Home > Ftr news > Occulus Rift Mod for World of Tanks – Part 2 (with Download)

Part 1: http://ftr.wot-news.com/2015/01/30/occulus-rift-mod-for-world-of-tanks-part-1-with-download/

Check this out – you can download the mod here:

English instructions
The mod itself

General UI issues

In our game – just like many others – practically the UI (both in combat and in the garage) is stretched towards the edges of the screen. If you use it without any modifications, you get the following issue: due to the design specifics of Occulus Rift, the only area that is in your field of view is the central area of the image – and UI, as it is, does not fit into that area (or does only partially):



We tried the following solutions to these issues:

1) make the UI smaller and make it located in the center of the screen to fit in the FOV area. In order to do that, you have to make it use different render target and then only apply it in post-processing. This does indeed solve the FOV issue, but it catastrophically decreases the readability of the UI, as well as the ability of the UI to convey information to you.

2) use the Occulus orientation matrix for the UI positioning, which means giving the user the ability to focus (watch) not only on the scene but the UI as well. This way, the drawbacks of the first way are avoided: the readability and informativeness of the UI are limited only by the device resolution. But it has drawbacks too: in order to do the things you got used to doing one way (checking the garage tank list, checking the credits etc.), you need to move your head a lot and – as implied by the previous text – it’s difficult to synchronize the movement of the UI and the 3D scene camera.

3) combine the previous two methods, that is to scale the interface and at the same time, give the player the option to focus on it specifically. The main issue here is to pick such a scale parameter, that would keep the text readable while getting rid of too much head movement.

At first, we didn’t differentiate between hangar and combat UI. Furthermore, the use of the Occulus orientation matrix to watch the UI was influenced by the combat UI. Practically the entire visible area is taken by the 3D scene and that was fine, but lacking the possibility to check your hitpoints or minimap did not really contribute to the fans of dynamic gameplay having to have fun in full 3D. That’s when we thought about “viewing” UI: in order to see the minimap for example, you had to turn and tilt the head a little – a completely natural movement for a person, familiar with the UI of our game. And here we met with the issue I described: as early as after five minutes of constant head turning to see the minimap, tank status and ammo counter, the neck started to hurt.

As shown above, the evolution came with using the hybrid variant: now, a part of the interface was visible from the start, but for the full view, you had to move your head a little. It would have seemed that this issue was solved, but after seeing this, the guys from our publishing department scrapped even this idea.

Regardless of the head movements in order to get information being “natural” to people, the constant need to turn your head and then return it to the initial position quickly in order to use it in combat was considered uncomfortable and messing with the game experience. Since there are no active combat operations in the hangar, we decided to leave the hybrid solution there: we were saved by the HD Prototype, that allowed us to have decent text quality with during small UI scaling.

The same HD Prototype, since it had better resolution, allowed us to fit larger 3D scenes into the visibility area. We decided to stop the combat UI testing and to make it static and customizable, allowing you to change the location and size of its elements in runtime. At the same time, we had to think about one more thing: some UI elements should not scale along with others (for example aim circles, vehicle icons). Thus, we had to introduce corrections to the render order: a part of the UI elements would be rendered along with the 3D scene from now on.

To be continued…

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