The topic of input for virtual reality (VR) experiences is currently very much focused on physical movements. Companies are looking for ways to perfectly replicate walking within a virtual environment as well as interacting with objects using hands. With the basics still to be solved, the likes of Oculus VR are yet to turn their attention to more advanced forms of interaction such as actual speech. But that’s exactly what indie developers Adam Nydahl and Alexander Mejia are addressing with their entry into Oculus VR’s Mobile VR Jam, Crime Watch.
Crime Watch is described as a cyberpunk role-playing title (RPG) in which players can use their own voice to communicate with other characters. Set in the fictional city of Sub-Maratron, players become a part of Crime Watch itself, a private security force that is given missions by those that pay crime insurance. In this particular case, the protagonist is summoned to fix tracking antennas. A video of the title in action can be seen below.
Developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, Crime Watch features full voice input support, allowing players to talk to characters and ask them certain questions. “We asked ourselves, “What if you could have a conversation with a character in VR?” the developers note in an official submission page. “That question opened a lot of unique narrative and gameplay opportunities, that would be a complement to the lack of traditional input in VR. We’ve seen that a lot of cloud-based speech-to-text services are accurate and available to use at an affordable cost.”
As one of the finalists in the videogame category of the VR Jam, Crime Watch hopes to be awarded the first place prize of $200,000 USD. Runner-up prizes include $100,000, $50,000, and $10,000. Winners are expected to be announced in early June 2015. VRFocus will continue to follow the VR Jam closely, reporting back with any further update on it.