Space combat in VR: the challenges, and possibilities, of Strike Suit Zero on the Oculus Rift
Strike Suit Zero is an amazing game, especially for space combat fans who haven’t had any kind of fix in years. The game takes place in a third-person view, although you can also fly in a sort of cockpit-less first-person mode, and it’s easy to wonder what the game would be like from inside a virtual cockpit. The good news is that owners of the Oculus Rift developer kit will be able to find out in a few months; the game is coming to the VR headset in a future update. “I tried it at PAX this year, and it is the most interesting and unique experience I’ve had with a game in the last 10 years,” Ben Smith, the Community Manager at Born Ready Games told the Report. “Obviously Strike Suit is a third-person title so there is quite a lot we have to work out with respect to that. We need to get a 3D cockpit to make sure… it’s going to be a different game in a sense. It’s going to be a completely different experience. We cannot wait to get ahold of it and get the game running,” he continued.The team at Born Ready Games don’t have a developer kit yet, as the hardware from the Kickstarter has been delayed. They have talking to the folks at Oculus to discuss what it’s going to take to get the game running on the hardware, and they claim they can get everything finished rather quickly. “They can see the universe, the show that is created by the Strike Suit in our universe is very visual,” Born Ready CEO James Brooksby said, describing his conversations with the company behind the Rift. “Once you actually sit there and can go into a first-person mode and look around and see what’s flying past you, it’s going to be an incredible experience. What’s going to be interesting is how many people go green and start staggering around the office.” “We are not 100% about what we will need to change. We have been told by the guys at Oculus that targeting is the most likely change due to us currently thinking in 2D and now we will have to think in 3D, and also that this is attached to someone’s head,” Brooksby explained. “Will we want to fire exactly where the player looks? Probably not, so we will have to have a level of independent firing direction from where the player is looking or wants to fire based on the hand controls. The other area is going to be things like target locking as the player may want to lock onto something they can see based on what their head is looking at as opposed to now when it is what is in front of the ship.” All these questions may not be easy to answer, especially once the team begins to test the game in virtual reality. How will it change things when you can't look down at the keyboard or controller? How is balance affected when you can look anywhere? What information does the cockpit need to give the player, and how do you display it? What I do know is that this could be the closest any of us get to sitting inside a giant-ass space ship and flying around a giant battle, looking up to check the capital ship for turrets on her belly. You could look behind your ship to see missiles flying at you. It sounds insane on paper, and Smith's enthusiasm is contagious. “As far as I’m concerned the Oculus is going to completely change the landscape of the industry,” he told me. “I’m very excited about that. I have all praise for that piece of kit.” The Penny Arcade Report has ordered a development kit for the Rift, and we know where to find the team at Born Ready, so you can expect a hands-on report the second it's up and running. I'm counting down the days.