Project type: University assignment
Duration: 3 Weeks
Team size: 3 Persons
Technology: Unity, Leap Motion
My tasks: Programming, Game System Design
„Slowdown“ is a high-score based racing game where the player controls his spaceship with a leap motion device and the movement of his hand. The player is on the way to crush into several obstacles at a very high tempo if the player won’t intervene by placing his hand over of the infrared sensors of the leap motion device. If done so, the complete game switches the tempo to a slow-motion mode where the player can transform and rotate his spaceship to evade the obstacles or destroy the bonus objects to gain extra points. After overcoming the narrow pass, he can take his hand down to regain hyperspeed and beat the high score.
The most challenging part of „Slowdown“ was the short timespan we had to handle a completely new approach to controlling games. The duration of this university project was limited to three weeks, and we used the leap motion technology for the first time. We spend the majority of the project with different prototyping approaches until we began to work on the actual game because we had lots of different ideas and wanted to find the perfect usage of this controlling method. After some testing, we decided to relinquish the tracking of each finger to ensure a very responsible connection. The recognition of both hands in three different directions remained, which was enough for our project. Another aspect we noticed was the exhaustion of the hands when permanently holding them over the sensor, that’s why we developed a game concept with a proper interaction pacing. „Slowdown“ forces the player indirectly to switch between taking his hand down and up to facilitate the comfort of his interaction. During the narrow passes, the player must be focused and precise to prevent a collision. To reduce failure due to tracking issues at those points the slow-motion mode is another advantage to guarantee fair gameplay. Since we made the game somewhat beginner friendly, we implemented bonus objects. Skilled players can try to destroy to increase their score. The art style is kept very clean and abstract to make it as readable as possible. The exaggerated movement and the spinning of objects and particles improve the visibility of the slow-motion effect and intensify the feeling of mightiness.
I started the project by teaching me how the leap motion works and how I could use it in Unity, followed by programming several prototypes with very different approaches. My goal was to find out in which cases the tracking had malfunctioned and what sort of interaction was the most pleasuring. We frequently tested the different prototypes as a team and talked about possible solutions and opportunities. After the first week, I had three main prototypes I wanted to explore further, so I continued to work on their handling and features. Finally, we decided to take one of the approaches and finalized the game concept with our gained knowledge. I spent the rest of the time with implementing the missing features and tweaking different parameters to improve the user experience.