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The Gym Room Fights Back


Ahead of schedule on this last part of the gym room and feel pretty good about it. Of course, this did not come without its fair share of challenges. The biggest of which was simply devising a fun game to round out the set! Originally, the third gym room game was going to be a sort of "Punching Golf Range" where large beach balls would be thrown at players, who would then punch them as hard as they could down a clear narrow corridor and see how far they could drive the balls down. The idea seemed good to me on paper, but after trying a brief prototype I soon found that it just wasn't very much fun after the first few minutes. Back to the drawing board.

So after going through a few days of panic on how to fill out the room, I decided to go back to the fundamentals of my ideas. The game had to fall in line with my current "room" design, thus limiting any options requiring player locomotion and also had to be easy enough to pick up and play without the need for too much instruction. In this case, I decided to forfeit a bit of the "simple" design for a more challenging experience. I feel that the first two games in the gym are almost too simple with a low skill ceiling which could bore players.

I eventually came to the conclusion that they only way to keep players moving while holding a "only possible in VR" theme of a gym was to create some sort of fighting simulation. The resultant design came out as what is known as the "Punch Dummies" game.

Let's go over the rules of this training exercise. A platform exists in the middle of a user-selected number of dummies (anywhere from 1-4 may be active at a time). Over the course of the game, sections of one of the active dummies will glow green. This glowing green section is your primary target, hit a glowing green section and you are rewarded with a score multiplier. Once a glowing green section is defeated (either by timeout or being punched) another one will appear randomly and the process repeats. Note that you can still gain points by punching the dummies anywhere on their body but the score multiplier will not go up in these cases.

Sounds easy? Well these dummies won't quit without throwing a few jabs themselves. Similar to how the dummies body will glow green the boxing gloves on the dummies will glow brightly to show they are about to strike! Take 3 punches from a dummy and it's game over (life shown on the workbench with the green Xs).

The entire system of ducking and weaving to avoid strikes, while trying to hit those green sweet spots is quite a challenge when you select higher numbers of dummies and I look forward to seeing the best of players dominate these mechanical terrors.

Now you may be thinking that it would be easy to just walk around the dummies and punch them from the back, then they could never hit you right? Well the final part of the game is containment, when you fire up the punching dummies you'll notice a small arena in the middle of the dummies, leave that area and you'll lose an enormous amount of points for each second you stay out of bounds.

That about does it for the gym room. Feeling good and pretty well ahead of schedule. The next couple weeks will be bug fixes, polish, and finally creating the video trailer. Shortly after that the puzzle demo on Steam will be updated to include the gym room. Expect another blog post update in August and to experience the gym room for yourself in September!


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