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StirFire Studio is working on a Post-Apocalyptic Meditative #VR Puzzle Game titled “Symphony of the Machine”

If you do not own a VR headset yet, start setting aside some dollars and treat yourself to the future. Virtual reality provides a great expanse for ideas and thoughts to flourish on, as well as providing an new means of socializing. It seems, with infinity of 3D space to work in, there is an infinity of ways to explore the inner workings of our own minds. But this is just a philosophical view.

On a more tangible note, since the release of Playstation VR, there will inevitably be another massive pulse in VR adoption, which means there are some thrilling and next-level content to look forward to. This brings me to a game studio who will be setting sail in the VR waters, starting with the PSVR.

StireFire Studios is a team of multi-faceted professionals who deal in publishing, marketing, consulting and game development. The studio is based in the mining town of Perth, Western Australia, and as they like to clarify, “Stirefire is more interested in human resources than mineral ones, and reservoirs of talent rather than fossil fuels.” They work with investors, independent dev studios and aspiring digital artist, to bring intangible ideas to being a full-fledge product.

They already have a few of their own projects to showcase their work. One such project is Orbeats, which was thier first title in partnership with WRK Studios. Orbeats is a music-centric game, in which the player works the orbs to the ever-changing beat. New tracks are unveiled as the player reaches target scores and scores can be shared with friends. Orbeat is a very entertaining game, built for anyone with a love for music, but it is still limited to the two-D screen.

But don’t worry, scheduled for beginning of 2017, they will be launching their first hi-end VR game for PSVR and HTC Vive, titled “Symphony of the machine.” It is a puzzle-based game, who’s colorful environment and puzzle reminds me of a game developed by InnerVision, titled “Thunderbird,” though Symphony of the Machine is meant to be more of a meditative game, rather than an rage-inducing relentlessly frustrating puzzle game.

Set in an post apocalyptic world, the player is atop a powerful, yet mysterious tower. In order to restore the desert-like landscape back to a habitable environment, players must direct a beam of light centered on top of the tower platform towards inscribed glyphs, which gives the player the power to control the weather of the land.

In VRFocus post, they state “Symphony of the Machine’s back story will be kept purposefully ambiguous as the main focus is the puzzle element, the tower and the surrounding landscape do provide some clues to the back story.” Stirfire Studio also removed text and narration for greater sense of “presence” and mystery.

I do expect Stirefire Studios to have plans for other VR titles, but for now, Symphony of the Machine will be their gateway into the marketplace. With an already established market for Playstation 4 gamers, this would be as good as time as any to create VR games, since the price to adopt is a lot lower than it’s PC counterparts. The game is scheduled to be released early 2017 for HTC Vive and Playstation VR. If you want to learn more about their game or future plans, you can contact them.

Thanks for reading!

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@FierceKaiju is Re-Inventing Flagship #VR Game “Viral”for the Rift and Vive

 

I must admit, it’s fun scouring the internet for game studios and engineering companies who are adding creative solutions and entertaining content to the VR marketplace. Honestly, who would’ve expected that immersive interfaces, such as the HTC Vive and Playstation VR, was right around the corner for the average person to purchase? Who would’ve thought so much experiences and digital tools would be available for VR within a year of it’s introduction to the public marketplace? But who can blame these pioneering developers, such as Fierce Kaiju.

Fierce Kaiju is a game development studio based in Yorkshire, UK, which was founded in mid-year 2014 by Paul Colls(Creative Director), Dan Roberts(Art Director) and Andy Greensmith, with the focus on creating immersive content. Before its founding, the developers have been harnessing their skills with Rockstar Games and Activision, being a part of the Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series.

In cooperation with Oculus in year 2015, they produced their flagship VR game “Viral,” for the Gear VR. Viral puts you into an A.I. program named E.V.E.(a.k.a. Emotional Virtual Engine), as the anti-virus warrior program “Ragnarok”. Needless to say, your objective: Eliminate the Viruses. You have access to power-ups and E.V.E.’s dormant defense system to clean out her system.

To create a comfortable and intuitive gaming system, they’ve kept the player stationery, so in order to avoid health-loss, you must shoot incoming projectiles fired from the viruses. Also, to advance through the levels, they employ a teleportation system, where the player shoots the next platform after done eliminating the enemies. The game is colorful and addictive and has recieced recognition from Polygon and Three Bens in VR. If you own a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, then you’re in luck, since they are making the game compatible for these hi-end immersive interfaces.

For a studio founded on the purpose of creating entertaining and addictive immersive games to add traction to the adoption of virtual reality, we should expect to see more polished experiences from Fierce Kaiju. If you’re you are interested in learning more about them, you can connect with them via Twitter @FierceKaiju.

