"Blur" is a game concept I've been ticking away at in my occasional spare time. It's core idea is a first-person looking system that uses 90 degree camera shifts to view and navigate the environment. The idea has been stuck in my head since walking the Packanack Lake dam back home, where my four 90 degree perspectives were forward, back, lake, or rocky ledge. Each was clearly defined, and I had enough peripheral vision to contextualize which was left or right of each. It made me think about every dreaded horror game moment of transition. The moment of having to peer around the sheer corner, open the door, open your eyes, etc. The brief, peaking moment of anticipating fear after making the conscious choice to confront the unknown. I've wondered how effectively that moment could be distilled in a core game loop requiring you to constantly be turning that corner.
I'd been wanting to work in Unreal Blueprints again since College ended and this seemed like a prototype I could easily wrap my head around. After getting the getting the core movement to function as 90 degree shifts, I found it desperately needed any and all usability polish. The hard camera transitions were as jarring as you might expect. A lerp transition and motion blur helped a lot, but everything was still terribly rigid and locked.
If my intention is to give the player an experience leading to tense dread and fear, there needs to be a natural and comfortable status quo to leave or retreat back to. So despite my desire to implement new mechanics or start blocking out environments to wander, I've been head down in the math continuing to polish the core "looking" feel. I worked toward this by giving the player a tight cone of limited free look. Naturally it needs to be tight to keep the core intention of only seeing 1 of the 4 perspectives at a time. I also have the free-look very intentionally slowed to discourage stretching it's boundaries and keep the "looking" to feel more natural. I do recognize "feel more natural" sounds a bit silly when the core gameplay is about harsh and dramatic 90 degree camera shifts happening constantly, but that's the point of the prototype right? How intuitive and playable can I make the mechanic feel? and is the mechanic achieving the intended player experience I had in mind from the beginning? I still don't think I can say, but I'm glad it's potential is at least visible now.
Either way I'm proud and think it's cool, so I'll keep working it for as long as I do.