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Spacefare by Mikjaw

Introduction

At heart, Spacefare is a 6-Degrees-of-Freedom spaceflight game for the Oculus Rift S. There are videos, so you can take a Quick Look or an In-Depth Look if you'd like.

There are currently a few modes of play:

  • Maze Navigation: The player traverses a randomly generated 3D maze in order to visit every room. In each room, there are targets to shoot. The player wins once they've shot every target. The size and shape of the maze are configurable.
  • Race to the Finish: The player traverses a randomly generated, long, and winding hallway in order to reach the final room as quickly as possible. The length of the hallway is configurable.
  • Boss Fight: The player does battle against a stationary enemy, which is constantly firing at the player. The player wins when they shoot all the enemy's weak points.

There are several difficulty modifiers that alter certain game modes:

  • Dark Mode: No more environmental lighting
  • No Brakes: No automatic brakes
  • Oxygen Required: Must periodically dock at O2 stations
  • Tight Spaces: The corridors are narrower
  • HP Required: Mines and enemies will spawn which can kill you

Warning

Spacefare can be an intense experience, especially for those who have never flown with 6DOF. Players should expect to "spin out" when they bump into a wall. Some who have played Spacefare have reported nausea, especially after repeatedly "spinning out." I consider that all difficulty modifiers make the game more intense. My typically desired level of intensity is to play with Dark Mode, No Brakes, and Oxygen Required, but your mileage may vary.

All Generations Love It. While some critics view virtual reality as something only young people like, it turns out that even previous generations largely approve of the technology. Currently, millennials are the generation most likely to embrace virtual reality, but apparently older generations are also getting on the bandwagon. One study found that a majority of baby boomers have a favorable perspective of virtual reality. A big reason behind the popularity is the versatility of many virtual reality systems.

Background

My inspirations for Spacefare were Elite Dangerous and Detached. I wanted to create something like Detached, but with better replay-ability. Detached offers many input configurations for flying, but here I have focused only on achieving a comfortable 6-DOF. I developed Spacefare over my winter break from University. Development is currently on hold, because University is back in session. As such, please understand that I don't consider this current version to be a final product, although I think the skeleton of the final game is already clear to see. Your support would be greatly motivating.

Future Work

  • Music. I've created a couple little tunes and sounds so that the game isn't silent, but I would like to have better audio quality and more varied songs.
  • Random Bosses. Currently there is only one boss to fight. I would like to create a selection of bosses, so that they are randomly chosen from a pool.
  • True Maze Navigation. I would like to offer a maze navigation game mode, wherein the player has only to shoot the singular hidden target in order to win.
  • More Maze Algorithms. If I randomize the maze generation algorithm, it would be harder to apply prior knowledge to your search patterns, which I think would make for a more interesting game.
  • Decoration. Like music, visual decorations are great world-building tools. Right now, the walls are adorned only by a scattered few posters or a window bank.
  • Narrative Writing. Although Spacefare is not intended to be plot-driven, I think a little writing could go a long way towards world-building.
  • Online Leaderboards. Currently, the leaderboards are local only. If there were sufficient interest in the game, I would like to offer online leaderboards.
  • Support for other VR Headsets. Currently, this is supported only for Rift S, since it's the only headset I have. I would be interested to find testers for other headsets.
  • Voice Narration. The tutorial touches on all of the controls, and most of the mechanics, but it's hardly inspiring. I would like to add voice narration to the instructions, for a personal touch.
  • UI Cleanups.The UI design space in VR is fascinating, and I know I could have done a better job. I think sometimes my UI feels cluttered or confused. I'm happy to take suggestions.

Conclusion

Spacefare was made for you if:

  • you like space simulators with 6DOF
  • you like shooters with physical projectiles
  • you like solving mazes
  • you like replay-ability in games

Even if you don't like those things, Spacefare represents a gameplay experience in VR that's worth your attention. With the right settings, you can expect a unique maze to solve every time you play. When things get too easy, you can add some difficulty modifiers to intensify the experience. Spacefare offers a wide range of experiences for anyone who can handle space flight, so give it a shot, spacefarer!

Militaries are now using virtual reality to train soldiers in ways that will help better prepare them when they are actually deployed in combat.

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