Today, we announced the launch of Playsnak’s latest VR game, Wanted Killer VR, available now on Steam Early Access. Based on the popular mobile game, Wanted Killer (more news on that soon) the game is an action packed VR first person shooter, which also encorporates booomVR technology in the game’s game lobby.
The game has a unique cartoon-style, cell shaded look, which makes it feel like you are inside a comic book, or an old GI Joe cartoon. It is super fun to play, very physical and so far, we have been getting a ton of great feedback and reviews. It is very exciting to finally get this game out and the guys at Playsnak did an awesome job!
Moving forward, I will be working with the publishing team to do quite a bit of marketing and promotion for this game, so expect great things!
Read the full press release below:
Wanted Killer VR Hits Steam Early Access Today
BERLIN – 23 May, 2018 – Serve up sweet revenge as old-school action and futuristic firepower collide in Wanted Killer VR – an intense arcade-style shooter available now on Steam Early Access for $9.99 or equivalent in local currency.
From Berlin-based developer Playsnak, Wanted Killer VR invites you to leap into combat and take down the evil GENETIC MINDS Corp. before their dreams of world domination become a reality. At your disposal you’ll have an arsenal of upgradeable weapons and a crew of hard-boiled heroes with unique gunslinging traits.
You’ll also have the game-changing ability to teleport from one target to the next in the heat of battle, stealing their guns and making them your own. These unique skills create a fast-paced combat experience that merges breathless action with subtle strategic possibilities. Think fast to rack up killer combos and enter a state of deadly, totally immersive bullet-time flow.
Further setting Wanted Killer VR apart from the crowd, the game has a unique visual style that truly comes to life in virtual reality. Get ready to feast your eyes on a host of spectacular settings as you stalk your prey across skyscrapers and through subway stations – all the time closing in on the awful truth behind GENETIC MINDS Corp.
You can sample Wanted Killer VR right now on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality by downloading it on Steam Early Access. You can also see more of the game in action and hear from some of the team behind it in this trailer:
Founder and CEO of Playsnak, Paha Schulz, said: “We couldn’t be happier with how Wanted Killer VR is shaping up, and we’re really excited to continue development with input from Early Access players. The team has done an amazing job of creating a world where frenetic gameplay and individual tactical choice go hand in hand, and we can’t wait to hear what people think.”Game Director on Wanted Killer VR, P.J. Esteves, said: “Our goal is put players right at the heart of white-knuckle action sequences. You really are free to find your own flow and get creative in how you put the game’s innovative weapons to work. We had the chance to show the game at gamesweekberlin this month, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. Early Access will give an even wider audience a full-blooded taste of Wanted Killer VR, and we’ll be listening to everything they say as we keep working to make the game something really special.”
Wanted Killer VR is out now on Steam Early Access and coming soon to the Oculus Store. Find out more at the game’s official website and stay in touch with all the latest news on Wanted Killer VR at facebook.com/WantedKillerVR.
Founded in 2015, Playsnak is a Berlin-based, globally-connected next-generation games company. Playsnak strives to create groundbreaking experiences for the maturing VR and AR markets. For more information, please visit http://playsnak.com.
This week, I am proud to announce the launch of Neon Seoul: Outrun, a VR hoverbike racing game for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The game was developed in partnership with Playsnak and incorporates some of the technology from my other project, booomVR, to power the game’s game lobby and marketing portal. The game was launched on Oculus store with Steam and Viveport support will be coming very soon.
You can read the full press release below:
Take a White-Knuckle Ride Into The Future in Neon Seoul: Outrun – Available Now on Oculus Early Access
BERLIN – 7 December, 2017 – Get ready for the rush of VR hoverbike racing in Neon Seoul: Outrun—an all-new IP from Berlin-based developer Playsnak, available now on Oculus Early Access.
Set in a sprawling cyberpunk universe, Neon Seoul: Outrun places you in the driving seat of a maxed-out hoverbike primed to clock up speeds of over 1,000km/h. You are an OutRunner—a rebel racer defying the AI overlords that control your world, and risking your life for the thrill of unfiltered, off-the-grid speed.
As you weave past rivals and seas of automated vehicles, an innovative control system invites you to lean into VR and steer your bike with intuitive body movements. No two track experiences are ever the same in Neon Seoul: Outrun, giving you endless challenges to overcome as you race to an atmospheric synthwave soundtrack featuring artists such as Isidor, Raphael Gesqua, and Noise Symphony.
The game is also the first installment in a larger cyperpunk saga from Playsnak, which will grow to include different types of VR experiences and storylines set in the same futuristic world.
Game Director on Neon Seoul: Outrun, Patrick Esteves, said: “The game really harnesses the power of VR to give an authentic sense of speed and control in a racing game. Players will enter a universe where the sights, sounds, and stories all combine to fuel the adrenalin rush of fighting for first place. We’re bringing Neon Seoul: Outrun to Early Access today so our community can make its voice heard right from the start and help us to shape not only the gameplay, but also the immersive cyberpunk world we’re building.”
Neon Seoul: Outrun is the second new IP announced by Playsnak this month, following on from news that story-driven adventure Shaman: Spirithunter will come to Oculus Rift in 2018.
Founded in 2015, Playsnak is a global next-generation games company with offices in Berlin, Germany and Los Angeles, USA. Playsnak strives to create groundbreaking experiences for the maturing VR and AR markets. For more information, please visit https://www.playsnak.com.
As I mentioned in my last post, I recently joined a new startup called Rocketbike ARVR as CMO & Creative Director. Last fall we pitched and received funding from the Vienna AWS Impulse XS to build a functional prototype for our first VR concept, which I am excited to say, is now completed!
booomVR is a virtual reality web browser and content aggregation platform. It allows for easy browsing, organizing and sharing of 2D, 3D, stereoscopic and 360 VR content within the same user interface.
booomVR is targeted towards brands & VR content providers who need a marketing platform to reach VR end users: (aka the current 1.5 Million VR headset owners) We provide them with a solution that can: increase visibilty, discoverablity, engagement & time spent on content. Plus we can be platform agnostic, so it will work on any headset.
Our primary revenue models are providing licensing and advertising solutions to brands, content providers & advertisers. This includes:
White Label Licensing – Basic, Power, Premium & Distributor Liscensing Packages for brands that want their own app, powered by our software
Licensing Branded Content Channels, Portals / Environments in the Main booomVR App, which we will be launching later in the year
Advertising Opportunities within the app.
Over the last two months, since we went public, there has been a whirlwind of activity and interest, including our first whitelable partnership, which I will be announcing very soon.
We have currently entered closed alpha release for Oculus Rift, with a closed beta coming soon and our main app launching later in the year. In the meantime, we are having a lot of discussions with investors, content partners and brands for both the main app and white lable projects.
If you are interested in more info on booomVR or how you can get involved, please get in touch!
Since i’m pretty busy these days and don’t have a lot of time for my personal blog, I encourage you to stay up to date on all the latest info on booomVR and Rocketbike ARVR via the links below and by joining our mailing lists.
I’ve been doing some experimenting with the Google Cardboard SDK for Unity and I wanted to share this little prototype iPhone app I have been working on. This is a demo virtual reality motorcycle configurator app that features a 3D model based on the 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight. (One of my favorite bikes, ever.)
So far the app allows you to change colors, start the bike, see lights and hear sound. I’ll share more as the project progresses.
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT an official Harley Davidson project, I just needed a theme and I am a huge Harley Sportster fan.
Learning Unity, C# and Xcode has been slow going, as there is definitely a huge learning curve, but the process has been rewarding as well as a great introduction to building small VR applications.
As basic as it is, I really like working on VR apps for the phone, as opposed to the more involved projects using the Oculus DK2. Sure, Oculus apps look nice, but there is something about being able to just pull the phone out anywhere and let others experience things, as opposed to having to be tied to a PC and sitting in front of a chair, I think is really exciting.
I would like to announce the launch of a AR/VR Magazine. The new website will focus on discussing all the latest news, trends, resources and analysis of the Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Industry. This also includes sim-tech, 360 content, wearables, immersive experiences other related technology.
The Augmented Reality industry is exploding and it is estimated that by 2020, will reach a valuation of $150 Billion. I want to be part of this exciting new industry and AR/VR Magazine is the first of many steps to position myself to be there. I hope you will join me.
Once I had it configured and fired up the demo, I believe my first words were:
“Woah!! Oh shit… (thinking “I actually feel a little nauseous”) then “Weird, I can’t see my hands!” then “Hmmm, I kind of feel a little nerdy with this thing on my head” but then finally… “Oh my God, this is amazing! I’ve got to do this!”
The result has been a total shift in direction for me and ever since, I have been immersing myself (no pun intended) into learning as much as possible about developing Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR, VR) and immersive 360 degree content.
A New Emotional Frontier
VR content is both, physical and emotional, at the same time. You experience being in the environment, not just looking at it from a distance through a rectangular window. As a result, you have a much more emotional connection with the content.
At the same time, you feel it physically, because your eyes, ears and brain are reacting as if you are there in real life. A great VR experience is thrilling. A bad one can make you nauseous. (Sim sickness, as it is called, is very real and not fun. A friend of mine admitted that he still felt sick even thinking about his first VR driving experience, weeks after trying it.)
The main point being, the experience is sticky. it can stay with you much longer than traditional media, because it embeds into your memory like a real experience.
As a result, VR is a very powerful storytelling medium for content and it opens up a lot of new and exciting opportunities.
Breaking Outside The Box
Another exciting aspect of VR is the fact that we are no longer restricted to rectangular content. When you think about it, not much has changed over the years in regards to how we consume content. Regardless of the UI, it is pretty much just square and rectangular screens of various sizes that display square and rectangular grids of images, videos, audio, games and text, which is read left/right/top & bottom.
