War Robots developer Pixonic is expanding on its War Robots IP with a full-fledged multiplayer VR title due to launch in early 2018.
Simply titled War Robots VR, the game is being developed by a small team within Pixonic. To help secure funding for the project, the team has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise a minimum of $130,000 to complete development.
The team had previously developed a single-player VR edition of War Robots called War Robots VR: The Skirmish. It was released for free on Steam, and received a positive response from critics and players.
Kick it up
"We went to Kickstarter for support as it's the biggest crowdfunding platform out there. Since we're technically a part of a bigger company and what we want to do isn't the main focus there, we had to negotiate conditions that would make the development of War Robots VR possible," said Arthur Mostovoy, Producer of War Robots VR.
"We were allowed to form an independent team of developers, but we have to crowdfund the development of the project to prove it's something people truly want to see released."
War Robots VR is planned to ship with two game modes to be played across five maps. There will also be extensive customisation, with nearly a dozen robots and weapons to mix and match to the player's own preference.
It will support up to 12 players in 6v6 team deathmatches, and there's the option for a free-for-all battle too. It will also support players without VR headsets, so everyone can have a chance to play.
But the team feel War Robots VR lacks immersion without the VR headset, and the team has spent a lot of time trying to solve various issues such as motion sickness and controlling the player's attention.
"Supposedly, you feel sick if your real self is desynced with your virtual self — say, your body and mind expect to move forward in VR while you’re being suddenly launched into the air. This unexpected result has a strong effect on our vestibular system and perception of reality," explains Mostovoy.
"The best way to avoid this is trying to build your game in such a way that your movements in reality are entirely mirrored in virtual reality. This might not be possible if what you want to do involves sitting in a moving object, like a vehicle. In this case, try to minimize the extent of freedom the player has in controlling the vehicle’s movement and camera direction. Avoid sudden changes of pace, unexpected movement or camera direction changes."
Catch their eye
As for controlling attention, Mostovoy suggests that "if you want the user to look somewhere, make him want to look there — by providing directional sound, lighting, maybe have an NPC call out to the player.
"Allow a few seconds so that the person playing has some time to realize something is happening in a certain place, don’t just explode something right away, otherwise the viewer might only see the scene when everything’s already happened."
War Robots VR is currently in development for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but if the Kickstarter hits its current stretch goal, the team are also looking to port the game to the PS4's PSVR platform in the future.
But there's still a long road ahead. The Kickstarter campaign ends on December 13th, and there are plans for a closed beta test a couple of months before the full launch in early 2018.
For now, anyone interested in War Robots VR can check out its Kickstarter page to find out what the team has planned and keep an eye out for future updates.