It can be easy to integrate support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) into just about any videogame. But, as many developers will know, that doesn’t mean that VR is a simple platform to work on. Content needs to be optimised and, ideally, designed from the start with HMDs in mind in order to deliver the best experience. Lucky’s Tale developer Playful Corp. has had to do just that and encourages other studios to ‘put aside expectations’ when working on VR videogames.
Studio CEO Paul Bettner stated as much on Oculus VR’s ‘Explore the Future of Virtual Reality’ panel at the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival. My number one tip would be for developers – especially developers that are coming from existing platforms, whether it’s mobile, Xbox, PC, whatever it is, to VR – is to be willing to put aside some of your expectations and some of the things that you think in your head are going to be awesome,” Bettner explained. “And some of those things are, but a lot of them counter-intuitively don’t work as well as you would.
“And I think the clearest example of this are some of the very first experiments that a lot of us did with first-person games,” the developer continued. “Something like Counter-Strike or Half-Life. It kind of immediately hit us all in the face as ‘Hey, actually the hardware is good enough but the content is the problem now because running around in hallways at 30 miles an hour is not comfortable’. And it was kind of a shock for a number of us developers because we had spent 20 years of our life dreaming of what VR was gonna be and that was what was in our head.
“So to kind of run into that and, for me, that’s what that realisation has been. We’ve had the most success when we’ve been able to put aside some of that baggage, so to speak, some of those expectations and really explore new things that are fun.”
Lucky’s Tale is an upcoming third-person platform-based experience that features full support for the Oculus Rift. Players are cast as a cartoon fox named Lucky and explore colourful environments, solving puzzles, collecting items and defeating enemies. The title likely won’t be launching until the consumer version of the Oculus Rift is released.
VRFocus will continue to follow Playful Corp.’s work in VR, reporting back with any further updates from the studio.