Offer freedom, prevent sickness: Space Rift as a paragon
In part seven of the making-of series of Space Rift - Episode 1, publisher bitComposer and developer Vibrant Core talk about the technical details of VR technology and explain why and how motion sickness occurs and how to prevent it. Especially a VR space adventure like Space Rift should convey a feeling of freedom and vastness to the players without causing sickness - like it is sadly common in other VR titles. Space Rift is a paragon for showing that this balancing act can succeed and that it is, at the same time, possible to tell a cinematic story in a VR optimized game.
Technical barriers stimulate creativity
To prevent motion sickness, the developers of Space Rift managed to keep the performance stable, even though VR applications need extreme amounts of PC and graphic card performance. Therefore, they even implemented a specific system which is able to scale the quality matching the frame rate. Moreover, all movements - both vertically and horizontally - should also be displayed preferably slowly and smoothly. The cockpit based concept of Space Rift provides the player with a point of reference, which also contributes to preventing sickness. Thus, the technical barriers posed by VR development simultaneously give creativity a push. Also thanks to the terrific footage of NASA, the developers were able to develop such a detailed and technically convincing space adventure. The informative video can be found here.
Space Rift: A complete VR experience
Space Rift is specifically designed and optimized for VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Gear VR und PlayStation VR. The cinematic story paired with the gameplay and level design is what makes Space Rift unique in this regard. Space Rift thrills players with a movie-like atmosphere, which reveals itself in the scripted missions and dozens of dialogues with detailed characters. Unlike other VR mini games and tech demos, which have been released for VR so far, Space Rift is a complete game experience.
About Space Rift: The player will become part of the story
Earth has been devastated entirely by a destructive meteor shower, thus forcing humanity to emigrate to Mars. Humans were enslaved by the organizations WEYSS and PANDORA and carve out a miserable existence on the xeric red planet. Players slip into the role of the veteran pilot Casey, who takes on the hostile organizations in order to liberate humankind from their suffering on Mars. Radio transmissions, newscasts and the interaction with the fondly designed non-player characters on the base station continuously add new thrilling details about the on-going conflict and also reveal pieces of background information.
Real cockpit feeling in outer space
The combination with Virtual Reality leads Space Rift to provide a unique and immersive gaming experience. This motivates the player to advance the story autonomously and to put together newly revealed pieces in the puzzle. Concurrently, the space ship evolves into being the player’s favorite companion - not only in connection with the quest to free humankind, but also in the course of exploring the whole galaxy. The particular segments of the playable outer space were designed individually by the level designers and therefore offer a vast amount of variety - also thanks to impressive visual effects.
Space Rift is available for all major VR headsets applicable for PC at a price of USD/EUR 19.99 (GBP 14.99): namely via Steam and the Humble Store. The Android GEAR-VR version of Space Rift will also be released in Summer 2016 and the PlayStation VR version is planned for Fall 2016.
For further information, go to the game’s website: http://spacerift-thegame.com/spacerift-en/.
About Vibrant Core
Vibrant Core is an independent development studio based in Bonn. The young and highly motivated team specializes in realising outstanding PC and console games for the new technical possibilities arising from Virtual Reality. Vibrant Core is developing games optimized for Virtual Reality that are playable on all current systems with the available VR headsets. The developers are enthusiastic about the possibilities resulting from the new technology and want to take a leading role in the emerging marketplace of Virtual Reality games.