November 21, 2018 Student Spotlight: Laura Tallardy
Laura Tallardy

1. Tell us about your experience in the course.

I took an Intro to Unity/VR class last winter- it was SO helpful in getting oriented to the software.  I opened Unity up on my own and couldn’t really make heads or tails of it, after some Youtube tutorials and a book I made some progress (shout-out to Roller Ball!). The in-person classes let me see how others used Unity professionally- seeing people use it to build simple games and explain things in real time was so valuable.  It definitely catapulted my understanding of the software quickly, faster than I would have gone on my own.
 
Seeing how easily Unity worked with VR sealed the deal- I thought it was complicated, but when we made a game in class and then immediately ported it to VR, it was pretty astounding!  It made me realize that making a VR game is totally achievable.  That was my favorite part- building up on the computer and then looking through the headset and seeing it all in real life!  Well, in virtual life!  VR really is magic.
 
My partner and I had experience making games before, but they were 2D mobile games- so the methods and format were different, but the logic behind the game, and the characters and animation were similar enough.  It is wild to go from making an index-card sized game to a full 360° virtual world!

2. Tell us about your game.

Cinderella VR!  The story plays in front you with voiced & animated characters, and you jump in to help by playing minigames.  We wanted it to be immersive- so to complete a cooking puzzle, you to toss ingredients in a pot- to gather up pieces of the invitation, you need a butterfly net- we tried to use things that would make the player think they were in Cinderella’s world.
 

 
Most of the game is in first-person perspective where you interact with puzzles and challenges (the dancing game might be my fav!)- but there’s minigame where you’re set apart from the action and you steer Cinderella’s carriage like a foosball table.  It’s unusual and fun- and if you lean way in, you can see a tiny Cinderella in the carriage ♥  
 

I made the game with Scott Adelman- he’s a developer based in Portland, OR.  We were both using the same game software, Corona SDK.  We met in the Facebook Corona dev group and started collaborating in 2012.  We’ve come out with a lot of games since- many animated jigsaw puzzles, and an augmented reality dancing cats app.

 
The end product I’m very proud of, we worked hard on it for 10 months to make a polished, original and high-quality VR experience.  It was cool to see the game in progress, but when we started joining the scenes together, adding the animation and especially the voices, we both said “Whoa- this is a real game now!” Cinderella VR is available on the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift on Steam, Viveport and the Oculus Store for $9.99.
 
 
We released it on November 5th- what a week, and we were thrilled it had a positive reception!  Lots of tweets and attention which was exciting. We planned to release it much earlier- Spring 2018, then Summer 2018, then finally Fall 2018, lol.

Quick Questions

1. How did you get into games?

I worked as an illustrator for kids books and did web development on the side, then when the iPhones and apps came out, I thought they were the wave of the future so I used my skills to start making apps for mobile devices.

2. You’re part of the first manned mission to Mars! You’ll be gone for 5 years and can only bring 3 games to play alone or with your 3 fellow astronauts. What are they?

Touch choice!  Elite Dangerous to stay on theme and do co-op space dogfights, Mario Kart, and Oblivion.  Two long, involved
games and Mario Kart to keep things light.  I’d add in Civilization local co-op, but I want to get to Mars without anyone being thrown out of the airlock.

3. What would be your dream game to build?

I have a couple- Cinderella was one.  Another is a cute post-apocalyptic civilization builder/manager with a vaporwave aesthetic.  It’s a complex game and I can’t quite make it yet- I need to study up on a lot of things first and it would take a lot of time- but it’s on my wish list.

4. What do you love best about the game community in NYC?

Everyone is so welcoming and talented, and people will share their knowledge and experiences freely. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to an unfriendly meetup, and every time I go to one I meet cool new people who do cool new things.

5. Choose 5 words to describe your experience making games so far.

Fun, testing, testing, testing, debugging.