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$42
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
4
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, April 27 2015 7:43 PM UTC +00:00
$42
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
4
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, April 27 2015 7:43 PM UTC +00:00

About

Get into a big game animal hunt through the immersive 6D world of Oculus Rift! Scout for elephants, giraffe, zebra, lions, and more!  Ride through wild African terrain in pursuit of some of the most sought after exotic animals and experience it all as if you were there, through the head-mounted technology of Oculus Rift, by Oculus VR, or through the mobile space with the more mainstream tablet launch.

At Gyroscopic Games we see a big gap in the titles coming out for the Rift, there are all around too few titles for such a platform, and specifically there are too few first person shooters for the perfect most immersive hardware to support it.  This is an opportunity that cannot be passed up.

In the following video we present early stage test results for frame rate, getting in and out of the Jeep, aiming and firing, animal herd movement, and appearance for the Oculus VR target and iPad and Android targets.

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We are seeking funding for the early adoption stage of first person shooter wildlife hunting for the Oculus Rift platform.  Significant opportunity in the relatively few titles supporting the Rift platform will generate significant return from initial support of this title.

The early funding of Oculus VR by Kickstarter and subsequent Facebook acquisition for $2 billion got the attention of many developers.  The hardware is one of the more cool things to ever get launched through crowd funding and corporate capital and is sure to be a big hit, finally breaching the virtual reality for the masses bottlenecks and barriers.


The high level vision is to immerse the gamer into a real hunt for the largest and most dangerous animals of Africa (Elephants, Giraffe, Lions, etc).  The player will scout out targets, navigate the logistics for getting around, and defend themselves from dangerous animals that get too close.

Other first person / third person shooters have established the genre and expectations from a hunting app and console game, but we are ready to take that to the next level.  With Oculus VR, the possibilities are endless, but some opportunities for this game include:

  • personal defense when an attacking rhino or hyena is turning the hunter into the hunted
  •  using rocks, trees and other cover to hide your approach
  • getting into a jeep vehicle to expand your search for your target

We've been working on a good hunter, a tough guy who can dish out some madness.  He looks good on a Mac or an iPad.  We felt it was important to get him running, strafing, and shooting nice to prove out the ocncept.

Early artwork for hunter character.
Early artwork for hunter character.

There will be plenty of guns!.

Preliminary sighted rifle.
Preliminary sighted rifle.

An Uzi looking short range rapid fire type weapon is good for cruising around and spraying the area, may even take down an approaching hyena.

Early stage Uzi automatic repeating rifle.
Early stage Uzi automatic repeating rifle.

Some sighted rifles are standard stock art assets that we have around.

More interesting are the realistic custom weapons, like the large caliber elephant gun.  A large caliber gun is needed to take down the biggest game with the thickest hides and skulls.

Early stage development for elephant gun.
Early stage development for elephant gun.

We will add the biggest and most recognizable animals of the African jungle, serengeti, and savannah. Giraffes, water buffalo and lions, will all be there.Contracting out the artwork for this area has been a great success and the few remaining animals (rhino, crocodile) are part of the plan for the first release.

Early stage artwork and animal properties.
Early stage artwork and animal properties.

The animals differ in the type of gun needed to bring them down, how dangerous are they, and how difficult are they to spot and hit.

Advanced AI control herd movement for zebras, water buffalo, vultures, lions, rhinos, and giraffes.  Significant work in flock controllers, based on the latest work in the field, looks great in early pre production footage, as shown in the following video:

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How trees, rocks, wind and rain will play a part is still in its early stages.  Bringing in the art assets into the cross platform rendering engine is straightforward.  Being downwind of an animal is a basic hunting skill so the development of dust clouds being affected by wind and rain is a first release goal.  Some early results in this area are shown in the following screen grabs :

Early stage environment rendering of rain and jungle.
Early stage environment rendering of rain and jungle.

We provide subtle clues to the location of herds of animals including dust clouds kicked up by zebras or water buffalo and vultures over certain animal groups.  This gives the user a less invasive indication of where to find game rather than providing pop up hints or arrows.

Concept Art -- Regions in Africa


Select different regions to go to different hunts.
Select different regions to go to different hunts.

Nimbly hopping in and out of a Jeep is key to scouting around and getting to the action.  Proving this out early in the project was important to make sure the instructions, controls, and physics were all running smoothly otherwise 

The  jeep has to be good looking, low poly, and fast for the mobile rendering target.  Consideration is being given to having additional vehicles but this will likely be dependent upon funding and resources.


The extent that vehicles interact with the environment has yet to be determined. A basic physically based driving vehicle with big suspension settings and large wheels is well in hand, and center of mass set such that on the "easy" setting it cannot tip over.  The full role of the vehicle has yet to be determined.

