Spark of Light is an award-winning VR Adventure Game for Samsung GearVR, Google Daydream, HTC Vive and Vive Wave.
Developed and released at brand new VR studio Pillows Willow, it plunges players into a whimsical dreamscape that surrounds them in all directions. Help the main character, Dragow, through relaxing and fantastical challenges on his quest to restore light to his world.
Pillow's Willow VR Studios
4/5 - VRFocus
Samsung Bright VR Awards - Best Game 2016
Webby Awards Nominee - Technical achievement
In Spark of Light the player doesn't directly control the main character. Instead they help, guide and influence him.
You do this by manipulating the world around him. Find hidden objects, engage contraptions, interact with the inhabitants and even rearrange the level itself to help Nerow find his way.
Themes of light and dark, revelation and shadows run throughout the game's story and mechanics.
Many contraptions require fireflies to power them, making it your task as a player to find and gather these. Nerow is scared of the dark so requires you to illuminate his path and steel his resolve. Certain areas only become visible once Nerow shines a light on them. The inhabitants have a dark and light side to them - and matching behaviours!
Creating a new IP like this on an emerging platform with a core team of 5 was a unique challenge. As such, most of the team worked multi-disciplinary. My own role within this team is best described as a combination between game designer, game developer and R&D, jumping back and forth as the need arose.
I was involved from the very beginning in forging the core mechanics of the game. A strong focus on experimentation and rapid prototyping ran throughout the whole development track - our intention was to create an experience that simply could not be realized outside of VR.
The capabilities and restrictions of mobile VR were our starting points, while the desire to create a 'Dreamscape' was our guiding light.
My activities included creating and testing core game mechanics, designing NPC behaviour, level and puzzle design.
My development activities included realizing these experiments and ideas into stable and flexible core systems - pathing, AI, input systems, multiplatform compatibility, firefly/contraption interactions, etc.
In addition, I scripted a lot of the custom level- and puzzle logic, fleshing out the environmental puzzles and NPC behaviours.
Our aim was to push the medium's boundaries, which necessitated trying rather experimental ideas. My R&D work consisted of finding and prototyping novel ideas, systems, level layouts and mechanics to bring the Dreamscape to life.
Examples include 720-degree levels, playing with scale and perspective perception, experimental control schemes, morphin levels, etc.
These ideas were brought to at least a playable iteration so the rest of the team could weigh in and evaluate their potential and fit.