Latest StoriesGaming
    Hands-On: VR Zombie Shooting in Arizona Sunshine

    Developer Vertigo Games are making a zombie shoot-'em-up for the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and we demo it at the recent SteamVR Developer Showcase. Afterward, we chat with the studio about how it's making zombie shooting fun, interesting, and challenging in room-scale VR.

    Hands-On: VR Shooting Gallery in Space Pirate Trainer

    Here's one game we played at the SteamVR Developer Showcase that feels like the perfect virtual reality arcade game. Space Pirate Trainer shows that there's a lot of complexity and tuning needed to get one just one basic mechanic feeling right in VR. They've got the shooting gallery down!

    Hands-On: VR Multiplayer Shootouts in Hover Junkers

    Hover Junkers is the first multiplayer shooter we've played in virtual reality, and we loved every minute of our demo in it. We chat with the game's lead designer to learn how VR enhances deathmatch gameplay, and how flying RC quadcopters and playing with airsoft informed Hover Junkers' design.

    Hands-On: Cloudlands VR Minigolf on the HTC Vive Pre

    Virtual reality can take simple activities like miniature golf and put them in fantastic environments. We try Cloudlands: VR Minigolf at the recent SteamVR Developer Showcase and learn how replicating the feel of accurately putting a golf ball is surprisingly complicated.

    Hands-On: Fantastic Contraption with HTC Vive Pre

    At the recent SteamVR Developer Showcase, we got more hands-on time with Fantastic Contraption, a creative physics-based puzzle game that makes excellent use of virtual reality. We chat with the developers to learn how they're experimenting with physics and user interface in VR.

    Hands-On: The Gallery with HTC Vive Pre

    We go hands-on with The Gallery: Call of the Starseed, an adventure game made for room-scale virtual reality. We chat with the game's developer about how you traverse large spaces in The Gallery, the challenges of designing VR puzzles, and how performance capture is augmented with headsets.

    Hands-On: Virtual Reality Portals in Budget Cuts

    At the recent SteamVR Developer Showcase, we played a little of Budget Cuts, a virtual reality stealth/puzzle game using room-scale environment and portals for locomotion. We chat with one of its creators to learn how effective portals can be for VR gameplay, and share some demo impressions.

    Designing 3D-Printed Mechwarrior Mechs

    We're joined in the office by 3D modeler and designer Jacky Wan, who shares with us his 3D printed Mechwarrior online mechs. These figures were created on his Ultimaker by extracting in-game models and then modifying and adapting them for printing. Jacky chats with us about what it takes to turn game files into printable objects!

    Interview: Valve's Chet Faliszek on Steam VR and HTC Vive Pre

    We return to the HTC booth to meet up with Valve's Chet Faliszek, who has been working with developers on virtual reality games and content. We chat with Chet about the latest updates to the HTC Vive Pre, the Steam VR platform, and what developers have learned from their experimentation with roomscale VR!

    Interview: Palmer Luckey on Oculus Rift's Launch Price and Hardware

    We couldn't leave CES without checking in with the Oculus team and checking out the final hardware and packaging for the Oculus Rift. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey chats with us about the Rift's $600 price, how much custom hardware goes into building the headset, Oculus Touch changes, and Oculus Home software.

    Checking In with Razer's OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

    We stop by the Razer booth at CES to check in on the company's OSVR imitative and try out the Hacker Dev Kit virtual reality headset. It's not as polished a VR headset as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but gives developers similar features to make games and experiment with virtual reality.

    Hands-On with Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Core

    Razer is known for unveiling far-out gaming hardware concepts at CES, but this year's product reveal seems more practical. The Razer Blade Stealth is an Ultrabook, running an Intel Core i7 processor and integrated graphics. However, games can run on an external graphics card in the form of the Razer Core, which simply connects to the laptop over a Thunderbolt cable!

    Interview: Oculus' Jason Rubin Talks Virtual Reality Game Development

    We recently demoed The Climb, a new virtual reality game from Crytek. At our demo session, we had the opportunity to chat with Jason Rubin, the Head of Worldwide Studios at Oculus, about his role in working with developers to make great virtual reality games for the launch of the Oculus Rift. The following is a transcript of our conversation, which you can also watch in our preview video for The Climb.

    Tested: Jason, you work with game developers to make games for the Oculus Rift. What's been your experience working with those devs making their first virtual reality games?

