#51: Sam Watts on arcade VR racing game Radial-G, minimizing simulator sickness, approach to level design, VR gameplay, Kickstarter strategy & future plans

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.


  • 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

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast.

[00:00:11.876] Sam Watts: My name's Sam Watts. I'm the game producer at Tomica Games and we are currently working on Radial-G Racing Revolved, which is a futuristic arcade racer primarily for VR, but we also do do a 2D mode. Although we're struggling to find a sexy way to sell it as normal PC monitor support. And we are currently running a Kickstarter in order to raise funds to develop it into a full title, moving on from the single-player demo that we've released, so that everyone can try it out and enjoy it as a fully-fledged VR experience whenever the commercial product for Oculus comes out or the Sony Morpheus.

[00:00:56.701] Kent Bye: Great, yeah, and the comment that I hear the most about people playing through your game is them wondering, why am I not getting motion sick? So you're moving through super fast through an environment. What were some of the things that you guys were doing from a VR design perspective to minimize motion sickness and simulator sickness?

[00:01:17.401] Sam Watts: Well, we come from a serious VR development background. working with reducing simulator sickness is paramount to what we do for previous projects that we've completed. So a lot of the things that we do are just sort of second nature now. So when I actually first started writing about this for a couple of dev blogs, I had to really actually think, what was it that we did again that specifically reduced simulator sickness? There's a number of key areas for the gameplay that we felt greatly benefited reducing the simulator sickness. Some of them just come through the nature of the game genre and the scenario, but obviously some of them are actually considered design choices. So for a start, the fact that you're in a sci-fi stroke fantasy world, your brain automatically registers that it's not real. So it doesn't worry about it so much. So that helps. And then the fact that you're now sitting in a cockpit, which is where you would expect to be, if you're going to be in a futuristic racing simulator. And then you have the track going out in front of you, which is a constant focal point for you to be able to concentrate on. But then mostly we don't change the movement speed greatly when you go over the speed boosts or you go into the slowdown gates. The effect is more graphical rather than emotional. So you're not suddenly speeding up or suddenly slowing down, giving that sort of horrible inertia feeling. And then the very far off distance really, really helps as well, because you can't see the flat line horizon spinning around in front of you, as well as not really having a particularly obvious up and down. You still get the sensation of rotating the world around you as you go around the pipe. And you can obviously see the building is changing orientation, but because there's no solid ground plane, that really helps remove that element of sickness. We shall see how that goes moving forward with the sort of dust planet world that we have planned, sort of Podracer, Mos Eisley style. That could cause us some problems, but all the way through development, when we just had a pipe and were rotating around, that was obviously fine because there was nothing else in the world to reference against. But as soon as we started adding the environment and the buildings, we noticed very quickly that it didn't seem to make any difference to people feeling potentially nauseous.

[00:03:51.218] Kent Bye: Interesting. Yeah. I noticed that you have the pipe right in front of you, which serves as some sort of a horizon line, but it's interesting to hear that the objects off in the distance are providing some sort of replacement for the horizon line. It sounds like you're saying a little bit, it just helping you get oriented into the world. Do you find that that's true that those objects off in the distance are a key component of keeping you oriented and minimizing the simulator sickness?

[00:04:18.880] Sam Watts: To a certain degree, yes, but in terms of an actual horizon in the sort of near far distance, because of the hexagon dome that we have around the world, that kind of hides a lot of any sort of actual horizon, which greatly helps and reduces the sickness sensation. We've personally seen over a thousand people play the game and we're still counting on both of one of our hands by less than 10. number of people who've had to stop playing within 20 seconds because they can't cope with it.

[00:04:51.197] Kent Bye: Huh. Interesting. Yeah, and it seems like you guys are really optimizing for frame rate. Can you talk a little bit about what you're doing from a game design perspective in order to really get the frame rates that you need to have a really great VR experience?

