Estudo de caso do Pixel Ripped: 2D à moda antiga em VR
When Ana Ribeiro quit her steady government job, sold everything and flew from São Luis to London to study game design back in 2010, her family and friends thought she had lost her mind. In the end, though–with the help of the Unity engine and a healthy dose of talent, energy and optimism–Ribeiro was vindicated. She now has a collaboration deal with ARVORE Immersive Experiences, and her Pixel Ripped game is winning fans, recognition and awards even prior to its release.
Pixel Ripped 1989, um jogo 2D retro combinado com uma divertida experiência em VR
Criar um divertido jogo 2D à moda antiga em uma experiência de VR moderna
1, além de uma colaboração recente com os estúdios Arvore (14)
São Paulo, Brasil
Um jogo 2D retro e uma experiência em VR divertida
Inspired by a combination of the warm, nostalgic feelings she had for the Game Boy titles of her childhood plus her excitement about the latest virtual reality (VR) technology, Ana Ribeiro had a vision of a game within a game. However, creating a retro 2D game within a VR experience did present certain technical challenges. The Unity platform has enabled her to tackle those challenges by making it significantly easier to polish the final product and keep the frame rate up.
- Could create new demo-test versions within weeks
- Increased frames per second (fps) by 20 with the help of Asset Store tools
- Asset Store tools saved months of work
- Featured at Made with Unity Showcase at Unite Austin 2017
- Collaboration deal with ARVORE Immersive Experiences
- Multiple award-winner, including Best VR game at Amaze Festival, Indiecade 2015, and Proto Awards nomination for Most Innovative VR game and Best Original Score
A moda antiga conhece a modernidade, e se dão bem
Sit down, put on your VR headset, and get ready to travel back to 1989. Look around: you’re back in high school, kid, and your goal is to complete levels on your handheld game console without getting caught by your nagging teacher.
“I grew up playing games like Mega Man, Super Mario, and Tetris, and I wanted to see if I could use the possibilities of VR technology to let people travel back in time and get that same warm feeling I have for those games,” says Ribeiro. “I wanted people to laugh and feel good and have fun by being transported to the 80s, to the spirit of playing games in the past, the way I remember it.”
Ana meets Unity, and it’s love at first sight
Pixel Ripped started as Ribeiro's final-year game design project at the National Film and Television School in London, where she was first introduced to Unity. In the beginning of her studies, though, she didn’t have the benefit of the game engine.
“When I started learning how to make games, it was from scratch. I had to build everything. I had to build the engine, the camera, everything from scratch. It felt like if you wanted to bake a cake, you had to build the whole kitchen. But I didn’t want to build the oven, build the pumps, the kitchen and the walls just to bake one cake; I just wanted to get to my favorite part. I wanted to make the game.”
So when Ribeiro was introduced to Unity, she says she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Some of my fellow students were complaining: ‘Oh my God, we have to write a line of code.’ But I was so excited. I was like: ‘Wow, everything’s ready; I can just put the camera there. I can just grab the physics and add it. It was love at first sight,” she says.
Prototipagem rápida e testes de mãos dadas
Quando começou a desenvolver Pixel Ripped, Ana tinha a ideia básica de uma nostálgica jornada de viagem no tempo para a era de jogos de sua juventude. Para ver o que funcionaria e onde se concentrar, ela testou versões de demonstração iniciais em seus colegas de curso.
"Unity foi muito útil para mim, pois permitiu uma rápida preparação de demonstrações. Depois, eu pude encontrar os erros ou as partes que as pessoas não gostavam e corrigi-las. Unity é ótimo para prototipagem. Permitia que eu criasse uma versão em uma semana."
Não me mate, sou apenas o namorado
Durante os testes, Ana teve duas epifanias sobre quais eram os piores e os melhores elementos de seu jogo. A primeira revelação foi que os jogadores odiaram um personagem. Não é que amaram odiar, apenas odiaram. Ana achou que seria engraçado ter o namorado da personagem principal dançando na frente da TV.