Thanks for reading!

@TurtleRock Studios Delves into #VR with “Face Your Fears” and “Other Worlds” for the Gear VR

face-your-fears-turtle-rock-studios

It can be a struggle for independent game studios to prove themselves in a world where corporate gatekeepers exist. Though this shouldn’t deter any aspiring developers, and with interactive virtual reality content essentially being a new thing for the public marketplace, this will afford another opportunity for independent game studios to prove their worth.

Speaking of studios on the grind that has recently developed for VR, Turtle Rock Studios has announced their development of two game for the Samsung Gear VR. For those who does not recognize them, Turtle Rock is an American studio founded in 2002 by ex-Westwood Pacific developer, Michael Booth and now currently ran jointly by Phil Robb and Chris Ashton, after having a brief one year stint with Valve Corporation(2008-2009). They are the original creators of Left 4 Dead and Evolve.

Now they’re working on a immersive horror and exploratory experiences. Face your fears can be likened to “Don’t Let Go(Yorick van Vliet),” where the gameplay focuses around you facing horrifying events. They’ve incorporated an eye-tracking element to it, where depending on where you are focusing your attention, will depend on how the game will scare you. Two of the in-game experiences they announce is Skyscraper(targeted towards acrophobes), and the Haunting(targeted towards phasmophobes).

To balance out this experience, they are also coming out with Other Worlds, which is similar to the experience of Ali Eslami’s re-interpretation of Rene Magritte’s Paintings, except you’ll get to explore the creative mind of artist Justin Cherry. Those this world is much more active, as explained by them “Other Worlds allows players to experience the awe and beauty of being inside a painting, showcasing three unique worlds… and explore the environment long enough and the player may see one of many random events tailored to the world they’re currently in.”

So if you own the Gear VR and want to experience some triple-A content, make sure you add these games to your VR to-do list. Meantime, in-between time you can chat it up on their forums or connect with them via Twitter @TurtleRock.

Thanks for reading!

Meet @Funomena, A #VR Game Development Studio Focused on Imaginative #Immersive Experiences for the Broader Audience

Its great to see skilled game designers and developers exploring the different avenues of virtual reality. With the immersive nature of VR, people can exercise their empathy skill much more fluently, simply because we will be apart of the world, rather than looking at it through a distant screen, like the TVs most of us are accustomed to. VR undoubtedly provokes much more stronger emotions and interactions that no other media interface can do.

With this said, I want to point out a creative community of developers that go by the name of Funomena. The studio was founded by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton, with the goal of creating games that will have an positive impact on the world. Both met at TheGameCompany working on award winning PlayStation game, “Journey.” During this time, they got to learn each others values in life, work and having fun. After some time apart, they rejoined back in 2013 to start Funomena.

Since then, they have acquired other like-minded digital artists and programmers, as well as built a portfolio exploring virtual and augmented reality. One game to mention within their portfolio is “Woorld.” This unique game, is an AR experience built with Google’s Tango Technology. Within a sandbox-style setting, you can create your own colorful woorld by placing virtual objects and creatures on your own floor or tabletop. It also encourages friends and family members to exercise their own imagination for a shared experience.

If your looking for a virtual reality game with an compelling storyline, then “Luna” will definitely pique your interest. Luna puts you in a fantastical origami-like storybook, which follows the adventures of Bird, who is trying to find their way back home. After being tricked into eating the waning moon, young Bird gets blown away from the safety of it’s nest by a great storm.

With no recollection of a way to get back home, Bird must look to the stars to recover back memories lost. Bird must also travel out into the forest and interact with other animals. Through this, totems can be collected, which can be pieced together to re-ignite the beauty lost from the world, as well as discover the hidden fable of Bird’s daunting journey.

As explained by Funomena, “Luna is designed to be a highly tactile experience – combining aspects of gestural motion, imaginative play, creative exploration and musical improvisation.” They also had a strong focus towards people who are new to VR, by creating a unique comfortable and entertaining game that’ll appeal to a broader audience. With this, they’ve incorporated an interactive musical score, credited to Antoy Wintory, which slowly comes together as you build up the totem.

Luna has been showcased at PAX 2016 and they’re hard at work to make sure the game fulfills it’s true potential as an unique VR experience. Definitely look out for it when it becomes ready for your headset. Overall, Funomena is on the right track when it comes to being a leader in VR experiences and leveraging VR’s immersive nature to appeal to a wider audience through an emotional connection. You can keep up-to-date with Funomena on their blog or via Twitter @Funomena.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on Funomena’s Luna with a comment below:)

@Squanchtendo and Crows Crows Crows Creates a Not-So-Serious #VR Game About Crunching Numbers Titled AccountingVR

What can promise to send you through an infinity of imagination? The answer: Virtual Reality. This is VR’s true potential. As manufacturing of immersive headsets become cheaper and more advanced input/haptic devices are invented, undeniably VR will become indistinguishable from the real world if not better. But that’s reserved for the future, though there is a game that can give you another perspective when venturing in VR.

