It’s been six months since 3D block building puzzler Cubism arrived on Oculus Quest, offering its simple yet addictive gameplay. Today, indie developer Thomas Van Bouwel has released the next major update to Cubism, adding hand tracking support as well as other content improvements.
Whilst the original SideQuest demo of Cubism did feature hand tracking, that wasn’t implemented into the official Oculus Quest release until now. On that first iteration van Bouwel notes in a statement the: “initial version didn’t properly take the limitations of the technology into account, meaning the quality of people’s experience would vary highly depending on their lighting conditions and their expectations of the feature.”
As for the improvements the developer has made to get the hand tracking to this stage, these include:
- Puzzle pieces can be normally grabbed with fingertips instead of needing to be “pinched”
- Buttons can be naturally pushed instead of needing to be “pinched”
- Hand motion is smoothed out to prevent shaky-ness, which also results in more stable looking grabs
- Fingers lock in place once an object is grabbed to give the appearance of a stable grip
- Fingertips are coloured according to the puzzle piece you’re interacting with
- Additional audio cues indicate when a piece is grabbed or a button is pushed
- The game starts with a disclaimer to inform players on ways to improve the hand tracking experience (playing in a well-lit area & not crossing hands)
- The hands indicate when they have lost tracking by fading to red, and inform the player if this is caused by them crossing their hands
“Hand tracking still has its limitations to be sure,” he adds, “but I’m excited to start supporting these new input methods that will hopefully make games and experiences like this more accessible and easier to share with new VR users.”
In addition to the hand tracking the update also features 5 new classical piano pieces by Robert Schumann and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikoyvsky and repositioning of the play area by pressing down on either joystick.
Cubism became one of VRFocus’ favourite puzzle titles of 2020, saying in its review: “Here you have a good example of why indie developers are such a vital part of the VR industry. Cubism would never have been made by a big studio yet it deserves your attention nonetheless.”
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Cubism, reporting back with the latest updates.