Destruction in VR: Angry Chicken
Game Designer | Carnegie Mellon University ETC Class Project | Sept 2017
This short game prototype was designed around the idea of indirect control. Our small team had two weeks to create an experience that could be navigated with no instructions. The guest must be able to successfully make their way through the game without direct explanations or obvious UI. We decided to use a game mechanic of ‘destruction’. Destruction is an easy idea to teach and feels instinctual. In the end, this game was popular and fun enough to make it to our programs yearly festival.
While crafting this game we made sure to give our guests permission to destroy. We provided a short story in our introduction. You are a mother hen, who, through an unfortunate nuclear disaster, has been transformed into a Godzilla-sized chicken. Now you are searching for your eggs (which were stolen for research purposes) and seeking revenge. You are ready to destroy anything that stands in your way.
We made sure that the first time the guest moved, they would knock something over. This showed them that they had plenty of power in this world. Every time they poked at something with one of their giant wings the object would crumble to pieces. Players responded to that encouragement and had at it.
The first big problem we encountered was that it didn’t feel exciting to have such a small city footprint to work with. During playtesting, guests routinely destroyed everything within the available VR space a little too quickly. In an early prototype this was solved by having the chicken teleport herself around town. This didn't fit as a mechanic or as part of the world's narrative.
I pushed to use our guest’s secondary goal, finding the lost eggs, as a trigger for expanding the playable space. Instead of using teleportation, the chicken would grow larger every time that she, and the guest, found a hidden egg. The larger the guest grew the more access they had to greater challenges as their map grew with them. This also meant that the players would become more powerful with each level, rewarding them and using the tracked VR space to its fullest.