Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Visit to Oculus HQ and Development Updates

While John was in town for IndieCade, we also scheduled a meeting with Oculus the day after the festival to chat about the future of our game, the rift and more - and also to have John try out the new Crescent Bay Prototype! 

James and I were able to try it out at Oculus Connect a month before, so we were excited to have John try it out and see what he thought...

James asked if we could takes some photos

Within a minute, John was smiling! Like me, he gets sim sickness using DK1, and a little bit using DK2. But we both agreed that this was far superior! It was incredible!

"It's the first time I've felt like I don't care about the hardware, and  I'm just focused on the experience. The rift is starting to feel less like a development kit and more like a final product." - John

James and I were both happy to hear that he agreed with how we felt about it. We've all been developing for and using the Rift now for over a year, and we were all still blown away by this new prototype. It has made us even more excited about developing for VR now and in the future - there are so many possibilities!

"I try to describe Virtual Reality to people using Star aren't completely fooled, but it doesn't matter because you are having so much fun" - John

After the Meeting

It was also nice having the team be able to meet up again. It's only during conventions now that we all get to see each other in person (even though we see each other on Video Chat almost every day), so we spent the rest of the day hanging out and playing video games together :)

For dinner we went out with our amazing professor, mentor, and friend Vinnie Morrison, who inspired us to pursue our dream in the first place! With our development schedule, we don't get to go out much (and honestly can't afford to either), so it was great to have the gang back together - at least for a day!

Now for Some Development Updates:
You should read this part, seriously :)
On Release

We get the question "when are you going to release" quite often, and lately our answer has been "around first quarter next year". Being pretty new still to the whole development cycle, we are unsure of how long Testing and QA will take us to really make this game polished enough for release.

We have a lot more done than we had at the beginning of the Summer, and now that Fall has settled in, we are thinking about our next steps. There are still some pieces of levels to build, some mechanics to work out, meshes to make and even puzzles to create - but we've finally found that balance of narrative and game play that we were looking for, which makes our vision just that much more cohesive.

The Beach :)
Making a Game

Making a game is a tricky business. A game is art, is function, is commercial, is getting across a being successful at hundreds of different points of design. Even after talking to many industry veterans, we have still found that there is no agreed upon "right way" to do it.


For our company, White Lotus Interactive, we want to make sure that this first game is a reflection of what we are all trying to achieve, and what we are capable of right now in this moment. As we grow, our game grows - not in length, but in quality and depth.

See high-res version of this graphic here.

The Creative Process

Of course there are many times we have had stopping points, where we have agreed that something finally works, and is going to be a final piece of the game - but there are also many things that we make every week which will never make it into the final game due to time, our abilities, or the fact that those things no longer belong in the game we are currently creating. The game industry itself is a rapidly changing industry, thanks to new technologies being developed every day - and all of the creative people who evolve along side it. I suppose you could say that the development of a game is like a living thing: It grows and changes, and takes a lot of care and attention.

Example of a stone tablet design that probably won't make it in to the final game
Even after all the broad strokes are settled, we've found that the details and mechanics are what can truly make or break a game. After working on XING for the past 2 years, we can definitely say that the phrase "the devil is in the details" is quite applicable. But don't worry - we will continue to persevere and do everything we can to share this passion project with you guys as soon as we can :)

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