For some games, VR locomotion is simply ends to a mean; getting you from point A to point B in an efficient manner so other game mechanics can take the spotlight. Not so in PvP battle arena Light Strike Array, which integrates a novel form of teleportation into the very heart of gameplay.
Update (12/22/17): Light Strike Array has now launched in Early Access via Steam, officially listing support for the HTC Vive. The title is priced at $25, with a 12% launch discount running until December 29th.
“We think LSA’s fusion of hyper-physical mechanics and multifaceted teamplay breaks new ground in competitive VR game design,” writes developer Chris Woytowitz. “Through our development, we’ve been polishing a uniquely complex game that embraces full body interactivity, and justifies putting on an HMD.”
He expects the game to remain in Early Access for six to nine months, and says that the initial development focus is on “mechanically rich gameplay that embraces the unique capabilities of motion-tracked VR,” while the “Crystalpunk” aesthetic will be further developed down the road.
Original Article (11/29/17): As a crystalline being called a Shard, you’re given a torch and a weapon to combat other players. While it’s easy to explain the weapons (slash, shoot, smash enemies), the torch is another story. Throwing the torch teleports you to a new ‘Cell’, or landing pad. Sounds simple, right? Well, there’s a catch (literally)—you have to catch the torch as soon as you land, otherwise you’re left defenseless, effectively leaving you with more to worry about than just the enemy’s arrows or blades.
Chris Woytowitz, lead developer at indie studio Unwieldy Systems, says he chose the unique brand of teleportation to not only mitigate the risk of motion sickness, but to act as a natural skill cost to long-range movement, incentivising players to mix teleportation and local movement instead of simply over-relying on teleportation while standing in the same spot in their room. It’s easy to imagine dodging arrows, tossing a torch to find cover and nearly missing it by a fraction to a disastrous effect—something that otherwise wouldn’t occur if you were given free rein to quickly teleport wherever you like.
As for the PvP combat, here’s a quick breakdown:
Two teams of up to three players per team fight to destroy each other’s ‘Heart’, which is shielded by a powerful force field called the ‘Corona’. To penetrate the Corona, you need a create special tools from a gatherable resource ‘Salt’. Salt can be obtained by collecting halite crystals, which can be transformed into pillars of Salt, giving you a number of tools—but not the ultimate tool. The ultimate tool, called the Censer, lets your team bypass the enemy Corona and shatter their Heart. Victory.
Weapons include Light Bombs, bows, swords, and spells; but also the tools you create using Salt.
Light Strike Array is headed to Steam Early Access next month, with support for SteamVR-compatible headsets. The Early Access release is now available, see update above for details. The game’s full release is slated to arrive sometime in 2018.
Woytowitz says the full version will be “a generally more clean, rich, and balanced experience. I plan on adding a handful of new tools and weapons to afford more playstyles, as well as secondary map objectives (for example, capturable buildings.) The style and aesthetic will be refined over time and are subject to change (within the soft parameters of “crystalpunk.”) I’ll be improving sound, voice acting, and training levels over time, as well. I hope to continue to support LSA and grow the community through Early Access, release, and the future!”
Check out the Early Access trailer below.