[00:05:06.303] Sam Watts: It's just optimization of our models and reducing polys and troys as much as possible. We're still working with 4K textures, but It's just keeping simplicity to ensure that we can maintain a minimum of 60 frames per second, even at 1080p+. One of the video Let's Play guys, he was running at 175 frames or something like that at 4K. So we just have a really highly optimized world, which is very designed in such a way that the draw distance doesn't impact gameplay and make sure that you still got a very high detail quality environment and something that's nice to look at. whilst operating at a very, very smooth, solid frame rate.

[00:05:50.044] Kent Bye: Interesting, yeah. The level design of a 3D track is interesting. I'm curious about what type of considerations or the process that you had to go through to actually design the track because it's a full tube and you could go at any point of the 360 degree track. So talk a bit about that process of level design for this fully immersive 3D track.

[00:06:14.370] Sam Watts: Well, moving forward, we don't want to just stick with tubes, but for the single player demo, yes, we do have this perfectly round tube for the entirety of the track with no obstacles, no narrow or wider bits or splits or jumps or anything else that we wish to add for the future tracks. Again, it's just gameplay testing is absolutely paramount and years of experience coming from Jeff, working with MotoGP and Pure and SplitSecond and AAA racing games, designing levels and tracks there, taking all of his experience of what makes a track fun to play whilst remaining challenging and adding that degree of learning curve. Because people, when they first play, they'll set a time of around two minutes twenty, something like that. Then they'll realise that they can chain the boosts together and that will come down a bit more. Then they'll realise that taking the inside line of the corners will greatly reduce their time further still. And then they realise that they've got the challenge of do they go for the inside line and potentially miss a speed boost or do they have absolutely sort of lightning quick reflexes and be able to flip from one side to another to catch the speed boost and the inside line. We've tucked speed boosts in particularly difficult places to get to, to allow those much more advanced gamers who know the track to be able to achieve those very low lap times.

[00:07:45.177] Kent Bye: Yeah, and having a leaderboard integrated and networked, I think, is also a really interesting decision to have someone's global rank show up after they finish a lap. And I saw that you said internally that the actual level designer, his best time was like a minute 22. And I noticed that the top two people on the leaderboard now have also achieved that time. So I'm curious if you could talk about what was involved with actually integrating a leaderboard within a game like this.

[00:08:15.187] Sam Watts: Well, it's fairly straightforward. Every time they cross the line, it just fires off a simple data burst to the web page and inserts the SQL into the database. and pulls back their current rank based upon their time against the fastest time overall. It's interesting you've pointed that out actually. I haven't actually looked at the leaderboard today. I've still been sitting in post-mortem from develop, so I hadn't noticed that. That's obviously something I need to go and shout about.

[00:08:45.191] Kent Bye: Yeah, it seems like, you know, if the level designer, if his best time was 1.22 and two other people have now achieved that, it seems like that's probably near the cap of the maximum. Or perhaps, you know, a level designer designs it so hard that it's actually possible to beat the time that he can even achieve on it.

[00:09:04.245] Sam Watts: I'll be interested to see if we can get lower. I mean, obviously, he's played it a lot. We've all played it a lot internally, but none of us came anywhere close to what he got. And it was always very suspect that the guy who placed all the speed boosts and the gates got the best time. But then there are elements which are always going to be different every single lap because the gates rotate at different speeds. And depending upon which angle you take in the corners, you're always going to be approaching each gate differently every single time. So you can't always have a perfect racing line, as it were, that you would do with a traditional 2D flat track. So yeah, I guess we'll have to wait and see if they actually get lower than 122 or if we have reached the pinnacle.

[00:09:50.255] Kent Bye: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting. It feels like it's got a lot of replayability because of that, because it's different every time. And even though it's a single player demo at this point, there is this sense of competing against others, but it does sound like you're going to be expanding out to having a full networked multiplayer experience. It sounds like you've already implemented that. And what's it like to actually play multiplayer then?

