Imagine for a moment, if you will, a world where a VR coaster featured bombastic action, intense firefights, beautiful visuals, and crazy si-fi locales, instead of vomit-inducing teacups and swing rides? That would be quite a world to live in and, luckily for you, that’s about to be our world.
“I have been working on this as a fun prototype for a while, even back as far as on the DK1,” said Drew Medina, CEO, Founder, and Creative Director of Headtrip Games in an email exchange with UploadVR. “I felt I needed to create something opposite of an FPS walking exploration game. I think I realized this after I did a few cool flying scenes in iOmoon, people really enjoyed them so I decided to give a roller coaster a shot.”
First-person walking, exploration games are becoming increasingly common in the first wave of VR software. It makes sense — they’re immersive, simple, and accessible. But at the same time, it’s exciting to see inventive twists on previously established genres such as on-rails shooters, which Rollerforce shares a lot of similarities with, but also has key differences.
“What I enjoy about it being a coaster and not just a rail-shooter is the feeling of being on a coaster and not just flying through spaces,” said Medina. “You have the coaster audio, the slow climbs and massive drops, while blasting enemies like crazy. They have ranged weapons so you can really use skill to nail them all or just go nuts shooting everywhere. You do need to hit health pickups along the way to survive each lap, which are similar to waves but you are flying through them.”
Rollerforce employs a physics-based approach to its combat, which means your missiles and other projectiles ricochet and bounce around the levels. It feels like part coaster shooter and part fireworks display in some ways, which amps up the visual cacophony of lights and effects.
“I believe the combination of crafted tracks and focused aiming really cuts down on motion sickness, for me it eliminates it,” said Medina. “It’s part of the larger experiment in fast VR motion, I will be watching all the feedback to improve or tweak when needed. Bottom line is I just wanted to see how crazy we can get in VR and still be mostly within the rules already established.”
Medina describes Rollerforce to me as “100% arcade action,” with a focus on scalable difficulty and breadth of content. The current build of the game that’s releasing soon features two distinct worlds, each containing two tracks. You can play each track going both forward and backward, which multiplies the replayability of the courses. Each direction on any track takes roughly nine minutes, meaning over an hour of content if you never fail and play through them all perfectly — which is unlikely.
Each track will also feature a “free ride” version which makes it impossible for you to die, so you can focus purely on having fun.
“There are the two guns, each with two weapons/blasters types,” said Medina. “Both weapons are missile types, using full physics as you shoot. Sometimes you might need to lead a shot a bit for far away enemies, or just pop the close ones. You have dual-wielding with the two controllers, so you can aim at two different enemies at once. It’s fun to watch people do awesome double arm aiming as they play, it can be very active.”
Rollerforce is in development for both HTC Vive and, eventually, the Oculus Rift with Touch. More details regarding a trailer, release date, and review will be coming in the next few weeks.