Oculus Rift supporting space combat shooter Darkfield Alpha is now available to pre-purchase and download. We take a quick look.

Space Combat: Finding a Resurgence in Virtual Reality

I miss Space games, something I pondered last year with the announcement of Star Citizen. A big fan of Freespace, I’ve still yet to find a game that manages to instill the same levels frantic scale of interstellar combat. It seems though we’re in for somewhat of a renaissance of the genre as developers’ imaginations are fired up by the rise of Virtual Reality and the advent of the Oculus Rift in particular.

I was lucky enough to play EVE Valkyrie on the Oculus Rift HD Prototype and it became abundantly clear to me that tearing through interstellar space lasering the arse off of other spacecraft was the kind of experience VR was made for.

Enter, Darkfield Alpha

Dresden based Developers Darkfield Interactive are fans too. With Freelancer and Wing Commander touted as influences on Darkfield Alpha, the team have strived to create a multi-player space combat game with immediacy of play. That is, load up and jump straight into the action. And in these days of interminable cut-scenes and convoluted plot devices, it’s a refreshing approach. What’s more, Darkfield Alpha has been built with VR in mind from the start, right now that of course means Oculus Rift support.

Choose between the Technocrats – a technologically advanced race with every gadget at your disposal or the Rebels – the plucky underdogs making do with what they have. Launch into battle with lasers and missiles at the ready, glance around your cockpit and search the heavens for your prey.

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As stated, this is a multi-player game first and foremost, but should you feel like practice or just a quick blast, the game allows you to freely spawn groups of enemies and allies whilst in game by hitting the appropriate keys – meaning you can launch into your own fully-fledged war as quickly as you like.

The game’s combat already looks well polished, with a satisfying sense of contact from lasers and the requisite fireworks and particle effects from missiles, explosions and engine trails. The ships look suitably nimble and agile and of course the ability to look round your environment whilst keeping your trajectory one of the reasons why EVE Valkyrie was so compelling.

Funding and Greenlight

The team are working hard to get the word out of their new game and are opting for a slightly novel form of crowd-funding. Unlike most Kickstarter-style campaigns, Darkfield Interactive already have something to reward their prospective backers. Pledge money and you’ll gain access to an early pre-release alpha version of the game. You’ll receive two downloads of the game per release, this is to combat piracy and the free ‘sharing’ of the product on the Internet. However, the team are keen to have their game available via a proper purchase platform and are also asking for your support to vote for them on Steam Greenlight, Valve’s project designed to give a legitimacy ‘leg up’ to aspiring developers with promising titles.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Darkfield Alpha very soon and I suggest if, like me you miss the golden age of the PC Space Shooter you should go and check it out too and show them some support should you like what you see. We’ll be back soon with a full video preview of Darkfield Alpha very soon.

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You can back and download Darkfield Alpha here. Go here to vote for the project on Steam Greenlight.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.