PC Game with Custom-made Controllers
A part of 2023 alt.ctrl.GDC collection
My role: [ Producer, Controller + Game Design ]
Yile Xu - Programming (Controllers)
Jason Qiu - Programming (In-game)
Rei Yamada - Artist (3D Character Art and 2D Art)
Polly Yan - Artist (3D Environment and 2D Art)
YettiBebbis is a puppeteering game that has two custom-made controllers. The left controller controls the puppet's body movement while the right controller controls the puppet's limbs (left arm, head, and right arm).
The guest plays as a scientist who recently discovered a new species of animals called YettiBebbis, who apparently have some ritualistic behaviors as if they are a cult. The goal of the guest is to use the puppet to blend in to the rituals, mimic the action of the crowd, and eventually find out what they are worshipping.
Because we are making a game about puppeteering, we wanted to make sure that the experience of the guest can be as authentic as possible. Therefore, we came up with the two custom-made controllers that really let the guest feel as if they are controlling a puppet using their fingers and hands to navigate the puppet's motions.
The right controller has three wires controlling the three limbs of the puppet. The left string controls the puppet's left arm, the middle string controls the puppet's head, and the right string controls the puppet's right arm.
The left controller controls the body movement of the puppet based on the direction how the guest tilt the controller.
The Design of the Controllers:
Each wire is attached to a weight block which is located within a PVC tube. Underneath the tube, there is a Phidgets distance sensor which detects the amount of distance that the weight block travels. The float/data is thus transmitted into unity, so we can use it to map onto the arms and head's rotation.
Because everyone's hands are varied in length and size, we introduces a calibration stage in the beginning of the game to create a range of how much a guest's hands can travel. We then map such range into our game so that any guest can have a relatively similar experience.
The final design of our right controller is this wooden structure below. This allows the guest to have two modes of game play, either using fingers and playing from the top (interesting game play but less precision), or using those strings to pull, playing from the in-between section (safer gameplay with better precision).
The left controller has a Phidgets gyroscope attached underneath to detect the direction of tilt. This controller is responsible for the puppet's body movement from moving to jumping.
The premise of the game is that you have to blend into the crowd. To make that fun, we have our crowd of YettiBebbis do various sets of simple movements for the player to mimic. These actions will fully utilize the two controllers' potential.
ETC Festival Setup (Game can be played either Solo or with Two Players each controlling one controller.
Close-up of the setup, with two cushions for guest's comfort.
YettiBebbis Reseaerch Board.