🧩Content Creation: Designing an Experience

To Do: Include Visuals

External Resources

Swink, S. (2009). Game feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann /Elsevier.

Laurel, B. (2014). Computers as Theatre. Upper Saddle River (NJ), etc.: Addison-Wesley.

Sam Saxton | 27 Ways To Tell A Story In VR

Saara Kamppari-Miller | VR Sketch Sheets, VR Paper Prototyping

Deciding on a What and Why

One might think this is an obvious task, but it's an important compontent to remember. (Why does your application exist? What benefit is it to the feild of VR/AR? Why is VR/AR being used?) These types of questions are often glossed over for the sake of the technolgy itself, however if they are not answered it can be very detrimental to the project.

Examples of Genres to chose from:

  • Entertainment

  • Tooling

  • Manufacturing

  • Architecture, Engineering, Construction

  • Retail

  • Commerce

  • Education

  • Government

Don't be scared to get messy!

Deciding on a Story

There are so many ways that one can create content, listing them all would take years. Demos aside, designing an application (or game) requires a certain amount of scaffolding not required in demos or even some AR filters. A metaphor I often use is thinking of any one experience as it's own encapsulated story.

Every good story follows a similar construction: Introduction, Plot, Rising Action, Climax, and Resolution. In a similar way, designing an experience follows similar logic and one can bucket decisions that need to be made early on into these categories.


  • Application Setting: Where is this content located? How are you introducting users to this location? If it is in VR, what is the setting and size of location(s)? If it is in AR, what are the primary locations your user is experiencing this in?

  • Input Controls: What are the methods players will use to interact with digital content (controllers, hands, keyboards, gaze)? Are these physical or digital objects that they need to familiarize themselves with? What are the needs for environment detection? Is your user primarily sitting or standing?

  • Interaction Design: How will your players use the input to interact with digital content? How will your user learn this knowledge? How will they know the difference between an object and an interface?

  • Passive vs. Active Input: Are your users going to be in control of all content at all times? Is some content going to be based off of their headpose, or gaze? Is the user aware of how their body and the designated input impacts the environment? Is there proper knowledge or consent prior to an interactin being performed? Is the system acknowledging good, bad, and neutral actions performed by the user?

Plot (Usability)

  • App Mechanic: This is the constructs of rules and feedback loops intended to produce enjoyable gameplay or experiences. What part of this mechanic utilizes 3D space? What part of this mechanic utilizes first person perspective? Why is this mechanic better on a spatial paltform than a 2D/flat one? Are signs, feedback, controls, interface, navigation, world rules, etc. consistent?

  • Main Content: How are you engaging users over time? Are there any characters or inspirational content? Are there specific blueprints or task flows? Are the user’s cognitive/ physical load taken into account and minimized?

  • Recovery: Does the user get lost? Are there errors, which aren’t core to the experience that can be prevented? Can users recover from an error? Are signs and feedback perceptible and clear? Are important actions prioritized appropriately? Are potentially detrimental actions deprioritized appropriately?

Rising Action & Climax (Engageability & Fiero)

  • Motivation: Does this experience satisfy a user’s need for competence, autonomy, relatedness? Focus on the meaning for what users need to do/ learn? Offer meaningful rewards? Account for individual needs and implicit motives?

  • Emotion: Does this experience provide compelling/ polished features (through controls, characters, setting, etc)? Does it enable discovery or surprises?

  • Flow/Fiero: Does this experience provide a well balanced difficulty curve? Provide good pacing? Offer a well distributed learning curve?


  • Gameplay Loop: What is the return value of your content? Are onboarding options repeatable if a user has forgotten upon return? Is there a clear save state or place that they can return to later?

  • Achievable Means: How does this allow a sense of independence or mastery over time?

  • Experience End: Is there a satisfactory way for your user to know when the experience is about to end or has ended? Are dedicated times or locations where the user themselves can dictate when their experience has ended?

Basic Checklist Flow for Content:

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