Where it Began
I love doodling ducks in the margins of my papers - they're gloriously simplistic and silly and so expressive. Of course, that means I had to make a duck game for my final project in my AR Worldbuilding class.
Designing for AR spaces gives us a unique set of affordances and ways to interact within the game world and real world.
All of us were passionate about educational games and creating something that would appeal to a younger demographic. We looked towards games and pastimes we enjoyed as children for inspiration, and found an interesting intersection - there was a niche for an educational pet simulator.
Adapting a pet simulator to AR was a challenging but rewarding task. We had so many different ways to better connect players to their virtual friend by using overlays, camera interactions, and even multiplayer elements.
our initial brainstorming for features and affordances
Previous class projects were more like "mockups" or proof of concepts, but our goal for this project was to get it as playable as possible within our timeframe. We stuck to the core gameplay loop of many virtual pet simulation games - take care of your pet, collect rewards, and spend them on your duck. Unity's ARFoundation gave us the opportunity to implement our design ideas into code, including light estimation and local multiplayer!
This was the perfect ending for a fun class that encouraged experimentation and pushing the boundaries of games. We ran into so many design quirks and problems to think about in AR, such as how to balance player safety and immersion. Designing for a younger player base was interesting as well to understand what kids wanted out of education games.