Author Topic: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?  (Read 940 times)

Offline WolfWhiteFire

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So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« on: January 04, 2017, 05:25:35 PM »
If I recall correctly, Chris said he wouldn't be able to take much part in AI War 2, and that he would be working on a different project during that time. Out of curiosity mostly, I am wondering what the project he plans to work on is. Though hopefully he will see this and be able to tell me and anyone else interested what he plans to do if he decides to let us know. So Chris, assuming you see this could you please tell us your plans?
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 07:03:13 PM »
So Chris, assuming you see this could you please tell us your plans?

I will imagine that once the initial work of AIW2 is mostly finished on Chris's end he will elaborate on his own side project. My highly erratic mind thinks it is like VR, but I would imagine it is a game of some sort.
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Offline x4000

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2017, 10:39:34 AM »
Cheers!  Sometimes the forums neglect to email me about a thread, but not this time. :)

I am indeed going to be working on VR stuff, focusing on both the Oculus Touch and Vive.  This is a new area that I intend to start devoting most of my time to over the next few years, most likely, unless something drastic changes.  The market is small, but a good size for Arcen.  A lot of game designers are doing things wrong in that market (trying to have cake and eat it too when it comes to making a good VR experience and a traditional gaming experience rarely works), so it's a fertile place for new ideas.

It's also a super hungry market, since it's relatively under-served by quality games at reasonable prices.  And two whole new storefronts that aren't so darn crowded, not that we'll be leaving our existing storefronts either.  And it's also just something that's a personal passion of mine, and which has been a dream of both myself and my dad since we were both young (at least since I was, and I'm pretty sure he was into the idea of it in the 60s from sci fi).

I have a list of about 12 VR projects that I want to do, and they vary greatly in complexity and scope, but the smallest are 3-5 month endeavors at best.  The largest ones would take 1-2 years, so aren't on my list for anytime soon, heh.

Right now I'm not 100% sure what the first project I'll focus on will be.  I've been doing a lot of prototyping and experimenting with various things when I've not been working on AI War 2, and I'm not quite ready to commit to a specific project just yet.  I'm equally excited about all the top candidates, so it will mainly depend on which is the most promising prototype that seems like it can also be done in the relatively-least amount of time.  That will then be a good launching point for other larger things.
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Offline WolfWhiteFire

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2017, 05:43:25 PM »
I am kind of sad about that as I don't have any VR equipment, but I understand why you want to do it. It could allow you to make different sorts of things than you could otherwise and there does seem to be a kind of hole in the market for that stuff that you might be able to fill if you make VR games people like a lot. I just hope you won't be moving the company completely to VR stuff.
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Offline x4000

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2017, 09:52:49 AM »
I don't think Keith will ever move to VR, and he should be good to go to work on AI War 2 for an indefinite period I'd imagine (assuming things go well and support stays up past 1.0, etc).  So presumably there will always be that arm at the very least, which is focus on strategy in a non-VR environment.

I know that a number of the guys working on the Starward Rogue updates at the moment, and soon an expansion pack for that, also have an aversion to VR (physical limitations against it, in some cases).  So that will probably continue, because they're doing the expansion in off-hours of their normal life jobs for royalties on it, versus being an expense I have to pay for up-front, so there's no real burden there on Arcen.

But one other thing that I've been really thinking a lot about in the last few days in particular -- and I almost hesitate to say this, because this is one of those ideas I don't want people to steal, which is pretty rare -- is a hybrid approach where there's an ultracheap non-VR game that you can buy, and it plays completely differently from a VR experience that it is tied to.  Like a couple of bucks for the non-VR versions, or even free, I don't know.

The realization hit me when I was thinking about how when I'm wanting to do VR stuff with my wife or son, and we're all in the same room, only one person can be doing the VR at a time, which is frustrating.  But we have multiple laptops, and if there was a companion game that networked with the VR experience... well, that could be very interesting.  It could range from being kind of a dungeon master against them, to some highly-asymmetrical gameplay (competitive or co-op), to just being able to "insert yourself" into someone's VR game (with their permission) and grief them and see them jump, etc.  Since you'd be able to see their floating head and hands orientation at bare minimum, they'd have a lot of expressiveness to you that could be really amusing.

