We had a short think at the office about everyone’s favorite recent VR flamewar and wow do internet hive minds work in mysterious ways. We wrote down the following to clear up the confusion and give you all an indie devs take on the matter. Read up below!
DEV LOG 2: They taped a Hydra to his forehead and you won’t believe what happened next…!
“Let’s tape it to his forehead”. I gave them a frightened look but they ignored me completely. It is 2013, we are testing VR and some sacrifices must be made.
Imagine item crafting, but in the real world. DK1 + Razor Hydra = DK2? There’s questions like this we crazy game engineers ask all day, every day.
Years ago we never knew that we would take any part in VR. We were just happy with opportunity to make our own game and never, in the wildest dreams, have we thought about creating something for VR.
Yet here we are!
Without further ado, we’re thrilled to announce –
SUPERHOT VRPremiering on Oculus Touch this winter
Woah. So how the hell did we get here?And why premiere on Oculus Touch?
Okay. Story time.
One day, waaay before our Kickstarter campaign even started taking shape, we were contacted by the terrific folks from Oculus. Keep in mind, that was in the unfathomably distant past of late 2013 – before we even fully understood how we’re going make SUPERHOT a reality. That was also well before Oculus made friends with Facebook, started burning fat stacks of money to bring quality VR into the world, and before they hired amazing crack teams of researchers, designers, and all the Carmacks and Abrashes of the world.
We had a short think, got ourselves hyped up and decided to give VR a shot. We received our very first Oculus DK1 and took a couple of evenings off with the goal of catapulting our SUPERHOT 2013 prototype into the brave new world of virtual reality.
Little did we know it’d take quite a bit more than a few evenings to get it right!
The first DK1 we got, waaaaay back in September 2013. Way before we had a clue about what we were doing.
As we started to explore VR, we found that yeah, back in 2013 the world of VR was pretty much a wild wild west. We took out our cowboy boots and went hacking.
Oculus DK1, as some of you may remember, was before people figured out positional tracking in VR. If you moved your head to the side, the game wouldn’t know that. Your head in-game would stay in place. Your brain would instantly feel there was something fishy going on, motion sickness would set in and that bullet you were trying to dodge in SUPERHOT would smack you in the face anyway. Kind of a pickle when half your game’s designed around fine-tuned dodging and hails of bullets.
So we grabbed a Razer Hydra – a set of futuristic hand tracking controllers, kind of similar in concept to Playstation Move. We got our set thanks to the awesome people at Sixense, the company behind the sci-fi tech in Hydras and in STEM Systems. As with all things in life, we decided to take the Hydras and apply directly to the forehead.
the Olden Days of
apply directly to the forehead
this kinda sorta works in
VR on DK1
As we immersed ourselves deeper and deeper into futuristic VR, we managed to push out our first playable demo. The experience was fairly abysmal, compared to what we have now, but our very first SUPERHOT VR build also got us our first tradeshow glory. Amaze Berlin in 2013 was the very first international show we were invited for. We showed up and showed off with a clunky DK1, all the while working on our Kickstarter campaign with the rest of the team back at the office.
Woo, our first international tradeshow!
We started working closer and closer with the folks at Oculus, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work in VR. Turned out there was a pretty damn lot of things nobody had no clue about. Hell, even now, 3 years later and we still often feel like we’re doing R&D.
But back then, we slowly started getting the feeling that we might be onto something with our little VR endeavor. We took Oculus’ tools and advice along with an amazing amount of involvement and support and we applied ourselves to deliver a VR demo worth it’s salt.
A crazy early prototype of DK2 arrives! Develop VR demo, each night, every night. Am I real or VR?
And then it happened – Oculus wanted our game to be one of the leading titles in their showcase at E3, the most important game industry tradeshow of the year. And that was back when we were a bunch of nonames without a working game and before we kicked off our Kickstarter campaign. That was huge. The catch was we had to wrap everything up… in roughly two weeks.
We put together a terrifying number of all nighters, got a super early DK2 shipped to us by Oculus and 30+ iterations later, our demo was ready. To this day we are not sure how we pulled this off but we sure learned a lot during that time (and burned through our coffee supplies).
And wow did it work out great. Oculus showcased SUPERHOT on DK2 during their most spotlighted segment at E3.
2014AKA The Year Of Kickstarting
OMGlook, we’re on TV!
