‘Into Arcade’ Wants To Bring Old School Difficulty To Modern VR Gaming

by Joe Durbin • February 25th, 2016

Until today, all the world knew about Into Arcade was what could be gathered from its mysterious website and the single image it displays.

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The stylized landscape and logo depicted there show a man hoisting what appears to be an HTC Vive hand controller while standing next to a dog that is wearing some sort of cannon on its back. A dog packing artillery is something that I will always go out of my way to investigate. After reaching out to the site’s creator Charles Alexander, who responded via email, I can now report that Into Arcade is indeed a VR game coming to the HTC Vive.

The above video is the first gameplay demonstration Alexander has released to the public. The colors and graphics look polished and modern, but Alexander states in his email that his goal for this title is to capture the nerve-jangling tension of classic quarter-devouring arcade games. He describes the game as, “room-scale VR maneuvering through classic arcade chaos.”

Gameplay for Into Arcade is designed to be frenetic and active without resembling the “shooting gallery” experiences Alexander believes are becoming far too common in VR:

“Into Arcade takes cues from many different classic arcade games.  It plays around with the idea of degrees of freedom of control.  Sometimes you’re constrained to a 2d plane, or even a 1d line, but then a new wave of enemies appears and breaks your expectations: now an aspect of the battle is happening with six degrees-of-freedom, three degrees-of-freedom, or on a different plane…Lots of companies are making sort of arcade-style shooting galleries…Instead, I wanted something more about body movement and positioning that requires you to be navigating through bullet-hell style bullet mazes, solving movement-pattern puzzles, placing and maneuvering behind temporary defenses, etc.”

For Alexander, certain questions surrounding the Oculus Rift’s tracking and display capabilities give him pause when it comes to releasing his game on that platform in addition to the Vive.

“Initially it is only planned for the Vive.  Without more details on the vertical FOV and range of the Constellation tracking system it’s hard to plan out any kind of Rift/Touch support.  I also have a concern users could snag on the shorter headset cable and destroy their graphics card or PC with this type of game. Valve has been planning for this kind of thing from the beginning and is including a separate break-out box along with a longer cable, and a camera with rumored room-mapping software.”

Into Arcade is being developed solely by Alexander in Unreal Engine 4. He is currently working to implement co-op gameplay into the final version of the title. VR streaming is an issue close to Alexander’s heart, and he wants to make sharing experiences as easy as possible for the people playing his game.

“I will be including everything you need software-wise to stream it live.  All you need is a cheap depth-camera,” writes Alexander.

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