lunar flight oculus rift support

Lunar Flight is an independently produced PC game by developer Shovsoft which challenges the player to master to nuances of low gravity flight. With Oculus Rift support on the way, Lunar Flight is set to become one of the most full-featured Rift experiences to date.

“A modern take on the classic arcade game, Lunar Lander, Lunar Flight extends the experience to a fully, fictionalised Lunar Module Simulator providing a variety of mission types involving Transporting Cargo, Acquiring Data at Survey locations and locating Lost Cargo. Completing missions earns experience points and money to be used to Refuel, Repair and Upgrade the Lunar Module,” reads the game’s official webpage.

sean edwards shovsoft lunar flightSean Edwards, an Australia-based developer, is the brains behind Lunar Flight. Though the game was made before the Rift arrived on the scene, Edwards believes that “[the Oculus Rift] is the future,” one that he wants to be part of. To that end, he’s making Lunar Flight compatible with the Oculus Rift, and doing a stellar job.

Edwards put together a video walking through his current Rift integration — definitely worth a watch to get a feel for the game in VR. I’ll add the video here and share my thoughts below:

Lunar Flight Oculus Rift Support

Road to VR is fortunate to have access to the closed Lunar Flight Oculus Rift beta.

With the Rift on, you’re sitting inside of a lunar module surrounded by displays and various HUD readouts. Outside of your vessel is the dusty and pale moon landscape. The goal sounds simple — in most cases, just fly the module to a location and land it.

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If you’ve ever played the original Lunar Lander (Atari, 1979) (free online version here), you’ve got an idea of just how challenging this game can be.

You are tasked with controlling the yaw, pitch, roll, tilt, and every other aspect of the lander. Maybe it’s because I’m using a keyboard instead of an Xbox 360 controller (which Edwards recommends), but the game is a challenge and a half. Part of the battle is getting a feel for the low gravity physics — which can be affected by cargo and other factors — part of it is wrapping your head around the motion of your ship as controlled by a number of directional thrusters, and another part is learning how to use all of your instruments inside the cockpit.

However challenging it may be, Lunar Flight’s slow pace and first person cockpit view lend the game to a highly compelling Oculus Rift virtual reality experience. There’s also the threat of spinning out of control (and potentially getting dizzy) which I think actually adds to the game — it feels like a real risk, so you are very careful when controlling your ship.

Inside the craft is a bevy of readouts and displays. You can toggle the displays between several helpful views and initiate many different actions from the panels. This is one part of the game that makes it so immersive — you actually have to look around and interact with your instruments.

You also get to decide what works best for you: do you want a top-down camera on your left or a map? Maybe you’d prefer a target camera on your top display or an inertial camera? I’d absolutely love to see Razer Hydra integration where you have to actually reach out to flip switches, pull levers, etc; for now, everything is done by looking at the panel you want and using a context sensitive button.

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Once you actually lift off, things get serious. You’ve got to be concerned with your fuel, acceleration, and heading. A main thruster provides most of the power, smaller thrusters can orient you in any conceivable way. Not to mention the fact that you’ve got a mission to complete.

There’s also multiplayer — an aspect of the game in which I haven’t yet delved. I think I’ll save that until I can consistently land without blowing up!

Edwards hasn’t yet said when he plans to release public Oculus Rift support for Lunar Flight, but I imagine it’ll be soon — the current beta is already a quite wholesome experience, and I think Rifters will be pleased to try it out. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

Edwards tells me that he plans to demo Lunar Flight with Oculus Rift support at PAX AU at the end of this month — if you’re down under, be sure to go check it out.

Development of Lunar Flight Oculus Rift Support

For the developer types among you, Edwards recently gave a presentation about his Oculus Rift integration efforts to a tech group in Brisbane, Australia. In addition to talking about his development journey, he also throws a few unsuspecting audience members into the cockpit:

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."