I want to do multiplayer VR in general between VR headsets, and I've got a pair of Vives and a pair of Rift Touches, but I don't have any single room that's big enough for that in my house.  My office is just barely big enough now that I've rearranged all my furniture, and then my family room is large enough also.  But those are pretty distant in the house (upstairs downstairs), so it's kind of hard to feel like you're playing "local LAN co-op" when the person is a couple of rooms away.  I still think it will be fun and I want to do that, but the idea of making companion experiences that go with the main VR game interests me quite a lot.

Of course, then you're into the whole problem of "you're literally making two games, no questions about it," and that's correct.  So I'm not sure how feasible that is for the very start of things, but perhaps I can toe into that water with something that is very simple on the companion game side.  I got the idea partly from things like One Night Werewolf and Codemasters, which use optional companion phone apps (free) to go with your boardgames.
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Offline z99-_

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2017, 02:14:04 PM »
But one other thing that I've been really thinking a lot about in the last few days in particular -- and I almost hesitate to say this, because this is one of those ideas I don't want people to steal, which is pretty rare -- is a hybrid approach where there's an ultracheap non-VR game that you can buy, and it plays completely differently from a VR experience that it is tied to.  Like a couple of bucks for the non-VR versions, or even free, I don't know.

The realization hit me when I was thinking about how when I'm wanting to do VR stuff with my wife or son, and we're all in the same room, only one person can be doing the VR at a time, which is frustrating.  But we have multiple laptops, and if there was a companion game that networked with the VR experience... well, that could be very interesting.  It could range from being kind of a dungeon master against them, to some highly-asymmetrical gameplay (competitive or co-op), to just being able to "insert yourself" into someone's VR game (with their permission) and grief them and see them jump, etc.  Since you'd be able to see their floating head and hands orientation at bare minimum, they'd have a lot of expressiveness to you that could be really amusing.

Sounds like an extension of the concept used in Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, where you have one person in the room with the bomb (on computer screen or VR headset) and some people with a printed out bomb defusal manual (could also be on laptop as pdf).

So although your idea isn't totally new, the overwhelming support that indie game has definitely spells good news for the concept in general. And knowing you, I'm sure whatever direction the game takes will be sufficiently unique to where most won't even be able to find games to compare it to :D

Also, you're going to be giving free VR sets to the alpha testers, right? ;)

Offline x4000

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2017, 03:27:06 PM »
Yep, that sort of mixed media definitely isn't new.  I really want it to be less of a party game and more of a traditional video game experience in the sense that you're able to DO stuff.  Ideally it doesn't matter what: race go-karts, shoot guns, play a strategy game, be Mario in a platformer; whatever.  Mario Galaxy showed how a secondary player who is playing a separate game can work pretty decently when it's on the same screen, but with this you're released from the tyranny of one screen.

Heck, if we're talking space ships, this could be Leia and Chewie piloting and navigating the Millennium Falcon on the traditional PC (and maybe R2D2 running around zapping people on another PC), while Han and Luke are in gunner seats.

Or maybe it's Kyle Katarn running around on foot in a traditional FPS game on the regular PC, and then you've got the VR player as Jan Ors in a cockpit of a ship flying around and providing air support and also occasionally flying down to provide a "platform" (her ship) for him to literally jump on and hitch a ride on, etc.

In a lot of cases the mobility of the non-VR player would be greater because of the nature of VR, but the precision of the VR player is much higher, and if they're in a cockpit or other vehicle then the traditional mobility restrictions get reversed.

Soooo many things become possible. :)
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2017, 05:00:01 PM »
Yep, that sort of mixed media definitely isn't new.  I really want it to be less of a party game and more of a traditional video game experience in the sense that you're able to DO stuff.  Ideally it doesn't matter what: race go-karts, shoot guns, play a strategy game, be Mario in a platformer; whatever.  Mario Galaxy showed how a secondary player who is playing a separate game can work pretty decently when it's on the same screen, but with this you're released from the tyranny of one screen.

Heck, if we're talking space ships, this could be Leia and Chewie piloting and navigating the Millennium Falcon on the traditional PC (and maybe R2D2 running around zapping people on another PC), while Han and Luke are in gunner seats.

Or maybe it's Kyle Katarn running around on foot in a traditional FPS game on the regular PC, and then you've got the VR player as Jan Ors in a cockpit of a ship flying around and providing air support and also occasionally flying down to provide a "platform" (her ship) for him to literally jump on and hitch a ride on, etc.
You should try Star Fox Zero, which did that by outputting a cockpit view to your gamepad and the third person came through your tv. IIRC you could use a second controller JUST to steer the ship while the Gamepad player shot things. Pity so many people hated that game.

