PIERS J A CKSON T OM J ONES

Game di­rec­tor; art di­rec­tor, Guer­rilla Games Cam­bridge

EDGE - - ALTERED STATES -

With RIGS Mech­a­nized Com­bat League, Guer­rilla Games Cam­bridge is at­tempt­ing to re­de­fine the on­line team shooter for VR while at the same time cre­at­ing a deep game into which play­ers can com­fort­ably pour hours of their time. Here, game di­rec­tor Piers Jack­son and art di­rec­tor Tom Jones set out how PSVR has helped them to achieve that goal.

How have you found work­ing with PSVR?

Piers Jack­son From my per­spec­tive, the hard­ware has been re­ally ex­cit­ing. It’s been re­ally re­fresh­ing af­ter a cou­ple of decades work­ing in the game in­dus­try to see some­thing quite as rev­o­lu­tion­ary as PSVR. I think there is gen­uine magic in VR, and I think PSVR is do­ing a re­ally fan­tas­tic job of it.

What do you think it is that makes PSVR feel rev­o­lu­tion­ary in the wake of Rift and Vive?

PJ They’re all solv­ing VR in dif­fer­ent ways. I think PlaySta­tion has a very good op­por­tu­nity just be­cause of its in­stalled base, and the HMD unit it­self has been de­signed par­tic­u­larly well – it’s very com­fort­able to wear and ad­just.

Tom Jones Ob­vi­ously, as a first­party de­vel­oper we got ac­cess to it early, and we’ve had the back­ing to push out a high-cal­i­bre game that isn’t just a short ex­pe­ri­ence. RIGS is a full-on game with sin­gle­player and mul­ti­player that we want peo­ple to keep com­ing back to. I think one of our fo­cuses has been to make some­thing quite com­pre­hen­sive and ex­cit­ing as an ex­pe­ri­ence, and that is part of us be­ing at Sony – it wouldn’t have hap­pened else­where.

How has PSVR en­abled that?

PJ I think it buys us more time with peo­ple. The light­ness and the fit of it is very good – the hard­ware team have done a fan­tas­tic job of cre­at­ing the PSVR ex­pe­ri­ence, from putting it on to how it bal­ances on your head. So peo­ple will be com­fort­able for longer wear­ing the unit. One of the things that the VR unit does well is that it breathes re­ally well – there is a gap be­tween it and your face, and you can ad­just it far­ther away if you want, so you’re get­ting air mov­ing up be­tween your face and the vi­sor, which I think helps a lot. I think you can get im­mersed in the game with­out get­ting en­gulfed in it, and that’s kind of an im­por­tant fact and a real win for PSVR.

TJ And it stops it be­ing a bar­rier to en­try. Cer­tainly from my point of view, be­ing a man who wears glasses, it’s the only head­set that doesn’t rip them off the mo­ment I take it off. Which is quite nice! [Laughs] It’s not talked about very of­ten, but it is an ex­cep­tion­ally com­fort­able piece of kit once you get used to it.

Have you found it a strug­gle to achieve RIGS’s vi­su­als in VR us­ing PS4?

PJ PlaySta­tion VR’s ac­tual screen hard­ware is ex­cep­tion­ally good, and we have a very pow­er­ful con­sole in the PS4 sit­ting be­hind it – but it’s a fixed plat­form, so we as de­vel­op­ers have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some­thing that’s ded­i­cated to that one piece of hard­ware and get the most out of it. If we were on PC we’d be aim­ing at a bit more of a mov­ing tar­get.

TJ As proven with pre­vi­ous hard­ware, things like that only get bet­ter as the knowl­edge base in­creases and we find cheaper and more ef­fec­tive ways of do­ing things. That’s some­thing that’s re­ally ex­cit­ing in the long term, but ac­tu­ally in the short term the key thing in terms of judg­ing the vi­su­als is that you can’t re­ally view it as a 2D im­age any more. You can’t take a 2D im­age from VR and com­pare it to a 2D im­age cre­ated na­tively on PS4 be­cause ac­tu­ally it’s about look­ing at it in the head­set. So, sure, if you take a screen­shot and com­pare them side by side, it’s not go­ing to be as amaz­ing. But it’s more than just see­ing – it’s also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

PS4 Pro makes that tar­get a lit­tle less fixed, though.

PJ I think that all chal­lenges are im­por­tant – they force us to eval­u­ate what we’re do­ing and make us push harder and try new ideas. We’ve been show­ing RIGS for a lit­tle bit longer than a year and a half now on a base PS4, with great re­sults. I’m sure we’ll push the bench­mark higher with Pro, but cer­tainly my ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with the PlaySta­tion 4 and PSVR has been very good to date.

FROM TOP Piers Jack­son and Tom Jones

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