Just a month ago Twisted Pixel, one of the more simple developing teams, released Path of the Warrior. This game is a classic styled game with a beat ‘em up theme that you’ll find in a lot of older arcades. It was re-developed for virtual reality, but it wasn’t an easy road to get there. This game was first made for a 2D screen. Now this game is has the ability to be reached and touched. So how did Twisted Pixel do it? Oculus sat down with Project Director of Development, Mike Henry, and he explained the process of it all.
“This was definitely always going to be a game about punching with your actual fists,” says Henry. “We figured out pretty early on that ‘just punch it’ was going to be the way the player would interact with pretty much everything.”
Even though there isn’t any physical contact in VR, (unless you have a wall that you are punching while you play) the team wanted to make sure to make it feel like you weren’t punching the thin air. “We spent a long time tuning the way your fist moves and squashes in-game so it would sort of simulate that feeling of contact when you hit an enemy,” Henry explains.
Another way the team added variety is by adding a kicking button. Although this feels somewhat unnatural at times, you aren’t going to get bored by simply throwing your fists at everything in this game.
When VR players are in level-based action games, taking out enemies is always the goal. Getting from one enemy to the next can be a challenge, so Twisted Pixel made sure to go with something that was tried and true. They didn’t need to reinvent the wheel to make a great movement system for this game.
“We had some experience with that on Defector, so we brought forward a lot of the systems from that game,” says Henry. “The big ones that affect the most people are turn snapping, head-based steering, and preventing movement while turning, but there are a whole bunch of settings you can tweak.”
Doing this while making sure the user didn’t have an unfair advantage in movement was another point of emphasis. Making sure you weren’t getting hit from anywhere was also an idea they wanted to squash early on.
“The main challenge we had was trying to make sure the player didn’t feel like attacks were hitting them out of nowhere, since we obviously have no way to force them to look in a particular direction,” Henry explains. “For the most part, all the enemies spawn in your line of sight, and they usually won’t attack if they’re behind you. Once we had that set up, we realized we could give the enemies moves that would put them behind you and then let them attack, and that let us make things more frantic without feeling unfair.”
If you have played this game, you have likely experienced the double vision that comes when you are between levels. No, you weren’t hallucinating, you were just experiencing something the developers were wanting the users to experience. Twisted Pixel is still trying their hardest to take advantage of the amazing features VR can be a home to. Seeing double is one of them.
“I spent a while trying to figure out the best way to do a ‘double vision’ graphical effect for the drinking Break Time game in the Bar, and I suddenly realized… we’re in VR—we can actually give you real double vision!” says Henry. “It’s not the most comfortable effect for sure, but it was too darn cool not to do it.”