We caught up with Ian Richardson, Digital Producer at BBC Wales, to find our more about the game development process...
Can you sum up the game?
If The Doctor Who: Time Vortex VR game seems familiar, then you’ll have probably played the original game which was considered more 360 than virtual reality. The new build supports WebVR, which opens up a world of opportunity for VR on phones. There are also new levels and obstacles to overcome as you’re taken on a unique and breath-taking journey through time and space - navigating the TARDIS through the increasingly turbulent Time Vortex as you speed through time. It still has the unique (literal) twist as you’ll need to physically turn around to look backwards in time in order to evade threats emerging from the past.
How did the project come about?
The initial pilot came about from posing the simple question. What would happen is we collided the worlds of casual gaming and 360? This VR version expands on that as we test the limits of WebVR across many smartphones.
Why Doctor Who?
I’m a Content Producer for the BBC Digital Drama team based at BBC Wales. We create innovative digital content for some of the BBC’s biggest brands. One of those brands is Doctor Who.
The Doctor Who brand has always played with big concepts, and has always innovated both on screen and digitally. The show has a wealth of iconic locations and characters, both friendly and fearsome and with it’s broad audience appeal, and rich history of online gaming, it felt like the perfect brand to deliver an innovative gaming experience in 360 and VR, and Taster felt like the perfect companion to deliver this experience.
How was the game built?
In Doctor Who Time Vortex VR we take players on a visually intense journey through the iconic vortex from the show's opening credits. Designed as a mobile-first experience, we've combined cutting edge HTML5 and WebGL using PixiJS v5.0 to create a breathtaking journey that works on the widest possible range of hardware.
Using the device's accelerometer, the game is controlled by physically moving around, even giving the player the ability to turn around and face backwards in time!
How was the gameplay refined?
The game features an emergent challenge system that slowly increments in difficulty the longer people play, along with a visual progression layer that will also morph and change to punctuate their journey and drive them further into the game. Due to the more immersive and involved gameplay system, we will balance the game more in line with ‘casual’ titles so that the sessions are ‘short and intense’ rather than extended plays. This type of gameplay often results in longer overall sessions as the ‘just one more go’ mentality can easily drive numerous 60 second games, as opposed to a couple of 3 minute runs.