Pack Rage – Educational VR Game
Pack Rage is a logistics-theme game designed for high school students and for WSB University students. It’s main purpose is to introduce young people to the logistics industry and topics such as delivery, sorting, and storage. The game runs on a virtual reality (VR) headset – The HTC Vive.
The player’s task is to collect as many points as possible within 3 minutes of play by throwing packages into the appropriate transporters. The player must pay attention to the markings on packages and values of the packages. He/she has to watch out for elements that make it difficult to play such as bombs, disturbing alien ballon or flying plasma. The player learns symbols and terminology used in logistics.
To achieve a high score, one needs to react quick and set the right priorities. The player learns to analyze and assess the situation, gets to know some of the basic issues that are typical for the logistics industry.
Early concept of game mechanics
The first outline of the concept was 3D modeled in just one day. We used the new Google Blocks software for HTC Vive for this purpose. With Blocks we could visualize the concept at an express speed. Over the next few days, we built a prototype in Unity 3D to discuss it with the client.
Originally, the game was supposed to be a realistic representation of the logistics process. However, after testing the prototype and consulting with the client, we decided that the game should be somewhat out of this world. It should be set in a visually attractive environment, e.g. in space and the virtual world should be appealing to younger audience.
Concept Art and 3D Models
We continued conceptual work in a soft sci-fi theme. We made drawings for each important element of the game to achieve visual consistency. Based on the concept art, we made the 3D models.
For the game’s target audience Pack Rage is usually the first contact with 6DoF-type VR. Therefore, after setting up the goggles, the user has the option of going through a tutorial. He/she can get acquainted with physics in VR and the rules of the game. The gameplay starts at a slow pace. The player has time to look around the scene and wait for the first oncoming cosmic transporter. The robots start throwing packages to the player in such a way that they can be caught one by one and loaded into the transporter. After a few dozen seconds, more transporters arrive. During three minutes of play the pace increases. It reaches the maximum in the last seconds of the game and the player must handle up to 5 transporters.
The sound in Pack Rage is an essential part of the VR experience. After the game speeds up, the experience can be visually overwhelming. That’s when sound comes in. The challenge for the player is to locate the incoming parcels and distribute them to the transporters located around. There are also obstacles and dangers to be avoided. All these elements emit their own sounds in space and help the player identify these elements even when they are behind them. The player has a chance to hear the flying object and to turn around to catch it. However, if he throws the package, looking in a different direction, he can get an idea if his throw was a hit or miss.
The musical background reflects the dynamics of the game. At first, when gameplay is slow, the music is relaxed. Along with the intensification of the game, the background music builds up. In this way momentum is built and the psychological pressure on the player is increased.
WSB University sets standards in the adaptation of new technologies in education. With the VR game, WSB supports the recruitment process and sets the direction for training with cutting-edge IT solutions.
As a university, we are moving with the times. We want to accompany our students in the course of education and provide them with tools that facilitate learning. We have already implemented a lot of solutions for e-learning and streamlining the process of studying. However, we were looking for something that would allow us to approach education from a slightly different angle. Learning through play is natural for all people, but it is particularly attractive for young people. The idea therefore emerged to develop a game that completely involves the user and immerses him in a world created by us. And our aim is to develop specific skills.Dr Danuta Studencka-Derkacz