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Offline Squashyhex

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2017, 07:44:32 AM »
I can't wait to see what concepts you have to offer :D Having bought a Vive myself a few months ago, there are few games available that you want to keep coming back to. The VR platform needs more "real" games that play as more than just gimicss or poor ports.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2017, 10:57:15 AM »
VR is still a gimmick, in my opinion. The real VR will be a brain implant someday. I've tried it, makes me a little sore on the eyes.

Good luck. Somebody must like the stuff.
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Offline Squashyhex

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2017, 02:31:20 PM »
I've tried it, makes me a little sore on the eyes.
Definitely the biggest problem there. I'm personally not affected, but it's impossible to know in advance
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Offline Tridus

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2017, 03:56:37 PM »
VR is still a gimmick, in my opinion. The real VR will be a brain implant someday. I've tried it, makes me a little sore on the eyes.

Good luck. Somebody must like the stuff.

Someone liked 3d TV too, until the wheels fell off that wagon. ;)

I'm not big on VR either. It's a cool novelty, but not something I want to do for extended gaming sessions.

Offline Squashyhex

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2017, 06:55:33 PM »
Someone liked 3d TV too, until the wheels fell off that wagon.

I think that had more to do with there being little difference between watching something in 3D and not. If we make games that work better in VR, or can only really work in VR, than 3D tv.
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Offline Astilious

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2017, 06:29:16 AM »
VR is still a gimmick, in my opinion. The real VR will be a brain implant someday. I've tried it, makes me a little sore on the eyes.

Good luck. Somebody must like the stuff.

To me a critical part of VR is the room space and Vive controllers (which is what I have). When I've played games that don't make use of those things they are only a mild improvement on normal gameplay, and something I'm not sure would really catch on. However interactive room space experiences are a whole other thing, and give you a truly different gaming experience - which is often hard to come by. I'm hopeful that will be enough for VR to catch on. Of course the most important thing is to get past the current phase where there are no extensive VR games because not enough people have VR because there are no extensive VR games. I'm hoping Fallout 4 VR will help with that.

I also have an Emotiv Insight. Sadly that tech is a little farther from being useful for gameplay...

But we have multiple laptops, and if there was a companion game that networked with the VR experience... well, that could be very interesting.  It could range from being kind of a dungeon master against them, to some highly-asymmetrical gameplay (competitive or co-op), to just being able to "insert yourself" into someone's VR game (with their permission) and grief them and see them jump, etc.

Panoptic is another game with that kind of thing going on.
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Offline NichG

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Re: So what does Chris plan on doing while AI War 2 goes on?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2017, 06:34:05 AM »
I got a Vive a few months ago and, honestly, after a few weeks I stopped using it. The gear and setup is a bit cumbersome and mode switching between VR and general computer use is awkward enough that I sort of have to have a 'I am going to block out X amount of time and do VR now' mindset - which means that if I'm not that excited about it, I just end up doing something else instead. Even then, I'm pretty frequently putting on the headset, doing something, taking off the headset to tweak some setting or look something up, putting on the headset, etc.

Compatibility issues of various sorts have also put me off of it a bit I'll admit. I was hoping to have day 1 linux support and use it for some experiments, and its still not there last I checked (I've managed to get at the data from the headset using a reverse-engineered library I found but its not exactly what I'd call inviting). I'm also not thrilled about most of what's available right now - it's the kind of stuff that's fun for 5-10 minutes but nothing to sink your teeth into.

Upside, I basically have zero VR sickness even when experiencing low framerates or in games with a lot of control-based movement (like Windlands).

Give me VR gloves, a virtual keyboard, an in-VR desktop display, and fix the really inefficient use of resolution that current headsets have (2160x1200 but it still looks like a 640x480 display at the center of your visual field...) and I'd just stay in VR and use it for everything, but as long as I have a hard break between non-VR and VR usage of my computer (and even rebooting into another OS) it's pretty niche for me still.

Even despite all of that, I sort of want the headset with built-in IR-based eye tracking just so I can mess around with measuring saliency maps or driving an interactive visual field based on gaze prediction, things like that.