Homework 1 – VR/MR Review

My pick for VR device is Oculus Quest 2 and my pick for MR is HoloLens 2. My pick is based on the following reasons.

For Oculus Quest 2:

  1. Good Specs. I believe it has great specs at its price level. With a resolution of 1832*1920 per eye, an FOV of 110 degrees at 90Hz, the experience will not be bad. In addition, the Snapdragon XR2 Chip with 6GB RAM. I heard that it offers performance equivalent to Snapdragon 865.
  2. Affordable price. At a price <450 SGD, it is much more affordable than an iPhone.
  3. Rich contents. Since Oculus is a subsidiary of Facebook, which has an online store of adequate resources, I have higher chances to find games or videos that I want. It can also use steamVR.
  4. Easy to use. The setup of Oculus Quest 2 contains only the display, a handle, and the connecting cable. I heard that the optional Headband breaks easily, but we can always use TaoBao.com.

It is difficult to find a match for Oculus Quest 2, because for example, Valve index that offers 144Hz is almost three times the price of Oculus Quest 2, while the devices below the price is almost unusable, say, Samsung Odyssey+ (2018 version).

For MR, I pick HoloLens 2 only because it gives me a feeling of Tony Stark. Evidently, I cannot afford to purchase it. However, even at its terrifying cost, HoloLens 2 still has multiple things that I cannot overlook, not to mention other entry-level MR devices. For example, all MR devices are not so friendly to those who wear spectacles. Battery is a problem, and resolution is limited. I believe MR technology still has great potential to improve. Maybe the current MR devices are like iPhone 3G, they are usable, but they do not provide the best experience. Thus I will hold my money and only purchase when MR technology becomes better.  

Game Design Analysis – Arknights


Arknights is a free-to-play mobile tower defence Gacha game developed by Hypergryph and Studio Montagne using Unity. It was released on May 2019 for iOS and Android.

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, where the player takes the role as the commander of an armed pharmaceutical company. In the game, the player commands “Operators” as towers to defend against enemies from entering the player’s base.

Website: https://www.arknights.global/

Lens #9: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad

  1. Mechanics
  • A combination of Tower Defense Game and Gacha Game: The player has to unlock new “Operators” (the towers in the game) by Gacha.
  • Some differences between Arknights and vanilla Tower Defense Games:
  • “Operators” are unique: the player cannot put two same towers in a game.
  • “Operators” can only attack against ONE direction, that direction cannot be changed.
  • The player can spend resources to level up his/her “Operators” outside a game.
  • “Operators” have two types: melee and range.

2. Story

  • The game is set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, where the player takes the role as the commander of an armed pharmaceutical company called Rhodes Island.
  • The world, Terra, is one with an extremely frequent natural disaster. The Disasters spread a valuable mineral, Originium, which enables the use of “Arts” (magic), and often infects people with a progressive disease, Oripathy, which is 100% mortal, and cannot be cured. Rhodes offers treatment to Oripathy by slowing the spread of the disease.
  • Arknights’ storyboard focuses on the discussion about humanity in its post-apocalyptic and dystopian setting, sometimes with tragic endings. Hence, it receives quite controversial and bipolar feedback from players.

3. Aesthetics

  • Just like most ACGN Gacha games, Arknights attracts players through illustrations, dialogues and storyboards.
  • For example, Operator “Phantom” is voiced by the famous Japanese voice actor Akira Ishida.
  • One interesting thing is that Hai Mao, the chief game graphic designer of Arknights, is the co-founder and vice president of Hypergraph.

4. Technology

  • Engine: Unity
  • Platforms: Android, iOS

Lense #23: The Lens of Motivation

Being a Gacha game in nature, the players of Arknights would not lack motivation – you never know which Operator you will get on your next draw. In addition, players would be motivated to farm the checkpoints to harvest the resources to strengthen up their Operators, which will unlock new illustrations and new dialogues and new stories.

The checkpoint-based setting also gives motivation, as the players take on challenges as the checkpoints become harder and harder.

Arknights is also exploring new mechanics to catch players. For example, recently Arknights added rouge-like mechanics to its gameplay in a limited-time event, which resulted in very positive feedback from players.

Lens #55: The Lens of Visible Progress

Being a checkpoint-based game, Arknights is very visible on its progress, especially that it takes advantage of the checkpoints by progressively unveiling the storyline to the player in the form of visual novels (similar with Fate/Grand Order) on completion of each checkpoint. Gameplay complement storyline, creating very dramatic effects.

Lens #75: Lens of Simplicity and Transcendence

Being a tower-defence game, the world of Arknights is as simple as it can get: No FPS, no RTS, no requirement on how fast you hit the screen. If your towers are at max levels, you only need to plant the towers on the map, and everything is automatic.

Being a tower-defence game also means that transcendent power can be generously applied to Operators: It’s a PVE game, after all, if the players want more challenging checkpoints, just buff up the enemies or debuff the towers. Actually, the Arknights team already have done that. In an experimental game mode, the players can select the buffs and de-buffs to increase the challenge and obtain award points.