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Solarix Dev Talks Inspirations, VR Horror and More

PulseTense Games is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for its upcoming sci-fi horror title, Solarix. The indie developer is keeping its target ambitiously low in comparison to other  campaigns, seeking £10,000 GBP to fund further development of the first-person experience. But virtual reality (VR) fans may want to shell out a little more when backing; a £60,000 stretch goal also teases support for the Oculus Rift VR headset. 

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VRFocus recently spoke to the developer about its work. In the interview below PulseTense Games talks about its inspirations for Solarix, as well as the potential for VR support to enhance the title. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all news surrounding Solarix as its campaign continues, bringing you the latest.

VRFocus: Where did the idea for Solarix come from?

PluseTense Games: Idea of Solarix came from when we were modding for Thief games, and thought what kind of experience would that be, instead of sneaking around medieval towns but space stations and space ships. Also we’ve always been interested in “Complex AI” design naturally stealth would have been an intriguing ground for us to experiment with. Apart from the stealth aspect I can say for the level design, we grew up playing games like unreal series and quake series. That’s the real hook for us about “sci-fi” level design. We tried to capture that old school sci-fi level design feeling in Solarix.

VRFocus: How many different types of enemies can we expect other than what’s been shown so far?

PluseTense Games: We have two types of zombies, one cyborg and one guard soldier. One flying drone and one spider robot. Turrets and spider cams. I believe that’s more type of enemies for a game that has “indie budget”

VRFocus: Genres such as survival horror have enjoyed something of a revival thanks to Kickstarter. How does Solarix set itself apart from other crowd-funded contemporaries?

PulseTense Games: Our focus is “stealth” in Survival horror.  And we have a major bonus I believe, Our story is deeper than an average zombie-survival-horror game. There is a strong psychological aspect to it and that would mean, we have lots of room to experiment if we want to expand the Solarix universe, and we really want to…

We’re really excited about the way we integrate the HUD with other gameplay elements. It’s meant to be this unreliable, dying machine you’re wearing, which fails at inopportune moments and leaves you stranded with your wits and scrambling to repair it all. It’s your only link to the NPC characters in the game. And also our AI is important…. love our stealth-AI as my favourite gameplay element. Because in many horror games you can’t do much about monsters, you always have to kill them. But in Solarix, you can avoid or sneak around them or use the environment to your advantage. We also know stealth is a very difficult medium to master, especially with AI programming. I believe our AI is already one of the highlights of our project. It gives you freedom. Traditionally, you outrun the enemy, you outgun them, but in Solarix you have the freedom for both of these and more. You can outwit your foes, sneak around them, or use the environment in a clever way to your own advantage. I love this aspect mostly.

VRFocus: What other horror titles served as an inspiration for Solarix?

We have been heavily influenced games like Thief and System Shock. They are regarded as stealth games mostly but they have a strong vibe of suspense due to successful way of implementing “sense of isolation”

VRFocus: Why did you opt for Kickstarter to raise the finances required for Solarix?

PulseTense Games: Although we are aware of discussions like it has run its course and not a popular platform, or wise choice for indie games shall we say, we believe it still would give a chance to gain exposure. Our biggest problem is gaining exposure at the moment, and see, KickStarter has been a medium between you guys and us, so that’s a good thing!

VRFocus: Kickstarter backers can grab the title for just £6. Is Solarix intended to be a shorter title than other horror experiences?

The game is set to be $20 USD upon release so grabbing it for $10 at the moment sound logical to us. We have detailed massive 4 different locations and the game story suspends around 12 different chapters. So we’re looking at least, 6-8 hours of gameplay which is way longer than many indie survival horror games.

VRFocus:  What does VR bring to the experience?

Well some are not fan of stealth genre, some might be skeptical about the fact that our team has not released any games before but one thing everyone agrees without exception is that Solarix has very intriguing atmosphere.  We haven’t developed for VR before, that’s why it is one of our stretch goals to bring experienced developers on this matter into the project and I believe experiencing our atmosphere and the suspense of our gameplay via VR would be a totally unique experience.

VRFocus: Would you consider additional control inputs to go along with Oculus Rift support?

PulseTense Games: Since it is one of our stretch goals we plan to consider all options on the table once we reach that.

VRFocus: You’ve mentioned an Xbox One version of Solarix, is there any word on a PlayStation 4 version perhaps with Project Morpheus support?

Our publisher is in talks with Microsoft and Sony for Solarix’s console release. It is one of our stretch goals as well.