This was a game created in a two-week sprint at the Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center for the 'Building Virtual Worlds' course. The softwares used to create the game was Unity and Maya for the HTC Vive VR platform. Comprised of a five person team, I served as the producer and artist. The game was chosen as a winner to be showcased at the Carnegie Mellon's ETC Fall 2017 Festival and was visited by industry professionals to experience not only the game but also an immersive theming experience. Visitors at the festival entered a physical submarine themed room prior to launching on their virtual expedition on the HTC Vive.
Hidden in Plane Sight is a one-guest room-scale VR experience on the HTC Vive. The guest is immersed in an underwater experience in the role of a submarine operator. Indirect control is used extensively to guide the guest while also permitting a high degree of freedom and guest agency. The sub is equipped with clear, familiar controls – a throttle and steering wheel. A “Commander” character speaks to the guest with guidance and narration via a radio link. This guidance is dynamic and interactive; for example, if the guest does not operate the controls for some time after starting the experience, the Commander prompts them with a series of conversational elements that hint at the correct action. An auditory and visual sonar system, ocean vegetation, and the sea floor terrain guide the guest toward the target of the search, the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane. As the submarine nears the wreckage, the airplane shifts and stirs on the ocean floor. Two large tentacles emerge from the fuselage. Attempts to locate the wreckage have been unsuccessful all these years because a sea monster has claimed the fuselage as a home! The agitated monster attacks and damages the submarine. If the guest tries to manipulate the controls, they break off in the guest’s hands. Leaks spring up in the front window glass, which the guest can plug with their hands. As before, the Commander hints at this possibility if the guest does not plug the leaks for some time. More leaks appear. The guest uses their hands to block each new jet of water. Just as the guest arrests all the leaks, the sea monster strikes the front glass with a tentacle, shattering a hole into the tempered glass. It begins to swipe and thrash around inside the vessel, knocking loose a high-voltage cable. If the guest does not take the initiative for some time, the Commander warns them about the high voltage, and then points out that it could be useful. The guest grabs the cable and electrocutes the sea monster in a shower of sparks, saving the vessel. The Commander radios that the rescue ship is right above the submarine and pulls the vessel up to safety.
Hidden in Plane Sight applies strong indirect control, including a dynamic and interactive AI character, to produce an intuitive experience for guests that is completely free of failure states yet maintains a strong interest curve and sense of tension as it tells a simple but engaging narrative through interesting mechanics and immersive world design.