[00:10:14.309] Sam Watts: Um, we are still working on it. We have a version that supports up to four at the moment, so we're just building out trying to get up all the way up to 32. One of the things we were doing yesterday was talking with a lot of tools providers for Unity to determine exactly how best to approach our network code, because at the moment we have been writing it ourselves. But then there were a couple of new tools announced last week and this week, I think, aimed specifically at streamlining and optimizing Unity multiplayer code. So we're looking to get our hands on those and evaluate But the multiplayer just adds so much more to it. Well, for a start, you obviously have that level of immediate competition because you have the other people on the track. But it does obviously add the complexities of design in terms of how do you handle it with VR? And do you go the traditional route and have collisions? Or do you allow each other to phase through one another? At the moment, we are phasing through. We want to add collisions, but after talking a lot yesterday to the Sony Morpheus devs, they added collision and then rapidly took it out again because it was making people feel sick. So in their Street Luge game, you now phase through the item that you go through flashes red and you decrease speed, but the whole full-on collision jarring of motion was greatly adding to potential simulator sickness. So this is something we now need to go back and re-evaluate Is it something that we want to add into the game and spend all the time developing collision models and maps and that kind of thing? Or do we want to keep on just phasing through for now to make it a much more pleasurable VR multiplayer experience?

[00:11:59.223] Kent Bye: Interesting. In terms of virtual reality and certain gameplay elements that are unique to VR, it seems like when you're in this 3D track, being able to look ahead by looking up or down or left or right It seems to be a pretty unique element of the game design for what you're doing with Rage RG. And I'm, I'm curious about, you know, what other elements that you plan on adding to make it sort of a, the difference between a VR experience versus a 2d screen.

[00:12:28.748] Sam Watts: Well, I think once you actually try the multiplayer side and you turn your head to your left and you see the person jostling with you for first and second. Even at the moment, even though you can phase through each other, people naturally try to overtake from one side or the other. Just adds that level of immersion, being able to sort of look eye to eye, as it were, to your competitor as they're trying to get ahead of you and working out where they are in position to where you are in relation to the speed boost or the rotating slowdown gate. That would be nice for collision is being able to shove people into those and obviously gain the advantage. A lot of the other modes, I think it's not going to be so much VR specific, it just adds a great depth to the gameplay and fleshes it out into a much more full game with more variety and more options for people to pick and choose the aspects that they particularly like. Some people really like time attack, some people really like eliminators, some people just like straightforward racing, some people want weapons. which we'll see how weapons work out with 32 people on track at once. It could just be Mario Kart Blue Shell Hell, so.

[00:13:43.906] Kent Bye: Yeah, and it seems like also I saw that you had mentioned that once you get your DK2s, you're going to experiment with leaning left and right to actually steer. And I'm curious if being able to lean forward or lean backwards to brake and maybe lean left and right, how you expect that to play into the gameplay?

[00:14:04.041] Sam Watts: I think it would be quite interesting because it could work similar to Wipeout where you can sort of tilt the nose of the ship up and down a little bit. So it would be more like the player controlled speed boosts coming from like F-Zero as well as having the speed pads to aim for. You've kind of got like a F-1 KERS system where each lap you have a small amount of additional boost that you can use at your choice. So that could be implemented by leaning forward and tilting the nose of your ship down closer to the track, whereas leaning back, as you say, can break. The good thing about VR and obviously having headsets is you're not always having to keep your eyes focused on a screen that's not moving, because it's following you around. So you can open up these gameplay possibilities much more. But at the moment, until we've actually got one and tried it, we've got some ideas. Until we know what does and definitely doesn't work, we're not really too sure what we're going to implement at the moment.

[00:15:05.249] Kent Bye: Yeah. It'd be interesting to see whether or not if you do like a DK two leaning to compare whether or not that's more efficient in terms of pushing a button and whether or not someone can get the fastest time from using a controller versus leaning. I imagine that the leaning would be more immersive in some ways, but I just wonder which one would be more efficient.

