Here's the final part of our Interview with Hypersloth, developers of the upcoming indie PC game Dream. In this final part we speak a little more about the Oculus Rift and gaming technology as well as some thoughts about gaming in general.
You can find the first and second parts of our interview elsewhere on the site. We hope you've enjoyed reading it; interviews are something that get requested a lot so we're definitely listening and trying to give the readers what they want.
Obviously you're working with Oculus Rift and it will be supported in the final release. How are you finding it to work with? It's certainly an impressive piece of technology.
It was one of those things, especially with UDK [Unreal Dev Kit], they hadn’t done an update on it for so long. Part of that is because unfortunately one of the partners for Oculus passed away, and he was one of the guys that was developing the UDK tools for us to use. So it took a few months. But once they put out the tool, it only took Ash here about 2 or 3 days to port everything over.
Personally I don’t do any of the developing side of that, but from a design point of view I think it’s amazing. So many ideas come from it.
I’ve seen it said a few times that one of the things developers love most is new ways of interfacing with players and bridging that gap between the game and the person playing it.
Yeah, it’s actually one of the reasons that we’re really looking forward to seeing the new Valve controller.
When I tried the game at the [Eurogamer] Expo, you mentioned a couple of bugs you’d come across when porting across to the Rift. I was wondering how easy it’s been for you to fix those.
That kind of stuff we can actually fix quite quickly. We’ve still got a few bugs with it, so we don’t know when we’re going to release that build yet to people; but when we do, we’re hoping that it all runs smoothly. We don’t want to give the Rift a bad name in any way.
[Oculus Rift] suits the game so well that it almost feels like playing without it loses something in the transition. The amount of immersion that the headset brings to the game means that playing without it suddenly feels like it’s missing something.
Yeah and we’re really looking forward to getting the HD version [of the headset] as well. We got to try the HD version at the [Eurogamer] Expo and some of the things they’re working on getting into the commercial release; we’re really excited for it as well.
You’ve still got around a year or half a year of development before you release the game. Have you got any ideas about what your next project might be, or are you really just focused on finishing Dream before thinking about that sort of thing?
We’re not really thinking about it right now. We’ve had some discussions about art-style, as we’re obviously doing so much else for the game, it would be fun to work in a different style. But when it comes to the actual game, right now we just don’t have a clue.
Would you stick to the same genre, or branch out into other types of game? I see Rogue-likes are getting a bit of attention again recently. It must be quite exciting having all of those ideas about things and realising that you might now have a chance to make something out of them.
I think we’ll stick to the exploration genre. But obviously as it’s such a new genre, I think we’d like to do different things with it. As you were saying with a rogue-like game, I only know as much about it as everyone else; But with The Chinese Room and their new game, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, is that it’s an exploration game but it’s built around a 20-minute playthrough. So you play through the game, but with the information you get from one playthrough, when you play it again you have more to do in it. So it’s a much longer game, but you experience it in these 20-minute chunks.
It’s something I’ve had my eye on. There’s also other stuff of course like Sir, You Are Being Hunted, which uses procedural generation for each playthrough, and things like Project Zomboid.
Yeah and all those things are games we are wanting to take a look at, and when we get around to it we’ll probably do a new take on it. Something I’ve been actually looking at a lot at the moment is a game called The Forest.
We actually did a very short news piece on that not long ago when they released a new trailer.
I think it looks really nice. I don’t think it’s the type of game that I’d play to be honest, but it looks really interesting – the way that they’ve taken a lot of influence from Minecraft in the way that you build up your supplies and create a house, only they’ve set it in a more realistic world but with these monsters coming after you.
It seems a lot like survival-horror, only with the emphasis far more on the survival side of things.
Yeah, and that sort of stuff does interest me, ever since I played Resident Evil 4 and you could barricade the windows by moving around the bookcases and things. But those sorts of games have so much depth, and I don’t usually have the time to spend so much time on games these days if I’m honest. I think the last game I put about 50 or so hours into would probably be DotA 2.
I’ve tried getting into DotA and it can be so intimidating, with the amount of strategy and sheer depth to it.
When we started Dream, we spent a lot of time looking at DotA when it had been announced by Valve and however long it spent in Beta, and Lewis here played a lot of League of Legends before that. So we’re sort of thinking maybe we should do some kind of really simple dungeon crawler, and then you could maybe have some sort of multiplayer that would be more like a MOBA [Author’s note: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game]. But those kinds of things take so much balancing [laughs]. It’s just a massive time-sink.
And then of course you have companies like Blizzard, who just unveiled Heroes of the Storm over the weekend. It’s starting to become a very crowded genre; I imagine it would be hard to stand out in a fairly crowded market like that.
There’s also the licensed ones coming out; there’s [DC Comics’] one, Infinite Crisis, and there’s even a King of Fighters one as well.
Really? I wasn’t aware of that.
[Laugh] It’s really strange because obviously King of Fighters is, you know, a fighting game! But yeah, it looks really odd.
What else have you been playing recently?
I actually just recently played Buried at Sea, the Bioshock Infinite downloadable content that’s just come out. It was good [laughs]. I felt like I didn’t want to read any reviews and I didn’t want to watch any of the gameplay videos they put out beforehand because I wanted to come to it fresh.
It was a good length at about 2 hours and I thought the length [felt] about right. Yeah, it was ok!
I picked up a couple of things recently; there’s something that just got launched called Risk of Rain which has crafting, permadeath and so on but is presented as a 2D platformer. It has multiplayer co-op as well.
I read about that the other day I think. Another thing I’m playing at the moment which I’m not too proud of is the new Typing of the Dead.
I enjoyed the original on the Dreamcast and a lot of people seem to like the new Overkill version of it, particularly the strange phrases it throws up on screen.
[Laughs] Some of them are really odd!
I’ve also been looking at another one called Long Live the Queen. It sort of looks like it might be a dating game [on first glance] but it’s actually a lot more complex than that – it changes every time you play depending on how you train up this princess and influence how she reacts to things and rules over her subjects.
[Sound of clicking as he looks it up] Yeah I’m just looking at it now and it does look quite interesting…
Well thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with us. Lastly: Rhubarb and custard, or apple pie? Inquiring minds need to know.
I’d say Rhubarb and Custard, but neither are great! Does it have to have fruit in it? Fruit doesn’t really go with dessert…
Doesn’t have to at all!
Cheesecake. It wins every time. Vanilla cheesecake.