Indie developers have been the backbone of virtual reality (VR) content, taking more risks than larger studios to produce immersive experiences that help grow the industry as a whole. Today Australian studio Big Dumb Fun Games has announced the development of a VR episodic role-playing game (RPG) Strange Allies, with an initial proof of concept episode now available as a free download for HTC Vive.
In Strange Allies, players are a small-time criminal who stumbles into a military conspiracy that could have galaxy-shattering consequences. The proof of concept episode introduces the game’s combat and its interactive storytelling. While relatively short, the experience provides insight into what the final game will offer players, particularly in terms of how the story will unfold. The episode features two distinct environments, starting in a Navy dockyard, it then moves onto the ship players are there to steal.
“We decided to start the Proof of Concept Episode at the start of Act 2, mid-way through the episode, and it ends at the completion of that Act, just after you’ve learned what the real story is and got some idea of how epic the journey is going to be,” said the game’s designer and scriptwriter, Mark Christopher.
The free download has been released in order to gather VR gamer feedback on its gameplay, and on its trackpad walking movement in particular. The team believes it has hit a “sweet spot” with its trackpad walking, aiming to reduce simulator sickness which Christopher professes to suffer from. “Yeah, I actually suffer pretty bad simulator sickness myself,” Christopher admitted, “but we seem to have gotten Strange Allies to a good place with its trackpad walking now, because I’ve been playing it several times a day recently and it doesn’t make me sick at all anymore. Our hope is that means we’ve hit a sweet spot, but we’re not going to know for sure until we put the game out there and gather real-world feedback.”
Once Big Dumb Fun Games has received player feedback for the early episode it then plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to support the project. “Honestly, there’s so much we would love to do with Strange Allies, and so much we could do,” Christopher said, “but the reality is we’re a small, budget-constrained indie team, and the funds we have available currently can only take us so far. So, yeah, we’re talking about running a crowd funding campaign. If we do, and if it’s successful, it would enable us to significantly expand what Strange Allies offers VR gamers, both in terms of more things to do and more story content to enjoy.”
If you want to try it out Strange Allies is available as a free download from both wearvr.com and vrdb.com. And for any further details on the project, keep reading VRFocus.