1. DerrickDover's Avatar
    Those animations... <3 <3 <3 <3
    PolyarcGames likes this.
    11-16-2017 12:48 PM
  2. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Will Quill be the only character in the game to use ASL as a communication tool?
    Rick Lico, Animation Director: For now, Quill will be the only character who will speak in sign. She uses it as a form of communication with you, the player. She’ll use it to express an emotion, a need, or as a hint to help you solve a puzzle. But for those of us (including myself) who know little to no sign language, it will not be necessary to understand and enjoy the game. It’s an added feature for those who speak sign, and is a way for us to make Quill feel more grounded. It implies a history, where she learned to speak sign before your arrival in the world of Moss. But who did she learn it from? Hopefully we’ll be able to explore that question in a future title.

    An animation of Quill giving the player a clue on how to solve a puzzle:
    https://forums.vrheads.com/e?link=ht...token=DqomJzcU
    DerrickDover likes this.
    11-16-2017 12:51 PM
  3. Jen Karner's Avatar
    Additionallly, what drew you to having Quill communicate with the player by using sign language? It's a brilliant way to bring the player deeper into the game, but it isn't a mechanic I've seen used before in games, and I'd love to know how you decided on it versus other modes of communication.
    11-16-2017 12:55 PM
  4. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    One of my favorite things is exploration. I love all the little details in the game's environment. Can we expect any type of collectibles or Easter eggs along the way in Moss?
    You’re not alone in your love for exploration. And Moss’s environment is ideal for exploration. Gunny15 - we’ve got you covered!
    DerrickDover and gunny15 like this.
    11-16-2017 12:55 PM
  5. gunny15's Avatar
    Will I be expected to periodically feed Quill, and if so, what does she like? Cheese? I try to feed my own kids all kinds of different stuff. Half the time they won't touch it, and I just don't know if I can handle anymore of that type of rejection in my life.
    PolyarcGames likes this.
    11-16-2017 12:57 PM
  6. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Hello Polyarc! Thank you for doing this AMA.

    I'm really interested in the development challenges and time costs for VR games. What unexpected challenges did you run into during development? Also, were there any tools existent to manage things like camera control with the PSVR in place when Moss development began or did you have to build everything from scratch?

    PS: Will those Quill figured be available for sale later?
    Tam Armstrong, Studio Director: You are welcome, and thanks for the question!

    Many of our challenges have been challenges of design. The tools and technology side has been very smooth for us. A lot of the tools that we are already familiar with for authoring content and write code with translate very nicely into VR development. Epic has done a great job with UE4 making our lives easy on the development side. Having used several game engines including a couple I've written myself it is my favorite because it optimizes for the thing I care about most; getting work done fast, iterating on that work fast so that I can make it fun, and making it easy for me to understand what's going on if something in that creative loop isn't working right.

    The thing that has taken a lot of time is building our understanding of good VR game design from scratch. It has been a constant process of testing new ideas. Of course not all of them work out equally well. Our method for this has been to try and iteratively develop sets of principles we can use as a foundation for the next work. We started out just by trying to figure out the first principles of what good VR game design means to us. I mentioned these in another answer.

    A lot of the hard things we learn sound easy in retrospect if I say them out loud, but I will say them anyway just because I want to give you some examples of things that were challenges. Learning that an object you were trying to interact with needed to "convey" how it should move and work before you even touch it. Learning where to place a camera in a scene so that you could play the game with Quill but also interact with your hands. Learning what is supposed to happen to the camera when you switch between rooms; if Quill leaves through a door that is in front and above you where should she appear in the next room? Learning how the controls for Quill should work when you are turning your head and able to move to different positions while guiding her. Learning that it is more interesting for Quill to move on and through the objects you interact with rather than keeping her separate from the things you are touching.

    These are just a few example, but learning has been the biggest challenge by far.
    Gidorick and TrueLink like this.
    11-16-2017 12:58 PM
  7. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Tam Armstrong, Studio Director: You are welcome, and thanks for the question!

    Many of our challenges have been challenges of design. The tools and technology side has been very smooth for us. A lot of the tools that we are already familiar with for authoring content and write code with translate very nicely into VR development. Epic has done a great job with UE4 making our lives easy on the development side. Having used several game engines including a couple I've written myself it is my favorite because it optimizes for the thing I care about most; getting work done fast, iterating on that work fast so that I can make it fun, and making it easy for me to understand what's going on if something in that creative loop isn't working right.

    The thing that has taken a lot of time is building our understanding of good VR game design from scratch. It has been a constant process of testing new ideas. Of course not all of them work out equally well. Our method for this has been to try and iteratively develop sets of principles we can use as a foundation for the next work. We started out just by trying to figure out the first principles of what good VR game design means to us. I mentioned these in another answer.

