and you should only hear the sounds of bullets pinging off of the armor. This suggests that the only cue that the player is being hit would be an audio cue. If the mech is being hit by a missile, the missile is a pretty big threat. In real life, a fighter jet pilot has IR warning systems which detect the missile flame and begin flashing a light and emitting a sound so that the pilot can perform evasive manuevers or employ counter measures. Does a mech have any similar warning systems for missiles? If the mech gets hit by a missile, what is that experience like? If you get hit from the rear, what do you see and hear? What happens to the chassis of the mech? Does it stumble forward?
Maybe there are also some weapons which can hit the mech and the pilot would have no idea. Maybe there’s a powerful laser beam silently turning the mechs armor into molten slag, and the only hint of this might be an increase in temperature on some chassis diagram? Not everything needs to be registered, and sometimes, that could be a tactical advantage (ie, stealth bombers are stealthed for a reason).
Maybe… the mech is a really advanced war machine which contains a holographic dashboard representation of the mech and its components?
to expand on what Slayemin said, the big question seems to be, "Is the experience that of a pilot inside a cockpit, or a pilot “seeing” through the eyes of remote cameras/sensors (like a cybernetic link).
If it’s the traditional cockpit, I would think adding displays (like lcd screens and warning lights and stuff) would make for really cool immersion. Think driving a car. The speedometer is on a console, not a HUD.
If it’s the cybernetic approach, then some kind of HUD element might be ok, but audio queues are going to be best since VR screen real-estate is more limited. Also, stuff in the peripheral is hard to see in VR so avoid putting things too far outside the center of the view if it’s important. Although I haven’t tried it, it might be best to pop up HUD elements only when they are relevent and for short periods of time. For example, the ammo counter for a weapon may only pop up when you are low on ammo. Even then, it would only flash for 1.5 seconds or so and be sure NOT to obstruct the crosshairs.
So I forgot to tackle the specific question so here goes.
- For cockpit experience - LCD damage paper doll display (a-la mechwarrior) just out of field of view with a flashing red light that goes off when you take back damage and/or critical damage to get the player to look at it when it’s important to.
- For cyborg experience - flashing red bars on the periphery of the player view. Left side, right side, and top or bottom for rear damage. Front damage should be obvious. Could combine right and rear if getting shot mostly to the side.
Thank you both so much for the ideas
I very much needed to properly adjust my thought process on this UI to what yall are talking about by thinking about the reality of the environment rather than a shiney HUD. Also, ty ty TorchTrujillo. I added in the red flashing around the edges and bottom and that totaly did the trick. I have had sound cues but sadly since my game is completely chaotic it can be very difficult for people to differentiate a rear attack so I think I might try useing an entirely different sound for a rear attack.
Overall the plan that seems to be working so far is that I have red flashing around the edges and rear for where the attacks are comming from. I also will have broken glass shattering in as the user gets to there last 10% of health to show your mech suite thing is breaking. I’ll also have a new sound effect for rear attacks, metal scraping or such.
Also I tried a bunch of other VR wave shooters and I learned how they handle UI business annnnd most importantly also dont try a bunch of other wave shooters in a row lol. My eyes wanted to bleed becuase each ones rendering is different and some were not so good. Very much learned the lesson of the importance of good FPS and good aliasing makes a world of difference.
Anywhoozle, thank you again