Killing Floor is a franchise that is near and dear to the hearts of millions of fans. We knew that bringing the franchise to VR was going to be a challenge, particularly while keeping the essence of what fans love about the series intact. The best VR experiences are created from the ground up for VR. So we didn’t want to just recreate the existing Killing Floor in VR, rather we wanted to do something unique that plays to VR’s strengths. To accomplish this we had to throw out most of the traditional game development rule book and find all new ways to make great, immersive gameplay.
The first step in nailing the Killing Floor feel was to get Tripwire’s signature feature, incredible immersive gunplay, into VR. It was very exciting to have the opportunity to be one of the first studios to establish what awesome gunplay feels like in VR. Right away we discovered that many of the techniques developers use to make weapons feel good in a traditional first person shooter don’t translate to VR. Elements like camera placement, traditional recoil and handling animations, and camera shake either didn’t work or didn’t work the same in VR. So we had to start experimenting.
When looking at weapon animations, we discovered some issues right away. In traditional games developers use blending between animations to smooth transitions, especially when interrupting an action. In VR however when you do this, it means the gun moves in a way or direction that your hand isn’t positioned or moving, which is an instant immersion breaker. To solve this issue we created a procedural recoil system which could be layered on top of traditional animations without blending. There is a real challenge with figuring out just how much procedural recoil to apply – too much and the gun moves to where the player’s real world hand isn’t and immersion is broken. If there is too little recoil then the gun just feels weak when it is fired. Fortunately through experimentation we were able to find a good balance to get the weapons feeling incredible in VR.
As the team worked on Incursion we discovered many of the strengths of VR and ways to enhance and utilize those strengths. With VR the sense of presence makes almost everything more immersive and visceral. Fans of Killing Floor know that the series has always had over the top blood and gore. As we developed our melee system it was feeling great, especially when we added the ability to cut off limbs with melee weapons. Still, we really wanted to push the boundaries to make it even more visceral. So then we added the ability to pick up dismembered limbs, heads of enemies, and the odd sword grafted onto a zed’s arm – all with full rag doll physics. It’s super disgusting but crazy cool to see the zed limbs flopping about in your hands. The next logical progression was to allow players to beat enemies with their own limbs. Really, you haven’t lived until you’ve chopped a sci-fi monster’s arm off in slow motion, then beat it to death with its own dismembered arm!
Early in the development of Incursion we were considering making the game a wave based shooter in the vein of Killing Floor 2. The more we worked on the game, however, we were taken aback by just how immersive it felt to be in VR in the Killing Floor universe. The team felt that telling an actual story would be even more immersive in VR. Instead of feeling like you were watching a story unfold on a screen, you could really feel like you were living out your own Killing Floor story inside this virtual world. Developing this story driven campaign in VR has been one of the most rewarding experiences of working on the game. Fans of the series are going to get to know some of their favorite characters better. New and experienced players alike will be able to jump in and enjoy a high action campaign that is threaded with story and mystery.
This is sponsored content which has been produced by Tripwire Interactive.