    A lot of the hard things we learn sound easy in retrospect if I say them out loud, but I will say them anyway just because I want to give you some examples of things that were challenges. Learning that an object you were trying to interact with needed to "convey" how it should move and work before you even touch it. Learning where to place a camera in a scene so that you could play the game with Quill but also interact with your hands. Learning what is supposed to happen to the camera when you switch between rooms; if Quill leaves through a door that is in front and above you where should she appear in the next room? Learning how the controls for Quill should work when you are turning your head and able to move to different positions while guiding her. Learning that it is more interesting for Quill to move on and through the objects you interact with rather than keeping her separate from the things you are touching.

    These are just a few example, but learning has been the biggest challenge by far.
    Brendan Walker, Engineer: A lot of the tools we needed for VR development are the same ones you need for normal game development. Fortunately our game design fit pretty nicely into the set of available features that Unreal Engine 4 provides. We only had to make some small camera system tweaks for our game (so that your head was relative to the room camera). We also did some tweaks for the DualShock4 controller tracking to make it more tolerant when optical tracking is lost (trusting the IMU more constrained by an IK model). It turns out it's actually pretty easy to occlude the sensor bar on the DS4 so your game needs to be able to deal with this happening frequently.

    Another fun challenge with cameras we didn't anticipate was recording a trailer for a VR game. It turns out having a human play the role of the cinematic camera by recording the PoV from the headset doesn't work very well. Your head actually has a lot of micro tremors that you don't notice because your eyes and brain compensate for it but will totally show up in when trying to record head motion. There are a few ways to deal with this. I think we pick the most ridiculous. We ended up adding a mode where we used another controller as a "headset" attached to a motion stabilized stedicam rig. Using this, Michael Sternoff helped us capture a smooth "head motion" in the trailer when the player looks at Quill.

    AMA: Polyarc games is here to talk about Moss!-image.jpg
    DerrickDover and TrueLink like this.
    11-16-2017 01:05 PM
  8. gunny15's Avatar
    The most important element in any team is exactly that - the team! Obviously, Moss is the result of a combined effort from everyone at Polyarc. From a Leadership perspective, in what ways are team members encouraged? How do you come to a healthy balance between making a quality game and providing ample opportunity for career development?
    11-16-2017 01:15 PM
  9. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Did the unique way PlayStation VR lets other people watch what the player is doing on a larger display influence the game design at all? Is this something friends will enjoy sitting and watching, or is this connection you're building really focused on the experience in the headset?
    Tam Armstrong, Studio Director: The larger display influences the design in so far as we want to make sure the game is enjoyable to watch and participate. This is part of the excitement we have for puzzles in the game. It is a very fun social interaction to try and solve puzzles as a group, this is the way that I've played many other puzzle games personally. It turns out it is just as fun in VR, and when we show our game to guests here at the office and it always ends up that the peanut gallery is playing by helping with the puzzles too.
    gunny15 likes this.
    11-16-2017 01:20 PM
  10. Jared DiPane's Avatar
    Any idea what the average time it will take for most people to play the game? I'm a pretty novice-level gamer and get easily distracted and tend to never finish games, sadly!
    11-16-2017 01:25 PM
  11. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Additionallly, what drew you to having Quill communicate with the player by using sign language? It's a brilliant way to bring the player deeper into the game, but it isn't a mechanic I've seen used before in games, and I'd love to know how you decided on it versus other modes of communication.
    Rick Lico, Animation Director: One of our primary goals for Moss is to build a relationship with the player. Which means she'll need to communicate with the player. Problem is, she doesn't speak a language the player can understand during game play. So we started using pantomime as her means of communication, which works well, but lacked a sense of realism. It felt too "game-esque" to me. So I decided to try giving her a visual language that people could relate to. Something grounded in reality, that implies a history. Sign language seemed like a good fit.
    Jen Karner likes this.
    11-16-2017 01:26 PM
  12. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Polyarc Games, what's in a name? How did you come up with the name of your company? Does it stand for anything? Is there a funny story behind it? Or did you guys just pull a name out of a hat? lol
    Tam Armstrong, Studio Director: We can all agree that picking a name is very hard. It probably took at least six months to really nail it down, and this one came after a few other options were sticky enough that we were disappointed when they didn't work out. Ultimately the idea everyone liked the most won. The name to us means "We have many stories to tell". The name came from the meanings of the two parts: where "Poly" is a reference to 'polygons' and 'many', and "arc" is a reference to 'story arc' and 'gameplay arc' or even the mathematical sense of the word 'arc' which represents animation. Polyarc has many stories to tell, and we want to tell our stories through the intersection of art and technology with our games.
    pkcable, Gidorick and CorkyLunn like this.
    11-16-2017 01:28 PM
  13. DerrickDover's Avatar
    Rick, just had to say how much I love the animations. Quill's movements are so smooth, natural, and endearing. Phenomenal work!
    TrueLink and PolyarcGames like this.
    11-16-2017 01:30 PM
  14. DerrickDover's Avatar
    If I may ask another question, with the characters not speaking an actual human language, how will the story be told? Since Moss is a book in the game, will there be a narrator or will there be written text? Or will the story be a silent game leaving the player to interpret menaing through their interaction?
    PolyarcGames likes this.
    11-16-2017 01:35 PM
  15. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Any idea what the average time it will take for most people to play the game? I'm a pretty novice-level gamer and get easily distracted and tend to never finish games, sadly!
    Jared, while we’re still polishing the game, we’re looking at a couple of hours of gameplay for the hardcore gamer that's dead set on jamming through it to complete the game. That said, we’ve hosted playtests for our demo that took players 9-45 minutes to complete, it all depends on how a player wants to play the game.
    Russell Holly and CorkyLunn like this.
    11-16-2017 01:37 PM
  16. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Rick, just had to say how much I love the animations. Quill's movements are so smooth, natural, and endearing. Phenomenal work!
    THANK YOU!
    DerrickDover likes this.
    11-16-2017 01:37 PM
  17. Russell Holly's Avatar
    HUGE thank you to the Polyarc team for joining us today!
    11-16-2017 01:43 PM
  18. TrueLink's Avatar
    Thank you Tam, Bendan, and the rest of the Polyarc team for your answers!

