How to Build a Better Mouse in VR

Polyarc co-founder Danny Bulla talks about the process of creating VR platformer Moss.

Three former Bungie employees left that studio two years ago to begin a new company called Polyarc. The new studio was aimed at virtual reality (VR) and its first title is due out soon, a puzzle platformer called Moss that stars an adorable mouse wielding a sword. Danny Bulla spoke about the experience of creating in VR.

During an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Bulla went into detail about the process of creating Moss, and how it being a VR title affected the development: “VR seems to us like a blank canvas, and that’s really what drove us,” Bulla said. “I think a lot of people have been left behind with the complications that have arisen from where games are going. The cool thing about VR is that, while overwhelming, it allows us to reset back to simple, intuitive interfaces like reach-out-and-grab, which doesn’t take as much explaining.”

Moss is a ‘sit-down’ VR title, since the main focus was on creating a title that was deeply immersive, but also comfortable for players. The studio was attempting as best it could to avoid the motion sickness issues that can afflict VR users. The studio also took a new approached to developing the control scheme: “We kind of took the problem one piece at a time,” Bulla explains. “We looked at what would be good physical interaction, and we spent a lot of time iterating on that. Then we looked at back when games were new and people were just being introduced to controllers, what the controls for the more approachable of those games were, and that’s how we landed on the simple input control scheme for Quill.”

Bulla also believes in giving consumers the chance to try things out, enthusiastic about using trade shows and conventions as a chance to let customers try things out: “I remember going to my friend’s house to play their Dreamcast, or showing people the Super Nintendo when it first came out,” Bulla said. “One of the reasons Moss is an approachable world is that we want people to be able to evangelize VR with it, show it to their children, their parents, their friends. That’s been a driving force in the decisions we made.”

Bulla also said that he understood that mainstream adoption of VR would not be a quick process: “For us, we knew it was going to take time,” he said. “We’ve never been in a position where we thought it was going to take off day one. We know how tech works. We saw how mobile worked. It took a few years before that took off. We knew it was going to take some time of people failing and learning lessons. And I think that’s what we’re starting to see now, developers who have taken time to really understand and figure out what it means to make a VR experience for a game.”

VRFocus will bring you further new on Moss and Polyarc when it becomes available.

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