The evolution of VR

I have been on VR since the Oculus Kickstarter was a success and got a DK1 and a DK2 Rift – but early on Valve demoed a type of VR that seemed like something from the far future called “The VR room”. The guys over at RoadToVR had a great article about the experience here.

Last year I was among the lucky to receive one of the earlier Vive devkits and the experience blew everything out of the water I had experienced before. Ever since I have been a strong supporter of roomscale VR and tracked controllers.
Now Make released this very cool video of the guys at Valve discussing a bit of the history of how the Vive became a real consumer product and the long path to get there. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

TurnOn short Hands On


TurnOn is a very simple game where you play a spark and get to travel along electric lines to power all kinds of stuff, but mostly lights. I played through the first couple of levels and really liked the cute style the whole title was done with, but it lacks a serious challenge – so one for the casual crowd.
That said – I am very much looking forward to have my youngest nephew have a go at it as I suspect he will love it. This should work really well for small kids.
Overall I think it is worth a purchase, but I am not sure how long it is so the asking price of 14,99€ is on the high scale I suspect as one can rush through the levels quite fast (though for a younger kid that might be a different story).

The Way available on Steam

Don’t get fooled by the visual style of the image – this is pixel art at it’s best!
I requested a review key and got one from the nice guys at Puzzling Dream.

And when I started playing it I fell in love with the atmosphere the title creates.
I played it in the Steam VR cinema, but that did not work out for me due to too many god rays, though overall pixelart does incredibly well in VR on a big screen. Then I switched to the monitor and got maybe 20 minutes into the game before I quit … and not because it was a bad game, not at all, but because I couldn’t get myself through the early riddles with little effort. This felt like it would eat more time than I currently have to dedicate – it felt like a game true to the spirit of old adventures.

So instead it just gets the incredible trailer shared. Check it out on Steam, might be just your cup of tea as the ratings are very positive: http://store.steampowered.com/app/311010

VR roundup #1

Okay, time to get this ball rolling again! While I am mostly active on Facebook these days (follow me on https://www.facebook.com/gerald.terveen ) and work on several games that I want to release in the coming months/years … I also want to go back to blogging.

I still get a lot of game keys in my mailbox and while I appreciate them a lot I barely find the time to play anything that is not Virtual Reality. So the good old days of me hunting through a ton of Xbox indies to find the gems are over, instead I will just write about stuff in the VR world. And about the occasional indie title that sparks my interest. Without a plan, without a mission … just because I care.

And I start with this little VR roundup of a few things I got to try lately:

zGame (alpha WIP)

This is a game in development by my friends from Stormbringer Studios and they send me a build of the demo above. It is a not very remarkable zombie shooter … except that it is very remarkable in that it solves locomotion in a very fresh way I had not seen before! You get open world exploration with actual movement instead of the teleportation that is so popular these days.
And that is a game changer as you no longer are on a rail or just can teleport away from enemies!
I loved the short time I spend with this early alpha so far and am very much looking forward to see more of it … and I am not a zombie shooter fan, so this is very promising.

Cosmic Trip (early Access)

A friend of a friend send me a key for this little gem and damn it is a really polished little indie that I can’t wait to play more with. I only gave it 20 minutes or so as the early Early Access state of this title makes it rather repetitive and I will certainly go back to it later, but I can already say it has a very uplifting feeling and in its current state lacks frustrating moments.
It is a very simple base defense type of game – build bot, have bot mine gems, build bot with lasers to defend against incoming waves of enemies. But it allows you to enter the action yourself by fighting at the base you currently occupy with so far two different attack mechanics. One is throwing rotating energy discs and the other is using a turret that also allows you to protect your bots from enemy fire.
It’s super polished and I have not noticed any annoying things like god rays, which is really important to me. But it is also a very early state, so do not expect a ton of variety or a challenge, this is just pure fun. You can check it out on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/427240

Lune (release June 20th)

The developer behind this little amazing gem is Isaac Cohen, I met him a few years ago when I visited the Leap Motion headquarters. He was so kind to send me a key so I could check it out. This is not really a game, this is more of a crazy experience that I won’t go into detail with as the exploration aspect is an important aspect of it I think. It will be released on Steam on June 20th.
But what I can say is that it is a bit like what I imagine a drug induced dream might be – very surreal and quite artful. I played through it twice in a row and I think I will put quite a few people into the experience from now on … so the asking price of $3 might be a bit steep if you compare it to a Humble Bundle, but very well worth it if you compare it with the amount of alternatives to get such an experience (which to my count is currently zero).

Blarp

Isaac also send me a code for this little nugget and I wish I had more space to fully enjoy it. It has a very cool game mechanic where you get to control Blarps(?) by pulling them towards your controller and sling them around. You start with a single Blarp and have to hit an egg containing another Blarp … which then releases the next Blarp. So little by little your army of Blarps grows and also the virtual space you play in gets bigger and bigger.
I do have a lot of tech stuff standing around and am not good at holding myself back, so I had to stop playing this before I destroy anything (which sadly is true for a lot of experiences out there these days!). But I certainly had fun and will pick this up again once I moved into a more Vive appropriate space for stuff like this. It is highy experimental and simple – but well worth the $3 it is listed for on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/420840/

You can also visit Isaac’s website where you can find more experimental stuff (for free!): http://cabbibo.is/

Exhibit L: LICHT joining the Games Science Center

exhibitL
It is entirely possible that my mother had drawings I made in kindergarten on the fridge, but other than that no work of mine ever got exhibited. Now my very first game will be, in the Games Science Center in Berlin in 2013/2014.

It’s the fifth confirmed exhibit alongside other projects showcasing new and futuristic technologies about to enter our daily lives, like the Oculus Rift, the Leap Motion controller or the Myo. So certainly a place worth visiting to experience where we are heading in a world where change is accelerating and interaction with computers is about to evolve to the next level.

You can find information about the Games Science Center here:

Homepage: www.gamesciencecenter.de
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GameScienceCenter
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GSC_Berlin

Karmaflow : The Rock Opera Videogame … looks awesome!

karmaflow

I love beautiful games that try to tell their story in new ways and Karmaflow certainly is looking really innovative. When I watched the trailer and at some point the boss suddenly started singing and it actually really worked for the style and game. Got me convinced, I want to play it.
Currently they have an indiegogo campaign asking for 50k € … but for 55k they will integrate Oculus Rift support, so obviously this is really something I hope will get sufficiently funded.

Watch the video here, the trailer stars after a really short introduction and after it you get the indiegogo video with a bit more gameplay.