Creating Real Games in Virtual Reality

VR is the future - or so we've been saying. We’ve all seen the various VR headsets and tech demos...

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…but what about the real VR games we'll be able to play in 2016?

At EGX, nDreams’ founder and former Eidos creative director, Patrick O’Luanaigh, plus Senior Designer Jackie Tetley gave attendees a candid view on developing games for VR and what this emerging tech means for the games you’ll be able to enjoy at home from early next year.

What’s that? You weren’t able to make it to this EGX Developer Session in person? Never fear, you can watch Patrick and Jackie on-stage giving an overview of the golden rules of VR development in the video below:

Creating consumer-grade VR content is no easy task, especially while the basics of VR development are in the process of being established. One of the areas in which there’s been a great deal of progress over the course of this year is on movement within the virtual environment.

As VR Focus point out, “while Valve opts for real world movement with its room-scale tracking system, not every developer has adopted this technology yet, and those working on PlayStation VR and, to a lesser extent, Oculus Rift also can’t.”

As one of these developers, we can confirm that getting the walking speed of the player right is essential to maintaining immersion.

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“Games like Call of Duty have a sprint speed or a run speed of about 7 meters per second,” Patrick explained at EGX. “But, actually, you normally walk around about 1.4 meters per second. If you jog – and most people jog sometimes – maybe 3 and a half meters per second. If you sprint – and I have to admit I don’t sprint very often – you might get to 5 and a half meters a second. But nobody moves at 7 meters per second. When you’re in VR you expect it to behave how you’re used to. So turning and moving needs to be kind of natural. It needs to feel like what you’re used to.”

Patrick and Jackie tied the studio’s findings on the bleeding edge of VR game development to the work we’ve put in to our upcoming VR adventure game, The Assembly, in their interview with Xperienced.tv.

Here, they discuss the various challenges of delivering a narrative-driven, character-focused first-person adventure in virtual reality, not least of which not being able to use a HUD or inventory screen to deliver familiar gameplay elements. Check out the video above to find out how we comprehensively resolve this issue to deliver an immersive, HUD-free experience while still allowing you to deftly navigate and freely explore the virtual environment.

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More Stories from EGX

When Patrick wasn’t bringing EGX attendees up to speed about the latest advances in the world of VR development, he was speaking to BBC 5 Live - Wake Up to Money and confirming that VR does, in fact, “still” use headsets. Jump to the 41:30 mark to hear Patrick highlighting that consumer-facing VR will soon be used outside of interactive entertainment, giving the example of how VR could be used in an educational setting to teach children about life in the trenches of the First World War in a much more experiential and emotionally impacting way than by via a book or passively watching a film.

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We spoke at length with TrueTrophies at EGX about The Assembly¸ going into great detail about the game’s themes, its dual protagonist set-up, player choice and moral ambiguity. They seemed to really enjoy our demo level for the game, saying “the amount of immersion offered by the virtual reality headset was incredible as your body experiences the motion of both the trolley and the elevator in the game.”

We also had the pleasure of meeting Indie Game Magazine when they very graciously asked if they could sneak in right at the very end of the show on its last day. We’re suckers for a bit of charm, so of course we obliged! IGM seem to have really taken to the strong narrative that makes up the core of The Assembly, calling it “a game that uses the immersive VR platform to enhance its story of mystery and decisions, where the line between right and wrong is hard to find” and that we successfully used our EGX demo build to “draw people in with its foreboding narrative and show off the possibilities of VR.”

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Last, by no means least, we demoed The Assembly to the International Business Times, who described their experience as “the most interesting demo I played on the Oculus”, calling the game “certainly intriguing and I am excited to find out more about it.”

We’re here for you, virtually

If you have any follow-up questions resulting from Patrick and Jackie’s EGX Developer Session, or from their interviews, why don’t you send us a message via our Facebook page or send us a tweet?

You can also find The Assembly on Facebook and on Twitter via the hashtag #TheAssemblyVR, or check out our board on Pinterest for more screenshots of the game.

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