The PSVR support was a patch automatically granted to all Minecraft players on PlayStation 4.
Minecraft for PSVR released in September 2020.
Disclaimer: Below is a presentation of some of the work done for the platform restricted by the NDA contract. The data, telemetry and other details cannot be disclosed here. However, the current active players on the PlayStation PSVR platform are higher than any VR version of the game.
The game was based on the OculusVR experience, redesigned to work on PlayStation. My team and I worked to make the best Minecraft VR possible following the constraints. I also was responsible for producing a game for the first time!
Besides porting the game to a different platform and covering mandatory TRCs, the team and I worked to create a up-to-date, customizable settings, how to play and player’s comfort.
Testing PSVR Experiences
The team never worked with the PSVR platform until this time, so I decided to conduct moderated usability testing for PSVR among studio members. The goal was to have a few insights for best practices.
Besides testing Minecraft OculusVR with the team, I tested many PSVR games, conducting monitored testing with a few studio members.
However, I utilized No Man’s Sky on PSVR for more in-depth testing. I wanted to narrow down the research to our “best scenario” MVP. We had the possibility to change a few things. The research using this game, was focused on:
- controllers (Move controllers vs dualshock 4)
- GUI effectiveness.
I conducted interviews surveying after the experience with a form, and documenting the research. In the end, I presented some of the findings to the team.
Exploring flows for PSVR
First, I explored all TRCs, comparing to a few PSVR titles and following Sony’s Morpheus Best Practices:
This study gave us a glance at how to build our first scenario of Minecraft VR on PSVR. Taking into consideration only the mandatory TRCs and moving to a faster interaction to player’s be in the game, the final flow reflecting our choices below:
The Oculus Setttings
The next step was understanding the settings on OculusVR. The list below counts with the previous VR settings found in Minecraft and some of them could be a challenge to new players to understand their meaning.
The PSVR Settings
Minecraft VR has two modes inside the VR game, and we wanted to improve the original onboarding design.
The experience on OculusVR started with a pop-up suggesting settings, but lacking context to players.
After many iterations, the result was separating the settings by category and also increasing customization.
The main differences between OculusVR settings and PSVR settings design:
- With the removal of some settings as previously seen, the PSVR Options menu in Living Room mode only had a single option (related to centering the cursor): This change was confusing, as players may question why they cannot view the full suite of VR options. In addition, this prevents discomforted players from returning to living room mode while they adjust their immersive settings.
To fix this, I suggested adding the subheaders to the VR options screen and adjusted the logic so that all options display at all times.
- During iterations, the original Camera Movement dropdown contained only three options.
The final design allows four and players can adjust by two separate toggles to enable Classic, Snap, Wheel, or Snap + Wheel at the same time, so adding also as a option "Snap Wheel" to the camera movement dropdown was necessary to match the functionality.
- Two settings: “Hand Controller Pointer Visible” and “Hand Controller Hands Visible”, actually apply to all of Minecraft, not just in-world.
This was particularly confusing, because those settings applied to all Minecraft, and it couldn't be mixed with only VR options. So the two settings now live to the Video tab to make it clear that they are global video-related options.
PSVR How to Play
First of all, the “How to Play” section exclusively for VR was not included in the game, so we took the opportunity to be inclusive to all new players and explained the modes and settings for the first time on the VR version.
More to come
Minecraft PSVR have constant support from Mojang/Microsoft, so many changes are on the way!