A new project announced by RGB Schemes aims to bring a wide range of beloved board games to VR.
Play Bunker is coming together as a platform for board games in VR that allows players to bring in their own models as pieces with precision support for grabbing pieces and haptics. The system is also planned to feature physics that’s configurable on a piece-by-piece basis, “so modders can do things like change the mass of an object, or have it not affected by gravity,” according to RGB Schemes’ Gerald McAlister. Overall, the intention is to make for compelling virtual adaptations of games like chess, checkers, and many others.
While there are a number of efforts to bring board games into VR (and AR) — not the least of which is the robust Tabletop Simulator on PC — Play Bunker is built from scratch for VR with an eye toward standalone systems like Oculus Quest and Oculus Go, and even future support for hand tracking.
I saw a very early version of the system and what stood out to me was it employs two types of grasping interactions for pieces. One of them is a “pinch” gesture on a controller like Oculus Touch that sees it recognize your finger resting on any of the top buttons combined with squeezing the trigger to activate the gesture. The gesture brings your fingers together in a believable pinch that’s perfectly in line with grabbing pieces in real-world board games. This same kind of gesture is employed by Oculus Quest hand tracking as well, and that means the system might make for a nice fit on current and next generation VR headsets both with and without controllers.
McAlister is aiming to release an early version of the software this summer. Check out a trailer here: