With the upcoming release of Dick Wilde 2 for VR platforms, I was able to get the opportunity to talk with the developers and ask them some questions about the game.
The first Dick Wilde was an exciting VR shooting gallery style game. The follow up game to this is set to include online coop and many other cool features to make this a much better title than the first. I have yet to get my hands on it, but I am definitely looking forward to it!
Check out the brief Q/A below
Dick Wilde 2 is the third game you have released. How has the studio evolved since the creation of the first game. Do you look back on hurdles and roadblocks from the early days and wonder what all the fuss was or is developing in VR a relentless monster?
VR is a moving platform. Every update to the 3D engine removes headaches and adds new challenges. Luckily we have developed a good relationship with Unity, and participate in the cutting-edge development of the engine by trying out the latest technologies and putting it through real life games development.
What sort of technical hurdles did you come across having to make a VR title over a standard game?
Everything has to run 90 frames per second. At all times. At the same time, the player has the freedom to move close to all 3D models, giving developers and artist a real balancing act between high-poly models and performance. The hurdles have changed a lot over the years. Like when launching the Touch controllers, handling them was a pain. Six months after, that pain has gone away, and new issues are now showing up. All in all, the ecosystem behind VR applications is maturing, and focus shifts from technical problems to classic game development issues.
Were there any advantages/disadvantages having to develop for the PSVR compared to the headsets on PC where you have more powerful hardware to work with?
The PSVR platform does put some restrictions on developers, primarily video memory and processor power is limited. At the same time, PSVR lets you get away with fewer frames, because they have clever algorithms working to your advantage. There’s pros and cons to each headset on the market.
Where did the inspiration for Dick Wilde come from? Did you come up with it first and work VR around it or did you decide to make a VR game and dick Wilde emerged from the flames.
Dick Wilde was a VR title from the get-go. Inspired by youtube videos of rednecks fishing for Asian carp in the south-west. The fishermen where waterskiing with triforks, fishing with dynamite, bow and arrow and homemade contraptions. We REALLY wanted to try that, but feared being arrested if firing dynamite on the lakes of Copenhagen. So we decided to do it in VR instead.
For the first game, one thing a lot of people had complaints about was the difficulty level. What was the reasoning behind having it so high and has been much a change in the new game?
We wanted to create the feeling of a good old arcade game, where the learning curve was low, but the difficulty curve was high. The primary replayability of Dick Wilde 1 was mastery and highscores. Dick Wilde 1 is hard, but not unfair, and every level has its own rhythm to it. All levels are scripted, so the exact same thing happens every time, allowing you to learn and memorize. The difficulty curve was maybe to steep from the beginning, but patching it would render the highscores useless. We still have a debate about it on the team whether we should patch it or not.
I saw someone say that they didn’t even know the levels had bosses, they died in every level before reaching them. Does it bother anyone that players may never be able to experience these battles?
Yes. It does bother me a little, since the turtle boss was quite fun. We will discuss internally a way to patch without rendering all highscores unusable.
I noticed the previous game did not have a Platinum trophy on the PS4. Was there a reason why and will the next game have a Platinum? (i know studios are probably driven mad by trophy hunters but the exclusion of a platinum trophy seems to be quite the mystery sometimes, I would love to know a little more behind why some games have them and others do not)
So, Dick Wilde 1 was considered a small scale game by Sony, and Dick Wilde 2 is bordering on the line. Small scale games do not have platinum trophies. Dick Wilde 2 will launch without a platinum trophy, but we hope to have one with a future content update.
Support for the PS aim controller is a very welcome addition that we do not see enough of in VR shooters. Was it a difficult controller to add support for?
The Aim comes with its own set of challenges. Balancing wise, the game has to cater for the fact that you now only have one gun, and can only point it in one direction at a time. The tracking of the aim controller is something that we are very proud of, as we have some special sauce controlling the way it tracks the controller.
The weapons were part of what made the first game so enjoyable. What can we expect this time around? Any melee weapons for last minute defense?
No melee, sorry. Melee sounds like a lot of fun, and it is, but only for a few minutes, like Fruit Ninja is fun, but won’t last you many hours before you move on. Dick Wilde 2 is massive, and has 15 different weapons in four different classes. All of the weapons are also available as Aim versions.
The stationary raft in the first game made it great for people who get motion sick while playing VR games. Has anything extra been done to mitigate sickness now that the raft can move?
So, we have added a lot of little tricks to steady the player, many of them in-house inventions. We have thoroughly game tested with many players, and can safely say that all test subject came back from the rivers unscathed. We cannot say that every single player will feel no nausea, but my guess would be 98-99 procent will not feel motion sickness.
Having learned lessons from the first game, what was the biggest aspect of the game that the team were happy to have a second attempt at?
Game progression and reason to replay the game was a big focus. At the same time catering for the challenge lovers and the casual gamers was also one of the main priorities. And we REALLY wanted the first game to have multiplayer, but lacked the funding to complete it for the first iteration.
How difficult was it to get online co-op working.
Co-op has been a bigger challenge than expected, and we also wanted it to work cross-platform so Rift, Vive and PSVR could find each other and play together. We are particularly proud to say that cross-play is working and is really enjoyable.
For such a high paced game, latency must be the ultimate enemy. Did VR make the online elements more difficult to implement due to the amount of data you must capture about the players movement and actions before being able to transmit that to the other end?
Yes and no. The framework and technology is the same, but for every player we have to transmit three times the positional data than a normal multiplayer game. So while the technology stack is not different, we have to apply some magic to make it smooth.
If the team were given a blank cheque to build a game, what would it be?
There are many different answers to that question depending on who you ask in the office. Personally, I would like to build a grand scale real time strategy game, the VR spiritual successor to Supreme Commander.”