With all the PlayStation VR news coming out of GDC this week, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to give you a little insight into how we’re approaching development of our upcoming PS VR arena shooter RIGS: Mechanized Combat League.
It’s a real honor to be at the vanguard of VR game development, but being first to the plate has not been without its challenges! Read on to learn about some of the surprising things we’ve learned about making video games for virtual reality…
1.) New Rules
Early on, we found out that you can’t just take existing elements, put them in VR, and expect them to work well. You need to build the experience from the ground up and most of the time apply design techniques that haven’t even been written yet.
Simple 2D menus, for instance, simply don’t work in VR. So how do you present information to the player in VR? That was quite a challenge for us and in the end we created some very nifty ways in which the player can not only navigate the game but also interact.
For example, with traditional 2D screens everything is flat and you don’t have to refocus when you switch between gameplay and HUD elements. In VR the sense of depth is so much greater that switching requires you to refocus your vision. The more details on the HUD, the more information you need to process. So, for example, we are using a charge bar for ammo instead of a counter.
2.) Being There
RIGS is a game where you pilot six-meter tall RIGs, but how do we make sure you actually feel like you are piloting one of these huge machines around the arena?
One of the ways we tell you that you’re actually inside a RIG is that you don’t start the game inside your RIG. You start in the garage looking up at your RIG towering above you.
The other example is that once you are inside the RIG, you will see your teammates being lifted inside their respective RIGs. It all comes down to the sense of presence and that is a key element of developing for PlayStation VR.
Talking about presence and how important it is that you feel like you are controlling a six-meter tall RIG, a major component of that is sound. With PlayStation VR we can use 3D positional audio to help.
This allows us to let you hear where the danger is coming from. Not only will you be able to hear a missile approaching, you will hear where it is coming from and have an idea of how far it is away from you. This helps the immersion and the gameplay of RIGS.
RIGS is a fast-paced multiplayer arena shooter in which it is vital that you are able to react quickly to what is happening around you. PlayStation VR has no noticeable latency, so movement is fluid when looking around. This is very important to us and really benefits the experience.
Another plus is that PlayStation VR sits very comfortably. After playing for a few minutes you hardly notice that you are wearing it, which is a huge boost to immersion. When playing RIGS we want you to have the most comfortable experience possible.
5.) Playing is Believing
One thing we found out early on is that the best way to explain VR is to actually experience it. We’ve taken RIGS around the world and been to as many game shows as possible to give people a hands-on experience. In the end, there really is no substitute for getting hands on and trying PS VR for yourself.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter account to get the latest info on where we will be next showing RIGS: Mechanized Combat League.