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Escape From Fans

As a pop idol, I flew to this city as usual, ready to start a day's work. Suddenly, I found that the pick-up fans at the airport have become a little different. They are crazy beyond imagination......

In this game, player has to find a way out from various crazy fans, and finally escape to the hotel suite. However, does this mean that everything is over….

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Overview

Name

Escape From Fans

Category

Horror VR game

Platform

SteamVR

​Perspective

First-person

​Art Style

Voxel and low-poly

Game Engine

Unity 2018.3.11f1

​Definition

Escape From Fans is a first-person VR action horror game that describes the phenomenon of fan culture.

Player, as a pop idol, needs to escape from all sorts of crazy fans.

Experience

Experience a day of idol plagued by crazy fans.
Player can use camera to "take a shot" of enemies, push and shove with left hand, whistle for bodyguards from time to time, and pull out a skateboard to speed up to deal with all kinds of weird fans.

Oct 2019

Game Design

​​Individual Work

Background
 

Source of Inspiration

The phenomenon of fan culture is perplexing in East Asia and even the whole world. As a subject of fandom, stars, whether they are pop culture idols (like k-pop idols) or celebrities (like actors and singers), they all benefit from the attention economy on the one hand and suffer from the star-chasing culture on the other.

The word “Sasaeng fan” means a special kind of “crazy fan" in Korean, specifically related to doing crazy behavior to idols, invading personal privacy and private space.

There are a lot of thrilling stories, such as chasing cars on the highway, forcibly kissing, sneaking into idol's hotels, apartments, bathrooms and other private spaces, buying and selling idol's cell phone number, ID number and other personal information.

In South Korea, when a member of a famous idol group Super junior was alone in a hotel, his phone received a text message from a Sasaeng fan: "Your bear underpants are so cute."

Interestingly, Sasaeng fans are boycotted by most fans. But on the one hand, fans openly resist these crazy behaviors, on the other, some fans can’t resist the lure of glimpsing into the private. They want to know more about their idols, and participate in idol's life.

This is due to the fact that many fans are young and still don't know how to deal with the relationship between idol and themselves, as well as the responsibility of attention economy – agencies, social network platform or even every role in this industry need to earn money from idols’ privacy.

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Research

VR experience requires

  1. Headset

  2. Hardware platform

  3. Content platform

VR headset makers are heavily involved in publishing content.

VR's Content Platform

High-end VR experiences require a separate headset and expensive hardware to handle the intense processing and power required.

Main Audience

People aged from 21 to 35 years, who are familiar with the current situation about fandom, or have concerns and doubts about the fandom phenomenon.

Gameplay
 

Rough Storylines

Level One : Airport

When the plane landed, the player came out of the cabin, was chased and intercepted by crazy fans all the way, and finally managed to find the luggage and escape from the airport.

Level Two : Underground

Player found the skateboard in his luggage, dashed forward in the subway and finally escaped the underground track.

Level Three : Hotel

Player struggled to get to the elevator from the hotel door, only to find that the elevator was broken and decided to take the spiral staircase back to his room.
Arriving room = Game Ends

Epilogue

Player could finally rest in this hotel room.
After taking a bath, there was a knock at the door. Player opened the door and only find a cute little bear doll at the door, which may be sent by well-intentioned fans.
Player put the toys on the head of the bed.
At this time, player's phone received a text message: "your bear underpants are so cute."
Players quickly close the curtains.
In the dark, the bear doll's eyes seemed to be shining.

Player Design

Pixel art

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Player : A pop idol.

"I wrap myself up to escape from fans."

Voxel art

Attributes

Equipment

Skills

Controller

Enemy Design

Pixel art

Voxel art

Stalker

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Teenage Girl

Paranoid

Fan Station

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Skills

Level Design

For Level One : Airport

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This level is approximately about making use of right angles to introduce enemies as a surprise to the player.

①  Here is the Tutorial. Player gets to know the basic operation, interacts with objects, find and arm the weapon : Camera

②  Player comes out and fights 2 Teenage Girls. Teenager Girls are fast and small enemies, they need to close the distance before attacking. Player meets 2 more Teenage Girls after rounding the corner. Here player can practice the operation of controllers. Player can use Left Hand Trigger to push one enemy away, and use Right Hand Trigger to attack and interrupt another.

③  Player is surprised and attacked by 2 Fan Stations in sequence. Fan Stations can use camera to attack just like player, as well as player can use Left Hand as a shield to avoid damage. 

④  This place is designed as the first place of death. Player may alarm 3 Paranoids at one time. Paranoids will hurt players by "Love Kiss". Players may be silenced time after time.

Sketch

⑤  Player rounds the corner and meets a Stalker. Stalkers are huge, ranged enemies. Unlike bomb-throwers, they throw "gifts" instead.  Here Player can get used to avoiding ranged attacks

Project Retrospective

Intention

Escape From Fans was inspired by Fan Culture in East Asia, especially in Korean pop, and there's a lot of terrifying stories about stalkers and violations. The values of this game is not only to ridicule the crazy fans, but also getting people to think about the weird relationship between idols and fans nowadays. To exaggerate the horror of this phenomenon, I planned to let players play as idols and experience the horror of being chased by various crazy fans.

My Work

As an individual project, Escape From Fans took me nearly one month to complete.  There is no doubt that VR games are very suitable for terrifying experience, so I did some research on VR games and fandom, from which I analyzed the main audience. Next, I arranged the general content of the three levels, and began to design the appearances and skills of player and "fans". I was more into voxel arts, so I drew the pixels first, then expanded these drawings in voxel arts editor - MagicalVoxel.  According to the plan, the numerical design, and the level design of the first level will be carried out synchronously with game development, in order to facilitate playtest and modification at any time. At that time, I knew very little about VR game development. After two weeks of self-study and online tutorials, I developed a game demo in unity. 

What I Learned

  • Improved game understanding

In this project, I started to think about the relationship between the plots and gameplay.  At first, I wanted to use lots of cut scenes, dialogues to tell players the theme and story, just like many other games, which led to a problem: If players find it boring and skip these sections, they won't have other chances to catch up with the plot. So maybe trying to tell the plot within the gameplay, battles or environment is extremely important. Escape From Fans is more about gameplay rather than narrative. Most of the time I only need to use the art style, some fandom elements to hint the story background.   

  • Making it work is the best method to improve programming skills 

I found it boring watching the documents and tutorials of VR game development in unity at first. However, if you learn something by implementing the specific functions and designs, it becomes easier and more intriguing. The ray, collision, animation, render system and lifecycle in Unity helped me achieve the goals effectively.