Virtual Reality, Horror Game, 2017

Role:  Designer, Developer, 3D Artist
Technology: Oculus Rift, Touch, Unity (C#), Maya



Night Time Close Eyes is a virtual reality puzzle game whose set is a nightmare. It is about a boy who lost his imaginary friend - a bunny toy, and got nightmares during the night. The boy is trying to protect toys in the dream from Clown Gag. By exploring and solving a series of puzzles, the boy can save all toys or he would be trapped in the nightmare. 

The primary users of this project are kids, I want them to be brave and strong whenever facing dangerous or tough situations. Growing up is a tough learning process. I wanted to tell a story of a little hero who protects his toys in the game. Toys are important elements during childhood learning, children learn during play. Dream is the context, because anything can happen in a dream, it is about imagination, it is virtual, it can be scary but safe.

LEVEL I   Puppet Room 

The first destination of the nightmare is a room without a door. There are creepy toys hanging on the wall and some objects look like unfinished puzzles need you to figure out. If you could solve all the puzzles in the room, you will escape. 

Let’s start with a poem on the wall: 

Behind the makeup, who knows
Dance to the music, who cares
If some clown is hiding,
Play his favorite song, 
He is coming...

Hint: Try to think, touch, read everything (Shhhh...

LEVEL II   Behind The Curtain

Nightmare continues.

In this level, your mission is to find Gag the clown and protect toys from taking by him. But where is Gag? That question will be left for you because there is one more puzzle to solve.

If you can win this game, you will wake up with the toys you saved from the dream and the nightmare will gone.

What if you lose?

"See you tomorrow night." Gag says.  


a. Studies on nightmares: therapeutic cases and fears

b. How to break the emotional blocks between reality and virtual?

c. Horror games, why people like it?

d. VR technology and horror games

Starting with those three questions above, I have conducted a research from a wide range such as therapeutic, theoretic to frame the mechanics, story, and visual style in this project.

A few touch points I got from the research:

1. When people know it is not real (virtual), their willingness to try/participate will increase. The relationship between virtual and reality in this project is interesting to study.Additionally, the use of Virtual Reality technology increase the immersive experience, which will lead people to interact subconsciously.

2. A common method being used in therapeutic treatment of nightmares is enhancing controls, which will make patients feel safe and secure in nightmare. This is a great inspiration for the game play. In general, the level of control can determine how scary the game could be.

3. A case study has shown that therapist let patients see a several shadows of giant monsters on the walls which cause fears. But at the end show the real figures which are tiny monster toys in order to break the emotional blocks for the patients. This gives me lots of inspiration on character and visual design in the project.

Primary target audience: Children who like horror games


As mentioned above, there are two levels players will be experience in the game; in order to win, player need to solve all puzzles in both rooms to escape. In the virtual environment, players can see their hands which enable them to grab and drop objects. 

All puzzles were designed with this behavior. It is easier for users to get familiar with immserive play even they are first time playing in VR. In terms of storytelling, the game tells the story at different stage with different perspective. At the beginning, (before entering the nightmare) it tells the story from the boy’s (Todd) perspective. He lost his imaginary friend - Bunny.

When entering the nightmare, a story is told from a stolen doll. The doll tells the player why he appears in this dream.

The second level tells a story from the Clown’s perspective, how would players do to survive.      


Five prototyping phases were designed into this six-month project with different testing purposes. The first two prototypes used low-fid approach to test concept and game play; starting with Experience and Interactions, clickable desktop verison games were made and then VR experience.



v.1 Paper prototype


v.2 Desktop Game 


v.3 Game Scene Design 



This game has been exhibited at
PlayTech, 2017
Game for Change Festival, 2017

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User Experience Designer Game Designer

Based in NYC