Palmer Luckey, the mad genius founder of Oculus, going the tiniest bit bonkers after giving SUPERHOT the most awesome shoutout ever at E3 2014 and making our Kickstarter go through the roof during its final week.
That shoutout from Palmer and the extra publicity we got at E3 boosted our Kickstarter campaign through the roof during its final week.
We also got to fly the demo around the world, introducing a tremendous number of new people to SUPERHOT.
Joachim, our friendly Unity co-founder gets a sneak peek of SUPERHOT DK2 at Shayla Games, Kopenhagen in 2014. Callum from Oculus is being Callum from Oculus.
SUPERHOT available to play in the Oculus booth in Los Angeles at E3, 2014. People spent small eternities waiting in queues to see VR back then. Luckily, we didn’t have to — we were too deep in Kickstarter to figure out our passports in time so we just saw it on Youtube.
And we even got to show SUPERHOT for DK2 in Shanghai, at ChinaJoy 2015 making heaps of new friends in the Orient!
fuck it, we’re gonna go
That 5 minute DK2 demo also opened our eyes to the sheer amount of intricacies we didn’t expect in designing VR games. We felt that just doing a simple port of SUPERHOT would be pretty damn weak. There’s so much more you can do in VR if you commit to work above and beyond a naive cash grab of a port.
We kept a super close relationship with Oculus throughout the years of developing “regular reality” SUPERHOT. We bounced a lot of different concepts and spent a scary amount of time figuring out how to do proper VR FPS design. We tested and evaluated pretty much every single piece of VR hardware we could find.
Once we got close to releasing SUPERHOT on PC, we took a short breather, considered our options and decided on a hardline – forget porting. Let’s redesign SUPERHOT VR from scratch.
We never compromised on design. We sure as hell weren’t going to start by halfheartedly adding poor VR support to SUPERHOT and calling it a day. We started drafting a plan to spin up a SUPERHOT VR team and we did some rudimentary budgeting for a year-long intensive project.
The budget was waaaay too scary for our indie studio’s thirst for survival. We wouldn’t be able to make it without diverting resources from all the other crazy stuff we’re creating in the SUPERHOT universe. We also needed some serious VR design chops or we’d get ourselves bogged in R&D. But hey, we’re engineers and problem solvers, and we happen to be friends with the only company on the market that fits the bill.
Towards the end of last year, we rang up Oculus and pitched to team up – to pool together enough resources and VR design knowhow; to give us a shot at fleshing out a fully fledged, no-compromise SUPERHOT VR. A couple of weeks later, we already had our first full time VR dev happily coding away, and we had enough runway in the budget to keep us from having to cut the project short.
So… all the crazy gifs we have of people flailing around in VR – it’s not just shoddy cash grab of a port in the works. It’s the a completely new game we’re pouring love and years of development effort into. 🙂
2015we’re almost there
We’re keeping the look and feel of regular SUPERHOT and we’re incorporating many of the locations you’ll recognize from the PC version. All the rest though, we’re building from the ground up – we’re weaving everything together with a refreshed backstory, we’re adding a lot of unique content and we’re designing the entire gameplay with a laser-tight focus on VR.
It’s the best way we found to make you really, deeply experience all the crazy things you just can’t do in your everyday shooters. And wow, the experience is just so dramatically different.
Winter 2016VR imminent!
Come at me!
Happy hour’s over
It’s going to be a different game. That feeling of intensity, of being in the center of the action that we focused on so much in regular SUPERHOT is now amped up to whole new levels in VR. You felt a bit like you were choreographing an insanely badass action scene every time you completed a level in SUPERHOT – well, now you actually, physically need to go through the entire choreography yourself. You feel 100% engaged, it often gets tough as nails if you push yourself, but once you dodge that final bullet and smash the head off of that last remaining enemy with your own bare hands, you feel just exhilarated.
Even though we’re working on a lot of new ways to expand the SUPERHOT experience and we’ll talk about them in future dev logs, chances are that SUPERHOT VR will be one of the most ground breaking things we do this year.
So yeah, winter’s exciting!
We didn’t start the
We’re trying to keep the usual VR flamewar contained to Reddit, come on and join the conversation below! We’ll also be doing an FAQ update about VR soon so ask away in the thread.
Oh, and we’ll be giving keys for SUPERHOT VR to all of our Kickstarter and preorder friends and backers. 🙂
The post SUPERHOT Dev Log 2 – VR History Day or – They taped a Hydra to his forehead and you won’t believe what happened next…! appeared first on SUPERHOT.