Our LevelEd VR system was built to explore how virtual reality can assist or improve the level design process. The initial focus was on improving or assisting the level creation process for virtual reality games by allowing designers to prototype levels in VR. We felt that there would be benefits to creating virtual reality game levels whilst in VR and that these benefits might also apply to non-VR levels. Whilst VR editors aren’t new, we found that there was very little research on their use specifically as a level design tool.
LevelEd VR is built in Unity with the eventual aim to create a generic VR level editor that can be used during the development process but also as a runtime editor that can be shipped to customers to allow user generated content. Users can prototype levels using geometry creation tools, general editing tools, prefab/model placement tools and a spatial scripting system. Users can swap between editing and testing without delay, which helps to improve time spent iterating on a design. Further details on the system design can be found in the image and paper linked below.
We devised a study that would not only evaluate the LevelEd VR system for usability and acceptability, but also to compare it to a traditional desktop workflow, such as using Unity and ProBuilder. Participants created a prototype level for a target shooting game using both workflows. Our results show that participants found benefits from creating their levels in VR with the majority of participants showing a preference to building VR game levels in LevelEd VR over the traditional desktop solution. LevelEd VR also scored well in our usability tests. However, participants did not feel LevelEd VR would give sufficient benefits for non-VR games as it did with VR games.
Results for this study have been published at IEEE CoG 2020. See below:
Beever, L., Pop, S., & John, N. W. (2020). LevelEd VR: A virtual reality level editor and workflow for virtual reality level design. In 2020 IEEE Conference on Games (CoG). doi:10.1109/cog47356.2020.9231769
Accessible: Here or here.