Cow Corral

Title: Cow Corral
Date created: Fall 09
Genre: 3D Horseback Cow Riding Adventure
Platform: Head Mounted Display (HMD)
Team Size: 4
Role in creating the game: programmer
System Requirements: Panda3D ver 1.6 and python

Information: Made for Round 2 of Building Virtual Worlds.

Modeler: Rohan Mascarenhas
Texture Artist: Katherine Rubenstein
Sound Design: Emily Sun
Programmer: Yang Shan

I did all programming in python using the Panda3D game engine.

The platform for my team's Round 2 world was the Head Mounted Display (HMD). As shown in the lower right corner of the video below, the guest wears goggles that display video from the game. The HMD platform has 4 magnetic trackers that can be attached to the guest. The trackers give their position and orientation data to the program. In Cow Corral, there is 1 tracker attached to the goggles that determines the orientation of the guest's head. This allows the guest to look around the world by turning their head. There are also 2 trackers on the guest's knees and one tracker attached to the lasso prop.
During game play, the guest sits on a saddle and squeezes the saddle with their knees to make the virtual horse move forward. When the guest throws the lasso, the program detects the high velocity of the lasso tracker to detect that the lasso has been thrown.

The objective of Round 2 was to create a sense of freedom for the guest. We were also limited to one verbal instruction and were given a naive guest on the day of presentation. Thus our world had to be designed to be played by a guest that had never seen our world before. We decided to use the analog of a cowboy catching cows. The guest sat on a saddle and threw a lasso to catch cows. To move straight in the world, the guest would look straight ahead and squeeze his knees on the shaddle. To turn, the guest had to turn his/her head in the direction he wanted the horse to turn while the horse was moving.

We did a lot of playtesting using naive guests for the world. We created a clear instructions page and altered a lot of our game mechanics to fit the naive guest requirement.

Cow Corral BVW Show 2009 from Yang Shan on Vimeo.

live game play video