New Retro Arcade has finally got the roomscale treatment with newly released support for the HTC Vive (and Oculus Rift CV1) through Steam.
Even back in 2014, long before HTC or Oculus announced their intention to create VR controllers, it was clear New Retro Arcade was destined for motion input. With soda cans, cassette tapes, basketballs, darts, bowling balls, and more strewn about the ’80s inspired virtual arcade, the desire to reach out and interact naturally was palpable.
Now with the newly released New Retro Arcade Tech Demo, the VR controllers of the HTC Vive and its roomscale capability are finally supported, and it’s exactly what we had hoped for from the start. As you can see in the video above, in addition to being able to control the game’s arcade machines, interactions with the objects feel entirely natural, especially the mini-games. (FYI: this release of New Retro Arcade also now supports the Oculus Rift CV1 + gamepad, and you can even play it on desktop if you’d like).
The darts are difficult to throw with the Vive controllers, but not for any technical reason; it’s just that throwing darts well is quite difficult in real life, and the accurate physics of New Retro Arcade ensure that remains the case even in VR. You’ll get no helping hand from the basketball arcade machine either, with a rim which will (realistically and unforgiving) reject your shots unless they’re spot on. Bowling in New Retro Arcade’s two lanes also feels surprisingly good and adequately skill based, enough so that getting competitive with friends is a very real possibility.
The beauty of VR is of course being able to do what you can’t do in real life. So when you want to take out your frustration at being bad at New Retro Arcade’s mini-games, feel free to roll a basketball down the bowling alley, dunk a bowling ball into the basketball arcade machine, and throw darts at the walls (or purpose, that is). I promise, no one will come to stop you from trashing the place.
Speaking of trashing the place—the physics-based environment means you can make fun for yourself. I had better luck shooting empty soda cans into the trash bins throughout the arcade than basketballs into the hoop, and there was plenty of other junk like beer cans and cigarette packs to play with, including the stereo which you can carry around the environment with you to have music wherever you want.
Locomotion in the New Retro Arcade Tech Demo is done with the now fairly standard teleportation method, wherein clicking the Vive controller’s trackpad highlights a square on the ground where you can place to move accordingly. With such a detailed environment, my natural inclination was to walk around the space more so than teleport; the desire was so powerful that one of the first things I did was re-calibrate my Vive’s playspace to ensure that I had the largest possible area for uninterrupted immersion within the space. And now I’m left wishing that ‘roomscale’ was ‘arcadescale’ so that I could truly walk the length of the arcade with no artificial locomotion.
And immersed I was, despite what appeared to be some scale issues (the arcade cabinets felt a bit large). The immersion became especially apparent when I was trying to juggle one bowling ball on top of another, and when the ball deflected toward me, I tried to use my chest like a soccer player to bump it back toward my other hand. Silly brain! That ball isn’t real, and your chest doesn’t exist in VR!
Even more exciting than New Retro Arcade finally supporting motion input and roomscale gameplay is that developer Digital Cybercherries is working on a totally revamped version called New Retro Arcade Neon which will come with an entirely new arcade environment, six player multiplayer, and quite a bit more, we’re told.