Cats and Snack Cakes are the keys to great VR: Lessons learned from Jim Topel's rambling @VRDC2017
First I want to start out by saying yes a BIG part of the reason MINDSHOW is great is that you can finally fulfill your dreams of having a rap battle between a cat and a snack cake. This is the kind of design choices that builds community.
Mindshow knows it's audience and has made choices accordingly including adding another cat to the lineup of zany characters you can create a seen with. Well those choices had to have their start somewhere and Jim Topel of the design team at Mindshow went into the history of those choices during his presentation at VRDC2017. Here are some things I learned as I tried to decipher the seemingly stream of consciousness notes I took down.
- The Original Proof of concept for Mindshow was Cop Vs Donut. I can see how the community could develop into being a VR battle rap platform. Though Mindshow has many characters including some licensed ones from Team Fortress 2 the Cat and the Snack Cake are some of the most popular.
- Jim Topel came from Harmonix where he worked on the Fantasia game for Kinect. He is invested in VR for the smiles of people that didn't think they could do something until the software he worked on helped them to do it.
- Mean time to giggle is a great metric for creativity and something the Mindshow team uses as a unit of measurement.
- Nursing, Crying, and Pooping are the only things ingrained in people. You need to really need to handhold them in the tutorial for a VR experience. In the end the best way to retain knowledge is to have a revelation and it is your job as a VR designer to lead them to that revelation.
- Prioritize the important and weird aspects of your experience.
- Mirrors are important in VR. You must have the revelation the YOU are the character.
- Keep the design human (Silly and Simple are ok)
- Something something Jason Bateman, Senator Barkington, and John Clease's lecture on creativity that we should all watch. I will include that video here until Jim's VRDC2017 talk gets posted.
Keep on making a great product Minshow and thanks for making me continue believe in VR.