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Puzzling Teleportals: Vicinity - Warp Reality

The Rubik's Cube is the only toy or game in existence that has made me physically angry. Oh, and trying to 100% clear every Peggle level.

If I sent out a press release saying that my dissertation on ‘the nature of time and the stage in Beckett’s theatre’, was online and free to download I reckon more people would throw rocks at me than would download the blasted thing. Not so with student games. This is the third or fourth I’ve posted in recent weeks and Vicinity: Warp Reality is another impressive piece of work. Like several others I’ve seen, it’s a first person puzzler. I guess the style allows for imaginative elements of layout and motion in a 3D space, which probably ticks lots of design boxes. The fourth part is where things become interesting. Download here.

The initial ball dragging isn’t wholly thrilling but the teleportation device that the fourth chapter introduces is an excellent idea, similar to the ball in Sphere, allowing the player to record their movement and then replay it in a different location, creating a trail that they can then propel themselves along. It makes for some interesting spatial considerations and I’d love to see it fleshed out more.

The team were five strong and spent 3-4 months working on the game in the final year of their Diploma in Game and Entertainment Technology at Temasek Polytechnic. Wishing there were more levels is a little unfair given the timeframe and nature of the project, but I do wish that something interesting had been done with the very vocal companion. As it is, I can’t help but feel it’s only there because GLaDOS was and that isn’t really enough, although I suppose if one of the skills you want to demonstrate is integration of voice acting and a narration it’s definitely enough. I don’t know the course requirements!

This is a video from a while back in the development process.

As I noted when I wrote about Sphere, Unity is central to a lot of these projects and Vicinity’s team express how much it helped: “We went from completely no experience to quickly programming and pumping in game assets”. Somehow I doubt my ‘completely no experience’ would take me very far and I reckon knowledge, the right sort of thought processes and a suitable education probably help as well, but maybe I’ll try pumping some assets into my computer later and see what happens.

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Adam Smith

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