Weave for Magic Leap
at PAX Unplugged
Bringing innovation to the tabletop gaming industry through mixed reality.
Weave is an interactive tabletop roleplaying game that utilizes technology to help players create unique stories. Weave was designed years ago with the upcoming mixed reality revolution in mind with each card designed as a trackable object for use in future mixed reality spaces. The team at Monocle Society has been working with Magic Leap over the past year to create the worlds first mixed reality tabletop roleplaying game, with the plan to debut a preview of the software at PAX Unplugged 2018
My Role & the Team
I worked alongside Unity developers, production artists, and the game’s designer to craft an interactive experience that would showcase the product and demonstrate the vast capabilities of the Magic Leap system. Our designs for the project were developed through active roleplaying, sketching and 2D renderings, and validated through consistent testing throughout the process.
Build a mixed reality experience that generates excitement for the game, highlights the vast potential of the Magic Leap system, and present progress to funders and future investors.
Content must be stored locally, as we could not count on on reliable internet access at the convention.
Create a timely and consistent user experience that could be demoed to as many attendees as possible.
Highlight the features of our game while also showcasing the capabilities of the Magic Leap system (as per our partnership requirements).
The project was split into two phases, the first being research and experimentation, which, in turn, informed and supported our decisions during the second phase, UI design and development.
To fully understand the opportunities with and limitations of mixed reality I had to experience it for myself. The first step in designing for the system was getting into the Magic Leap One headset. Out of the box applications like Project Create, Tónandi, New York Time’s immersive journalism experience, and even the system’s welcome screen, proved the wide range of visual styles and interaction methods that the Magic Leap could offer.
Magic Leap’s Human Interface Guidelines provided through their Creator Portal, became like sacred text, constantly offering essential information and best practices with every read. Defining our technical limitations gave us a framework within which we would develop.
Defining Our Assumptions
We aimed to mitigate our risks by identifying assumptions early in the process. In the absence of data for our product we ran a sceries of scenarios and trials to inform and validate our design desicions Our process was filled with lots of experimentation and constant dialogue between the teams. Through the live-action roleplaying of our ideas for the experience, we began to define our conscious and unconscious assumptions.
FORMS & AESTHETIC
Refining the Experience &
Developing the Product
Having a period of experimentation filled with trial and error allowed the team to:
learn how to best collaborate
align our vision for the experience
validate and refine our assumptions
Taking the learns from our experimentation process we were able to highlight what worked, such as:
simple user interactions using the Magic Leap control
utilization of space to push interactivity and add elements of surprise
raising our poly count on 3D elements to highlight depth and dimension
adapting our models to fit the setting of the game evoking brand aesthetics without rigid design constraints
Our biggest re-framing of the project was adapting the experience with new players in mind. Our experimentation was heavily focused on creating an experience specifically for the Storyteller (aka Game Master). We incorrectly made the assumption that because the majority of our customers and users are inviting their friends and family to play Weave, that we would want to appeal to our primary users with this demo. What we needed to keep in mind were the personas among the PAX Unplugged attendees
Final Design & Developer Preview
Our preview was developed as a 10 minute demo with our Magician (Magic Leap Assistant) leading a solo user through the creation of various campaign settings, allowing them to place objects and change the scenes according to their preference. With a simpler focus, we crafted an experience that was accessible to tabletop RPG veterans and novices alike.
As the product is still in development, I contractually cannot provide any images or videos of the final demo. What I can say was that our experience attracted lines and crowds every single day of the convention. Monocle Society was additionally named Best in Show by PAX organizers, Penny Arcade.
Future Considerations & Reflections
The potential scope for this project far outweighed our allocated timeframe. Given additional time and resources I would:
Conduct thorough user testing on input and interaction methods. We gained enormous value through informal user testing and observation of users in the the final demo. I am eager to explore how to make control interactions clearer, simpler, and accessible to users with disabilities.
Develop a further understanding of colors, textures and poly count in Magic Leap’s Lumin OS. Our period of experimentation did not give me nearly enough time to explore the opportunities with 3D objects. Colors were the hardest to validate unless they were seen through the headset.
Work to integrate the physical components with the digital. We were unable to utilize the Story Cards as trackable components in our demo, despite being designed with that in mind. Due to the Magic Leap headset tinting, the color of the physical objects were dimmed and duller than their digital counterpoints. I would love to further explore how to align their vibrancy.