Cloudgine’s cloud-based physics technology was the big surprise announcement going into this year’s Gamescom. Built from the ashes of Realtime Worlds – a studio which saw great success with the original Crackdown and sadly far less with APB – Cloudgine’s reveal showcased an impressive real-time physics solution that takes the processing demand away from the local system and instead performs the calculations on a host server. Unlike most middleware developers however, Cloudgine are putting their money where their collective mouth is and building their own videogame to showcase this.
They Came from Space is a multiplayer-only title in which up to 10 players are split into two teams to wreak havoc upon the Earth. You see, a distant alien corporation apparently bought the harvesting rights and are now coming to claim the energy that Earth contains, however a rival company believes that they two have said rights, and are prepared to go to war over the potential capital gain. Potential political statements aside, what this essentially means is that the two teams are busting buildings and gunning down each other’s armies with reckless abandon.
In the strictly hands-off demonstration that VRFocus witnessed at Gamescom 2017, Cologne, two virtual reality (VR) players using the Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch took control of the alien champions. These champions were able to bash their way through buildings to gather energy, which then added to a stockpile for launching attacks on the enemy champion. A huge lazerbeam could be fired to cripple the enemy’s shield, thus making them vulnerable to attacks from the other players on a team who took control of small flying drones via a traditional PC setup.
They Came from Space will feature a number of different champion attacks that can cause great damage to the enemy, but Cloudgine are still tweaking these; playtesting for a fine balance of risk/reward. One other aspect of the studio’s work that has clearly benefited from much playtesting is the player manipulated camera system, designed specifically for Twitch broadcasting.
Last week VRFocus ran an exclusive video provided by Cloudgine on this camera system, however for those who weren’t convinced by the studio’s own messaging here it is laid out bare: this is a feature that should be included in all multiplayer VR videogames. The options shown to VRFocus were that of having direct control of a camera visible in-game and giving it various commands, such as follow or remain in place, or even giving control to a spectator so they may move the camera as they wish. This, coupled with pretty amusing lip-syncing with the champion aliens, screams loudly of the potential for VR broadcasting on services such as YouTube and Twitch.
In addition to the Oculus Rift edition showcased to VRFocus – in a live broadcast from Edinburgh to Cologne via Twitch – They Came from Space will also be compatible with HTC Vive and, potentially, PlayStation VR down the line. VRFocus is very keen to see more of They Came from Space, Cloudgine’s camera system and the physics, and will certainly keep you updated with all the latest details.