Virtual reality (VR) offers a new dimension to gaming where players can interact with a virtual world in similar ways to how they would interact with environments in the real world. By creating a simple minigame, this project sought to take advantage of the way we can interact with virtual worlds in virtual reality. This minigame needed to be simple enough that a beginner could play it, straight forward enough that it could be explained in a 3-word instruction, and short enough to be able to be completed within a 10-second time limit.

Taking these aspects into consideration, I created the VR minigame, “Clean Up”, where players have 10 seconds to use
the vacuum cleaner in front of them to clean up all the objects scattered on the floor. This concept achieved the necessary criteria through its intuitiveness - everyone recognises and knows how to use a vacuum cleaner, so when presented with one in a virtual reality space in a setting with objects strewn on the floor and the 3-word instruction “CLEAN THE MESS!”, players know exactly what to do.

View of stylised virtual room with couches, a red vacuum cleaner and various small objects strewn on the floor.
Top-down view of stylised virtual room with couches, a red vacuum cleaner and various small objects strewn on the floor.
View of stylised virtual room with a couch and lamp.
View of stylised virtual room with couches, a red vacuum cleaner and various small objects strewn on the floor.

In developing this game, the first stage was conceptualisation. After getting some inspiration from other virtual reality
and Nintendo Wii minigames, I created the basic concept for the minigame. Originally, I planned a minigame wherethe player would be presented with a number of snowmen which they needed to knock down using snowballs. However since throwing is not as intuitive in VR as it is in real life, it is very difficult to get projectiles to go where you want, so I scrapped this idea. I took a different approach at this point and considered ‘gamifying’ an everyday activity which everyone would know how to do - things like wiping clean a dirty mirror, or mixing a cake batter. This led me to the idea of vacuuming up a mess.

After deciding on the initial concept, I then had to determine how the game would actually work - that is, what needed to happen ‘behind the scenes’ in order for the game to be playable and work as intended. For example, the objects which were strewn on the floor needed to disappear when the base of the vacuum cleaner came into contact with them, and the vacuum cleaner base needed to always be in contact with the floor to ensure it did not simply pass over the top of objects.

As well as this, a fair amount of testing in virtual reality was needed. The virtual world needed to be scaled correctly so that the vacuum cleaner and room were sized as they would be in real life. The objects also needed to all be clearly visible, and within a reasonable reach - so that all players would be be able to move the vacuum cleaner to reach all the objects without having to move or stretch too far.

The last stage was making the assets. I decided to place the minigame in a living room setting to provide more context to help players understand what to do. When modelling the assets I needed to ensure the objects were recognisable while also keeping them all to a low poly count, as in virtual reality maintaining a high game performance is crucial so that frame rates do not drop - which ruins the VR experience and can result in causing motion sickness for some players.