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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Oculus Rift

    - Danny Cowan

  • Nick Frushour, Designer at Poison Tip Games, Junker

    Players: 2-4 (local, couch co-op)

    In Junker, each player gets to control a junkball. A junkball is a being that increases in strength as it absorbs junk, like a junk-golem. The stats and abilities of the junkball are directly related to the type of scrap that becomes fused to it. If it absorbs heavy metals, it gets higher defense; if it grafts on wings and some thrusters, it can fly; if it fuses with enough glass, it has active camouflage; and so on. Using modular character design, there are many different combinations of materials which produce varying levels of items, equipment, or abilities. The object of the game is to defeat the enemy junkballs and destroy their base(s).

    When a player has the Oculus Rift headset on, that player will be able to move through the world, engage in action-filled combat, and harvest junk. Squads of friendly and enemy units will wander the battlefield, fighting each other. Different units will have different abilities and stats and, just like the player, it's all based on their junk configuration. Each configuration will have its strengths and weaknesses. When a unit is killed, it will drop some of its parts (usually the parts that it was configured with). The player can loot the parts and continue fighting.

    Parts can also be harvested from scrap piles that are scattered across the battlefield. There is a lot to do with the headset on, but the player only has 5 minutes before his bot runs out of energy and teleports back to base. If the player makes it the entire 5 minutes without dying, the whole team gets bonus credits. When a player dies, or the 5 minute time limit is up, the team gets credits based on how well that player did, he/she takes the headset off and gives it to a teammate who then assumes the role of his/her own junkball. This rotation continues until the enemy is defeated, or the players are overtaken.

    While one player has the headset on, the rest of the team connects to the game using their smartphones or tablets. While connected, they are able to perform many tasks that can change the course of the battle in their favor. Connected players can: build items and equipment using scrap (a recipe system); change the configuration of their junkball (stats and abilities/equipment); give orders to friendly squads on the battlefield; create new squad units with scrap; and buy items or units using credits. These activities give the teammates something to fiddle with and focus on while they are waiting for their turn with the headset. And the player with the headset gives the whole team bonus credits if he/she reaches the 5 minute time limit, which serves to keep the team engaged and cheering for their teammate (instead of just sitting apathetically until it's their turn).


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