    I'm going to have to have to play the demo again to see the controls change based on camera position. When playing my first time, control felt very natural to me, so I didn't even consider changes to direction when rotating my head. (Although, I did accidentally run Quill into the apron abyss once while not looking. Opps.)
    DerrickDover and PolyarcGames like this.
    11-16-2017 01:49 PM
  19. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    If I may ask another question, with the characters not speaking an actual human language, how will the story be told? Since Moss is a book in the game, will there be a narrator or will there be written text? Or will the story be a silent game leaving the player to interpret menaing through their interaction?
    That’s a great question and something that we’re looking to reveal later.
    DerrickDover and pkcable like this.
    11-16-2017 01:50 PM
  20. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Thank you Tam, Bendan, and the rest of the Polyarc team for your answers!

    I'm going to have to have to play the demo again to see the controls change based on camera position. When playing my first time, control felt very natural to me, so I didn't even consider changes to direction when rotating my head. (Although, I did accidentally run Quill into the apron abyss once while not looking. Opps.)
    TrueLink ... let us know what you think once you play the demo again. And you're not the only one that has done that ... Quill forgives you.
    TrueLink likes this.
    11-16-2017 01:52 PM
  21. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    Will I be expected to periodically feed Quill, and if so, what does she like? Cheese? I try to feed my own kids all kinds of different stuff. Half the time they won't touch it, and I just don't know if I can handle anymore of that type of rejection in my life.
    DerrickDover and gunny15 like this.
    11-16-2017 01:54 PM
  22. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    How many design concepts were made of Quill before you decided on her final look? Was it a difficult decision to choose?

    Quill and the rest of the game is so beautiful I can't wait to experience the world of Moss
    CorkyLunn ... thank you for the question, check out the response from Chris here: https://forums.vrheads.com/showthrea...ll=1#post66715
    11-16-2017 01:56 PM
  23. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    This had an amazing demo. I love everything about this game. So at the end of the Demo Quill runs into what appears to be a boss, will the be other animal bosses? Or am i reading into this wrong?
    Short answer - yes.
    11-16-2017 01:59 PM
  24. JogadorPlays's Avatar
    Hello Polyarc

    First of all I love your demo and I can not wait to play the full game, your demo made me completely change the thinking I had about this style of game in VR.

    My question to you is the following.

    Is Quill is a great girl hero or a little boy hero (Boy or Girl)?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to our questions.

    Many thanks VR Heads for this opportunity.
    11-16-2017 02:02 PM
  25. PolyarcGames's Avatar
    The most important element in any team is exactly that - the team! Obviously, Moss is the result of a combined effort from everyone at Polyarc. From a Leadership perspective, in what ways are team members encouraged? How do you come to a healthy balance between making a quality game and providing ample opportunity for career development?
    Tam Armstrong, Studio Director: That's a good question! First, I don't necessarily think making a quality game and career development are at odds with one another, at least not here. At Polyarc we do try to strike a balance of development and learning though. Because we are so small (only 15 people) we have a situation where we have a very high amount of positive pressure on responsibilities. There is a lot to do, and generally enough that there is always extra. In that situation we can easily be glad to help hand off some work to someone else in order to balance the load as much as possible. This often involves taking on responsibilities you are not practiced in, and that is cause for learning. We also try to have a culture of mentorship, where everyone working as peers is willing and takes some time to educate others in their areas of expertise. Our advantage in this area right now is that we are very small and the structure is very flat (I know that's been said by many other small studios as well, it is generally true when you are small.)
    gunny15 likes this.
    11-16-2017 02:06 PM
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