Cartoon Network Journeys VR is a new game coming to Steam worldwide on October 1st! It’ll support the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and be available for free. The game is a collection of three VR journeys, and I was lucky enough to be a part of the creation of one of them, as well as helping develop the interactive “home base.” It was in many ways a dream creative project to work on and such a great intro to game building for me. I can’t wait for people to play the it for themselves!

 
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Cards represent the three “journeys” in Journeys VR: Beyond Beeville, Jest to Impress, and Kosma Kwest. It’s a unique group of mini-games that showcases a range of styles - both visually and in tone - from the artists who created them.

 
 
 

GormLorm the gateway guide

Part of the concept for the game was the creation of a guide character to present the player with the various VR journeys in a sort of “home” location. I helped write dialogue and shape the personality of the character, who we named GormLorm (voiced by Reggie Watts), an inter-dimensional traveler.

You start off in a desert landscape and are presented with cards by GormLorm which represent the individual game experiences - which you choose to play first is up to you.

 

Jest To Impress

I was in the last of three groups in the VR Lab Pilot Program at Cartoon Network, with the purpose to establish a VR game creation pipeline at the studio.

We had a small team and only a month total (sort of an extended version of a “game jam”) to create and execute a working prototype of an original game concept. We set out with the loose prompt to create a narrative experience and brainstormed ideas with game mechanics in mind. We wanted to make a VR game that combined use of music, humor, playing with props, and an AI character that would react to player input.

What our group created was Jest to Impress, a game where you play as a jester in a king’s court: impress the king by using props provided to you and by reading his expressions. If you succeed, you move on to the next round. If you fail, you’re fed to a dragon. It was a fun experience where I got to wear many creative hats - including designing props and costumes for characters, writing dialogue, and voice acting.

Jest to Impress title music by Simon Panrucker

 

Jest to Impress development art by Eusong Lee, Nelson Boles, and myself.

 

Eusong Lee using Tvori to animate the Bard character

It was a unique development program for many reasons, including that we designed character models and animated them almost entirely within VR (using Google Blocks and Tvori). For the characters in Jest, we decided to combine expressive 2D faces with low poly 3D body designs - since we were creating the game in a short timeframe and we wanted it to have a cartoony vintage animation feel. Another reason for the intentionally flatter drawn facial features was that we wanted the king’s reactions to read clearly.

 

PRESS

The VR lab is Cartoon Network Studios’ latest initiative for artists to grow personally and professionally both within the studio and the community.
— Tracy Brown, LA Times

The Cartoon Network VR Lab Pilot Program director is Ryan Harwell. Jest to Impress was developed by Tim Winsky, Eusong Lee, Nelson Boles, Julie Buchanan, Simon Panrucker, and myself.

 
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