How to make a VR wizard game and try to survive in the process.
We always loved videogames and played them in every spare moment of our lives.
But it was when the Oculus Kickstarter became succesful we really decided we were going to create one.
When we saw the potential of VR, we committed ourselves to make a videogame that allowed players to become wizards.
Inspired by Skyrim and Game of Thrones, we started this crazy adventure.
We didn't know much about game development at the time. We were just crazy passionate about this idea.
So we wrote Valve a wall of text and got one of the first Vive prototypes.
We made a very simple demo as a proof of concept (after studying Unity for months) and started showing it around.
We were very excited to show the fruits of our hard work so we spent a summer traveling and showcasing at conventions. Feedback has been very nice: this made us happy and even more motivated.
Many times, we had to volunteer at shows in order to be able to attend: those fees are really high!
This is a picture from Gamescom 2016, it was after the show that we decided to quit our jobs and open the studio for good.
This was a hard decision but I guess the only way to achieve anything is by risking. No pain no gain.
The first real level we built was a combat sequence with two spells, the shield and the firedart. What is a wizard without fire spells after all?
Another spell is the fireball! This is the first time we got it working. It is really rewarding to throw and see it explode : P
VR is a very personal and immersive medium. So when designing the game we wanted to create a safe place for the player to return after each adventure. We created the Temple of Memory: a hub for the player inspired by a real world technique called Method of Loci.
We made a fast 3D prototype to make sure everything felt right, then we proceeded to detail the wole space.
All objects in the room have a meaning and a reason to be there. They represent the protagonist memories. It's up to the player to figure out their meaning. The room is full of puzzles and secrets.
This is the room in its latest iteration. We wanted it to be very immersive.
The interactions and objects should feel right, we made an effort in making it react as you would expect.
We created a telekinesis spell too, this allows for a bunch of puzzle mechanics we are very excited about.
The alchemy cabinet is one of the main puzzles in the game. It allows you to create magical recipes and discover deep secrets. We even designed our own font for that, inspired by italian alchemic alphabets of the 16th century.
In Runes you will also visit and explore big spaces, like the Oblivion forest.
In the room you can teleport or move in roomscale, but we wanted to create an immersive method of locomotion for big landscapes.
That's where the 4th wall comes in
With 4th wall you can exit your own body so it becomes a 3rd person motion. Motion sickness is completely eliminated. This tecnique allows for new narrative and mechanics where the point of view is crucial.
Anywhere in the game we also have the option of touchpad/trigger locomotion for those with strong stomachs ; ) more on Runes locomotion here
2017 was a crazy year, we launched a Kickstarter campaign and we didn't get to the goal. BUT we realized that we had many fans and friends supporting us. Not even in time to despair, we met the founders of ABC, a slovenian accelerator that showed great interest in us. They gave us our first seed investment. This money allowed us to spend 3 months networking in Silicon Valley. This experience was amazing and many amazing things happened. But this article is about the game so we'll skip this story for now!
Back in Italy we started to deal with a very important part of the production: animations! There are many characters and dialogues in Runes and custom animations are a must. We decided to enter the beautiful world of Motion Capture and it was a lot of fun! Soon we'll publish a tutorial with all the things we learned using the Noitom Perception Neuron suit. We hope to help whoever will go in the same direction we did.
We are sitting now on a 3 hours pre alpha build, and working on the last level of the game. We're getting closer to finish Runes. The launch is expected by the end of the summer and we're starting to publish more and more material to grow our audience. Our goal before the release is to reach 10.000 wishlist on Steam. We've been trough an odissey during the last 2 years, being excited, scared, tired, determinated, confused and excited again in an ever ending emotional rollercoaster. We are trying to complete what is probably the biggest ans scariest dream of our life: publish a beautiful story driven VR game.
If you like our story and you can't wait to see Runes finished, please wishlist us on Steam at this link, you will support us morally and more important you'll be notified of the release day promotional sale!