© 2019 by Christian Leong

Beatcaster

The Project

Beatcaster is an ambitious and immersive, interactive experience. It is played in a dome, and aims to combine the input from augmented reality glasses, HTC vive controllers, and a Subpack into a rhythm based first-person shooter. In a sentence, I would describe the game as a multiplayer marriage between space invaders, guitar hero, and Harry Potter (one casts spells to kill the “invaders” on beat to the music).

The Concept

Because this combination might be difficult to envision at first, here is a prototype from the initial pitch to the USC advanced game committee. The center “generators” are the what the “invaders” target.

My Role

As a usability and user experience lead, my role on the team is extremely varied, and have worked closely with the design team during the process. On a macro level, I am in charge of deciding what the usability team tests, how it tests, and compiling findings with the team. For my role as a user experience lead, I will be best figuring out how the peripherals and their unique experiences combine to make the best overall game user experience.

Usability

Do our player goals + design goals = our experience goals? This was one of the main questions that my team and I are attempting to answer in the pre-alpha stages of production. To test this, we are trying to understand what the core elements of our player experience are, and then testing whether those elements enhance or detract from the end player experience. For communicating our findings, we will use a standard method of running tests for multiple participants and then compiling documents with our findings. As we progress towards alpha, code freeze, and beta, we will begin to use the rapid iterative testing and evolution (RITE) testing method to fix lower-level bugs more efficiently.

User Experience

With so many modes of sensory integrated into the game, much of the testing will be focused on human sensory preferences and biases to best incorporate so many peripherals into the game. Furthermore, as AR glasses function more or less as a screen overlaid over the physical world, I will be tasked with organizing the game’s heads up display (HUD) in a way that is most usable and makes the most sense for the game. 

Timetable

The game is slotted to be in beta in April of next year ahead of the time for Springfest, where the Beatcaster team will showcase the game to festival promoters to potentially host during the 2020 music festival season.

Partnerships

  • USC Concerts Committee

  • USC Iovine and Young Academy

  • Subpack

  • Vive

  • Mira