Preview: EVE: Valkyrie on Crescent Bay
The very first time Oculus VR have offered Crescent Bay to be shown with a videogame as opposed to a demo reel or singular tech demo, and it’s no surprise that EVE: Valkyrie is that videogame. The poster child for virtual reality (VR) for some time now, EVE: Valkyrie shifts and reshapes itself almost every time VRFocus sees it; this Crescent Bay debut is no different.
Not only is EVE: Valkyrie being debuted on new hardware, but also the single-player gameplay has been revealed for the very first time. A training mission of sorts – although VRFocus was told that this sequence will not appear in the final build – the player is given the simple task of taking down AI enemies within a strict time limit. It’s simple, immediate and engrossing: everything that your first steps into VR need to be.
Beginning in the same fashion as any other EVE: Valkyrie experience – launching from the docking bay into the great wide expanse of space – the player is flung into a battle with constantly increasing enemy numbers. The difference Crescent Bay adds is most obvious in visual clarity, but is more interesting in its use of head-related transfer function (HRFT) audio. One of the first studios outside of Oculus VR to receive the HRFT SDK, CCP Newcastle have obviously made great effort to raise the bar in the quality of the audio. Not in the pitch-perfect delivery – EVE: Valkyrie has never been showcased with poor clarity in it’s audio – but in the form of positional sound effects.
The woosh of an enemy craft as it swings past your vessel in close proximity is astounding. The boom of an explosion close behind you is worrying, but the trace as you draw a line past a recently defeated friend or foe is nothing less than visceral. Audio is an often overlooked yet intensely satisfying part of the VR experience, and in EVE: Valkyrie CCP Newcastle presents a near-perfect argument as to why developers need to invest in getting it right.
The visual quality was also aided by the use of the new prototype head-mounted display (HMD), but mainly due to the improved resolution offered by the device as opposed to a significant upgrade in this build. That said, EVE: Valkyrie does sport an unquestionable improvement on the design that was presented at EVE Fanfest last year. This improvement was present in both the Crescent Bay and DK2 builds of the videogame, and thus should be considered the next line of target visuals as opposed to the bottom line attained with new hardware. EVE: Valkyrie is improving in almost every area at each outing, and art design is clearly one of the areas which has benefited.
EVE: Valkyrie is far from finished, the team at CCP Newcastle informed VRFocus during EVE Fanfest, and while the core structure of the videogame is in place the team aren’t afraid of making changes to the balance, combat and visual design even at this stage. Exactly how extreme the changes will be between this Crescent Bay debut and the final build remains to be seen, but judging by precedent of the many outings at which VRFocus has experienced EVE: Valkyrie, the videogame will likely be near unrecognisable given another year of polish.