a game about buttons, really
Bench with Birds is a short experimental game for Google Cardboard exploring violence in game story progression. The player is placed into a theatre set of a small artificial park where they feed birds by throwing breadcrumbs using the single button on the headset. After attracting a certain number of birds, the breadcrumbs are replaced by a gun and the player can either shoot the birds or refrain from disrupting the peace. The game concludes with either a credits roll if they shot the gun or a short thesis explaining the nuance behind the choice of violence if they refrained.
Designing for Google Cardboard both affords an unprecedented freedom of motion, yet severely limits what is possible visually and interaction wise. The lowfi feeling of the cardboard VR headset helps set a lower standard, but maintaining a playable framerate is exceedingly difficult when rendering 3D on a phone. The input restriction of a single button and head rotation also limits, but I chose to heavily utilize the lack of fidelity in choice a single button presents as the core mechanic of my game. In addition, because the player has freedom to look anywhere, the camera resets during the title sequence so the player doesn’t unintentionally lose orientation. Because the main reveal of Bench with Birds requires the player looking behind them, I use sound effects to draw the player to look behind them at the right time while not forcing the player.
@drfuzzyness also made this cute Google cardboard game! @nyuniversity #VR #gamedev #nonviolence pic.twitter.com/sxLywh0cez
— Charlie Tweecore (@CharlesHHuang) May 12, 2016