Taking the first-person, puzzle-platformer to a new level
Dimensional is an exclusive VR game coming to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. This experimental game was designed to present solutions to VR issues, discover ways to evoke a sense of presence and make full use of this new breed of hardware.
- Standing, nausea-free gameplay
- Encourages real-life movement to complete challenges
- Works in small spaces and minimises cable issues
- Interactive (physics-enabled) puzzles and environments
- Dangers that evoke a sense of presence
- An engaging story with lots to discover
- Optional FPS-style controls for those not prone to nausea
Yes, you can physically walk and move around with the Oculus Rift.
A four level demo is available to download right now for the Oculus DK2. This pre-alpha demo will give you a good idea of the type of gameplay and variety you can expect from the final game.
Here's a walkthrough of the first 2 levels with my commentary telling you more about the game.
Back in the days of the Oculus Kickstarter I tried to give away an idea for a VR game - one I still want to create. I decided that no-one was going to write the games I longed to play, so by Feb 2015 I'd got my DK2 and started creating my own VR projects full-time.
I'm new to game development, but have worked in software development for 27 years. I've always sought out challenges, such as creating the UK's first equestrian comparison website EquineCompare.co.uk and creating my own foolproof website CMS - both complex projects that I completed alone.
Follow me on twitter: @Project260
VR is all about feeling part of another world. I want you to be so immersed that you feel compelled to move out of harms way.
The key to a nausea-free, immersive gaming experience is to use physical movement. You need to be able to turn around, walk around, duck, lean and explore the world as you would in real life.
Dimensional allows you to mark out the space available in your room (walk around while holding the headset). Once configured a grid overlays the floor in VR showing you where it's safe to walk.
You can now teleport the grid to new locations. The combination of teleporting and real-life movement works really well. Best of all, you only need 1.2m x 50cm of room to play. if you have more room, of course, you can make use of it.
2. Playing with your subconscious
The most effective way to evoke a sense of presence, is to connect with your subconscious. A sense of danger does the job well. We're not talking jump scares though. Dimensional places you in situations where you need to think and move carefully or face the consequences of falling or being struck. Physically walking through a doorway while a sliding door endlessly opens and closes was my first test scenario and it's surprisingly effective. We also use the sense of height, fear of falling, tight spaces contrasting with open areas and dangers that are physically massive. This is an area that I'm constantly experimenting with, so expect a lot of variety in the final game and loads of unique moments.
3. Physics-enabled interactions
Seeing objects move and behave as you expect them to helps to strengthen immersion. In Dimensional you can choose to control Digby with precision and care, or a destructive intent. At first you'll think of him as a simple weapon, but as the game progresses you'll come to understand the extent of his power. You'll use him to complete puzzles and challenges that require precise manipulation in a realistic physics-enabled world. Using Digby to interact with the world means you don't feel a need to touch things with your own hands and therefore don't notice the lack of haptic feedback.
4. Dual presence
The position of your tracking camera is subtly shown in VR at all times and as you turn away, arrows point back towards it. This, together with the irregular shaped grid you mark on the floor, help you understand your location and orientation in the real world while still feeling immersed in VR. You may think that being reminded of the real world disrupts a feeling of presence, but it doesn't. Your mind is easily capable of putting together the two realities. A quick glance down at your grid before taking a step allows you to move with more confidence. As your confidence grows in your playing area, you'll relax and become more immersed.
5. Reducing cable issues while maximising tracking efficiency
Teleporting and other actions often encourage you to turn back towards the tracking camera in a natural way. For example when you teleport to a beacon, the world fades, just leaving you and the destination object in an inter-dimensional state called limbo. Now the destination object moves towards your location. As your gaze follows the object, you find yourself oriented back towards the tracking camera without giving it a thought. Bringing your attention back to the tracking camera improves tracking and helps to prevent cables from wrapping around your legs.
6. Be seen and heard
You expect characters in the game to see you coming, but it you're really present in that world, they should hear you too. Dimensional was recently expanded to experiment with this idea (read more). The optional use of the HMD's built in microphone allows characters to hear you coming and react depending on your voice levels (talking or shouting). Your voice is another tool to interact with the world and solve challenges.
