Inspiration Behind The Project
Playing Dead Space for the first time in 2013 impressed my senses with the meticulously crafted atmosphere developers Visceral Games created using audio and visuals. These two elements were not simple add-ons such to enhance graphics or enable 5.1 surround sound, but both audio and visuals were purposefully designed to suck the user into the world of Dead Space.
The lasting impact Dead Space had raised my bar for the multi-sensory experiences horror experiences should communicate through audio and visuals, and is something I yet to see in the VR entertainment scene. The Fish Eater aims to use learnings from the best in the horror genre to create an experience that pushes atmospheric design to fill this gap,
Development Process & Takeaways
Development for The Fish Eater has totaled ~3 months, with a majority of this time allotted to designing and testing level layouts and physicality in VR space. Understanding the best way to layout environments and guide user direction opened up opportunities for narrative and audio to take hold and support these environmental layouts. Extended layouts also meant VR locomotion, for which a custom locomotion called trigger-locomotion is used to allow players to explore without experiencing VR sickness.
This project had me thinking criticially about user cognition at every beat, every new environment, at every frame in this experience. This process of deciphering how users would feel, and then testing these predictions via user testing taught me a great deal about how to design gameplay that evoke specific emotional responses.