Category Archives: Cadenza News
You read that right!
Both Retrovirus and Sol Survivor are going to be available to play for free on Steam from the 3rd-7th! Let's get everyone and anyone to play from your brother, his friends, his friends aunts and uncles, to the ghost of Gary Gygax, to even Kevin Bacon; because at this point I think there's a connection somehow. If you wind up liking both of our games you can purchase them for 60% off during the sale!
Be sure to jump on this deal while it is hot!
The most intuitive use of the Rift is in simulation games that make use of familiar objects. Racing games, flight sims, and military combat games all present environments that we have seen often enough to feel grounded in reality. Even first person fantasy and horror games can benefit from familiarity mixed with imagination. Where does that leave Retrovirus, where the player controls an antivirus program in a zero gravity computer world?
One of the interesting side effects of using the Rift in a completely unfamiliar setting is that many of its limitations become less noticeable. The low resolution and lack of positional tracking have less impact on the game, as the player doesn't have expectation for how the world should look or behave. Even when graphically incense situations cause the framerate to drop, the Rift continues to be quite usable when one isn't making the association that a real place is stuttering. Though I have experienced motion sickness in many Rift game, Half Life 2 included, I have not experienced any discomfort after many hours of continuous play in Retrovirus, quite likely because of the lack of dissonance between what I see and what my brain expects.
When even the distance from the ground is variable, a player can shed the traditional notion of immersion and become open to a new world with new rules.
The excitement for the long awaited arrival of inexpensive Virtual Reality has been growing since the success of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter. Cadenza was one of the backers, and I've been experimenting with a Rift development unit for about a month now. It presents a fantastic view into game worlds, complete with a new set of challenges to overcome.
The quality of the Rift device itself is very high for a development unit. It's origins as a cell phone screen taped to ski goggles is still apparent, but the solid plastic frame and quick setup go a long way to communicate that Oculus is serious about putting these in the hands of gamers. Importantly, it's comfortable to wear and can be used with headphones. The Rift is so lightweight that it's barely noticeable. Though after extended use and one's neck is beginning to feel the extra effort of looking around, it's understandable why Oculus is working to shave off grams.
The most noticeable limitation is the low resolution. Spreading 720p over a wide field of view results in very large pixels. Oculus has already demonstrated a 1080p version at E3 this year, so it's really only a concern with these early units. The combination of low latency sensors and some fancy math behind the scenes results in very convincing head tracking. Testing on demos that poorly scale the view or buffer frames has brought on some motion sickness in minutes. But I've been able to play for hours in games with proper care given to their Rift integration. Experimenting with new demos can feel a bit like astronaut training.
The SDK comes complete with source code and samples. Simple games could get up and running with the Rift in hours, while more complex games will require more effort to integrate. I'll go into detail on how we added Oculus Rift support to Retrovirus in the next post.