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.
Longtime Love for Gaming Leads to Early VR Interest
Though his foray into game development is relatively recent—Loading Human has been in development for around three years—Parenti’s love of the medium is not. “I learned my first English because of the Sierra adventure games,” he says. “So that’s where my passion for adventure games and video games comes from.”
That connection with the medium didn’t dissipate as Parenti grew up. “I wanted to build video games from the start,” Parenti tells us. “Even before my acting career, I was studying informatics engineering and I wanted to do video games.”
While game development may have fallen by the wayside as he pursued an acting career in theater, movies, television, and web series, it was always in the background of his mind. It was brought to the forefront, however, when playing Mafia II on a 3D TV. Parenti visited a forum for the game and found that, with some tweaks, he’d be able to play the game three-dimensionally. Adjusting scripts as outlined by the other forum members, he saw how satisfying it was to be able to make those changes himself.
But that wasn’t all he learned from the forum. Another member posted a link to a Kickstarter page for a company attempting to raise funds to create a virtual reality headset—the Oculus Rift. Parenti was immediately taken with the technology, and, as an early supporter, helped make it the reality it is today.
“I was like, wow, virtual reality, really?” Parenti remembers. The promise of this new technology was thrilling, inspiring him to look deeper into it. “I saw that little Kickstarter campaign, and I said, okay, let’s go.”
The technology didn’t make its way into the world right away, but it got Parenti thinking about its potential and his long-time passion for adventure games. He daydreamed about how this incredible invention could revolutionize the three-dimensional worlds of gaming, bringing the adventures he loved to a new generation.
The ambition was there, and the concept soon followed. Parenti hoped to make something that would bridge his childhood favorites with the promise of VR. While he had the background in informatics engineering and the drive to get it done, he needed a team with experience to take his dream from concept to reality.
This is where his acting career came in handy. Parenti was able to reach out to his 150,000+ Facebook fans to seek out developers who might be interested in working with him on a VR project. Though it was still early in VR’s development—Facebook had yet to purchase Oculus and other systems weren’t yet being talked about—Parenti found enough interested people to get started. Even without the VR headset to work with, his team began creating a prototype under the name Untold Games.
Untold Games Tackles VR Issues in Their Own Unique Fashion
Even with development kits and more resources becoming increasingly available, development has been an exciting challenge—VR is a new field, and there is not yet a solid guide for how to proceed. Every problem that arises is unique, with no definitive answer. “You’re basically on the line,” Parenti says, “you’re discovering things. There’s no handbook. You set the rules.”
Troubleshooting for VR isn’t easy, but it is a rewarding process. “First you need to understand the problems. Then… you need to fix them,” Parenti laughs. “Once you fix the problems, you need to optimize all the control schemes that you’ve invented. And once you optimize it, you need to simplify it so that it works for everyone.” This cycle of problem solving is ongoing, requiring the team to constantly reevaluate solutions and optimize them, including the distinct problem of locomotion.
Locomotion is one of the biggest challenges in VR, as it’s notorious for causing nausea and disorientation in sensitive players. Rather than choosing the relatively simple solution of putting the player avatar in a static position, such as the cockpit of a ship or car, Parenti and the Untold Games team worked hard to develop a control scheme that allows the player to move easily—without causing nausea. It’s a system entirely their own, created to address the unique challenges a game like Loading Human creates.
“Locomotion was really a fun issue to overcome because we had to find so many solutions,” Parenti explains. And in the end, he is very excited about the solution they settled upon, which he feels is unique within the VR world (no spoilers!). Creating this movement system was a technological hurdle, but tackling such challenges, hacking their way through the uncharted territory of virtual reality, fuels their creative drive.
Maximum Games Partnership Encourages Creative Expression
Untold Games built their first prototype with their own funding, and took to Kickstarter to take that prototype to a playable state. After successful crowdfunding, Loading Human was awarded an Unreal Dev Grant from Epic Games, helping them take it even further. With more resources and a developing game in hand, Parenti and his team connected with Maximum Games, and we were extremely enthusiastic about the project.
That partnership has been great for all. It’s a relationship born out of mutual respect and interest in the project, allowing the creativity and hard work of Untold Games to shine, with our full support behind them.”Maximum is really behaving in an amazing way,” Parenti says. “They’re supporting the game, they’re supporting the idea from scratch. This is something that you just dream about.”
We provide support for Loading Human‘s development in the form of funding, PR, advertisement, and other important services, freeing up Parenti and the rest of Untold Games to focus on the creative aspects of game development, letting them solve problems and develop the game according to their wishes. “This is just amazing for us because we’re now free to do what we know we can do well, which is telling a story in VR and giving you a great VR game,” Parenti says. “It really is a big freedom having Maximum behind us.” Our partnership turns Loading Human‘s development into a collaborative effort, one that lets the game reach its full potential.
Looking Forward to Loading Human
This partnership allows Loading Human to grow in scope. What was once an idea with no home has become an immersive VR experience that will push the boundaries of what we expect from gaming. Untold Games is constantly at work improving all aspects of their game, ensuring that what consumers get will be a polished, beautiful experience proving the worth and value of virtual reality technology, even when that means finding solutions to problems they didn’t even know existed.
“Not only do we have our problems to solve, but we also have all the problems of the industry to solve,” Parenti explains. “The industry is constantly changing as we learn more about the possibilities for the technology; what worked one day may not work the next with ongoing software updates and changes.”
That’s why the game will be released episodically, allowing fans to experience its growth and storytelling depths as a sort of ongoing saga. Untold is committed to telling a great story that uses the technology to its fullest, and as VR advancements continue, each episode can build on the increased capabilities of the technology, along with the dramatic arc from the previous episode. This episodic structure will allow Loading Human to adapt, keeping its moving story at the forefront of technological innovation.
Despite the challenges, the overall experience of creating has been phenomenal. With a great team in Untold Games, a passion for games and curiosity about the medium’s potential, and the financial support of Kickstarter backers, Epic Games, and publisher Maximum Games, Parenti is confident and hopeful for the game’s future.
“This is a beautiful feeling of sharing something that grows together with other teams and other people,” Parenti says. “You see that the thing you’re building is kind of living inside other people. It’s beautiful.”
Loading Human combines innovative VR technology with intellectual, emotion-driven storytelling. Preorder your copy today and be the first to experience the virtual reality revolution!