From the joint efforts of Crows Crows Crows and Squanchtendo, they’ve created an not-so-serious game about accounting, titled “AccountingVR.” If you enjoy vulgar humor or the Adult Swim show ‘Rick and Morty’ then you’ll definitely enjoy this game, since Squanchtendo Cheif Creative Officer is Justin Roiland. Crows Crows Crows is also a extremely talented and skilled studio, with their flagship game ‘Dr. Langeskov’ available for free on SteamVR.

So what is AccountingVR about? The game is a product of one week collaborative effort of both studios, taking place in Los Angeles. It is not certain, but seems they were hired by highly qualified Accountants to create a number-crunching simulation, by utilizing the latest technology: Virtual Reality.

From the teaser, the game does start you off in Derrick Smith’s(an accountant) office, with him giving you a tour and supposedly asking you about your experience. As the game proceeds, you are introduced to a VR headset, where things become extremely weird. You continue to transport yourself to different virtual realities with each discovered VR headset. You even encounter a cloud-like creature who mistakes himself as a squirrel.

For the mere fact that AccountingVR is not all-about number-crunching, it begs the curious mind to wonder what is this undefined VR game really is. Lucky for you, through the generous kindhearted nature of the studios, you can play this game for free on SteamVR. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you like some good old wacky cartoon humor and maybe… accounting stuff. You can follow their developments via Twitter @Squanchtendo.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your take on AccountingVR with a comment below:)

Take Center Stage as Drummer in Reality Reflections #VRGame ‘Music Inside’

It’s exciting to see development studios coming up with approaches for immersing people in the music they love. Such studio includes The Wave VR, which allows DJ’s and musical artists to perform on a VR stage, which means all sorts of cool effects could be added and the audience can be a part of the artist’s imagination. But how about a more simple Guitar Hero-style approach?

This is exactly what Reality Reflection has created. The studio is powered by 14 skilled individuals, with Chief Officers being Chester Jungseok Roh(Strategy), Yongjun Hong(Financial), Wooram Son(Executive) and Junsoo Kim(Operating). Founded in April of 2015, their original objective is to provide a easier way for content-creators to make high-quality immersive videos, through their 3D video production system, dubbed ‘Reality Reflection.’

Now they’ve created an immersive game, which allows you to become the drummer of your favorite songs, titled ‘Music Inside.’ The game puts you at the center of your own stage with a set of translucent drums and a virtual audience. You have access to 4 different game modes, 5 levels of difficulty and steam achievements to shoot for.

Steam player, Frozen City, gave the game a thumbs up, saying “I was going to try this game for just 10 minutes before sleep, but I played 1 hour. This is absolutely a nice rhythm game.” The player also provided a list of pros, commenting on the games ultra-low latency, tons of good music to choose from SoundCloud, great controller feedback.

Overall, if you’re into music and drums, Music Inside is definitely a game worth checking out. If you’re into Guitar Hero style gameplay, then check this game out. It is currently available through SteamVR for $20. You can also get in touch with Reality Reflection through realityreflection.com.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your take on Music Inside with a comment below:)

@SamuraiPunkCo Flagship Satirical #VR Game ‘The American Dream’ Will teach You How To Use a Gun

It’s only been less than a year since the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have entered the public marketplace, and already there seems to be a plethora of immersive experiences to try. Before their release, developers of these majestic headsets knew that the only way VR was going to take off and appeal to the ordinary masses, there would need to be a variety of content available, showing virtual reality’s potential as the avant-garde of media interfaces. With this said, I want to bring recognition to one game development studio who has joined the VR bandwagon.

Samurai Punk is an independent game studio based in Melbourne, Australia, who is not new to the game dev scene. If you were to ask them what they are about, it seems to be a mixture of Radical, Underrated Ideas coming at you, well… Samurai Punk style. Which has to mean, their games are an unruly few.

Before Samurai Punk entered the VR scene, they produced a game called ‘ScreenCheat.’ This is one very interestingly unique first-person shooter game, were you hunt down other players. The catch is, the players are invisible, but with access to the other player’s screens, you must identify their location by ‘screencheating.’ What makes this game more anxiety-inducing, is the variety of one-shot kill weapons, such as the Chefelot: energy ball spewing car engine. This game is definitely radical.

