A small team based in Los Angeles is known for developing games like Duck Season and Hover Junkers. At Boneworks, they demonstrated their skills in mastering physics, locomotion, and the object management system. You will feel the tension every second, being inside your virtual world.
A recent demonstration by Boneworks from Stress Level Zero co-founder Brandon Laastch shows interactions, a level that has never happened before. For a shot from a weapon, it is necessary to take it, charge it, only then shoot it. Weapons can also be freely thrown away if desired. The same gun can be held with two hands, for better control. Objects such as an ax can also be freely taken in both hands.
During the demonstration, it was shown how you can use your finger control to loosen a virtual hand, allowing you to find the best place to grab an object and give it maximum impact power. Boneworks even allows you to throw objects, and then “force” to grab them back into your hand, making a simple movement with your index and middle fingers. Shops are attached to the player’s body, he just has to look down and take them for easy and quick reloading.
“Until now, VR content has asked gamers to abandon some of the basic functions of the games, offering in exchange for new exciting ones,” Laastch said in an email. “With Boneworks, we want to show gamers and developers that the VR controller can support all aspects of the action / adventure genre, making the controls incredible because of the precise monitored controllers. By rejecting the “two steps forward, one step back” approach and providing only the expected experience plus a ton of exciting new gameplay, we can massively interest gamers and developers in VR games. ”
The description above about Boneworks may seem simple – other developers do some of these things with their software – but not to the degree and level of performance shown here. There are many more different interactions in many VR games that are huge challenges. At Boneworks, it seemed that there were practically no such problems. What keeps the player in the virtual world is the feeling of almost limitless possibilities.
“The task of the software is to mix user commands with an expected, responsive and visually pleasing result,” Laach wrote. “For more than twenty years, gamers have been shown ever higher accuracy of first-person animation in AAA games. In order for VR to become a massive mainstream, the final visual result of the hands — both inside and outside the headset — must match the animation accuracy in first-person games with input through handheld devices. By doing this, we are taking a significant step back, which was made by gamers and developers regarding VR. This is incredibly difficult, given that traditional games work in a limited and controlled input environment, while games in VR should give the user full control over their hands, head and the ability to grab items to feel responsive and give the expected impressions. In the current state of Boneworks, we present various hand positions that include tilting, rolling and moving an object relative to the hand, making the connection with the object non-rigid and supporting the user’s ability to rotate hands during a two-handed grip. Additionally, the compression force can change dynamically, allowing the object in the player’s hand to rotate or slide, reacting to the compression, without letting it go, using a realistic model of friction. ”
Intuitive manual interaction is only a small part of Boneworks ’hospitable atmosphere. In games like Half-Life or Portal, you immerse yourself in the atmosphere with the visual effects you see in the game, and this feeling only gets stronger with immersion through a VR headset. Yes, you hold the crowbar and inspect the drawings on the wall to see where you should go further in the long corridors of some faceless corporation.
“As soon as a player can move and interact at a high level, static and unpredictable physics shakes and destroys the immersion,” Laach wrote. – If something looks like a player can raise it, then he can. If something seems heavy, then it is. Everything that moves in Boneworks moves in accordance with physics. It includes the player, NPC, enemies and objects. Each object is potentially a weapon or a viable solution to a puzzle. Creating a predictable world, we invite players to solve problems and be creative, and not just consume content. In addition to the ability to feel objects, they also need a realistic mass in order to give the final result the expected appearance. Traditional games enliven interactions with heavy objects so that they look heavy enough; in VR, we really need to make the object heavy and mimic the interaction to achieve this effect. ”
The demonstration used Oculus Touch controllers along with the original Oculus Rift, and it worked fine. Nevertheless, it seemed that Boneworks was about to demonstrate how the second generation of PC VR games with additional body tracking functions could be felt. Generally speaking, future VR headsets will need to more understand the person wearing the headset in order to improve the overall experience. More accurate tracking of the position of hands, feet, fingers and eyes in future hardware will simply improve the already attractive software atmosphere.
The HTC Vive headset already exists with the addition of eye tracking, and we know that Valve Corporation is releasing its Index VR headset in June with hand-held controllers that can increase immersion through more realistic engagement and release interactions. An increase in body tracking one day may also be possible thanks to the Insight Facebook tracking system introduced in the upcoming Rift S and Oculus Quest.
“Boneworks has full parity of functions on current equipment and now known future equipment,” Laach wrote. “We believe that the basic kits that Rift and Vive offer are our base for many years. Future enhancements, such as tracking the fingertips of the index controllers, are already supported. At the moment, the implementation of eye tracking will not interfere with our current database. For example, everything that affects the view currently uses the direct vector of the headset and a wide cone to determine the direction of the view. If eye tracking was available, we would simply use eye forward and a narrower, more accurate frustum to define the look. We are currently developing Touch, Vive, Index and WMR controllers in parallel to ensure a good experience regardless of the client’s choice. ”
VR novice developers, as a rule, have no experience creating specialized interactions. Similarly, players do not have time to explore new opportunities in every virtual world. There are powerful engines and toolkits such as Unity and Unreal that developers use to create these worlds. There are some open source templates and examples that developers can use to get started.
work in VR as well. However, there is still a gap between creating a virtual world and launching a VR headset and the level of interaction nuances that makes Boneworks such an attractive part of your software. If EA or Activision decide to make a VR game – their research teams will most likely have to start from scratch. Whether it is an indie developer or a giant studio – this research is worth either time or money.
“For the game, an avatar of the whole body is needed,” Laastch wrote. “First of all, it allows the player to play as a character, not himself. This is important for story-telling, escapism, and as a bridge from our reality to the virtual gaming world. In almost every traditional action / adventure game, the player plays like a character with different abilities, personality, and challenges; It should not cease to exist in VR games. Secondly, having a holistic connection from head to hand is important for the player to accept virtual hands as their own. For example, if the hands are connected to the body, then the brain needs much less effort to understand that a virtual object is simply heavier than the controllers that a person holds in their hands. Finally, seeing that your body increases the number of interactions with the headset is essential for 2D viewing. The body is the last element to show the gameplay footage that has no visual drawbacks compared to traditional games. In addition, viewing content that looks like GoPro, mounted on the player’s head, rather than floating hands, is much more pleasant and accessible. This is VR, which we all fantasized about. ”
So, what’s next with Boneworks? There is a story built on top of everything that was not shown to us in this short presentation. “You are playing as a system engineer working inside an advanced virtualized AI-managed operating system,” relying on the Stress Level Zero statement.
“Instead of showing Bodywork as a techno-demo, we first want it to be played as a narrative game,” Laach wrote. – People react to stories and experiences that have consequences. This technology was created to eventually remove all obstacles from the path of art, so we must implement it the first time. We hope that after launching the story and the world will be as memorable as the technology. As for the narrative area, our landmarks for the first title are Firewatch, Portal and Inside. Limiting the scope of the project was very difficult. For the first time, we feel free as creators now that the core is completely holistic. ”
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