Earlier this year indie developer Coatsink Software, the studio behind titles such as Shu and Chip, revealed that it was currently working on its first virtual reality (VR) videogame in Esper. The title is heading to both the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) and Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, presenting a new set of challenges for the team. This week Coatsink Software has talked about those issues and offered its own views on developing for VR.
The studio wrote about VR development in a Q&A session over on its official website. It noted that one of the biggest factors of VR is deciding if your title is suitable for the technology. “If I’m making a story-focused RPG, is the addition of VR really worth it?” the developer asked. “It’s also worth noting that VR doesn’t do any extra work for you. You’re still responsible for making a believable, immersive world. The VR just takes what you make and magnifies it.”
Comparisons between VR and regular videogame development were also touched on, with Coatsink Software stating that traditional features such as a crosshair or standard user interface do not necessarily fit in VR. “I’d encourage developers to go with their strengths first and foremost” the developer concluded. “VR won’t be a great fit for every game, and a game isn’t automatically better just by having VR, but I would definitely encourage all developers to at least look into it and see if it would work for them. I certainly learned that virtual reality can work well with more genres than I initially assumed.”
Esper is a first-person puzzle experience in which players undergo a series of aptitude tests which aim to developer telekinesis within the subject. The entire videogame is set within one room, with a series of increasingly difficult puzzles being presented to the player. VRFocus will continue to follow Esper, reporting back with any further updates on the title’s progress.