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Paper Boat

Game Design, Leap Motion, Indie Game
2021.10 -- 2021.12

This is an idea that came to my mind when I was studying somatosensory interaction design, so I designed a game based on Leap Motion somatosensory device. Because I had no experience in developing games before, so I only made some prototypes and a demo.

Game Overview

Paper Boat is a somatic game based on Leap Motion equipment. It's a single-player puzzle clearing game.


In this game, player need to control the boat in game to move forward through somatosensory interaction, so that the boat can finally reach the blue crystal. During the period, the boat will encounter various obstacles and mechanisms, and player need to interact with these mechanisms to eliminate obstacles.

Design Inspiration: I thought of the experience of playing with paper boat when I was a child. I would put a folded paper boat in water and then fiddle with water surface to make boat move. So I had a whim, what would it be like if this kind of playing process could be incorporated into game?

← Click here to view complete design document of the game

Innovation of game

1. Somatosensory Interaction

Player will control somatosensory with both hands, and virtual hands in game will maintain the same posture and position as player’s hands

​2. Realistic Somatosensory Interaction

Player doesn't indirectly control game by making simple gestures, but can do some interactive actions the same as in reality. Such as grasping objects with your hands, fiddle with the surface of water, turning mechanism, etc.

​3. Solve Puzzles and Clear Levels

In order to gain a foothold for more interactive methods, I introduce puzzle factor. There are many mechanisms in game world waiting for player to explore, and different mechanisms have different ways of interacting.

Design Process

First, I designed the control method of boat

After solving the problem of boat movement, I designed the game's reward and punishment mechanism.

1. When boat reaches Blue Crystal, player successfully clears the level and enters next
2. After boat picks up a Star, the nearby Rock will disappear
3. When Pressure Button is activated, the nearby Mechanism Wall will be controled
4. When player uses Fishing skills to catch a Mysterious Bag under water, they will get a Star or other object
PS: The disappearance of Stone and the controling of Mechanism Wall means that obstacle is eliminated and boat can continue moving forward.

1. When boat is illuminated by Red Beam, the last Star picked up will return to its original position, and the lost Stone will reappear
2. When boat reaches Dangerous Area, boat will return to spawn point
3. When other objects reach danger zone, they will disappear and return to their original position

Game Mechanisms

After determining basic reward and punishment mechanism, I designed some obstacles and mechanisms to enrich game settings. (Only shows part, please check design document for full version)

Motion Interaction

I used Unity to make prototypes of some mechanisms. The gifs below are demonstrations of virtual hands grabbing Small Cube and operating Crank to control Movable Water.

Code Crank.png

Part of the code for Crank to control Movable Water

In addition to the more realistic interaction methods, I also designed some more magical interaction methods, that is Skill. After all, game that is too real can't attract players.
Players can use skills in game and interact with more game mechanisms.

water column-13.jpg

Draft design of skill to create Water Column

Draft design of skill to Fishing

In order to allow players to use Skills freely, I designed a menu attached to virtual hand. Players can click buttons in the menu to use Skills.


Design draft and effect demonstration

Level Design

A large number of mechanisms and interaction methods have been designed before, but players cannot master so many gameplay in short time. Therefore, I designed many game levels to gradually let players master these gameplays.

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