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Dante Buckley’s Studio Downpour Interactive is Producing the Popular Online Mutlipalyer #VR Game “Onward”

It’s barely been half a year since the release of hi-end VR interfaces, such as HTC Vive and StarVR, and there is already an army of developers, artists and enthusiasts who is creating the very foundation of future VR experiences. In a previous post, I made a statement about the success of the VR marketplace relies on skilled developers to pave the pathway. This doesn’t necessarily mean those with over ten years of development experience, but also those who have fortified their talent with grounded knowledge.

This brings me to Downpour Interactive. This studio was created from the ambitious desire of an college drop-out, known as Dante Buckley. With a little tuition, he invested in developing his very own game, titled “Onward.” After a year of development, and finally released on Steam Early Access, Onward has received over 700 reviews on Steam, averaging out to “Very Positive” gaming experience and boasts a steady 50 players online at any given moment, which cannot be said for most online VR multiplayer games on the market.

Onward is an online multiplayer first person shooter game built for VR HMDs. It is a real-world simulation, where player must rely on coordination, communication and markmanship skills for finishing objectives successfully. There are no HUDs, no handicap crosshairs and limited respawns, giving the game its edge. With multiple maps, varying weather conditions and times of day, each match tests your combat skills and requires team cooperation.

Since it’s development, Onward grossed over $400,000, which is pretty impressive, being developed primarily by one person. Dante also created a blog tracking his progress, which includes implementation of weapon customization, new objectives, motion control inputs and Early access. In an Skype interview with UploadVR, regarding a question about comfort level, he states, “I got lucky with how people don’t really get sick. People that get sick in other games don’t seem to get sick in Onward.” A definite barrier he’s managed to overcome in a VR experience.

With Onward having an active fan base and continuous growth in popularity, Dante is currently hiring for other talented people to join his team in ensuring steady success for Downpour Interactive. The game is still in development, but you can purchase the game on Steam for $24.99. If you want to learn more about the direction he plans for his studio, go ahead and contact him.

Thanks for reading!

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SkyDome Studios Enters the Virtual Reality Marketplace with Scare Tactics and Music-Generated Gameplay

SkyDome Studios is a truly independent development studio, for the main fact that is is ran by one individual by the name of Yorick van Vliet. Yorick has a bachelors degree in Media Technology, which equips him with the ability to perform all parts of the game development process, from programming to art and sound.

Yorick quit his fulltime job to start-up SkyDome studios, so that he could pursue his ambitious desire to enter the virtual reality market by the time the consumer-edition of the Oculus Rift was released. Even though his first experience with VR headsets, as with many others, brought fatigue and nausea, he felt it was going to be a ground-breaking way to experience media content in a new way.

The first experimental virtual reality game he developed was “Don’t Let Go!” in 2013. The success of the game made it the finalist in the IndieCade VRJam 2013. The objective of the game is to not let go of pre-designated keys on the keyboard while flies swarm you, a raptor roams around you and spiders crawl on you. The unexpected reactions from people playing “Don’t Let Go!” was a sure sign that VR gameplay was going to provide a new way for people to experience games.

Through this experience and his intent to enter Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015, Yorick went on to create prototype VR game “Audio Arena,” with the help of Dylan Nagel as the voice actor and Farijal Emanuels as the lead tester.

Audio Arena is a music-generated game, where enemies spawn and move at the sound of the beat. Enemies are little circular dots that come in red, yellow and purple colors. And you are a arrow, with the duty of avoiding these malicious balls and piercing into a area-of-effect bubble that destroys the enemies.

In order to move your arrow, you utilize your VR HMD head-tilt inputs to navigate through the music-generated 360-degree environment. You can pick up power-ups and gain bonus points by bobbing to the beat of the songs. At the end of the game, your score is recorded.
Audio Arena went on to become a bronze winner at the Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015. The prototype game is now a fully developed VR game for the Gear VR and Oculus Rift for $4.99. You can learn how he developed this game on his blog about “Generating Gameplay From Music.

SkyDome Studios is also for hire for delivering prototype designs for company or individual projects. He can program Unity projects with C# and use his experience in virtual reality production to help projects avoid pitfalls and utilize best practices for VR content. For of course, at a affordable price.

SkyDome Studios and Yorick van Vliet has to be recognized in the emerging marketplace, for his determination in creating comfortable and entertaining content for VR, which will play a crucial role in the implementation of VR headsets for the mainstream audience. It is truly impressive for one guy to take a leap of faith in this undefined marketplace, just like the creator of “ThunderBirds.” Go ahead and visit SkyDome’s website to view¬†the full portfolio.

Super Monkey Fun Productions: Developed Experimental Horror Game for Virtual Reality Gameplay

Super Monkey Fun is an independent game development company, founded in 2013 by two aspiring individuals. “Innovation, efficiency and dedication is reflected in every game title that has been developed till date,” as stated on their website. They primarily use Concept Art and Mobile Game design tools.

To assist in the development process, they utilize Unity3D, Cocoa2D, Construct 2D and Html5. Many of their games developed for mobile cross-platforms are vibrant in creativity. Their game titles include “Smash It,” “Jumping Ninja Jump Deluxe,” “Super Zombie Punch” and “Worlds at War,” which is available on Google Play, Microsoft Store and Opera Mobile Store.

Now the company is experimenting with virtual reality environments, using Google Cardboard as their platform. One game is puzzle based, “VR Silent Home” and the other is a cart-riding game, “VR Halloween Ride.” The Virtual Reality Halloween Ride is straightforward. You enter the game already in a cart and once you pass through the haunted doors, you simply enjoy the pumpkin decorated scenery.

VR Silent Home is the one that will give you goosebumps. It is a virtual reality puzzle-based game, where you have to find your way out a haunted cabin, after making the mistake of knocking on it’s door. The gameplay is extremely simple. Depending on your Google Cardboard headset, you tap the action button to walk or stand.

Their is a reticle that you use to interact with the environment. Point your reticle at the door and it opens. Point your reticle at a floating diamond and you pick it up. Point your reticle at a monster and it dies. The main objective is to find an exit out the haunted atmosphere. It’s a game worth playing for free, if your testing your footing in the VR waters.

Besides developing engaging games, they also run their own blog. The blog ranges from topics, such as “The Top Three Gaming Mouse” and “3 Benchmarks of the Gaming World,” to “5 Tricks to Make your Selfie More Likable” and “Decoding the Internet of Things.” Yep, it is a random blog, but it is also entertaining just like their games. If you want to learn more about Super Monkey Fun, you can visit their website.

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