I’ve been quiet since the holidays, but it certainly isn’t for lack of activity. For my day job, February marked the release of Brass Tactics, a real time strategy game reinvented for VR headsets. The creation of Brass was really a fascinating adventure, one of the most interesting and invigorating creative challenges I’ve had in a lot of years.
Oculus gave us pretty much carte blanche to recreate a real-time strategy game that took advantage of the Rift platform as well as the Touch controllers. This allowed us to kick off the process with a delightful freedom on how to make the controls of an RTS feel tactile and engaging. We started with crazy-woop-woop-nuts ideas, but honed the game down to something that felt familiar yet fresh.
I’ve written a couple of blogs about this process on the Hidden Path website: The first blog post talks about our discovery of how we wanted to represent the world and how the player might interact with it. We started from a very wide set of possibilities that explored how to show the most information to the player with the most comfort. What we ended up with was quite clean, and felt comfortable for most people. Here’s the first ugly prototype reel.
The second blog was about how the player interacts with their troops, both selecting them and issuing orders. This seems simple but we went through a long process to figure it out. What we ended up with feels familiar, like using a mouse, but definitely embraces the physical nature of Touch. Directing your troops becomes like being a symphony director calling out orders fluidly, a dance that makes war happen. It was an achievement that we’re very proud of. Even more ugly here!
I still have one more prototype video that I need to accompany with a blog post. Luckily the pressure’s been off lately so I’ve been able to get back to working on Auto Fire. I’ll try to update y’all with where that’s been going shortly.
I just spent the week down in San Francisco showing my new game at Hidden Path Entertainment called Brass Tactics. It’s a real-time strategy game built from the ground up for VR. The reception has been quite good from the press and developers, and I think we’ve created something special. Looking forward to finishing it off this fall!
I borrrowed the Oculus from work again this weekend and put just a few hours in… This time I experimented with setting up targets and creating a mechanic where the player can move slowly to new locations by pointing and right-clicking. Overall it seemed like a worthwhile experiment… Actually the motion was some of the best part. I think perhaps just a constantly orbiting viewpoint could work all right, with maybe a few choices as to where to move next.
The goal is to create motion and control that won’t make my wife sick… Have yet to put her in it, but it might just work.
My company (Hidden Path) was kind enough to let me borrow one of their Oculus Rift DK2s over the weekend to do some experimentation.
I got it working in Unity pretty quickly, and proceeded to experiment with a stationary camera position with a mouse-aim cursor. After a couple of experiments, I ended up with a model where the cursor points at a single point in 3D space, manipulated by the mouse. If the player’s view moves away from the cursor, the cursor gets “dragged” with it. It felt pretty good and snappy in the end.
I also did a simple dumb character using WASD controls, with motion relative to the viewer (ala Mario). That part was easy and I can see the appeal (although with my test sprite character it’s a bit lacking of course). It was fun to mess around with!