From action-packed shooters like Half-Life: Alyx and immersive horrors like Resident Evil 7 to Fallout 4, real-world experience titles like The Climb, and even Tetris and Minecraft — VR in gaming industry is omnipresent.
By LOUIS SAWYER
How does it change the approach for game development and what is the future of VR in the years to come?
VR Games: Challenges for Game Developers and Designers
Although VR is not a futuristic concept anymore, the interest and investments in it are surely growing. As the technology inevitably offering more realistic and engaging games, VR becomes highly employable.
VR in the game industry certainly has room to grow. That`s why many game publishers are seeking for new solutions to keep up with the technological pace and meet high gamers` demands.
Engagement – or as in the case with VR, immersiveness – and belief in what’s going on is paramount for a good VR game today.
Despite the technological breakthrough in many VR games, they still lack a realistic feel to it.
And that`s not a bad thing. With immersiveness being a priority, game developers can put less emphasis on detalization and fancy graphics. After all, who cares how many pixels in that orc or zombie that attacks you?
That’s why even indie-stylized games – like Job Simulator – are gaining popularity among players because of the intense gameplay.
But this same feature of VR can easily ruin the player’s gaming experience. Taking a step or even carelessly turning around, the player can merge into the wall or other objects.
VR game designers often forget that despite the ergonomics of a gamepad, the main controller in VR is the player’s body.
The fewer buttons you have to press, the more involved and the more intuitive the controls are.
A perfect example could be The Unspoken for Oculus. As The Unspoken is a game about dueling wizards, the gestures are predominant here and you cast all the spells with hand gestures.
The player constantly has to throw those fireballs, fireworks, build force shields, etc.
And the thumbs buttons are mainly used to teleport and access the auxiliary UI elements.
That`s why controls and UI should be developed very meticulously in any VR game.
UI And UX
Don`t make players think. This is especially important in VR games. The low resolution, dynamic camera, and gameplay lead to the fact that the UI in VR is not about ergonomics of interfaces, but the ergonomics of things around.
Hints, game interface, character`s items should be at hand.
A case in a point could be Robo Recall, a first-person shooter, where weapons are logically placed directly on the player’s “body”, the pistol is in a holster on the hip, the automatic rifle behind the shoulder, and grenades on the chest.
High Dynamism? Yes, Please
VR is not a cheap enjoyment. If people forked a pretty penny for VR experience, they should get A-class products.
The less static the player is in the game, the more dependent he will be on his actions.
That’s why developers treat all the cutscenes and dialogues as an addition to the main gameplay.
That also dictates how the plot of the game should go, which technologies incorporated, how the character interacts with the world, sound design, physics, a list goes on.
A good example could be the recent AAA title Half-Life: Alyx – the game that squeezes the most out of VR.
The Future of VR
It`s hard to predict how gaming trends will pan out (hello Cyberpunk), however, there’s a lot of hype around virtual reality not only in the game industry, and rightly so: no other type of gaming offers experiences as intense as those with VR technology.
VR has been promising to revolutionize gaming for years. That’s why Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion; Microsoft is spending a lot of money on HoloLens, a headset that is supposed to create artificial reality – the next frontier of virtual reality.
Soon, the VR glasses should become cheaper, and the range of permanently motivating VR games should grow. Cloud gaming development is also on the rise, which makes VR gaming more affordable.
Nevertheless, it seems foreseeable that KBM gaming will not be replaced by VR. VR gaming should not be treated as an alternative to PC or console gaming.
After all, many gamers don’t play to escape into other worlds. Casual matchmaking in CS:GO or Call of Duty helps many relax.
VR, on the other hand, always demands full attention. VR games with motion control are often physically demanding. VR is therefore a fascinating addition to classic gaming, not a replacement.
Most of the current mainstream VR games are add-ons to games released many years ago.
If virtual reality wants to enter the mass market, it must change dramatically. And those changes are definitely at our doorstep, which makes VR as demanding as never before.
As technology and game development will evolve, imagine what VR could offer?
VR is a promising technology and it has already made a huge leap in game development, however, to unleash its full potential more spectacular games should be released. And that for sure is inevitable.
Louis Sawyer is a professional writer, editor and a web design expert. She loves writing about technology trends, web development, mobile games and business issues. Also, Louis works as a proofreader at Computools. Follow Louis on Twitter