If you're making a virtual reality shooter game, how do you solve the problem of movement? After all, most FPS titles are literally 'run and gun' gameplay so how do you build a VR shooter when people are tethered both by cables and the reach of the sensor array?
According to Fantahorn Studio, an internal startup with HTC creating for, the answer is surprisingly old school: sandbags.
Fantahorn's first game for the Vive is Front Defense, a World War II shooter that puts you behind a sandbag barricade as waves of enemies attack your position. The sandbags provide a virtual representation of the real world zone you're confined to and they block enemies bullets as well, which is nice.
If you're a VR early-adopter and you've been waiting for a gritty really world shooter, then you'll still be waiting. Undeniably fun, Front Defense has an arcade feel. Damage stats appear above enemies as you shoot them and the world slowly turns black and white as you take damage -- and you can soak up a lot of damage.
The variety of weapons is fun, however, from a mounted machine gun to a smaller submachine gun, right through to grenades and rocket launchers. It's a well provisioned bunker. A lot of attention has been paid to the movements of the Vive controllers. To reload the submachine gun you drop your left hand to your side then up underneath the gun, as if you were grabbing a clip off your belt and slamming it in.
The grenade is similarly cool: Just hold it up near your face as if you were pulling the pin with your teeth. The rocket launcher is a little clumsier with the rocket loading in the rear of the launcher.
As I said, it's fun, but it highlights the current lack of feedback in VR games. There's no weight to the launcher and no recoil when you fire, for example. Maybe it's just me, but that's more forgiveable with a laser pistol in a brightly-light sci-fi environment than on a cobblestone street beset by the German army.
As a first project it bodes quite well for the future work from Fantahorn and HTC Vive exclusives.
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