It wasn’t too long ago that the word ‘simulator’ meant something very different in the context of videogames. It used to refer to a type of experience in which players didn’t cut corners or aim for high scores, but instead carry out tasks exactly as they would be expected to in real life. Those type of titles still remain, but the word has taken on a form meaning in recent years. With the rise of the likes of Goat Simulator, the simulation genre now carries a surrealist, comedic aspect to it, and the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) has become closely associated with that in the past year.
Take Soda Drinker Pro, for example. This experience, a ‘soda simulator’ that can best be described as entirely bizarre, is set to integrate the Oculus Rift into an upcoming release. The videogame simply asks players to wonder around environments while occasionally sipping a virtual soda that they hold in front of them. But Soda Drinker Pro also hides within it a genuine videogame named Vivian Clark, which is also being expanded upon. VRFocus recently spoke to the title’s development team to find out more about the upcoming release.
VRFocus: Exactly how has Soda Drinker Pro changed from when it was originally posted on Greenlight in 2013?
Soda Drinker Pro: It has changed quite a bit. We have not stopped working to make sure it’s the most realistic and thirst quenching Soda drinking simulation on the market. Many people have written in with ideas on what they would like to see in it and we have listened. We have added new levels, new features (save states, achievements Soda customization/crafting and a lot more) as well as Vivian Clark re-build from the ground up. It’s really neat how much it’s grown since its original 5 level version.
VRFocus: Soda Drinker Pro has a hidden videogame in the form of Vivian Clark. Will this be VR compatible too?
Soda Drinker Pro: That’s the plan, chances are we won’t have that part ready for the initial launch but I definitely plan on adding that in for sure. Because that game is constantly changing perspective and the camera is flying around all over the place I want to make sure we do it in a way that makes sense for the Rift and not just switch out the cameras. For fun though I have totally just switched out the cameras and played Vivian Clark in the Rift and I can say it’s pretty nuts, like being awake inside a dream.
VRFocus: The simulation genre has grown to become very popular over the past few years. Why do you think people enjoy these surreal videogames?
Soda Drinker Pro: I think people like to play games to experience all sorts of things from exploring worlds to fighting zombies and even drinking Sodas. I think there’s a place for every type of experience in games in one way or another so it’s really neat to be able to share the experience of just quietly standing around sipping a Soda in various locations.
VRFocus: Why do you think Soda Drinker Pro has attracted so much attention in what could be considered to be a very crowded genre?
Soda Drinker Pro: I agree the Soda simulation market has been flooded in the past years with lots of folks trying to cash in on the FPS (First Person Soda) simulation market. Throughout the years we’ve focused on a few things.
Accuracy and realism – We strive to make sure that out of all the FPS’s on the market that Soda Drinker Pro is the highest in quality when it comes to simulating a Soda drinking experience.
Listening to our audience – We get thousands of e-mails from fans all over the world asking us to add in new places to drink a Soda or new features they would like to have in the game. We read every e-mail and every comment and if it’s something we can do we’ll put it in the game. For example someone suggested adding Spaghetti mode into Soda Drinker Pro. We listened and have built a full Spaghetti engine in the game and added it as an upcoming feature.
Constantly improving – When we started this it was just a 5 level simulation but now with over 100 levels and an entire game that’s even bigger than Soda Drinker Pro hidden inside it it’s come a long way. And that’s thanks to all the great support over the years from passionate Soda drinking simulation enthusiasts who keep us excited to be working in this amazing field.
VRFocus: What does VR support add to Soda Drinker Pro?
Soda Drinker Pro: It adds a lot to the experience. First of it’s a really interesting feeling as the straw comes to your mouth as you sip a Soda. The experience of VR mode vs. regular mode is a very different game in general. We have adjusted the hight of the player the positioning of the cup and many other factors to make sure things fit with the scale of each level. And also to make it really feel like the Soda cup is going into your mouth. We have also released a Google Cardboard compatible version of the game too which is definitely worth checking out. When I was making the VR version of the game I would literally spend days in the Rift exploring the Soda simulations to make sure they were just right. One of my favorite ways to play this in the Rift is to go to a level and spend an entire hour just in one level. Also just sit there and close your eyes for a few minutes without doing anything then open your eyes and you are in the simulation, it feels like this is now the reality and it’s a really cool feeling. I can definitely say making the VR version of the game, spending so much time in the simulations was a life changing experience.
VRFocus: When can we expect to see the new version of the title released?
Soda Drinker Pro: We are going to be making that announcement either during or after PAX East so stay tuned!
VRFocus: Soda Drinker Pro is coming to Xbox One. Would you consider bringing the videogame to PlayStation 4 with Project Morpheus support?
Soda Drinker Pro: It’s possible, we are always up for expanding it to new platforms, we just need to finish this one first and make sure the final product turns out great. I would really love to see it with the Microsoft Hololens too!
VRFocus: The team is also teasing a ‘huge announcement’ for PAX East. Can you provide any hints on what this time involve?
Soda Drinker Pro: It’s going to be extremely thirst quenching… We’ll have a bunch more info on this at PAX East too…