Developing games is always a challenge in itself, but the degree of difficulty goes up significantly when working on a developing platform like virtual reality. Straylight is being touted as a new VR platforming experience, one built on a proprietary engine. It's a tough, but exciting endeavor for the team at Dr BLoC. To learn more about the hurdles they've encountered in making Straylight, we recently spoke to the Dr BloC team.
"Some of the challenges that we've run into with Straylight and being in VR, I will kick it over to Chris in a minute, but definitely the tooling was evolving underneath us," Team Lead Dan Seery told Shacknews. "As we were developing, updates would change how things work in VR. There's new headsets coming out constantly. The control schemes changed, like going from the Vive, to Oculus, to the [Valve] Index Knuckles, we had to keep up with the changing landscape of VR and when you set out and make a game in 2018, by 2021 the whole landscape's different. The physical devices are different."
It wasn't just the hardware that proved to be a challenge. The Straylight software itself has also given the development team some trouble in the early going.
"A lot of the early challenges we faced were more around trying to get a good set of physics together that were comfortable and didn't make you dizzy or nauseous while in there for perhaps a long length of time," Lead Programmer Chris Herbison added. "Beyond that, like Dan said, with constantly new headsets coming out, we had to constantly revise what control schemes we were using, what buttons would do what on each controller, and finding the most comfortable and intuitive way to have our controls laid out on each of these controllers."
Seery and Herbison also tell stories about some of the other roadblocks they've hit in VR development, the challenges of overcoming nausea in virtual reality, and what it means to create a game that's ideal for for every VR platform. Straylight's development is far from finished, but it's available on Steam Early Access right now. There's also a free demo, for those who want to try the game out first. For more interviews like this, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHub.TV on YouTube. And be sure to check out our recent Straylight preview.