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We created Waltz of the Wizard to be an accessible and polished experience for everyone to enjoy. Our goal was to make a fun introduction to VR that expressed our vision for the medium — believable worlds that capture reality, where everything is fully interactive. After years of developing VR content, we concluded that the industry needed better tools to help overcome challenges in VR software development. No adequate tools existed, so we began building our own made-for-VR tool suite. The suite is similar to analytics in core function and its purpose is to help accelerate the VR production process, to enable more sophisticated content designs and to ensure the user experience is of the highest quality possible.
When Waltz of the Wizard is installed its accompanying license agreement describes analytics information collection. As of today we’re adding an option to opt-out of all analytics in Waltz of the Wizard, which can now be found in the intro scene of the experience. In this post we want to clarify further why we are collecting this information, how it helps us and also emphasize that we only store anonymous information and only for the purposes of improving software quality.
To explain in more detail what our analytics entail, it’s useful to underline why we made them: Interactive virtual realities are more complex than conventional software. Designing for VR and physical immersion is largely uncharted territory, presenting an entirely new range of development challenges and design factors. On top of core design complexities like natural interactions, the content also needs to work with a diverse range of new hardware and take real-world factors into account such as play area sizes and gameplay modes like standing, forward-facing and room-scale. Quality assurance alone can be nightmarish. For these reasons, new types of analytics tools are important to ensure that content is having the exact impact intended.
Designed to help build Waltz of the Wizard and experiences that take advantage of the medium, our tools served a crucial role in all production phases; improving interactions and timing of events, visual designs and audio cues. During development we used local tools for playtesting to iteratively improve on all aspects of the gameplay and, after launching, we produced a networked solution used in a targeted manner to further ensure a good experience for the broadest possible range of users. Unlike our local tools, the networked version collects more conventional aggregate data and occasionally samples a few seconds of device motions for specific game mechanics where we need to make absolutely certain that they work as intended in real world settings. These are randomly sampled from a portion of anonymous users at strategic locations or events, so sampling may not occur at all depending on the actions performed and how long a session is. This sampling allows us to better understand the usage of key game elements after deployment, serving as a way to identify issues and opportunities to improve.
With interactive worlds like Waltz of the Wizard that aim to simulate aspects of reality, there is no way to test every imaginable scenario beforehand and there is always something to improve. VR specific analysis tools will play a crucial role in the future of VR, enabling creators to work in a more targeted manner on more advanced content, developing more efficiently and with greater confidence in their design choices.
We hope this post helps shed more light on our development efforts and how we see the role of analytics in the VR production process. As always, we welcome your feedback and thank you for the continued support.
- The Aldin team
©Aldin Dynamics, ehf. All Rights Reserved.
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