This is not a message for people who work every day with VR, because they certainly are aware of that fact. These things should be obvious to them. What things? That we can not judge VR worlds (and experiences) without being inside them. Why is that?
When we are working on games or other programs dedicated to VR, this work is not different from a typical developer’s work. It’s a little graphic, some coding … but you can not see the result of your work, without stepping inside to this world. If we design a game, for instance RTS or FPS, we can see on our screen how will the future game look like. We see what the player will see. But in case of VR watching something on a screen has a very little in common with submerging into your concept. Because the main difference is not how you see the game but how you feel it when you are inside.
Level design or mapping has its own rules. Without them, everything would be unnatural and our perception will immediately reject this as illogical. Even breaking the rules must have a certain order. There is no need to delude ourselves. In other case we will finish with the question: why I failed?
What is the priority? One of the goals is to provide players with enjoyable play experience. But in VR ‘experience’ means something more personal. We go deep inside and there everything looks different. We do not look at the world – we are in it. Objects that we created, suddenly become our surroundings. We see them in front of us, we can even try to touch them. It completely changes the way you think about level design.
That’s why we should not look for the idea outside VR world. It is not hidden in the project itself. Only VR allows to replace concept by the possibility of personal experience. The idea is to be inside.