Espire 1: VR Operative - a VR Stealth game for Vive & Rift

ESPIRE 1: VR Operative
VR Stealth game for HTC Vive & Oculus Touch

I have just completed a first prototype for Espire 1: VR Operative - a story-based game with a focus on stealth. I have put together a website which details the project and created a first prototype video below to reveal the project. I am seeking funding & partnership to complete the game and planning a dedicated VR-Arcade version. Get in contact with me for more info!

This is my website for Espire 1. The site currently contains an overview of the game, myself, the trailer and some contact details.
I hope to form a discussion about this project on this thread and seek feedback, comments, connections and suggestions! I’m producing VR Diary videos to document my progress on the game and each time I have a new VR Video or update, I will post in this thread.

This game is only possible thanks to the remarkable hardware, software and community that has built up around VR. This level of quality wouldn’t be achieved without the incredible 3D assets, tutorials, example scenes and other learning material that the Unreal Engine developer community is creating. A particular thanks to the following UE devs:

Mordentral, creator of the Unreal Engine VRExpansionPlugin
Cubit Studios / Ballistics FX
Drix Studios / AI Behavior Toolkit
Mathew Wadstein, Unreal Engine Expert
Mitch McCaffrey / Mitch’s VR Lab

A huge thanks goes to Epic Games - I have worked for many years as a 3D Artist on “Offline Rendered” Animation projects, while dabling with Source engine. When Unreal Engine 4 was released “Free” in 2014, I was introduced to a whole new world of realtime 3D, the incredibly helpful Developer community and all the many resources for aspiring developers. Since then I have spent all my spare time learning as much as I can about Unreal and love it!

Please post in this thread or contact me via this contact form.

This looks amazing. Could be a real budget cuts killer. Just wish there was more interest here and less snobbery when it comes to VR as you can see from the overwhelming amount of comments you have received to this post.

hahaha! Thanks for the kind words! Well, I gotta say haven’t received any snobbery in the UE forums :slight_smile: There are a few great VR developers sharing work in Unreal. The prototype is made up of heaps of Unreal Marketplace assets, and the creators of those assets have been very helpful with questions, advice and comments.

I’ve released a development update. I’m working on this project full-time. I’ve had the chance to work with some great people on the project over the past few weeks, including Justin from Drix Studios - the developer of the AI Behavior Toolkit. I look forward to sharing more updates soon!

This is an amazing project :slight_smile:

I am very keen to share a new update for Espire 1: VR Operative, this time revealing the game’s “Control Theatre” VR locomotion system and it’s overall concept both of which are explicitly linked!

I’ve uploaded a video overview here:

Overall Concept:
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 can:

  • 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.

I’m very interested in hearing any feedback on the concept and locomotion system based of 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 I am finishing up a few challenges to demonstrate them. Thanks for checking out Espire 1.

Some extra notes on how the Control Theatre is implemented in the above video, for those that are interested.

  1. The control theatre geometry is spawned attached to the player OnBeginPlay. When the player physically moves within their tracked space, the control theatre has an offset to remain in the correct relevant position to the player (this is handled by Mordentral’s VRExpansionPlugin).
  2. The Control Theatre has a translucent material with the depth pass disabled so it will always render on top of everything else.
  3. The “Control Viewer” (the window into Espire’s world) is a plane mesh that is a component of the control theatre. It is not rendered into the main pass, but it has a stencil ID. It will render into the “Stencil buffer”.
  4. The control theatre’s material checks the stencil buffer for the position of the control viewer plane. The result is inverted so that the shape of the invisible ‘Control viewer’ cuts through the control theatre.
  5. The “Motion Controller” meshes have a material without the invert applied so the control viewer cuts them out, and they’re only visible in the control theatre.
  6. there is logic to bring up the control viewer and control theatre whenever artificial movement is detected (airborne, thumbstick movement, climbing, colliding, sliding along ground, etc)

Here’s our latest Espire 1 Development diary, showing some gameplay footage from one of the prototype’s 6 bite-sized “Virtual Challenges”.

We pitch Espire 1 as “Metal Gear Solid meets Goldeneye 007 in an immersive VR world”. We believe our “Control Theatre” VR Locomotion system will allow players freedom of movement while minimizing VR sickness and maintaining immersion. We’re currently pitching this project and seeking funding to accelerate development. Thanks for checking out the project.