"Eu achei que seria divertido porque é assim na vida real, quando você está jogando um jogo na TV e as pessoas ficam passando na frente e incomodando. Mas as pessoas ficaram muito bravas com esse garoto. Elas queriam fazer mal a ele. Havia 40 testadores, e todos queriam matar o garoto", explica.
Então, em vez disso, ela removeu esse personagem e se concentrou na parte da demonstração que ressoou com todo mundo.
"Inicialmente, a parte do jogo que todo mundo mais amou nem era pra ser importante. É quando você segue o personagem principal em primeira pessoa quando ela sai de um console e pula para outro", diz Ana.
"Levava no máximo cinco segundos e, depois, você estaria em outro jogo. Era só isso mesmo, mas todo mundo, literalmente, disse: 'essa é a melhor parte, sem dúvida, a hora que o personagem sai do jogo."
2D e VR finalmente juntos
Ribeiro now had the key to producing the right atmosphere that she was looking for . She now knew how to give people that happy, old-school gaming feeling mixed with modern technology. At least in terms of the narrative and gameplay. But there were still technical challenges to overcome.
“The biggest challenge has always been having two games within one,” Ribeiro says. “You have a 2D game, which is a jumping platform, like Mega Mario. And this game has separate scenes, separate graphics, separate music, sound, code, everything. And then you have the 3D world of the 80s classroom. So the programming behind these two game universes, plus the VR, has meant that it’s always been a challenge to increase the fps and keep it on a doable quality for releasing the game and not making people sick.”
The solution was to go through the game and polish everything in order to make it as light as possible. But that requires time, resources, and the right tools. With that in mind, Ribeiro says that the Unity Asset Store has been invaluable enabling her to increase fps by 20.
A lesson learned the hard way: Look on the Unity Asset Store first!
Ribeiro learned the hard way that it made sense to browse the Unity Asset Store for the right tools before building something on her own. She recalls one particular incident that really drove this lesson home when still at school working on the project with one of her fellow students.
“We were trying to model this Christmas tree, and we saw one for five dollars on the Asset Store. But we really wanted to make everything in the whole 3D part of the game ourselves, including all the modeling. If we had just bought the tree on the store, it would’ve saved us a month of work and stress, and a little bit of disappointment, trying to get it right. I’ll never forget that,” Ribeiro says.
“Now I just always go to the Asset Store straightaway first. If I find it, and I think it will save me time, something I need in the game, I just buy it, and it’s done. That’s that. Sometimes you can even find something for free. I’d say the Asset Store saved me around three months of work at the very least.”
She has used a number of Asset Store tools for effects to create the unique mix of 80’s nostalgia and futuristic time-travel feel of Pixel Ripped. For example, she used Shader Forge to produce the pixelation at the start of the game when you travel back in time. She has also used Skybox for around 300 image effects. Ribeiro even found an asset specifically for the nostalgic feel of her game, which creates an 80s-style blue-camera effect.
Este recurso facilitou muito a vida deles
Outro recurso em Unity que permitiu a Ana e seus colaboradores economizar muito tempo e dores de cabeça foi o suporte multiplataforma.
"Nós queremos alcançar todas as principais plataformas, portanto, é uma ajuda importante poder acessar e alterar: PlayStation, Oculus, PC. Facilita muito a nossa vida."
Trabalhando em VR desde o início de seu projeto, Ana acompanhou as mudanças em tecnologia de VR e como a Unity ofereceu suporte.
"Todos os headsets mudaram ao longo do desenvolvimento desse jogo, e é muito bom ter suporte para todos eles agora. No início, nos velhos tempos de VR, era preciso baixar tudo, adicionar todos os plug-ins — eu lembro de precisar mudar todas as câmeras do jogo, uma por uma. Agora está tudo integrado. Basta marcar essa caixa de 'suporte à realidade virtual' e sua única preocupação será o design."