Follow the money - Maze

Introduction

Follow the money is a sleek and simple mobile VR application. Users must navigate through a maze, collect a key, and unlock a gate to reach the end. To move around the maze the user rotates his head and uses his headset’s trigger to teleport via waypoints. The waypoints are placed all around the map and do not lead the user directly to the end of the maze. However, by following the money the user will reach the end in just a few clicks.

Outcome

Story of the process

First the maze needed to be modeled. Next was to decide the maze’s path. After a few iterations on both I arrived at a maze of moderate difficulty (1-3 minutes to complete).

User testing outcomes and iteration

Receiving user feedback was crucial to understanding common hurdles to VR navigation. My maze is pretty simple, but poor design initially made it a pain to play.
Lesson 1: VR noobs

  • The game was given to people through a google cardboard with my phone inside. Mobile VR with a cardboard only has 3 Degrees of Freedom, so no positional tracking. That didn’t stop users from attempting to navigate the maze by physically walking around.
  • Solution: I included a set of directions at the beginning to get them going.

Lesson 2: Where’s the gate?

  • “Ugh I just keep moving in circles” was a common remark. Once the user stepped out of the maze they had no idea what to do. Following my deceptively placed waypoints they just kept on scaling the perimeter of the outside of the maze. The final waypoint was too close to the gate for them to see it.
  • Solution: I adjusted the position of the final waypoint and adjusted the color of the gate and key to be similar to the waypoints. Users could intuitively tell that interacting with these objects is promising.

Lesson 3: Didn’t follow the money

  • Some users never found out where the money was located so they couldn’t follow the trail. I stuck to a realistic metaphor and placed the coins on the ground. To find them the user must arch his neck downward.
  • Solution: I realize this is uncomfortable for the user, but the majority of them didn’t complain. And besides it provides a healthy level of difficulty. So I kept it how it is.

Conclusion

VR, in terms of adoption, is in its infancy. People don’t use it often enough to understand how to interact with objects or navigate an environment. However even with these obstacles people just love being immersed in an environment. VR is a lot like love: There is only so much one can explain through pictures and words. This project was many of my users’ first experience with VR and my first experience as a VR developer. And just like them I can’t wait to have more.