If you realize your VR historical past you would possibly recall CRASHLAND, an early VR prototype the place gamers would defend themselves after crash touchdown on a hostile planet with little greater than a radar scanner and a weapon. After the challenge went dormant for years because the developer targeted on Ocean Rift (2016), right now we study that Crashland is about to blast onto Quest after being revived and revamped.
Nicely earlier than the announcement of the HTC Vive or Rift CV1 and their VR movement controllers, pioneering VR builders had been cobbling collectively Oculus Rift growth kits with third-party movement controllers just like the Razer Hydra to experiment with video games constructed round movement enter fairly than a gamepad.
A kind of early tasks, developed by procedural animation aficionado Llŷr ap Cenydd, was Crashland. Initially revealed all the best way again in 2013, the sport had gamers going through off towards waves of terrifying spiders that reacted in superbly grotesque methods as they had been dispatched with bullets and explosives. Whereas Cenydd had scoped out some large plans for the challenge, he finally targeted his efforts on the extra tame aquatic expertise, Ocean Rift, which got here to nearly each main VR platform during the last years.
However now, almost eight years later, Crashland is again and looking out higher than ever.
The brand new Crashland, as a result of launch on Quest this Thursday for $20, maintains the identical fundamental premise of crash touchdown on a hostile planet and defending your self from waves of aliens. Apart from a full revamp of the visuals, the sport’s construction has been fleshed out and consists of a variety of enemies (constructed round Cenydd’s signature procedural animation method). Right here’s the pitch:
The premise of Crashland is fairly easy: survive in gladiatorial fight till rescue. The total recreation has 24 missions, over 50 creature varieties, and 14 weapon modes. Missions are a brief however very intense 5–10 minutes. It’s principally an motion recreation however does transition out and in of horror. Every mission has a theme centered round a brand new creature; for instance preventing large hellworms in a sand storm, prehistoric terror birds within the forest, blood sucking spiders at the hours of darkness and so forth. As you play you acquire XP, stage up and unlock perks, together with talents like teleport punch, auto turrets, gradual movement and so forth.
The gameplay loop is predicated round 4 mechanics: good pistol, boomstick, scanner and teleporter. Creatures, situations and perks are all designed round these. For instance there are creatures that jam or spam the movement scanner, drain or disable the teleporter, are drawn to or afraid of explosives and so forth. These are all combined collectively so there’s numerous emergent gameplay within the chaos.
Once we performed the Crashland prototype so a few years in the past, one of many main attracts was how frighteningly natural the actions and deaths of the aliens had been, and the strain of getting a radar scanner which might beep with quickening tempo as enemies approached. Cenydd says the total model of the sport has amped up these components but additional.
“Certainly one of my predominant focuses has been graphics and spectacle—I’m leaning closely into my experience in procedural animation for alien motion and the deaths particularly—the best way the aliens have momentum, judder, kick and writhe provides rather a lot to how the fight feels. It’s a continuation of the [procedural animation systems] I did for Ocean Rift,” he tells Highway to VR. “There’s additionally an enormous number of alien creatures—large worms, spiders, electrical slugs, ticks, dinos, scorpions, cephalopods and so forth. […] I hope folks will get a kick out of the creatures; every mission introduces one or two fully new ones right through to the final mission.”
When it comes to construction, the sport can have a easy arcade format with menus to pick ranges and modes, with stage completion and expertise unlocking new missions and weapon talents. Leaderboards will likely be included for many who wish to compete for the excessive rating. The sport is single-player and Cenydd says there’s no plans for co-op at current.
For those who’re in search of a deep-dive, you’ll be able to take a look at a 20 minute walkthrough straight from the developer:
Cenydd says he’s been constructing the brand new model of Crashland since 2019 as a side-project alongside to his day job as a professor of Pc Science at Bangor College within the UK. Whereas the sport will launch on Quest first, he stays hopeful that he can “launch a PC model later down the road.”