Godling devs: VR games need more immersion and exploration instead of “static worlds”

By Stephany Nunneley, Thursday, 22 October 2015 20:38 GMT

Solfar, the new virtual reality studio founded by CCP veterans, has revealed the design philosophy behind Godling which is in development for PlayStation VR.

Godling_1

The game stars a tiny god who is basically a toddler which can either create joy or chaos to the world. GI.biz was given a demonstration of the title, which features a “snail the size of a cow” and the environment around the main character is just as large. A crop of wildflowers appears as a canopy, giving the author a bit of a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” vibe.

Thor Gunnarsson, who formed Solfar with Reynir Harðarson and Kjartan Emilsson, said in order to create a proper VR game experience, the team needs to be comprised of those with a background in “console or high end PC development” in order to create a rich VR environment.

“Immersion is this ability to create AAA quality graphics and production so you get that sort of physicality of the world around you,” said Gunnarsson. “Whether it’s hyper-real, like Godling, or something more photo-real, just getting that visual quality is so key to the overall experience.

“What we often find is less experienced teams that we’re seeing demos from, they don’t have enough experience with graphics optimization. Things like shader development, lighting, and so on. Consequently they often end up with these quite basic, solid-shaded or cartoony style experiences.

“You ideally want to have teams that have some background from console or high-end PC development to actually create the richness of the environment.”

Gunnarsson and his team are also of the option that worlds in VR games shouldn’t be static, but need to be moved through as with a standard video game. Players also need to be able to interact with the world around them and have the objects react to said interaction.

“They need to be worlds you can actually move through, progress through and so on, he said. “It’s still a trend in the VR content space at the moment where people are shying away from [exploration] because they’re afraid of motion sickness. They’re afraid of shocking people.

“So we’re trying to come up with this combo of first-person and third-person that we think makes a lot of sense. We think this is going to be key to these sorts of worlds. Slower paced, more abstract types of player agency are pretty interesting, and that’s definitely what we’re trying with Godling.

“Just this basic idea that all of your actions should have consequences. If I want to open the door and see what’s on the other side I should be able to in VR.”

He went on to say the team is looking at a “visceral social element” for Godling and other projects at Solfar once VR has a large enough install base.

There’s plenty more through the link.

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