Category Archives: Development Updates

We’re excited to share that we’re now actively pitching Espire 1: VR Operative and have another development video. Espire 1 is a focused VR Stealth Experience. We’ve been hard at work developing the game and have now begun pitching the project to accelerate its release. This video summarises the project and shows gameplay from one of Espire’s 200 short “VR Challenges”.

We describe Espire 1: VR Operative as Metal Gear Solid meets Goldeneye 007 in an immersive VR world. The full game features 2 game modes. There’s 15 objective-based story-driven missions, split across 9 Espire operations and the 200 Virtual Training Challenges; each challenge testing a specific game mechanic across 20 categories.

If you’re interested in partnering with us and would like to hear more information about the project or evaluate the prototype, please get in touch. We’ve now completed the prototype and are polishing it up for public release as a playable demo.

Now Pitching Espire 1: VR Operative – Dev Diary #3

Our latest update for Espire 1: VR Operative reveals both the game’s “Control Theatre” VR locomotion system and it’s overall concept – both of which are explicitly linked!


Espire 1: VR Operative drafts players as drone operators of the future. Players become “Espire Agents” and use “cutting edge Virtual Reality hardware” to remote-operate the Espire model 1 from the safety of their control theatre. The player will be standing within the Espire control theatre from the moment they launch the Espire 1 executable from their steam game library until the moment they quit.

Locomotion System

This control theatre is the game’s key locomotion ‘comfort’ device. Any time the player performs any sort of artificial locomotion, Espire’s world shrinks down to the size of a floating ipad, with the control theatre visible in the player’s peripheral vision.

With this “VR within VR” concept, we will:

  • allow precise freedom of movement
  • minimize VR sickness
  • maintain immersion.

This concept allows us to deliver an optimized standing, 180 degrees, or 360 degree roomscale experience with the level of comfort that suits the individual player. It is a system that is highly customizable and can be completely turned off for those not susceptible to VR sickness.

Check out our 2nd Dev Diary below:

We’re very interested in hearing any feedback on the concept and locomotion system based off the video and the impending prototype demo release.

There is still a lot of work to do for it to effectively minimize VR sickness but after months of development the locomotion system & game concept are ready to be revealed. The prototype still needs some work, but all the ‘boring’ mechanics have been implemented, and we are finishing up a few challenges to demonstrate them. Thanks for the continued interest in Espire 1!

Espire Dev Diary #2 – Control theatre VR Locomotion concept

Espire 1 - VR stealth game update

Espire1 VR Development Diary #1

Hi, This is Michael Wentworth-Bell, the designer of Espire 1: VR operative, with a development update. The video below is my first VR Development diary for Espire 1: VR Operative, and I aim to release these regularly going forward.

This video covers 3 topics.


The first is oculus Rift support.

I’m now supporting the Touch and the Vive. As shown earlier, the game is designed as a roomscale experience, but works as a standing forward-facing experience. I have snap-turning hooked straight into the thumbsticks so I can quickly snap left and right. Based on user feedback I’m also offering comfort controls such as an artificial crouch button.

The 2nd thing is climbing.

This mechanic was implemented by Mordentral using the openVR expansion plugin. This was a huge request I received after the initial trailer and combined with the sliding locomotion gives players complete freedom of movement. My comfort mode is a key story component and will be detailed in a coming video.

The 3rd is the physics actor message system.

There’s a lot of work left to do with this, but I’m extremely proud of it. This is a mechanic I designed during my initial prototype, and it has been implemented with the help of Justin at Drix studios. This is one of the core features that really translates the stealth genre into the world of positionally tracked VR and I’m going to dedicate whole videos to different aspects of this feature in the week’s leading up to the demo release.

In a nutshell the Physics actor message system gives natural sound to every object in the game. When 2 objects collide, the velocity, material types, object mass and object properties dictate the radius of the resulting noise. This allows a lot of creativity and flexibility into how you approach situations. There are also many factors to consider – you really have to be careful not to knock over stacks of objects if you want to avoid detection.

The physics actor message system isn’t just used for sound perception. If I hit an enemy with a heavy enough object at the right speed, I can knock them unconscious!

Sorry for the lack of updates!

This video marks a relaunch of the project and the first of my regular video updates as I work towards releasing the prototype and the game’s release.

I apologize for the radio silence. I was honestly overwhelmed and underprepared by the huge response my first prototype trailer got.

In the weeks after the trailer’s released, I was lucky to make contact with so many incredible people in the VR industry. I had created my initial prototype trailer in 7 weeks of my spare time, this was outside of my fulltime job and other commitments. I did not expect the level of interest the trailer received.

Since then, I’ve received so many offers for help and advice from many people, many exciting opportunities for the project and have given this everything I have – I’ve dropped down from my previous commitments and have been working fulltime on Espire 1.

I’ve taken on board all the feedback and suggestions I’ve received and I’ve almost finished an updated prototype that has the core mechanics functional. I’ve worked with some great people on the project and I look forward to sharing more news very shortly! I’m always looking out for help and support.

If you are interested in partnering with me, do get in touch.

I have created dedicated YouTube and social media channels for the project and am very actively sharing my progress now. Thank-you for your continued support and interest.

I can’t wait to get the game into the hands of stealth fans around the world!

Logo for Espire 1 VR Stealth game

Espire 1 Development Diary

Michael Wentworth-Bell here, lead designer of Espire 1: VR Operative. I’ve started two development diary threads – one on CGTalk, my favourite Computer Graphics community, and a second on the Unreal Engine Developer’s forum.

I will update these threads with every VR Diary video that I release and every major milestone. With these threads i’m hoping to connect with other artists in the CG and VR development communities and hope to form discussions around the game, Stealth and VR.

Espire 1 – CGTalk Development Thread

Espire 1 – Unreal Engine Development Thread

My early Espire dev vides from late 2016 / early 2017:

Espire 1 – VR Development Diary Videos on my personal YouTube account

Note – July 2017: Espire VR stealth dev videos will now be posted on the official Espire VR account.