Sean Edwards (aka /u/Sh0v) of Shovsoft talks about the process of porting Lunar Flight to console, and how he ended up having to rewrite a lot of the user interface and interaction model from scratch in order to work with VR. He also talks about his next project of Zombie Virtual Reality (ZVR), and his game design considerations and intentions for the scope of that project including getting something completed early that’s highly polished, fun, and a low price point with a balanced replayability cycle.
Sean talks about some of the challenges he faced with dealing with scale when porting Lunar Flight to VR, and what he had to do to solve those issues. He also discusses what he needs to do to upgrade Lunar Flight to be ready for DK2 including increasing the graphics resolution as well as integrating positional tracking and figuring out how to deal with clipping issues that result from that. He also discusses his take on limb tracking, and other potential new features for Lunar Flight.
Finally, he talks about the challenges of sustaining the path of working as an independent VR game developer, and the risks of asking for enough budget for a crowd-funded project in order to be realistic and viable. He talks about developing games while having a day job, and making a bet on VR by transitioning to full-time indie VR developer.
Reddit discussion here.
- 0:00 – Intro & the inspiration for porting Lunar Flight to VR. Interface problems & iterations to figure what does and doesn’t work. Redo the entire user interface and rework the user interface with a contextual interaction system from scratch. Using a curved mesh for some UI elements. Lunar Flight has been recognized as a good example of VR experience. It conforms to the Oculus best practices. VR sales will exceed non-VR sales of VR sales. Adding new features for DK2. ZVR is a Zombie Virtual Reality fixed position torrent shooter game. Have ideas to keep it from getting too boring. Inspired by Infinity Blade, not long and nice replayable cycle and in the process of raising some funding for it.
- 4:18 – How do you make it more engaging? or is it a 10-minute game? Interactive and short and high-impact that you’ll play on shorter times. Perhaps up to 2 hours long to have a nice replay loop. Refer back to old arcade games that you could finish in a couple of hours. Get into VR early, make it highly polished and fun, and a low price point. Goal is to set up Lucid VR for bigger projects in the future
- 5:50 – Most surprising thing in the process to porting your 2D game into VR. Scale was a big issue in Lunar Flight since it was 0.3x scale. Lunar module was only 1m scale, and default Oculus prefabs are built to scale. Could rebuild everything, but that wasn’t practical. By altering the inter camera distances, then you can alter the perception of scale. Reduce it makes is large, and increasing it will make it small. Turned out to a simple solution. People’s sense of scale must be different based upon their IPD. Need to get objects scale right relative to the reference objects that you have in the scene. Lunar Flight is a one-suit fits all
- 9:23 – Will you be adding new features for DK2? Resolution increase will be a process and redo the design and scale so that it works. Buttons are large because it uses colliders in his contextual interaction model, and they need to be big enough to select. Translation traction will be interesting. Clipping will be an issue for how to deal with. Players will need to accept this. Shouldn’t turn off translation traction. Not adding new translation tracking features.
- 11:53 – What about limb integration? Building for the most accessible way, and if had money and time then he would, but the market is too small at the moment. Potentially integrate Hands On Throttle-And-Stick (H.O.T.A.S.) for those who have flight sim equipment. Potentially integrate limbs in that context. People like to see the XBox controller within the game to help with the immersion.
- 13:29 – What will you be talking about at the indie VR game developer panel? Funding is an issue for a lot of developers
- 14:05 – How have solved the funding issue? Been able to live off the earnings from Lunar Flight, but doesn’t have a lot of money to hire others. Won’t last forever, and so working on ZVR on the next step. Question size of Kickstarter budgets. Worked a day job while creating Lunar Flight. It was a long year with late nights.
- 16:08 – Best place to keep in touch? Oculus subreddit and keep an eye on /u/Sh0v.
Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio