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!