With the inclusion of accurate hand tracking, detailed room scale movement, and a strong sense of presence from most modern VR experiences, devices such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have a great ability to trick our minds into thinking we are in a completely different place. In fact, it can simulate many actual actions too. Just ask anyone that’s played a flight simulator with a full joystick (HOTAS) setup. But one thing I didn’t consider is simulating the job of a bartender.
That is, not until Rob Frank, owner of DigitalBadger Design, contacted me about his upcoming VR game, Flairtender.
“While I have never been a bartender myself, I always like experimenting with different drinks at home,” wrote Frank in his email. “However, it can get fairly costly to have a bunch of bottles of liquor around, and I thought it would be fun to practice them in VR. I found that it was actually pretty enjoyable and decided to make a game out of it where one can learn some real life skills as well.”
According to Frank, there are already over 40 real life, actual, official IBA cocktail recipes built into the game with nearly 50 different liquors and garnishes, as well as six different glass types to pick from. You can even create your own drinks that get added to the game’s database.
“Much of the development time so far has gone into the mechanics of mixing and analyzing drinks,” explained Frank. “I found that some people seemed be interested in a game about mixing drinks while others simply liked the teaching aspect and applying the skills to real life – so I’m trying to appeal to both camps. I have not tested with anyone in particular on this subject (besides myself), but just from personal testing I have memorized quite a bit of the recipes in-game.”
In the future, he could see the game changing a lot based on feedback. He plans on adding in more animations, actual customers that come into the bar, and bar management gameplay elements. To decide which direction to take it in, he’s hoping for feedback during Early Access.
Flairtender is planned to release on Steam Early Access on May 19th for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with Touch. You can find more information on the game’s official Steam page.