You define the size and shape of your playing area by walking around holding your headset. This creates a grid on the floor to show you where you can physically move while in VR. As long as you have room to take a couple of steps you can enjoy the full experience. If you have a large room and tracking volume you can physically walk around more and teleport a little less.
During teleports your grid is often moved and rotated to face or interact with a point of interest. Sometimes you're also asked to reposition yourself during the teleport. These actions make sure you're making the best use of your unique playing area.
By holding down the teleport button you can take full control and rotate and position your grid yourself before teleporting. This gives you the freedom to explore and physically move how you want to.
A trans-dimensional race was being hunted to extinction. Many years ago humans helped them build hidden chambers on Earth to safely hide their offspring. Now the hunters have built machines to smash their way into the chambers.
Can you rescue their offspring before it's too late?
The chambers are filled with traps and challenges that can only be completed by a human working together with an alien droid.
Discover the truth about the aliens and the company that built the chambers to protect them, and even about Digby the slightly peeved droid.
An early prototype of Dimensional won the VRTGO VR competition in November 2015. Receiving encouragement from leading figures in the VR industry spurred me to continue developing the project.
We exhibited at VRTGO in November 2015 and recently at Sky and got some great feedback. Please excuse our poor video and audio quality.
I passionately believe in the VR specific techniques I've developed and think that Dimensional will be great fun to play. I'm funding most of the development myself because I want to make sure that all my hard work doesn't go to waste. I'm determined to release a finished game that you can play and enjoy.
The money I raise through Kickstarter will allow me to expand the scope and quality of the game. To be honest, I'd love to raise much more than £1,000. I could talk for hours about all the ideas I have and the experimental journey I have in mind for all of us.
Gameplay stretch goals
Without any stretch goals the game will release with a minimum of 10 levels. A new level will be added for each £100 raised after £1,500 up to £2,000.
Hardware stretch goals
Oculus Rift, Oculus DK2 and HTC Vive will be included by default.
A limited number of group demos are available as rewards. These demos are only available in the UK mainland as I'll be visiting your home / offices. You'll spend the day with me playing my latest build of Dimensional and chatting about VR. Allow at least 10 minutes per demo and assume we can get through about 25 people. Fewer people means longer sessions, or more time chatting to you about what I've learned about VR over the last 12 months.
Everyone who plays will be entitled to a free digital version of the game. If you want to try VR right now, I can make a limited number of visits in March and demo using my Oculus DK2 (early prototype hardware). If you're not in a rush, I can visit when I have the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.
In additional to the £250, please add 50p per mile, to / from postcode area S36.
If you have any questions please get in touch before backing.
Standing, 360 degree experiences that require physical movement are possible and great fun on the Oculus Rift.
If you enjoy the DK2 demo or just appreciate what I'm trying to achieve, please let your friends know through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. With such a small target market and a low price point, achieving the Kickstarter target and stretch goals will be a challenge. Every mention is important, even people that don't back the project may pass on the message. Your help is most appreciated.
I'm looking for someone to help me give Dimensional the bold and unique style it deserves. If you have experience creating compelling art styles and can help with modelling assets, textures, lighting and particle systems. I want to hear from you. I need someone who is as excited about VR as I am, someone who wants to help create a unique and uncompromising game. Visit DimensionalGame.com/artist for more details.
Risks and challenges
My lack of experience in the games industry could cause me to underestimate time-scales, but I do have 27 years experience delivering software solutions to time and budget.
In the case I suffer a delay, I intend to release earlier levels first and then follow up with free upgrades to include all the levels funded via the Kickstarter campaign.
Artwork isn't one of my strengths, so I'm looking for someone to help with the art in Dimensional. This will give me more time to concentrate on the gameplay mechanics and level design.
Release dates are dependant on hardware availability. My Oculus Rift is due to arrive in April 2016. My HTC Vive dev kit will be arriving soon.
Working alone means the main risk to the project is my health. I am fit and healthy. If for any reason I can't complete the project I would open-source my code for Dimensional so that others could benefit from the work I have started and maybe finish the game for themselves.
I've loved working in VR every day over the last 12 months and this project is my opportunity to make it my career. I'll do everything I can to make sure I deliver a unique and enjoyable game and keep my dream alive.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)