[00:15:25.918] Sam Watts: Yeah, I mean, we have found from gameplay tests and watching people play, you know, with racing games, you always get some people who do lean dramatically left and right anyway when they're playing, even with a controller and just a sort of 2D flat screen. People do that a lot more often now when they're playing with a VR headset on. So if we were to implement that as a control method, they would need to learn to not do that sort of normally and only do it when they actually want to do it. So it could be off-putting for some players, I think, but also, again, referring back to the Sony Morpheus Street Luge demo that they have, you steer by tilting your head left and right with that. But that's quite gentle movements because you're going around looping roads, whereas if we're looking to snap from one inside line straight across the other side of the track to the next speed boost or avoiding a slowdown gate at the last minute, We don't really want to be encouraging people to whip their heads left and right too quickly. So it's going to take some careful design considerations and level design to make sure that if we do implement what we call the VR hardcore mode of head tilt steering, that we don't end up causing people injuries.

[00:16:43.361] Kent Bye: Yeah. And I noticed that you were also considering like a third person perspective. Have you actually tried that to see what it's like to be outside of the ship and see it?

[00:16:52.283] Sam Watts: We've started to. I personally cannot race and cannot play driving games in third person. But then I know similarly, there are people who cannot play them in the cockpit or in a sort of lower internal camera view. So I'm not the best person to test this. But at the moment, we're just working on finding the right height and the right angle to enable us to do this without having camera clipping issues if we go inside tunnels and that kind of thing. It's a very fine line between the comfortable camera angle and the environment. Obviously, this is something we want to add, and our single-player demo environment doesn't really allow us that because the tunnels are quite narrow and claustrophobic at the moment. So we often end up with a clipped-out tunnel. So until we work on something like phasing out tunnel roofs, et cetera, for this view, but then that will remove a level of immersion and add a fair amount of processing to be doing this in real-time on the fly. We want to practice a bit more before we release it to be available for all.

[00:17:58.993] Kent Bye: Awesome. And it looks like from your team, you have a pretty unique combination of a lot of people who have a lot of AAA game experience. And I'm curious if you could kind of quickly talk about your team and how you've been splitting up the work in order to get this demo done.

[00:18:15.981] Sam Watts: Well, it's fairly straightforward. One guy designs it, one guy promotes it. One guy draws all the pictures and the other turns it into 3D, and then the coder makes it all magically come alive, which leads me to do a lot of the PR, marketing, promotion, writing all the Kickstarter stuff, and submissions of all the files, and liaising with websites, et cetera. It's a pretty straightforward pipeline, really, to go from concept to 3D to code and implementation. And then we obviously have all of us chipping in for gameplay and feedback sessions. There's no real secret there, I'm afraid. It's just the guys with the AAA experience are behind the design and the promotion, and the guys with the hardcore, serious VR simulation experience are doing the hard work making it come alive and work properly.

[00:19:08.902] Kent Bye: Yeah, the thing that stuck out to me is, you know, the 20 years of virtual reality development experience from different simulators. What type of other experiences do you think have been ported over from that experience and implemented into Radial G?

[00:19:22.365] Sam Watts: I think it comes down to working with much more expensive hardware that have much higher requirements and clients who have a very high expectation of stability and quality of image and fidelity. with much higher resolutions and multi-channel displays and everything being G-locked and G-synced over the network. The stuff that Dave's worked on, the common joke of, I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you kind of thing. So I don't know a huge amount about it other than so far, I've not seen him sweat whenever we've tried to add a new feature or suggested something, he's just gone, oh, okay, and then put it in. But he's a coder and I'm not. It may be complicated or it may be simple, but to me, I can't do it. So he consistently amazes me.

[00:20:14.471] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, it certainly seems like you have an extremely strong team to keep an eye on. I know it's drawn a lot of attention from a lot of prominent VR developers within the community. And, you know, having the Kickstarter and, you know, having about 21 days left and being about a fifth of the way through, how are you feeling in terms of the momentum of the Kickstarter and what you need to do to kind of bring it to its goal?