As a user experience consultant and information architect, my job up until now, has been to create new interactive interfaces, websites, apps, software & content to fill them. More and more lately, the design industry has been struggling to come to terms with the fact that much of the web experience from a UI perspective, has been built.
Other than optimization, most of the big problems have been solved. Because of software like Google Material Design, Android, responsive web design, web components, bootstrap & contextual push notifications, etc, the web is becoming standardized. Reinventing the wheel in regards to the web UI is no longer necessary as the main focus.
The future is about experience design and it is all about the content and it’s context. With AR & VR, we can now break out of the box and experience a new immersive type of content that wraps around you in 360 degrees or appears as a layer over the real world.
Going to a movie will no longer be a 2 dimensional box you look at from a distance. Instead, you will be inside it. It has a front and a back, an up and a down. It has depth and you can navigate it like a first person shooter or a MMORPG video game.
It’s like the Wild West again, and I think that is both refreshing and really exciting. Sure, there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of experimenting to be done, but that’s part of the fun when it comes to designing the future.
New Devices & Content
Oculus has announced that their first commercial product, The Rift, will be on the market in Q1 2016, so I am betting that it will be the “must have” gear for Christmas 2016. They are projecting sales of over 12 million AR/VR devices in 2016, with 60% of them being Oculus products. By 2020, they anticipate the AR/VR industry to reach $150 Billion is annual sales.
To meet these projections, lots of VR content is being developed as we speak and many content companies, especially game companies, are switching their focus to primarily VR in the future.
Check out what my old coworkers at Crytek are working on.
There are also a number of other device manufacturers such as Microsoft HoloLens & Magic Leap, that promise some really amazing experiences. Only time will tell, but considering that one of my favorite sci-fi authors Neil Stephenson has joined Magic Leap as Chief Futurist, needless to say, these are really exciting times.
We are also not just confined to expensive headsets wired to your computer. Google has released Google Cardboard, which allows you to take a simple smart phone, insert it into a piece of cardboard with two glass lenses and get a very similar Virtual Reality experience.
This makes the point of entry cost for VR experiences really low, allowing for some awesome opportunities for education and social causes.
Over the past couple months, I have been basically experimenting and learning everything I can about AR, VR and other forms of sim tech.
One main focus is learning how to develop immersive content for Oculus and Google Cardboard using Unity, which is a 3D gaming engine. The C# coding aspect is proving to be a steep learning curve, but I am taking it step by step and I am committed.
Here’s a little instagram video of an experiment I did in Unity creating a maze for Oculus. Gotta have cats…
One exciting aspect of developing AR/VR content in a game engine is it’s ability to use artificial intelligence. I think the future of content combined with both, the new visual based VR/AR devices, as well as all of the connected products of Internet of Things will require some sort of 3D environment to both conceptualize and to build smart, connected, immersive experiences.
There are a lot of new User Experience issues to tackle with AR/VR projects as well. Lots of use cases, usability and design standards that need to be studied and developed for the industry. The “nausea factor” is a serious issue and a core focus of UX for VR is being gentle with the user and not making them sick. I think these are critical issues that need to be considered, especially for my own work as a consultant.
On the flip side, I can also anticipate a trend in extreme VR sports for the people who want a thrill. I totally anticipate a VR game coming out called “Don’t Puke” that tracks your eyes to make sure you keep them open during extreme, gut wrenching experiences. You win points for not vomiting. Kind of like the future’s answer to a drinking game. Or maybe drunk VR games will replace the mechanical bull?
Who knows…? Mark my words though, it will happen.
Another focus for me is how to better integrate my art in the AR/VR space. I have a few ideas, but for now I am just playing and having fun. As far as an art platform, AR/VR is wide open and there is SO MUCH potential for being creative.
More Apple Support Please!
On a side note, I have also started an Apple developer account and I am getting fluent on how to port content to the iPhone. Doing AR & VR for the Apple platform however, is proving challenging in regards to plugin and SDK support. Since Apple recently purchased Metaio, (which is one of the only AR software companies for Apple) and then shut down new accounts, AR on Mac is a bit limited until they come out with their own AR/VR device (whenever that may be…) Oculus will not be supporting Apple any time soon.
As a result I will probably tackle Android development soon, as well as possibly switching to a PC based machine. It’s looking like the next couple years will really be in favor of a PC based dev environment.
(Apple, if you are reading this, throw us a sign, will ya? At least a teaser that you have something cooking in this space or maybe when we can expect it.)
I have also been joining a lot of AR/VR communities and trying to network with as many like minded enthusiasts as I can.
If you are a AR/VR fan, feel free to connect with me on all the socials. I would love to talk shop.
If you are an AR/VR company and have a project that you think might be in need of my skills, please get in touch. I am very interested in getting involved and getting some hands on experience however I can.
In the meantime, I will probably be posting quite a bit more on the topic so stay tuned.