zombies on the holodeck oculus rift razer hydra demo download

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 first time we stepped into the Holodeck we saw Wild Skies. The latest game the team is working on is Zombies on the Holodeck, a multiplayer zombie shooter.

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.

Download Zombies on the Holodeck Alpha Demo

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):

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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!

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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

zombies on the holodeck concept art

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’.

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Points of Discussion:

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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."
  • Andreas Aronsson

    Whoa, this looks intense :D I can imagine many deaths from fumbling with weapons during panic, hahaha.

    I do wonder how hard it is to reload the shotgun as you have no physical weapon to do the motions with, just two floating handles. It does look like your hands kind of snap into place, which is nice, but also would make it harder as you don’t know where your hand actually is? So much I have to try to figure stuff like this out!

    As I mentioned earlier I ordered the Hydra, byt even on Razer’s own site they are on back order… so who knows :P I might get the Rift before a Hydra.. -_- Also, ZOTH is an awesome acronym! xD

  • Alex Silkin


    I am Alex Silkin, the lead developer on the project, so I will try to answer any questions people may have.

    I am sorry we weren’t clear, but you can actually shoot the tommy, shotgun and sniper rifle while holding it with two hands! In the video Paul reloads the shotgun with his left hand and then lets go, but actually when we play we just always continue holding on, this way you can reload very quickly and shoot immediately.

    Also when you hold the tommy with two hands the recoil actually has less magnitude. Thats why there is a cost/benefit to dual wielding tommys vs holding one with two hands. I actually really enjoy just spraying bullets with one tommy in two hands, to do so you have to wrap your head around actually using your non trigger hand to wave around the gun.

    On another note, the sniper rifle actually always has to be held with two hands to shoot, otherwise it is “too heavy” and your trigger hand will simply only be able to hold it vertically. But what you can do is whip out your pistol with your left hand when a zombie gets close, and then go back to the sniper.

    About snapping: our interaction system tries to snap your hands to the closest interaction object in range. We actually have another system that will snap your hands out of interaction if your hands get too far, but it is not in zombies right now.

  • kevin williams

    @Alex, thanks for taking on this task.

    My fundamental question is – what is the long term goal of the Holodeck project, is it to be a venue attraction, a demonstrator or just a interesting case study. I have dealt with a number of current weapon training VR applications and they already have better remote PC packs – might be a good idea to tie in with one of these projects rather than try and build your own from scratch?

  • Robert O' Leary

    Could you guys upload this to another website? I’m having issues downloading it from Mega. A public Dropbox link would be good.

  • James Iliff

    @Robert Here’s the dropbox link!

    @Kevin Right now we’re focused on VR gaming with numerous input devices – its a lot of experimentation. Most definitely military simulation or weapon training has stellar wearable hardware, and we’d love to look into this more going into the future. Ultimately our goal is to make VR inexpensive, accessible, and playable – and if weapon training hardware is inexpensive and accessible then its definitely worth looking into. Thanks for your great question!

    • kevin williams

      @James. Thanks and good luck.

  • WormSlayer

    Finally got some time to have a go on this, been interested to try it for a while now! I’m having some trouble configuring the Hydra controllers though; My virtual hands are way too high and no amount of holding the 1/3 buttons seems to help. Mostly it does nothing, but every now and then it will trigger a reset and my hands will be even more wildly offset… I tried holding my hands in various positions and resetting but cant get it working XD

    • Graham Matuszewski

      Hey, I am a developer on the Project Holodeck Team, Hopefully I can help you WormSlayer. When in the Settings Screen do you have your hydra set to onHead mode by chance? It needs to be set to onDesk mode or the hands will appear to be way too high in the air compared to your character. The reason we have these two options because when we do full motion tracking with the entire Holodeck system, the base station sits on your head and requires separate settings. If you could check to make sure that you have it set to onDesk mode I believe it will solve the problem. If not please respond back to me so we can resolve this issue and get you playing ZOTH as soon as possible!

      • WormSlayer

        Hey Graham,

        It’s set to “OnDesk” and clicking that button doesnt change to any other mode but I did think it felt like it was using the on your head method I’d seen you guys demonstrate…

  • James Iliff

    Did you try placing the Hydra on your head to see if it checks out? I’m looking into this right now with our build. Mind sending us a screenshot and output log to info@projectholodeck.com so that our team can review it? Also be sure to have your Hydra on the base station when game starts, etc. Thanks! -James

  • WormSlayer

    I tried, that was a fun time with wires! Turns out its quite hard to juggle a hydra base station onto my head with it’s tiny little usb cable and figure out whats going on before zombies eat my brain you may want to think about some kind of safe zone to start in, have you not played L4D? XD

    I can email you an output log though at least…

  • Drwho

    Hey guys love the project been waiting for more hydra games to come out thanks to the amazing oculus rift they have been. Cant wait for the commercial version of the rift. Must say i love the game but i have been having the same problem as WormSlayer i think it just needs some change in the code. Its not a huge problem but it does kinda break the immersion other than that it’s a really good game/demo would be awesome to see it turned into a full game.

    p.s. melee weapons would be amazing especially a katana.

    • Alex Silkin

      Hi Drwho, I am really glad you enjoyed the game! I also would like to apologize to everyone having issues. Unfortunately we released this early alpha version just as USC Demo Day is approaching and we are working hard to polish our other game, Wild Skies, so there have been a lot of constant code changes recently, some of which may have broken some features in Zombies and also generally diverted some attention away from the game. On the bright side, a lot of the hard work we’ve put in recently will mean that the next zombies should be a much more polished experience.

      As for melee weapons, we are actually planning a chainsaw for the next release, so definitely please stick around!

  • Levi

    Have you guys looked at the Virtuix Omni? I can imagine that the level of immersion with that, the Oculus Rift, and the Hydra would be insane and create an amazing experience

  • Alex

    Give please link to the game.