[00:20:38.454] Sam Watts: Well one of the main issues we have and main issues with VR in general in order for it to go mainstream is there is just a large part of the gamer community who as soon as they see a screenshot showing the Oculus dual view or the mention of the words VR that they just switch off and they're not interested. It's really hard to get those people back. Most people expect when they see supports Oculus Rift, they think it just supports Oculus Rift, whereas we're trying to do something fresh in that we do support VR and normal 2D as well. So we're now concentrating on using only 2D screenshots for our promotional work. I think we've proved what we need to prove at the moment in terms of our VR capabilities and being able to make a super slick, solid VR racing game. So we're now going after the regular non-VR gamers to get the numbers up and bring them on board and help them become part of it and join in our vision, really.

[00:21:43.091] Kent Bye: Has there been any other video games that do a fully 3D track that you have implemented in Radiology?

[00:21:50.272] Sam Watts: F-Zero, GX, back on the GameCube had a tubular aspect to one or two of the tracks, but I don't think, well, there are other games. Was it Ballistics? Seems to be referenced a lot. where you were racing inside a pipe, but then that obviously adds a whole different set of characteristics and style. But in terms of racing around the outside, there's a couple of little games which aren't so much racing, they're more sort of endless runner, like Crown. There's a new one on mobile which is called Unpossible, I think it is, but they have a much smaller tube that you race on and you are just a ball and there's objects and you have to rotate to avoid the objects. So racing on a tube of this scale, it hasn't been done for a very long time, which is why we're getting a lot of coverage in terms of being a spiritual successor for F-Zero. And then other people say filling the gap that's been left by the closure of certainly Liverpool and the Wipeout studio and even Xtreme G. So there's a lot of nostalgia out there associated with it, which I think is helping us. But we are obviously keen to show that we are very much our own game and it's not just a rip-off for VR.

[00:23:06.681] Kent Bye: Yeah and I certainly see that there's a lot of support within the VR community from some core members and I see that there's even potential to expand within the VR community but yeah it does seem like if it is going to reach its goal it does need to go beyond just VR and then how it the VR community to reach out and help promote it to your friends. So yeah, if you do want to see this happen, I guess, you know, what would you encourage people? What, what kind of things can they do to help out?

[00:23:33.365] Sam Watts: Well, spread the word that it does support. Well, I call it an Oculus mode for the 2d mode, but it's just basically spreading the word that you don't need an Oculus to play it. We've done a lot of testing with lap times between the Oculus and 2d mode and There's no real advantage between the two. Obviously, you can look up and around in the Oculus a lot more naturally, but we have added a sort of virtual cockpit look around onto the right stick for the 2D version, so you can still get the same effect. And lap times are very, very close and very, very similar between the two, so you're not at any disadvantage or advantage on either side. It's just a case of spreading the word, approaching people who aren't interested in VR but are interested in arcade races and helping bring them on board and making them aware that just because it supports Oculus or VR is that it's not the be-all and end-all and they can still game traditionally. Although of course moving forward we would obviously prefer that they do play the VR version but we knew from the onset There's only so many Oculus Rifts out there in the world at the moment. There's only so many pre-orders of the DK2 and only so many can be shipped. We don't have a commercial release date for either Oculus or Morpheus. So we knew that we had to go for both sides in order to achieve success.

[00:25:03.694] Kent Bye: Interesting. And how long have you guys been working on this demo then?

[00:25:07.897] Sam Watts: Since about January on and off, but it's got about 45, 50, man days worth of effort put into it overall.

[00:25:17.866] Kent Bye: Okay, wow. Do you have a sense of a timeline of how long it would take to kind of finish the game out, or do you have a target release if you are successful in your Kickstarter?