Needless to, their flagship VR game, ‘The American Dream,’ is just as radical. Set in the 1950’s, you must learn how to live life with guns, or as Samurai Punk explains, “Look down the barrel of a future where all your everyday needs are solved with guns.” To learn the potential of guns, you take part in a large complex at the world’s fair, dedicated to showing you the various things that can be done with guns, like eating, driving or educating ourselves.

They held a teaser at PAX West, with the game scheduled to be released sometime in 2017 to major VR interfaces. Needless to say, this game may not be syutable for the young age, but if you’re interested in various ways to use firearms, excluding killing creatures, then add this game to your VR to-do-list. You can connect with Samurai Punk via Twitter @SamuraiPunkCo.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your take on Samurai Punk’s American Dream with a comment below:)

@TeotlStudios and @Grip_Digital studios has Released a Unique Virtual Reality Exploration Game Titled @TheSolusProject

 

 

It great to see the many worlds created for virtual reality. It is no doubt that developers, gamers and content-consumers in general are excited about being immersed in the very stories that has been confined to the two-D screen. VR also provides a new avenue for exploring worlds never seen and planets never visited.

Speaking of planets never visited, Teotl and Grip Games has teamed up together to release one of the most anticipated games, titled ‘The Solus Project.’ If you don’t know Teotle studios is driven by Sjoerd “Hourences” De Jong, the original one-man team who is behind the concept art and development of The Solus Project.

Teotl has also produced visually stunning games, such as The Ball. The Ball is a very unique experience, in which you obtain an artifact, The Ball, and must fight your way out the temple by utilizing the powers granted from this ancient artficat. Which is mainly crushing mummies and avoiding traps within the massive temple guarding the ball.

Operating in Prague and Zlín, Czech Republic, Grip Games studios is also a developer and publisher of games, such as Tower or Guns, Jet Car Stunts, Atomic Ninjas and Unmechanical Extended. They also work with other major developers to help bring their products to the global market. Now we know a little bit about the studios behind the scene, what is The Solus Project?

Based in the same universe as “The Ball,” you are a lonely austronaut stranded on a deserted planet, Gliese-6143-C, after loosing your crew to a fatal spaceship landing. With limited supplies, Earth on verge of destruction and no way to communicate back home, you must traverse the barren lands to find the tools necessary for building a communication device to contact Earth.

There are no apparent enemies, yet as you explore the planet, you find remnants of a civilization that once existed. As explained by the developers, “Survive through exploration. Unlock the depths of the uncharted planet, and the secrets buried deep below. Delve into huge cave systems and tombs and uncover over 200 secrets.”

Even though there are no immediate enemies to fight, with limited supplies, you must survive the harsh weather of the planet. Days are excruciatingly hot, surpassing 110F and nights swing under -30F. With no boat, you must also explore the cave massive system below, in order to travel across bodies of water.

Overall, The Solus Project delves into the more adventerous aspect of games. And with many secrets to uncover, you’ll forget you’re even at home, as you scour Gliese-6143-C. The game is currently available for the HTC Vive for $20. You can also keep up to date on The Solus Project via Twitter @TheSolusProject.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your take on The Solus Project with a comment below:)

@VisionaryVR is bringing back the Imaginative Experiences of Childhood with ‘Mindshow’

Have you ever wanted to star and direct your own alien-invasion movie? Maybe even become the super hero you’ve always wanted to see. One of the main advantages that virtual reality has to offer is that it allows people to inhabit characters and create their own action-packed or romantical stories.

This is exactly what Visionary VR, a virtual reality development studio, plans to bring to the VR marketplace. They strive to re-create the childhood experiences of imagination overdrive or as Frank He from RoadToVR puts it, “The pencil would be your sword, the laundry basket would be your ship, and your friends would be your brave allies on a harrowing adventure. You’d make up stuff as you go along.”

To make this an reality in VR, Visionary VR developed ‘MindShow.‘ Mindshow is filled with various props, characters, environments and tools for you to create your own improvisational story. What is really cool is the ability to embody each character in your scene, essentially being all the characters.

Though don’t feel so alone in your filming endeavor, as you can allow your friends to join in and fill in the missing script for you and just have some good ol’ child-like fun. After you’re done creating your motion-picture masterpiece, you can share it with your friends or social media followers. As their website puts simply: Set the Stage. Act it Out. Share Your Show.

The game is planned to be cross-platform, being supported by various headsets, such as the HTC Vive, Playstation VR and Oculus Rift. Mindshow is still in development, but you can get Early Access through Visionary VR’s website. You can also stay up-to-date on their development and connect with them through Twitter @VisionaryVR.

Thank you for reading and let me know your take on Visionary VR by commenting below:)

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