Some of the UI elements are still up in the air, but we generally want to have a region or map selection concept, and goal-oriented achievements.  Leveling up will be based on target impact accuracy, distance, and ferocity of the animal, and the type of hunting goal, some goals will be tropy hunts, others to bring back horns or skins.

Camera management

Since the hunting character is so cool, some aspects of third person action will be introduced such as clips for getting into and out of the jeep, running around without the weapon.

First person shooting will be the bread and butter for the aiming and taking down the big animals.  Telescopic zooming will be a big deal, zooming gives accuracy but less visibility, less field of view.  Getting lost in the scopes is a challenge in the real world as in the virtual.

Goals

After each animal is brought down, an icon with a checkmark at the top will show the progress of the hunter in the region.  When the goal animal is hit and brought down, the success banner, level up and other rewards are brought up to the user.

Game Controls

Controllers are important to get right so as not to disrupt reality as to what so far will be an awesome hunting title.

Input controllers to go along with the head tracked Oculus VR hardware will include :

  • Gun motion trackers
  • Hand interfacing, early experiments with the Razr Hydra prove the concept and can be delivered.

Gestures

Certain UI features such as an indication to stop and get out of a Jeep, or to go back to the main menu and the like, require an interface to signal these events to the system.  The details of this aspect are yet to be determined.

Release

We plan to launch the hunting title on Mac, PC and Android and iOS tablets and large phones.  The interaction and rendering algorithms, and art assets, are built to work across platforms at least as far as these four targets.

The mobile space (Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, etc) will be launched at the same time as the release of the Rift on Mac and PC hardware.  The degree to which the mobile space will be part of driving the Rift hardware is still up in the air but at a minimum a full version of the app will be playable without external hardware.


Group Hunts and Multiplayer
Previous networking infrastructure appears to provide the functionality that we would need to incorporate mutliplayer hunts, and instancing more than one hunter works, these are the necessary and sufficient conditions to provide multiplayer hunting, and pending funding levels and testing resources are a high priority to add multiplayer.  Providing multiplayer across platforms is also a possibility as the networking layer is generic, so that one user playing an iPad and other with full Oculus gear would be able to interact.

Crowd Funding

Since the announcement of the Oculus VR platform, this project has been in the works.  We are excited to enhance our resources through your generous contributions.  This will enable us to move on to real production, hardware trials and general testing.

Budgeting

15% for estimated taxes

10% on early funding award payback to supporters

20% additional contract artwork outsourcing, kickstarter fees and other external distribution costs

55% development costs

Stretch Goals

The OUYA platform is something we've published to before and can do again for this release if there is interest.  We have also published to the Windows phone and can do so again if the market shifts or there is community interest to support it.

Additional arms like a bow and arrow have models with animations available and could be incorporated pending the level of interest, funding, and time available for the release.

Conclusion

African Big Game Hunting is likely to be a commercial success due to the proven markets of the mobile space (Android stores like Google Play and Amazon) and our experience publishing to the mobile space.  The degree of success of the Oculus Rift will weight heavily into the outcome of this game.  We feel there is a large critical mass of support for the Rift and developing titles for the platform is likely to work out well.  There is a good match between the game and the Rift platform, the immersion of the player into the hunting environment will prove to be a product that consumers enjoy.

Risks and challenges

An approach of early prototyping reduces the risk of delivering this particular title. The iPad, Android and basic Oculus graphics rendering are all working in various forms, and we are basing our design upon the technology that is already proven out.

In the games industry there is usually framerate concerns particularly through consoles up to the PS3 and XBOX 360 and on tablets. The preliminary framerate tests on iPad 2, iPad4, Kindle Fire HD, HDX, Mac and PC are all looking good so we are confident that we've got the right mix of physics, rendering engine budget and gameplay budget needed to pull off a crisp final game after the typical round of optimizations for finagling the game.

Running out of funds for a full suite of Oculus VR test hardware is a risk, lack of funding will mean the game will be a mobile-only release, a proven business model. So there will be a successful launch, and Oculus VR is the target, it would take a lot for it to be a mobile only launch.

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    TRACKING FOOTSTEPS
    Get in the hunt, get the game. The mobile version should be ready early summer, Oculus Rift before the end of the year.

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    HIGH VELOCiTY ROUND
    Get accèss to development bloopers video as well as previous rewards. These are really good and we've been collecting them for the early preproduction tech tests.

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    Have your named character sitting beside the hunter in a special build of the game with a passcode.

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    ELEPHANT HIT
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Funding period

- (30 days)