[00:25:26.308] Sam Watts: Depending upon our levels of success, it will allow us to hire other people and bring other features forward, but we're aiming for a mid-September release for the multiplayer demo, and then late November for the first release of the game, which has got three worlds three tracks per world, so nine in total, and three or four ships to choose from with different handling models, a couple of single and multiplayer gameplay modes each to choose from, and then each month release a content and feature update with new worlds, new tracks, different gameplay modes, pilot customisation, ship customisation, and maybe even a track editor if we get that far in our stretch goals.

[00:26:09.562] Kent Bye: Yeah, it's interesting that, you know, you're kind of coming out right as DK2 is launching. Was that a deliberate decision on your part to try to time it to correspond to when more DK2s would be out in the field?

[00:26:20.950] Sam Watts: Pretty much. Although, well, it won't backfire, but a few people have said, I would love to back you, especially at a higher level, but I've already spent all my money on the DK2. So that hurts a little bit, but it's fully understandable. But, um, We did want to aim, yes, to be able to release a fully fledged game title as DK2 comes out. Because I think for quite a few people, without word from Oculus of when the commercial release will be, other than a vague, most likely next year, I think for a lot of people, the DK2 may well be good enough for them for quite a long time. So that's kind of their VR gaming headset, I think. Unless, of course, Oculus announced that the commercial release is going to be 4K compliant and have, you know, sort of one millisecond latency, but we shall have to wait and see.

[00:27:15.426] Kent Bye: What has been one of the bigger surprises that you found in the process of doing VR development on this project?

[00:27:22.868] Sam Watts: Well, surprised how easy it seemed, really. I don't want to blow our own trumpets or sound hugely egotistical or unmodest or anything, but as I say, just with our previous experience, we just started putting things into place and they just worked. And then we just had to tweak and polish and hone. We didn't run into any major problems. But again, I go back to Dave Arcoda, who is just phenomenally well-skilled. The nice surprise, as it were, is other people agreeing that what we thought was a great idea is a great idea and them absolutely loving it. I've worked on games in the past that you thought would be phenomenally successful, and they've just tanked. It's always nice to show your baby to the public and them to be very appreciative and say it's very pretty and it's going to be a good looker when it grows up as opposed to running away screaming.

[00:28:19.405] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you see as the ultimate potential for virtual reality?

[00:28:25.527] Sam Watts: Well, it's what we make of it really. I think it's still got a big stigma around it. I think it's still seen as kind of the nerdy tech for boys. But it was nice spending two days at Develop yesterday with developers and gamers of all genders who were enjoying it just as much as each other, and there was no seemingly obvious preference. But I think it's going to go through that whole difficulty, awkward phase of being accepted by the mass market. I think partially that will come down to price point, but also it doesn't really matter when you have a headset on because you're paying more attention to what's going on inside the headset, but externally, people still make jokes and sort of find it quite amusing that you've got this box strapped to your face. So I think it does need to improve in the aesthetic side, just for making it a visually attractive piece of kit, as well as a technically attractive piece of kit. But I think, you know, we are very much closer to the dream of these cyber reality worlds meeting each other in sort of 4D space and having full-on immersion and alternative universes that are beautifully rendered and highly realistic and highly believable and highly immersive. And I think this time VR is here to stay and it's not going to just be another failed attempt due to the quality and the low price.

[00:29:58.083] Kent Bye: Great. And is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say?

[00:30:03.267] Sam Watts: No, we're obviously very excited by the prospect and thank everyone for listening to me waffle on and go and support us on Kickstarter and get behind Radio G. I think we've sold ourselves pretty well to the current VR generation and it's just encouraging to hopefully be there at the birth of a mainstream VR generation being a strong platform leader really. We had some very interesting discussions Shoei Yoshida came and played the game on Wednesday evening and he was very impressed so that's obviously helping our plans with moving towards Morpheus support as well. So I guess it's just wait and see at the moment and by the 2nd of August we'll know exactly what we can and can't do.

[00:30:52.773] Kent Bye: Great, well thanks so much Sam for joining me today.

[00:30:55.934] Sam Watts: Thanks for inviting me to come talk to you.

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