Horizon: Wing Strikers

Role: Lead Designer

Engine: Unity

Studio: Facebook

Team Size: 150+

I joined facebook to make a multiplayer VR game as part of the Horizon project.  Horizon's goal is to be a Ready Player One style universe where users can play any type of game.  My game, Wing Strikers, is a competitive e-sports focused title.  It is a combination of Rocket League, Mario Kart and Overwatch.  It is a new made up sport where players fly a plane to score goals with a flag.  They have weapons and cooperative mechanics to make the game exciting.

This is truly an original and special game.  It looks simple, but captures a completely innovative

locomotion style in VR.  By grabbing the plane with the controller, the player's plane will fly in any direction the hand points.  With hardly any motion sickness, the fun level of the game has taken the whole team by surprise.  The game is still in development.

Responsibilities:

  • Led the creation of a competitive and innovative multiplayer VR game on a 20-person team

  • Developed and managed a game vision and created a production plan

  • Created a gameplay approval system to maintain quick iteration speeds

  • Created a user research process for games and used it to identify, drive and validate improvements

  • Designed live update, matchmaking, spectating, weapon and ability systems

  • Identified and resolved workflow issues with cross functional partners

  • Help build and recruit for the Social VR design team

Below is footage of the game that was released at the Oculus 6 convention:

Press quotes about the game:

Ars Technica

"The app already includes one incredible Trojan horse to usher people into social VR: a dogfighting-meets-soccer game in which your handheld Oculus Touch controller becomes a fighter plane. Use your hand's position to manually steer the plane in relative space, and the third-person camera around you will move in kind, as opposed to magically warping a fighter plane around.

The effect might sound uncomfortable as described, but I was floored by how remarkable this "paper plane" flight model felt and worked in action. The connection I felt to a plane in my hand arguably helped my brain translate how much a VR battlefield moved around me. Between my hand's position and a joystick, I was able to smoothly and carefully maneuver a plane through cave doors and under other large objects while aiming weapons and items in a two-on-two "plane soccer" game."

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/09/facebook-reveals-staffing-plan-to-be-your-vr-chat-concierge-service/

VentureBeat

"I played a cute game called Wing Strikers, which was a kind of Quidditch multiplayer game that you play in toy airplanes. If Facebook isn’t funding a ton of new hardcore VR games, perhaps it will create more believers and strike gold with Horizon."

https://venturebeat.com/2019/09/27/the-deanbeat-consumer-vr-is-making-snail-like-progress/

CNET

"My final demo wasn't: it's a game Facebook's putting in Horizon, a dogfighting mini-plane sports game that's as fun as most VR games I'd pay for. I grab my plane and control it like a toy with hand, making it dive and rise. The plane flies through a massive arena, where I can pop into tunnels and grab missiles and other power-ups. We're trying to play a 2-on-2 game where I toss a flag to my teammate and he flies through a hoop before the other team can shoot us. It reminds me of the game RIGS for PlayStation VR: it's a weirdly fun little team sport. I don't get nauseous."

https://www.cnet.com/news/i-tried-facebooks-vision-for-the-social-future-of-vr-full-of-question-marks/