Dead Bug Creek

Genre: Adventure, Virtual Reality

Platforms: Playstation 4 (PSVR), Oculus/PC

Language: C#, Javascript

Tools Used: Unity 3D, Adobe CC, Maya, 3DS Max

Team Size: 2

Duration: 18 months (Winter 2016 release)

My Role: Creator, Mechanics Design, Gameplay Scripting, Particle FX, Concept Artist, 3D Art, Texturing, Rigging, Environment & Level Design, Voice Acting, Location Research

Dead Bug Creek is an adventure game built for virtual reality.

Discover clues, party with some dead guys and learn the secrets of Dead Bug Creek. You play as an alien explorer in search of "The Ultimate Prize" whose sensors point you towards a dusty, derelict town in the middle of nowhere. When your quest is derailed by a rambunctious young girl, it becomes clear there may be more to this town than it seems. Convene with the locals, explore dark passageways and learn about the strangeness of planet Earth. The human world is full of surprises.

Mechanics & Gameplay

Dead Bug Creek was conceived as a VR project from the very beginning, and brings the best of the genre together with the immersive quality of exploring a world in VR. It’s a free roaming world explored from a first-person perspective and is a seated experience using positional head tracking with gamepad input. The Player is invited to lean into objects closely, peek through open windows, and observe the environment from every angle to solve puzzles and discover secrets hidden throughout the town. We love solving mysteries and playing games with silly, whimsical premises. For us, Dead Bug Creek brings those themes together with VR to give players a unique experience.

The game’s blend of fully interactive and animated NPCs, a humorous narrative, and explorable quests and puzzles adds needed variety to the current VR landscape. Dead Bug Creek’s cartoony art style and carefully realized environments push the game to a delightful extreme. It rejects the high polish, sterile futurist look of many VR tech demos and apps. Instead, Dead Bug Creek invites audiences to cast away their inhibitions through a playful alien adventure with a rascally little girl named Flora. There’s also a levitating hamburger and some spooky ghosts.

Some of what I designed for Dead Bug Creek:

  • Narrative design (story, characters, environments)
  • Level design
  • All models and textures
  • Custom shaders (FX and environment)
  • Comfort for VR
  • Tutorial
  • Interactive objects
  • Interactive object placement
  • Particle effects for interactive objects
  • Built-for-VR HUD
  • Lighting and environmental storytelling
  • Voice acting and audio design
  • FK/IK Solvers for First-Person hand animations
  • Player inputs and movement
  • Trophy icons, Logo & Branding
  • Translating emotion sheets to blendshapes for facial animation
 

Screenshots

As the game is still in development, these screenshots represent the most current version of the game to date! Since our announcement trailer (above), I've overhauled lighting and graphics significantly.

 

Concept Design

I created and ideated all the characters, environment design, concepts, story elements and exploratory sketches. Many of them were based on people and places I grew up around in rural central Arizona. Here are a few of my favorites.

 

Models

I built just about every model making up Dead Bug Creek's world, including the handful below.

 

Facial Animation

I'm currently working on finishing our character models, but here's a preview of the ways our NPCs will animate.