The latest game out of Project Holodeck is Zombies on the Holodeck, a noir-styled zombie game for the Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra. In addition to an exclusive trailer, we’ve links to the alpha so that you can try it yourself!
Project Holodeck is system in the works by a team of students at the University of Southern California. The Holodeck itself is a portable multiplayer virtual reality environment with, full body tracking, which makes use of the Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra.
The Holodeck team created the game to work with a myriad input devices. It can be played on the full Project Holodeck setup, with just the Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra, with the Hydra alone, or even with a mouse and keyboard.
Note: you must have Microsoft .NET 3.5 or above installed (installed included in download)
Be sure to check the included readme for controls, troubleshooting, etc.
Today’s release marks an early prototype version of the game. Project Holodeck’s Producer, James Iliff, tells me that, with enough interest from the community, they’re considering taking the game to Kickstarter to raise funding for a fully polished version of the game — something we’d love to see.
Inside Zombies on the Holodeck
Paul has put together some hands-on gameplay footage of the game using the Rift and the Hydra (see below):
This is what he had to say on his experience:
Zombies on the Holodeck is the first game I’ve played which attempts to implement realistic physicality into its gunplay. The requirement to pick up, aim and reload with actions analogous to real-life heightens the tension you feel when faced with armies of marauding undead. It also magnifies the satisfaction of taking them down, giving real weight to the action.
The Project Holodeck team continue to blaze a trail in this new world of VR gaming. Conceptualising the mechanics required to make VR games ‘work’ is no easy feat but what they’re coming up with will doubtless be built upon and refined by them and others as VR gaming develops. Early days then, but ZOTH is already looking extremely promising.
Inside the game world you find yourself on the streets 1920s-themed Chicago, apparently at the epicenter of the zombie outbreak. Never ending waves of brain-hungry undead will come for you. It’s your job to survive.
Holstered on your left and right legs are two pistols. On your left shoulder there’s also a clip which you can grab and put into your pistol to reload. On the right shoulder you’ll also find a flashlight to light up the darker areas of the map. All must be reached for and grabbed with the Hydra’s trigger. Bumpers on either hand are used to shoot weapons.
I’ve been waiting patiently for someone to to make an Oculus Rift + Razer Hydra game where you can cock a shotgun — it’s finally here — and it’s every bit as fun as I hoped it would be!
In addition to the shotgun there’s also a Thompson, and a sniper rifle which you actually have to hold up to your face to look through the scope.
Cymatic Bruce on Zombies on the Holodeck
We dropped Cymatic Bruce into Zombies so see what he thought about the experience:
Zombies on the Holodeck was intense. I didn’t expect it to be so – I had read about it beforehand, and thought that the old-timey music and film tropes would make it kind of hokey. That was not the case at all.
I plopped into the world and checked out the huge 30’s style movie title as it zoomed toward my face. I picked up the Razer Hydra and took a look at my hands, which seemed a bit cartoony but cool. Then things got real. The foreboding music, combined with the lack of color and the occasional lighting flashes, set a spookier scene that I anticipated. I walked around, looking for a place to go, and then I heard it. The grunt and mumble of a zombie.
I whipped my head around and there he was – a spiky haired, shuffling monstrosity. I ran into a building and up some stairs, finding a room with a sniper rifle. I grabbed it with one hand, but was unable to get my other hand on it in my panic. By that time, the zombie and a few of his friends had caught up. So I did what anyone would do: I attempted to beat them senseless with the sniper rifle! That’s when I knocked my cereal bowl and several other items to the floor in real life.
Zombies on the Holodeck sets out to place the player in a radically different version of reality, and I would say that its executes this well. I am finding through my VR experiences that a consistent universe, no matter how stylized, is more important than photo-realism. ZOTH is a wonderful example that supports this idea!
I shared a similar experience of panic. While exploring the level I wasn’t paying attention to the zombies creeping up around me. As I turned around I found myself with my back to a dead-end and a horde of zombies in front of me. I frantically reached for my clip to reload my pistol — but it was too late. Experiences like that simply can’t be had when all you need to do to reload is ‘Press X’.
Points of Discussion: