Spellbound Spire
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Spellbound Spire

by mannens on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Go on an immersive VR Journey into a magical tower in Al-Andalus filled with corruption. Progress the tower's mind-bending walkways and reality-altering moments using your magical gloves. Can you solve its mysteries and restore the peace in the tower?

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Location hidden, Al-Andalus, 1205: A sorcerer has accidentally unleashed a powerful dark corruption that has rapidly spread through their tower.

Your mission is to go on a dangerous immersive journey to restore peace in the tower. On your journey, you will find a pair of magical gloves that enable you to let objects defy the laws of gravity, allowing you to move objects to places that previously seemed impossible.

The project brief listed the following constraints:

- The game takes place in a tower and features mind-bending reality shifts
- It must feature extended environment exploration using Roomscale (meaning physical movement will drive the in-game movement) and non-euclidian techniques
- Be innovative in VR mechanics and/or Non-Euclidian Level Design

Spellbound Spire is an immersive VR journey where you, the player, explore a magical tower located in 12th century al-Andalus. The tower is filled with different types of locks and keys that are scattered across the environment. 

To unlock the mysteries of the tower and solve its challenges you will need to use your magical gloves. These gloves disable the gravity of objects, enabling you to make them fly anywhere you want. Allowing you to continue exploring the tower.

However, this journey is not without danger. The corruption is spreading through the tower and will corrupt anything in its path. Contact with the corruption will disable your gloves' powers, and any object that it touches will immediately be destroyed.

Additional Information about the Project's Creation:

All content is made by us.

Early on in the research and prototyping stage, we found that players should be able to interact with smaller objects in the playspace. Due to this conclusion, objects such as vases, glasses, and books can be interacted with.

Throughout development, we used an iterative approach. This resulted in trimming down unnecessary features that proved to not be viable, feasible, or desirable. Which allowed us to focus on perfecting our core feature; the continuous movement that we will talk about in the next section.

Below you can watch a playthrough of one of our levels:

Our non-euclidian portals allow for smooth seemingly-impossible movement from one location to another.

By combining non-euclidian level design and room-scale movement we enable players to walk through the entire game in one continuous path while staying safely within the bounds of their playspace. This creates the feeling that the player is exploring a large environment while avoiding the shortcomings of other VR movement solutions.

Additional Information about the Projects Creation:

Throughout the development, we continuously iterated on our non-euclidian techniques. We started with a basic teleportation function to prove the viability and feasibility of our concept. After a lot of testing and iterating, we now have near-seamless portal traversal running at 90+ frames per second on most VR ready machines.

Another issue we have solved during this project was ensuring seamless hand and object movement through portals.

Option 44 is a 3rd-year student team studying International Game Architecture & Design Programme at the Breda University Of Applied Sciences.

The project is created over the course of 28 weeks. The game is currently in closed beta and is set to be released for free on Steam on June 16th. 

Over the course of the year, the project has seen 40 developers working on it. However, the team itself always had around 25 active developers. Currently, it consists of 11 designers, 4 artists, 7 programmers, 2 audio designers, and 1 producer.

By using the sliders below you can see how we have iterated 2 of our levels over the course of their development. Changes were driven by data we gathered through our analytics tool as well as on-site and online playtesting.

We started the development with a low-poly art style inspired by Rime. We quickly discovered we wanted a higher level of detail. The style improved until it could not be called 'Rime-like' anymore. We still occasionally look at games like Rime, Necropolis and The Witness to see how they deal with shape language, lighting, and general stylization, but we have made it into our own style with a higher level of detail.

The theme is based on 12th century Al-Andalus. We made this choice based on two reasons: its interesting architecture and the fact that there is a lack of VR games within this theme. 

The slider below is an art showcase highlighting the assets that were created during development:

Cover image improvements showcase:

Steam keys can be requested by contacting us.


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