One of my current problems is how to work the User Interface (UI) so as to provide an immersive User Experience (UX) within virtual reality. I don’t know whether it should be a 2D plane or 3D object(s) set inside the virtual world. It won’t be interactive since the player will always be holding a shield and sword in their hands (or maybe allow the shield hand to interact with things?) or maybe it should since the Oculus Rift’s new motion controllers would probably allow for it… I also don’t know if the UI should act more like a HUD (Heads Up Display) similar to Iron Man’s HUD in its recent movies.
Before changing controls to use the Oculus Rift’s motion controllers, I originally required the UI to be set inside the virtual world. The reasoning behind this is because the player had to always be looking towards the monitor in order for the secondary camera to pick up the PS3’s motion controller accurately. So having the UI in the virtual world would represent the player’s forward position and must be manually moved (through controls) left or right in order to walk in that direction. This was the appropriate response to solve that problem but because there is no secondary camera problem with the new Oculus motion controls, that is no longer required.
Another factor that has recently showed up is the fact that there’s a second joystick on the right controller where I didn’t any joystick there before. The easy transition there is to have the second joystick take over for rotating your in-game character in order to force the player into a forward-looking direction. But the camera isn’t there anymore, there is no need to force the player to look straight ahead anymore. The only camera that exists will be the one that tracks the player’s Oculus position. The player can literally turn 180 degrees and everything should still work fine in regards to the motion controllers and overall movement (but may still be limited but how the wires intertwine with anything in the way).
So what’s the most effective method to drive an immersive experience? There’s no need to have the UI exist in the virtual world anymore and having the UI exist as a HUD seems to be the most effective method. But there’s a fictional problem with that. In my game, where demons and angels exist and the player fights using a shield and sword in a high fantasy setting, how will the HUD be explained? Traditionally, HUD’s exist in science fiction worlds, where there is some sort of eye piece that covers an eye or two in order to display information relevant to the their surroundings.
Well. In writing this post, I think I have figured out my answer to explaining the HUD in this high fantasy game. It could be easily fictionalized by casting some sort of spell that allows the player to see critical information about their surroundings. It’s not perfect but it could be fictionalized appropriately. It still doesn’t solve the overall HUD that relates pertinent information to the player, but maybe it shouldn’t be fictionalized and hope that the player doesn’t lose immersion because of the UI?