Shuhei Yoshida, head of PlayStation Indies, Sony Interactive Leisure, launched the world to PlayStation VR by stating that it was going to be “the following innovation from PlayStation that may [shape] the way forward for video games.” And boy was he proper.
For the previous 5 years, PlayStation VR has offered the trade, particularly VR builders like us, with an unimaginable alternative to create worlds and video games that push leisure and emotional connection past what at this time’s extra conventional recreation applied sciences present. VR is the one platform that really immerses gamers in different worlds, permitting them to be part of a story expertise. You’re part of the story. Characters have a look at, converse with, and react to you. Not solely do you will have presence in fantastically rendered worlds, however you can even work together with the world in a bodily means that feels intuitive and true. As an illustration, in Moss, whether or not it’s dragging an enormous, heavy machine to unravel a puzzle, or poking hanging vines to sway them backwards and forwards, gamers persuade themselves that they’re interacting with a real world. That’s, till they take off their headset.
But it surely’s not simply the bodily interplay that makes VR particular, it’s additionally the emotional connections that you simply make with digital characters. When creating Moss for PlayStation VR, we discovered that VR offers gamers the power to construct deep connections with characters over time by shared experiences. And in doing so, gamers consider that this connection is actual—as a result of, it form of… is. These connections and the feelings they elicit—pleasure, pleasure, and even heartbreak—are mind-opening for gamers who didn’t know they may really feel so strongly inside a digital expertise.
Since releasing Moss on PlayStation VR in 2018, we’ve continued to experiment, study, and advance our understanding of VR. In reality, Tyler Walters, principal technical artist, and Richard Lico, animation director, have offered a fast behind-the-scenes have a look at the work we’re doing to reinforce each the fun of bodily interplay, and the enjoyment of emotional connection, in Moss: Guide II.
Tyler Walters: Moss proved that dynamic interactive visuals are very gratifying and rewarding in VR. With further crew members on Moss: Guide II, we discovered a possibility to create many extra visible impact methods and shaders that may solely be skilled at their fullest inside VR. This ranges from snowflakes falling within the mountains, to candle flames that transfer round because the participant creates wind with their palms. Every of those methods create a special temper and sensation, a lot in order that a few of us even really feel colder whereas taking part in within the snowy ranges of the sport.
We’ve additionally added a brand new participant means that enables gamers to develop traversable foliage for Quill within the recreation. This features a vine bridge that allows Quill to entry totally different sections of the sport. Relative to Moss machine interactions, we wished this to really feel extra fluid and expressive. To carry this to life, as soon as the participant initiates a bridge to develop, mossy vines spiral out to type a walkable floor, which then blooms little white flowers on high. On the earth of Moss, no element is simply too small.
Talking of particulars, the library and guide from Moss have been important narrative instruments that acted as glue for the story construction. We’ve taken this method and improved upon it for Moss: Guide II. Now, gamers will discover meticulously hand-painted art work, audio, and visible results that transfer and evolve because the story progresses. Some pages even have dynamic content material that interacts with the participant as they transfer round.
Richard Lico: In Moss, we spent effort and time to animate sure guide pages. They have been little snippets to focus on necessary moments the place the characters on the web page would animate like a movie. Regardless that this strategy was a powerful, visually hanging story software that helped us inform extra story on a single web page, we seen that gamers didn’t usually react to seeing them. In reality, we have been unable to help the animated pages within the guide when porting Moss to a different platform, and no one appeared to note. Couple that with how a lot individuals cherished Quill and her reactions to in-game moments, and it turned apparent that we would have liked to reinforce the guide expertise like Tyler mentioned, in addition to shift further assets to what makes Quill’s function within the recreation so particular.
Whereas taking part in Moss, gamers usually discovered Quill appearing autonomously to inform them how she felt or what she was considering. For Guide II, we determined to broaden on this, giving her considerably extra strong in-game story moments that seamlessly weave out and in of gameplay. We nonetheless have loads of story being advised within the guide, however the extra intimate emotional spikes will now occur organically within the recreation with you standing by Quill’s aspect. In Guide II, Quill can have a good wider vary of emotional performances so that you can expertise.
This added vary required us to vary a couple of issues from Moss. We’ve doubled the animation crew dimension from one to 2 animators. We’ve reconstructed Quill’s face so she’s able to a wider vary of expression. And our engineering crew constructed new methods to help all the numerous methods by which we have to use these natural in-game performances. We consider all of this can assist deepen the bond gamers really feel with Quill in Guide II.
But listening to about these modifications isn’t the identical as experiencing them in VR, and we merely can not look forward to gamers to re-enter the world of Moss and see all of it for themselves in Guide II. We stay excited and desperate to additional construct upon these enhancements and uncover new methods for gamers to expertise bodily interplay, emotional suggestions, and object persistence. We’re thrilled to proceed that work as we think about what’s attainable for the long run.