GDC 2018 presented a significant number of VR and AR companies and had a good amount of talks dedicated to XR specifically. One of the new types of experiences I tried this year was boxing experience called ‘Creed: Rise to Glory’ produced by Survios and MGM. Sharing my experience and few thoughts on product design and UX design.

Article by Olga Ivanova, and originally posted on Medium

Before playing this game, I was somewhat skeptical of VR sports apps. Playing Creed changed my opinions on the whole VR sports industry — I experienced myself how much effect it can have in real life.

The gameplay starts as a training led by Sylvester Stallone where you will be offered to punch a boxing bag. You get your mitts on and, first, listen about various situations that might happen in the ring in general and with you specifically (e.g., you might hurt your hands by punching too much, you might get knocked down etc.) and what to do. You will be shown some examples too.

The training itself was pretty intense, I got the feeling that I had to move on the ring to accomplish all these exercise punches on the boxing bag, even though I actually shouldn’t have to.

After the training was complete, I was able to start the match. It was not rushed, so I was able to do everything at my own pace and have some rest before — I liked this ability to control the situation.

The match was impressive. Most importantly, I thought that it can be used as an exercise for arms, maybe even for the whole upper body — depending on how hard you punch your virtual opponent. After the game, I was so tired that my arms and the upper body were sore for about 2 days. I did a really good job jumping around and punching fast and high, so I really felt my muscles.

Below — me after the play, couldn’t stop jumping and punching 🙂

Photo by Micah Blumberg at Silicon Valley Global News used with permission

From the design perspective, the game was intuitive in many ways but still a little confusing in few other situations without an additional help. For example, after being hit hard, I was thrown away from my virtual avatar’s body like its let’s call it ‘soul’ left the body, the time stopped as an avatar fainted — great and innovative UX design here, btw! I find it being a really interesting idea for this type of interaction and feedback.

To get back to my body and continue the game, I had to mirror the pose of my virtual avatar and locate my hands inside of its hands. The main confusion was how much precision should I use when bringing my hands (avatar’s soul hands) into the virtual avatar. I had several tries before I succeeded.

So I had a thought in mind — why not to snap my avatar’s soul hands to the avatar’s hands when my they are in a close proximity? It would make aiming less frustrating, and I would be able to return to the game more quickly.

And adding haptic feedback would let the player know they completed the task successfully. Though still thinking if it’s needed in the context of this game because everything should happen fast. I would try it. For example, Facebook Spaces has this “click” thing — each time you bring some drawing or object close to your head or body when you hear the click sign, it means that the object was attached to your head or body successfully (e.g., attaching a flower to my hair).

If knocked down hard, you would be thrown away from the body that far so you would need to run to get back into it. By the time of this event, I started forgetting information I was shown in the tutorial before the game. So it could be useful to add some hints within the game following the context of the experience, show them timely. For example, let the player know what to do when they were thrown away far from the body, show what they are supposed to do to get back into the virtual avatar.

Here haptic feedback could be the most useful — it would draw attention to the controllers, first. After the player looked on them, some visual cues could appear indicating what to do. For example, some ghost hands showing the motion type to replicate or some info bubble right on player’s controllers in VR.

Photo by Micah Blumberg at Silicon Valley Global News used with permission

On the ending note, I’ve read articles about the man who lost 50 pounds playing some VR game, and it was interesting but hard to believe. After having such boxing experience, now I am able to think of it as an efficient way to exercise which is also fun. Even though you don’t really punch anything, you use your arm weight and by the time you complete the match, you are really tired.

I won’t give you all the secrets and game rules here so you can have an opportunity to discover it yourself and truly enjoy the experience. But I can tell that this is one of the games I want to get when it’s released! The game mechanics are unusual and fun, same as the whole gameplay design.

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