National Geographic Explore VR is an educational VR experience. You capture photographs for the National Geographic magazine in two of the most iconic locations on the planet! Antarctica, where you kayak, climb a massive ice shelf and survive a raging snowstorm, and Machu Picchu, where you get immersed in amazing digital reconstructions.
PLATFORM: OCULUS QUEST
ENGINE: UNREAL ENGINE 4
ORIGINAL RELEASE: MAY. 2019
MACHU PICCHU RELEASE: NOV. 2019
MY ROLE: GAME DESIGNER
UX FLOW / LEVEL DESIGN
I only briefly got the opportunity to work on National Geographic Explore VR. I helped develop the first update for the game, which was Machu Picchu. When I joined, the original Antarctica had already been released and the environments for Machu Picchu were already created in stunning photogrammetry.
Designing an educational experience was a breath of fresh air in between all the games. While I had dabbled with ‘serious’ gaming during my studies, the scope of this project blows that out of the water. As a bonus, I learned a lot about Machu Picchu and the Inca, which is something I never expected to get out of this industry.
A new workflow was introduced as I was working on the project and quickly became a studio standard. “Acting out” was the process of quickly ‘paper’ prototying the UX flow for the player. After having written the first pass of a UX flow, the designers would get together and simply read the VO script off of paper as someone played through in VR.
This would quickly highlight not just pacing and VO issues, but also issues a player might have in understanding the flow. Having this on ‘paper’ allowed for very quick iteration cycles without technical overhead. It sounds so simple having written this down now, but it was a great tool that I have kept using on other projects.