New Heights is a third-person VR platformer where you play as a tiny relic exploring and revitalizing the ruins of the mechanical titan that you were once part of.
The game was created over the span of three months for the 2016 Toronto Level Up showcase. I worked on the coding and VR-specific aspects along with Alexandros Tagtalenidis, Charles Li and Tyler Haugen-Stanley. 3D modeling was done by Henry Sae-Lim, Vigneshwar Premachandran and Yumeng Chen.
The main programming language I used to code the game.
The engine used.
Worked with the Rift and Unity’s Integration.
Used Git with Bitbucket for version control.
The IDE used with Unity.
Used to create and modify a textures.
Used for pseudo code and problem solving.
Used to modify and mash together sound effects.
Used to manage all tasks.
Used to manage progress and stages of the project.
Integrated as the primary form of input.
One of the most interesting things about working on this game for me was changing up the environments through code. Every time a stage was cleared the entire area revitalizes and the greenery grows back. To do this I took a lot of techniques I learned from working on We Are All Animals such as changing the clipping on the tree shaders gradually to mimic leaves growing. On top of this, I changed up every value I could in the scene such as the water opacity and the ambient lighting.
Lighting & Optimization
The environment itself was also interesting to work on. The environments were huge to allow the gigantic robot to scale over the player. To add to this atmosphere I added in some lighting effects that both helped optimize the game and add to the feel of it. The first was fog. I referenced pictures of deserts and one of the things I noticed was that you really can’t see anything during a sand storm. Because of this I found adding some sand colored fog would look a lot more realistic than having a skybox. Removing a skybox allowed us to have a really low far distance plane which really sped up the game. To add on to this effect I added in looping sand particles. I originally was planning on making particles spawn everywhere but I found it to be a lot more efficient to simply spawn them right by the player’s face. This made it seem like there was a sand storm and barely affected performance at all.