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VR reminds 100ft Robot Golf dev of the PS2 game-making glory days

No Goblin's Dan Teasdale speaks to ExtremeTech about designing 100ft Robot Golf to play well on both a TV and PlayStation VR, comparing VR problem-solving to the early days of PS2 game dev.
"Developing for VR actually reminds me a lot of making games in the PS2 era. Back then, things like camera models and interaction rules weren’t locked down to a science, so you’d spend a bunch of time coming up with inventive and cool ways for players to view and interact with the world."

- No Goblin co-founder Dan Teasdale remembers the good ol' days.

The folks over at ExtremeTech published an interesting back-and-forth today with Dan Teasdale, a longtime developer who co-founded No Goblin (Roundabout) and currently works on shipping giant robot golf game 100ft Robot Golf for PlayStation 4 later this year.

The game was also billed as one of PlayStation VR's tentpole titles, and Teasdale's comments on what No Goblin is doing to try and make the game comfortable to play in (optional) VR may help shed some light on the subject for fellow game makers who are trying to design non-nauseating VR experiences.

"We are making sure that this isn’t just a 'we turned on VR' mode, because that’s a terrible experience for anyone playing your game," says Teasdale. "We have a completely independent camera model, game HUD, and control model for movement in VR that we’re designing to both remove any sense of nausea that you can get from 'bad VR' implementations, while at the same time is completely accessible without having to relearn a set of controls."

Elsewhere in the interview Teasdale compares the thrill of solving VR design challenges with the early days of PlayStation 2 game development (Teasdale worked at Pandemic on PlayStation 2 games like Destroy All Humans) and suggests No Goblin inadvertently sidestepped some potential VR game problem areas -- an unrealistic sense of scale, for example, or nauseating movement -- by making a game about giant robots playing golf.

 "In a way, 100ft Robot Golf is almost a perfect fit for VR," notes Teasdale. "It’s got a huge sense of scale, it has a smooth and predictable movement model, and it allows for full awareness in the environment. "

If you're curious about VR game development, the full interview is worth reading over on ExtremeTech.

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