Beyond Type 1: 2150 is a futuristic VR action game currenty on Kickstarter. Robin played it at PC Gamer Weekender and caught up with the developer Nadir Miheisi to talk about the game, their plans, and the future of Virtual Reality.
We met at PC Gamer Weekender where I was privileged to try out your VR game Beyond Type 1: 2150.
Of course I know something of it, but for our readers at home tell me about the game.
The game is a futuristic sci-fi shooter. I wanted to make a game with elements I enjoyed. I grew up watching sci-fi and always had a fascination with science and space. I also always loved a good first person shooter, so that’s what I wanted to make, with a vision of making the game as realistic and immersive as possible (with the available technology and our budget).
The game is set on an inter-stellar space ship that has been taken over by hostile aliens. The aliens have re;eased a retro-virus which has turned some of the crew into mutated monsters. Your job is to shoot your way through the ship, eliminating the threat and solving puzzles to repair vital systems.
What prompted you to make a VR Game?
I tried VR for the first time in 1994 (at 12 years old) and I have been fascinated with the technology ever since. I had initially started making games for Android devices, and after releasing my first game, I decided to focus on developing VR. I started with Google cardboard, however, I then became involved with Pixel Entertainment and we decided to open a VR Centre. I managed to raise some investment for this venture, which allowed me access to the equipment so I could begin developing for PC powered VR.
What experience do you have?
I studied Information Systems at University, however, I have no formal game development experience and am self-taught. I studied Law as a post-graduate and worked in the legal profession and the civil service for about 10 years, but always felt a little bored. In my spare time, I decided to teach myself Android development, following which I decided to see if I could learn to make a game. I went on to form Funky Gorilla Games and started working on my own projects.
Since starting development on Beyond Type 1: 2150, I have been joined by Spencer Fossett. Spencer is also self-taught and has been working on his own Unity projects. He has been assisting me with this project and the planning of future projects.
Tell me about the road to PC Gamer Weekender.
A friend of mine told me about PC Gamer Weekender and ‘pushed’ me into applying for an exhibition space. I had just begun fully developing the game and although I was nervous about showing it to the public, I felt that it was necessary to get some feedback on the game. As much as we liked the game, the only people to play it were me or my friends, so I felt I needed to see how real gamers reacted to it.
I used most of the budget that I had managed to raise for the game on booking the stand at PC Gamer Weekender. I was very nervous coming up to the event as it would have provided an indication as to whether we could compete with the big game studios. The reaction we received was amazing and overwhelming. We were fully booked for the entire event and I even had some people say it was their favourite part of the show.
You were tweaking the game on the fly at the event, how much has it changed since then?
We were tweaking on the fly, mainly trying to implement any feedback we had received and to fix a couple of bugs that we noticed but nobody else did. Since PC Gamer we have implemented a few more bug fixes and made some changes to textures and lighting to improve graphics. We have also added another level and another enemy. We are now in the process of implementing smooth locomotion. Although movement in VR can cause nausea, we have found that some VR gamers who do not suffer from this prefer this form of movement. As such, we decided to add this as an option which can be toggled on and off. We are also working on adding multiplayer coop mode to the game.
You’ve brought the project to Kickstarters, what are your hopes for the campaign?
We launched the Kickstarter campaign with the hope of raising some money and increasing our development budget, so we are able to make the best game we possibly can. If we are successful, we intend to spend the money on assets (mostly 3D models and artwork, as we can make almost anything else ourselves) in order to improve the look and graphics of the game. We would also like to exhibit the game again (at EGX Rezzed or Insomnia) if we can spare the funds for it, as we felt that this was very useful and helped to push the development of the game.
If we are unsuccessful, we still intend to make the game. It may take a little longer and we may not be able to exhibit it before release, but Beyond Type 1: 2150 will be finished and released.
Now Beyond Type 1 is built for room-sized VR (rather than say the PSVR) what has that allowed you to do that you might otherwise not have been able to achieve?
The main reason for making the game for room-scale VR is because the only equipment I had access to initially was a HTC Vive (and later a Windows Mixed Reality HMD). As I did not have access to a PSVR or an Oculus Rift HMD, these simply were not an option. Having said this, since first trying the Vive, I have firmly believed that room-scale VR with 360 degree tracking is the future. It adds a whole new dimension of immersion and realism to VR gaming.
I understand you have another VR project coming to fruition, what’s that about?
My other company, Pixel Entertainment, is currently setting up a VR Centre in Southend-on-Sea, due to open this Spring. It will feature a number of fully fitted VR rooms which customers can book to play VR games. We will also have some VR and 9D simulation machines that will offer something a little different.
We also have a number of projects in the pipeline with Funky Gorilla Games. We are already planning our next project, a horror based escape type game with online multiplayer support, which we hope to launch by the end of the year.
Is VR the future of entertainment or will it always be a niche?
As a VR developer, I would hope that it is the future of entertainment. As a sci-fi geek, I grew up waiting for the day when the ‘holo-deck’ would become a reality. I feel that day is getting ever closer and I would like to be a part of it.
What’s your advice for anyone reading with their own idea for a project?
Just go ahead and start making it. Two years ago I was considering learning Android development and I did not have a clue as to how to make a game. I am now about to release my first VR game and the feedback we have received so far has been very positive.
The only real advice I can give is that there is a lot of information, resources and support online and I have found that if I have a question that has never been asked before, then I am probably asking the wrong question.
Where can people follow you and where can we find the KS campaign?
The websites for both our companies are as follows:
We are also on twitter:
And on Facebook:
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