Space combat games and VR fit together like flight simulators and complicated HOTAS setups. Donning a fancy Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR (PSVR) while settling in behind the sticks of a ship in EVE: Valkyrie, Elite: Dangerous, or countless other space shooters is about as natural of a platform-genre fit as you’ll find. While the games released thus far have done a great job of fulfilling that fantasy, they’re not quite on the simulation level of what people are still dreaming about.
The likes of Star Citizen are on the horizon (if it ever gets finished) to deliver something seemingly too ambitious to even actually work, but the game’s VR support has been called into question recently. That’s where a new challenger approaches, one Starfighter Inc. by Impellar Studios. The game was recently funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $170k after requesting $150k for completion. What’s most interesting is that the game previously fell short of its $250k funding goal just barely, reaching $226k back in June of 2015. Clearly, despite that miss, development continued and they were successful asking for half that amount two years later.
What makes Starfighter Inc. so intriguing in this world of perpetual Star Citizen alpha updates is that the promises seem manageable and the proof is already in the works. The game’s premise is described as Counter-Strike meets World of Warships, which admittedly, could describe Elite: Dangerous as well. However, authenticity is paramount in Starfighter and that’s why they’ve earned an official Seal of Approval from Atomic Rockets.
“Starfighter Inc. began preproduction more than three years ago,” reads the game’s Kickstarter page. “From the beginning we have worked with aerospace engineers and space scientists to create designs for scientifically accurate future spacecraft and weapons and to better understand the realities of combat in a deep space environment…While it’s true that $150k does not even come close to representing a realistic game budget, it is sufficient for us to complete what we’ve already put years into developing.”
And according to the game’s developers, VR support is 100% in the game from the start with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and OSVR support integrated. In the video below, David Wessman, Lead Designer at Impellar, says “We want it to believable, when you play the game the suspension of disbelief is complete…You’re completely immersed and it feels real.”
In the second half of the video you can also see a developer explaining how they’ve designed the game’s UI elements to map appropriately to users wearing VR headsets. The commitment is promising because it means they’re doing more than simply adapting and directly porting the game to VR, but rather are taking a clearer focus on making it feel right.
We haven’t tried Starfighter Inc. yet personally, neither inside of or outside of VR, but it sounds promising. The hyper-realistic focus on simulation is an interesting approach and it’s one that should translate very well to VR with appropriate flight stick setups.
What do you think of Starfighter Inc.? Let us know down in the comments below!