    Jason Rubin: My job is to bring great titles to the Oculus platform at launch and thereafter, and make sure that we push VR forward and kind of do new things and experiment--experimentation that might not happen if Oculus didn't get out there and get involved in the developer community. We bring best practices, finances, production expertise, and things like that. And we've had a lot of takers.

    When I started, I thought it was going to be a job about convincing people to develop for VR. Turns out that's actually the easiest thing I do--I just drop off a development kit, and the minute it's in some studio, the studio immediately wants to work on it. I end up giving them more kits and people come up with ideas. So I spend a lot of my time working on best practices, making games comfortable, making them novel and unique, scoping things, and then making sure the games actually happen.

    Do you find that the first wave of what the developers try to make end up all being similar? What are the things they gravitate toward that aren't necessarily the things that you want to push for Oculus?

    We have a difficult challenge because we have 30 years of game development behind us as a community. Obviously, we've come up with ideas we really like, that are also extremely fun, some of which work really well in virtual reality, and some of which don't. But also importantly, we've opened up an entirely new realm of games that could be created--it's hard to say "you have a year, go create new stuff." It takes time to experiment, and it takes time to come up with those new ideas.

    [Crytek's] The Climb is one of those things where I walked into a pitch for--"things we think would be cool in VR"--there were a slew of ideas on the table, and I just latched onto this idea of climbing. It was extremely well prototyped, it was comfortable, it was fun, and you could see the hook there immediately. On top of that, one of the demos that we had been giving at Oculus that was most well received was standing at the edge of a building. So I knew people really liked the immersion and the presence that VR brings, like that kind of butterflies-in-your-stomach moment when you're looking out over the edge. Here was a title that could bring that to the gamer, but also offer really compelling gameplay. So we decided to focus on this, and Crytek was extremely excited to get going and focus on that specific idea and flesh it out into something that's a wide ranging and compelling gameplay experience.

    Hands-On: Crytek's Virtual Reality Game 'The Climb'

    As we get closer to the Oculus Rift's consumer release, we're seeing more virtual reality games revealed for the launch. Crytek just announced The Climb, a VR climbing simulator that uses either gamepad or the Oculus Touch controllers. We play a bit of it, chat with Crytek about developing for this new platform, and share our impressions. Plus, a bonus interview with Jason Rubin, head of Oculus Studios!

    We Playtest EVE: Valkyrie on Oculus Rift CV1

    We play the latest build of EVE: Valkyrie on the Oculus Rift consumer headset in a multiplayer session showing new game modes and content. After the playtest, we chat with the game's lead designer, Andrew Willans, about the challenges and lessons learned from making a cockpit shooter for the Oculus Rift, and share our impressions of the demo. An hour of VR gaming went by really quickly!

    AltspaceVR Announces Support for Dungeons & Dragons

    AltspaceVR, a social VR company, just announced a partnership with Wizards of the Coast to bring Dungeons & Dragons to virtual reality. Currently, with support for the Oculus DK2, users can create instances of a virtual tavern, design a battlegrid map, and then join a DM-created campaign with other users to play out a game, complete with voice chat and crude robot avatars. It's the tabletop equivalent of Oculus' own Social app, with more interactivity. Social vr is going to be a big deal. (h/t Gizmodo)

    PinballBulbs' Mini Virtual Pinball Cabinet

    We were recently at California Extreme, an annual convention celebrating classic arcade and pinball games. At the show, we were introduced to PinballBulbs' Mini Virtual Pinball machine--a cabinet designed to play emulated and digital games like Pinball FX. We play with the machine to see how the experience compares to a traditional pinball cabinet!

    Tested Builds: DIY Arcade Cabinet Kit, Part 1

    Time to start more weeks of builds! This week, we're joined by Jeremy Williams to assemble his new Porta-Pi DIY Arcade Cabinet Kit. the Porta-Pi is a desktop-sized arcade emulator that runs on either a Raspberry Pi or mini computer. Jeremy had built an earlier version, but the new model has a larger screen and more powerful computer inside. Let's get to building! (Follow along the rest of the week by joining the Tested Premium member community!)

    In Brief: The Rise and Fall of Virtuality

    The Kernel has a good feature documenting the story of Virtuality, the commercial VR game company that dominated arcades in the early 90s. There are some interesting lessons here about the enduring appeal of virtual reality, what early adopters found compelling about Virtuality's experiences, and how unrealistic expectations led to its downfall. Two decades later, I think a lot of VR enthusiasts believe that the current wave of consumer VR hardware is destined to succeed. But the truth is that it's still a fragile technology that has a lot of hurdles to overcome to break into the mainstream the same way that smartphones have done.

    Norman