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  • Writer's pictureJiajun Tan

TOY-CON BLASTER Control Makes Better

The day before yesterday, I built the toy-con blaster from Nintendo VR Labo Kit. To be honest I felt a little unsatisfied when first got the VR glasses working and played some mini games, because the resolution for switch VR was unacceptable, but everything changed after I loaded the bullet and pulled the trigger. Trust me, it is amazing.

To briefly introduce this special controller, it hides two hefty blocks of cardboard in its barrel and a trigger mechanism created with rubber bands. Like using a real shotgun, I have to pull back the lever. Then the more amazing thing happens when I pressed the thumb trigger causing a chamber flew forward and slammed into another cardboard block with a beautiful shock wave.

Besides toy-con blaster, I also built up the toy-con camera which share some of the fascinating feature. Inside the toy-con there is a cardboard gear and two gaps that rub against it, which creates the realistic feeling of adjusting the lens of a camera by emit a ratchet-like noise.

This is the first time I bought a Nintendo Labo, thanks to VR, I could have the experience to this fascinate controller. I think what makes it stand out is not only because the cool idea of a cardboard toy-con, but also that control makes better. I heard from GDC 2019 that the least thing a game designer should do for a game is to make the control stand in the way of player's experience. A good control mechanic could facilitated the game, while in the same way, a bad control design could drive players away. The most successful thing Nintendo Toy-Con does from my perspective is the idea of a brand new way out for controller.

It also reminded me of what we did in BVW. For Round 2 of Building Virtual Worlds at the Entertainment Technology Center. Our team uses Vive with trackers to develop a game-like experience demonstrating the concept of freedom. The game builds up the environment for the guest so that he/she feels like it's in a safari park, and gives the guest a camera so that he/she could enjoy this adventure. The guest will take picture of whatever they want, but will automatically capture the moment that we design which will trigger the next moment.

What we did finally make the game a success was how we designed the controller. To mimic a camera, we set up a wireless mouse in a simple card board as the camera. We used the right button as the shot button, the left button as the gallery view button, and the scroll as the zoom-in zoom-out gear. Every playtester praised our idea of this camera design because the control makes the experience inside the game more immersive, which is very important in a VR experience.

I will continue to finish all the toy-con in VR Labo Kit to see what other holy-shit moment I can find in it. This revolution for alt-control game is a big thing, maybe a little late to say after it came out for such a long time, but the inspiration it brought me is never late.

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