VR is beautiful. That’s what we notice first about this new technology—it’s visually striking, drawing us into three-dimensional worlds in a way no other medium is able to do. It’s a beauty that can be seen from all angles, and you can inspect it like a sculpture or appreciate its staging like a film.
VR’s incredible visual potential often leads us to assume that graphics are what’s most immersive. And while the way a game looks is not unimportant—in fact, it’s a large part of preventing motion sickness in players—there’s more to VR than that. Immersion goes beyond looks, and the best VR stories are proving that it’s narrative, not graphics, that makes the difference in immersion.
At the start of the 2010 movie Inception, a movie about creating believable dream worlds that fool their occupants, Saito, a wealthy businessman, realizes he’s dreaming thanks to an out-of-place detail. He spots that the material his rug is made out of doesn’t match up with reality, thus breaking his immersion and revealing to him that he’s trapped within a dream.
Virtual reality can be very similar to the rules of dreams within Inception—it’s the tiny details that make or break immersion. The believability of a game world hinges on the tiny touches that developers put in to make their worlds feel lived-in. Continue reading
While being hundreds or even thousands of miles away from someone you care about is never easy, thanks to innovations in communication technology such as Skype, Facetime, and instant messengers, people are able to keep in contact in ways that past generations could only have dreamed of.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the only way to keep in contact with someone on another continent was through the postal service. Continue reading
I love crowdfunding. Sure, I’ve had a few duds among the projects I’ve backed, but for the most part, it’s been a positive experience. There’s nothing quite like knowing you were part of the creative process of some wonderful new project or seeing your name listed in the “special thanks” section in a game’s end credits.
But backing these projects is about more than personal satisfaction. Crowdfunding video games helps ensure that risky titles—those that push against mainstream ideas about what games are or can be—keep the industry thriving and innovative. Without crowdfunding, we wouldn’t have the Oculus Rift, Shovel Knight, or FTL, three of the most exciting creations of the past few years.
It’s not just about getting games funded, either. Crowdfunding is also a barometer for consumer interest, and high popularity can spur publishers to pick a game up and bring it to the attention of an even broader audience. There are few things more inspiring than a good rags-to-riches (or indie-to-classic) success story, and sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer fertile ground where the first seeds of such stories can take root.
If you see a toilet in a game, it must be flushable.
Rarely does an in-game toilet have any bearing whatsoever on gameplay, but if there’s a toilet in a game, you better believe I will try to flush it. Portal begins with an attempt to flush the radio. In Gone Home, I made sure every one of those toilets got flushed. Even in Fallout, proper post-apocalyptic flushing practices must be observed.
The PlayStation VR is nearly here, and it’s coming with some of the most exciting and innovative games of the year.
While there are plenty of titles to choose from, some stand out more than others as a perfect introduction to virtual reality and all of the wonders that the technology holds. But with so many brand new game franchises debuting with the PS VR, it’s hard to know which launch titles are going to deliver the most enjoyable experience. Continue reading
When I think of science fiction, I think of spaceships blasting through asteroid belts, white-knuckled pilots at the helm. I think of colonization and alien diplomacy, of faster-than-light travel, of exploring the unknown with a loyal crew.
Logically, I know there’s more to the genre than that. I’ve never been a huge fan of space opera, so I tend to gravitate toward blends of sci-fi and horror, or stories with time travel, especially if they focus on the human element. Despite the genre’s associations with aliens and space, sci-fi is a pretty diverse field encompassing stories of all kinds; sci-fi subgenres range from subtle shifts in reality to entirely new universes completely unlike our own. Even the all-important spaceship is little more than a tool; the trappings and tropes of sci-fi subgenres are available for many different purposes, making science fiction a genre with incredible potential for diverse, wide-reaching stories.
Loading Human’s development journey is a story of passion and creativity. Flavio Parenti, a long-time fan of video games, followed his interest in storytelling when he became an actor in theater and film, and this love of storytelling, coupled with enthusiasm for new technology, led him into virtual reality. Alongside his company, Untold Games, he is forging ahead with this ever-evolving technology and tackling the unique problems the medium presents. Parenti’s passion and drive are the heart and soul of his upcoming game, Loading Human, as he works to create a compelling story within an immersive environment.
We sat down to talk with Parenti about Loading Human‘s road to development, discussing the unique challenges of VR and how the game has grown from idea to fully realized product.