Sam Watts is a producer at Tammeka Games, and they’re producing a futuristic arcade racing game called Radial-G that’s built for VR but also playable on a 2D screen. They’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign that is about 1/3 of the way complete and about 1/5th of the way towards raising their £50,000 goal.

sam-wattsRadial-G has received a lot of positive buzz from the VR community and has the potential to catch momentum towards their goal, and Sam Watts talks about their current strategy of moving beyond the VR gaming community and trying to appeal to 2D gamers as well. He talks about some of the challenges of countering the VR stigma, and talks about how there doesn’t seem to be any advantage or disadvantage of playing in VR vs. on a 2D screen.

They have implemented a lot of unique VR game play elements of being able to around to see the upcoming turns on the 3D, tubular track. And Sam talks about some of their plans for experimenting with other game play elements that the DK2′s positional tracking would introduce.

Radial-G is set in a sci-fi, cyberpunk environment and has some extremely fast-moving game play that most VR gamers would expect would give them simulator sickness, but most are surprised to find that it’s extremely comfortable. Sam talks about all of the design elements and decisions that they’ve made in order to reduce sim sickness including setting it in a sci-fi, fantasy world helps tell the brain it’s not real. Placing the perspective within cockpit with a consistent frame of reference, but also having a track in front of you that you can focus on. They deliberately do slow acceleration and deceleration with graphical tricks to minimize inertial changes. There are a lot of objects off in the distance that help with orientation including a hexagonal dome surrounding the environment, and there’s no obvious up or down or solid ground plane. For multiplayer, they’re trying to decided to keep a phasing through other vehicles or implement a collision-model which could cause simulator sickness.

Sam talks about a lot of the game play and level design features that they’ll be adding, including multi-player, elimination modes, weapons, and time attack, and potentially third person perspectives. There is a global leaderboard where there are currently two other people, Koshinator & Terminator001, who have tied the level designer’s best time of 1:22. The level is different every time, and so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can top that time.

He talks about his team’s workflow and previous experience in virtual reality simulator development, and how that helped prepare them to create this VR experience. He was surprised to see that there weren’t any major blockers and their previous experience in the 3D gaming pipeline proved to translate over very well, and very pleased that others seem to really be enjoying the VR experience that they’ve created.

Finally, he talks about some of the games that are similar to Radial-G including F-Zero and Wipeout. He talks about their Kickstarter strategy moving forward, and is excited to potentially be a part of the resurgence of VR as it moves into the mainstream. He’d like to see Radial-G be a part of the VR generation’s set of games that are available both for the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. If you enjoyed their demo, then be sure to support their Radial-G Kickstarter and help spread the word.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro – Game producer at Tammeka Games, producing Radial-G, which is a futuristic arcade racing game primarily for VR but playable on a 2D screen. Running a Kickstarter to make it a fully-fledged VR game
  • 0:56 – Techniques to prevent motion sickness. Have serious VR background and have a lot of experience reducing simulator sickness. In a sci-fi fantasy world helps tell the brain it’s not real. You’re in the cockpit. You can focus on the track in front of you. Slow acceleration and deceleration helps. Having objects off in the distance. There’s no obvious up or down. There’s no solid ground plane, and will see how that works on other tracks.
  • 3:50 – Pipe serve as horizon line and role of objects at the distance. Hexagon dome around the world also helps that as well. Less than 10 out of 1000 had issues.
  • 4:54 – Framerate optimization. Optimized models and have 4K models. 60fps at 1080p. Seen people reach 175fps. Have a highly-optimized world.
  • 5:50 – Level design of a 3D track. Will have other tubes. In-play testing and lots of experience. Progression of learning and tradeoffs that were introduced for getting the fastest time.
  • 7:46 – Level designer’s top time is 1:22. Integrating the leaderboard. It’s different every time, and can’t have a perfect racing line.
  • 9:50 – Replayability. Single-player right now, but expanded to multi-player. Still working on it. Talk to tools providers at Unity, and there were some new tools for streamlining and optimizing multiplayer code and looking into that. Have other people on the track. Phasing through vs. adding collisions. Sony Street Luge implemented collisions, but reverted back to phasing due to simulator sickness implications.
  • 12:00 – VR gameplay of looking ahead. Other VR elements to implement. Turn head to left or right to see other cars. They try to overtake at the sides. Flesh out more options and choices to implement. Time attack. Elimination. Racing. Weapons.
  • 13:44 – Positional tracking implementation ideas with DK2. Opens up some new gameplay opportunities, but need to try it out first
  • 15:05 – Leaning vs. using the controller and buttons. See people lean anyway, and they do that more in the VR headset. Could be great for some players, but bad for others. But don’t want to encourage rapid physical body movements that may cause injury.
  • 16:43 – Third person perspective. Working to find right height and angle. Some like it. Others don’t. Issues with clipping with tunnels. Implications for immersion, but needs additional processing power to handle correctly.
  • 17:58 – VR team at Tammeka Games. A straightforward pipeline from concept to 3D to code. Design, Draw pictures. Implement in 3D. Code it. Promote it. Have a lot of experience with both AAA games, but also a lot professional VR experience. Every does game play and feedback.
  • 19:08 – Twenty years of VR simulator experience. More expensive hardware with high stability and quality of image requirements with high resolutions, multi-channel displays and being G-locked over the network.
  • 20:14 – Strong team. 1/5 way through the Kickstarting fundraising goal. Large gamer community who tune out once they see that it’s VR. Once they see VR support, they think it only supports VR. Use 2D shots for promotional work. Targeting non-VR gamers.
  • 21:43 – Other video games that have 3D tracks. F-Zero. And fill the gap after Wipeout. Other similar games. But fairly unique approach.
  • 23:06 – Expand with VR community, but need to go beyond VR. What to do to help out. Spread the word that it works without VR. No advantage or disadvantage whether you’re using VR or not.
  • 25:03 – How long been working on this demo. Off and on since January. 45-50 man days of effort put into it.
  • 25:18 – Timeline and targets. Mid-Sept. and late November for the full game with lots of new options. With updates with each following month.
  • 26:15 – Timing to do Kickstarter around the DK2 release. DK2 will end up being a default gaming system for a while.
  • 27:15 – Surprises about VR development. That it was easier than expected. No huge blockers. And others really enjoy the end product.
  • 28:15 – Potential for VR. What we make of it. It’s still got a stigma around it and seen s as nerdy tech for boys. But say all genders appreciate it. It’ll go through an awkward phase of being accepted by the mass market. Price point matters. Still not atheistically pleasing for others to see box strapped to your face that has room for improvement. We’re closer to the cyber reality world of meeting with 4D metaverse space with full immersion that are beautifully rendered and highly realistic, believable and immersive.
  • 29:58 – Very excited about VR’s potential. Support the Kickstarter. Excited to be hopefully there with the emergence into the mainstream VR generation. Shuhei Yoshida from Sony played the game and was very impressed. Waiting to see at the moment. Will know after August 2nd what they can and cannot do.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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