Keywords: VR, Oculus, Horror
Responsibility: Level design/Game Design
Engine: Unreal Engine
Production time: 4 weeks
Team: 3 game designers, 6 3D artists + 2 2D artist
Night Terrors is a VR game where the player (in the size of a child) needs to get to their parents’ bedroom.
To get there safely the player clears the way by lighting up the dimly lit apartment using different electrical items, climbing furniture to find needed items, and more!
During this assignment I was in charge of the level design, but also did some scripting, and of course also formed the overall game experience and narrative through discussions throughout the game project.
Originally I suggested that the setting for our VR game should be a child being locked into a room by their mean grandma or parents, having to solve puzzles to get out of the house (in a room escape manner with a horror setting).
This would play into the fun of using VR headsets, exploring the space around you, picking things up, throwing them away, etc.
It would also allow teens and adults to again experience the uncertainty of childhood.
Not being able to see what’s on a table (and being scared to look!) without first fetching a chair to climb up on, not being able to reach the window, etc.
Also playing with sounds effects (something falling behind the player, someone scratching on a wall or on the floor where the player isn’t looking) was very intriguing to try out.
In the end our group decided to change what the end goal was in the game, so instead the player’s objective became to reach the safety of their parents’ bedroom after waking up in the middle of the night.
The main setting of the game (playing as a child in a horror setting) was however kept.
As most(?) children are afraid of the dark, we felt like having the riddles revolve around light and darkness would be the most natural choice, something which we built the puzzles around during the project.
In order to teach the player that they could pull drawers out and climb up on them, we placed a drawer just outside the child’s bedroom, with the bottom drawer already pulled out and stuck in place so that the player could not shut it by accident (and when the player hovered over it a green teleport button would appear on top of the bottom drawer, hinting at that drawers were climbable).
We then placed another drawer at a later stage in the game, but with those drawers shut, so in the later case the player would have to pull out the drawer himself in order to climb it.
In the first lighting puzzle the player had to simply turn on a light switch.
That lit up the next area, where the player came further out into the room.
The following puzzles were gradually more advanced, involving the player actually powering up the electrical item that could then light up the path.
“As most(?) children are afraid of the dark, we felt like having the riddles revolve around light and darkness would be the most natural choice, something which we built the puzzles around during the project.”