VR tactical shooter Onward (Steam page here) released an update this week re-adding three maps which were previously removed during a major graphics overhaul.
It also adds a new map, new map variants, and introduces some major optimizations.
Maps Are Back
In late May an update was released which overhauled the game’s visuals, particularly the lighting. The changes were however so fundamental that they had to be manually applied to each map. Given the time taken to do this per map, Downpour Interactive decided to temporarily remove three maps from the game: Jungle, Abandoned, and Snowpeak.
Jungle’s relatively thick vegetation and changes in elevation results in very low detection ranges, which brings up the heartrate of even the most experienced players.
Abandoned takes place in a more traditional western woodland valley setting, with an abandoned military base and plenty of open spaces.
Snowpeak also features an abandoned military base, but this time in the snowy Russian mountains with more verticality and less visibility.
New Map, New Map Variants
A brand new map has been added called Turbine. Turbine takes place on a hydroelectric dam, an interesting setting which should make for a good variety of engagement distances.
The update also adds night time variants of Abandoned and Snowpeak. Night time variants have a real effect on gameplay, forcing players to adapt to the lower visibility.
Major Optimizations for Onward
Over the past few months, Downpour has been gradually implementing significant optimizations to Onward to improve the framerate and reduce instances of stuttering. We’ve noticed these improvements while playing recently, which are especially important to reaching the higher refresh rate settings of the Valve Index headset.
This week’s update significantly lowers the loading time of the game and maps. It also significantly reduces RAM usage by several gigabytes according to Downpour Interactive.
These improvements are likely a side effect of the effort to port the game to Oculus Quest, which is significantly less powerful than a gaming PC. The port was announced just before E3, but a release date hasn’t been provided. When they do get Onward running on the standalone headset, it could become one of its most popular multiplayer titles.