The first moment we realized that we wanted to create a VR baking game, we knew that we wanted something more than what we were seeing on the market. Progression is something that the both of us value in games the most. We knew that it would be a major feature in whatever game we created. We found that a lot of VR games had no real progression besides a couple of levels or an endless wave mode.
Keeping progression in mind, we first had to think about the core gameplay loop we were going to create. The player would be baking cakes, but what does that actually entail?
How to bake a cake (simplified)
- Getting batter into a pan
- Putting the pan in the oven
- Turn on the oven and wait for the cake to be baked
- Once the cake is baked, open the oven and set the cake down on the countertop
- Put icing on the cake
- Put toppings on the cake
- Put frosting around the edges of the cake
After outlining the steps above, we began thinking about the space we need in order to complete the actions above. Should we have the player move around in their room? Should we have them only need to stand in one place and pivot around? In our initial prototype, everything was about a single step away from the player in any direction. We thought this would help with immersion in comparison to other games we had played. We were wrong.. It was just super tiresome and it made us not want to play as it became too much effort.
After figuring out the player space we had to figure out when baking a cake, how many machines, tools, and other interactable objects do we need?
- Oven – Bakes the batter into cake
- Dispenser – Dispenses both batter into a cake pan and icing into an icing cup
- Frosting bag – A bag full of frosting that the player can squeeze to frost the edges of the cake
- Spatula – A spatula is needed to dip into the icing cup, and place on the cake to apply icing to it
- Scooping cup – A container used for scooping toppings up and pouring them onto the cake
Core interactable objects
- Cake pan – Holds the cake batter in it. First dispense batter into it from the Dispenser machine, then place in oven to bake the batter into a cake
- Scoopable container – Container that contains various types of toppings to top the cake with
- Plate – Cake must be placed on a plate in order to complete the cake order
- Bell – Used to finalize / send out a cake order
Core non-interactable objects
- Order board – Used to display cakes the player needs to bake
- Customers – The reason why there’s cake orders on the order board
First draft of some of the basic machines and objects needed to bake a cake
We tackled progression with a system where you’re able to upgrade various items in the bakery. The machines, tools, interactable / non interactable objects, as well as adding extra visual aesthetics.
Players go through a day cycle of running the bakery. As they go through the day customers will come in and order various cakes. The quicker the player bakes the cake the bigger the tip they get. After the day is over the user is shown a tally of all the money they have earned for the day, and then they are taken to an upgrade menu. In this menu the player is able to see the various items they are able to upgrade, the descriptions of what they do and how they’re better, as well as how much they cost.
Going back to earlier in the post where we mentioned that we didn’t want to do just an endless wave mode. We did initially plan to have it as a means of testing various different gameplay elements as well as getting the feeling of flow in the game. If it ended up working well, then we were going to include it in the release as well. We thought that it would be quicker and easier than diving into the kind of story mode that we needed to build as well. It ended up being a bunch of misguided effort though as the time spent fixing bugs and implementing it exactly how we wanted it was becoming a lot of work. It was eating into the time we needed to focus on the actual gameplay mode that we needed to build, so we ended up scrapping it.