We Are Floating In Space: Spacewalk

By Craig Pearson on May 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Did you fart? No, it was just a bit of solar wind.
My application to be an astronaut was turned down because it was written in crayon, and now that I read it back in the cold light of day I notice it appeared pretty threatening. Sorry, NASA! My aluminum hat must have slipped and enabled an alien to take control of my writing arm. If, like me, you’ve been rejected for astronauthood on petty and unfounded claims of bad penmanship and terrorist activity, then there’s another route. All you need is Spacewalk, and an Oculus Rift. And, frankly, the Rift’s optional.

There’s not a lot of game here, yet. You’re in control of an astronaut on a jaunt outside a wonderfully well-realised ISS. Without much to do, you’re left to appreciate the gentle movement of the spacesuit. The feeling of a body wrapped in a thick, deadening space suit, moving with gentle thruster boosts, is really satisfying. You have to tame your instincts, slooooow down. I know because I ended up spinning head over arse and whacked off one of the shiny solar panels. I’m kind of lucky that I don’t own a Rift, or I’d have been rifting into a sick bag. Do as I say, not as I do.

There’s a multiplayer option as well, and although I’ve not found anyone online to join me in my EVA, I had it running on my LAN. In circumstances this trying, there’s a lot of enjoyment out of just trying to meet up with a fellow astronaut in space. We space jousted.

Oh and don’t go looking for your Gtalk window. That noise is in the video.

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47 Comments »

  1. Clavus says:

    Tried the spacewalk about a week ago with my Rift. It’s pretty nice for a demo, hope they’ll add some game elements soon.

    Also worth noting: Half-Life 2 just got official Rift support from Valve (if you opt-in for the SteamPipe beta). Been playing all morning, manhacks are intense in VR. It’s a whole new level of “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME”.

    • Shazbut says:

      What about the headcrabs?! Oh God….God…

    • particlese says:

      Ah, sweet, thanks for the tip!

      Meanwhile, in Space: I’M IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
      This seems to be one of those Rift games that’s eventually going to break my face such that I won’t be able to smile again for a whole year.

      Edit: [2 hours later] :| … :| … >_< … :D Phew, still works!

    • Faxanadu says:

      We need another Oculus Rift article – What stage is the project in and can I buy some kind of alpha-model already? I notice they have a site selling developer kits and all that…

      Gods I can’t wait for this technology to hit mainstream, after that huge disappointment that was 3D movies.

  2. TechnicalBen says:

    This has nothing…. nothing I say… on Kerbal Space Program. Nice looking sim though.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      and Ageof Empires has nothing on Call of Duty…

      They are two completely different things, one is a space ship simulation the other is just a virtual spacewalk. So please stop comparing them like they are competing or something…

      • TechnicalBen says:

        You can do space walks in KSP too. But it was a joke, hence the “Nice looking Sim though” at the end. I’ll reign in the fun factor next time. ;)

        KSP also features little green men, and not real space stations or events. So why would I compare the two?

        • The Infamous Woodchuck says:

          “why would i compare the two”

          because you just did.

      • nfsking2000 says:

        If KSP is a simulation, then what is Orbiter?

        • The Infamous Woodchuck says:

          Something that’s more complicated than real life apparently.

          while the SS in the real world had autopilot, the ones in orbiter need to be fly manually.

        • scatterlogical says:

          Haha, KSP is a simulation like Mythbusters are scientists.
          Really freakin’ awesome with lots of cool explosions, but more about entertainment than reality.

  3. squareking says:

    Spiritualized tag, please!

  4. Wurstwaffel says:

    I’d like to see a project like this made with a bit of a bigger budget some day. You know, with textures and all that jazz.

  5. phuzz says:

    I thought that this was something to do with this, which is far more scary…

    • SirKicksalot says:

      And a minor accident happened on the ISS today – coolant is leaking into space. They’re going on a space walk tomorrow to see what’s going on exactly.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yeah, if the trailer is anything to go by, it’s little to do with space and astronauts and all to do with explosions and movies. :(
      I felt Apollo 13 kept the balance of emotion, tension and action right, for a based on real life story to boot too.

  6. realitysconcierge says:

    I wish you gave us a picture of your letter Craig!

  7. westyfield says:

    This sort of thing always makes me sad that more people don’t play Shattered Horizon. Go play Shattered Horizon, everyone!

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      That and Plain sight. Come on people, step it up!

    • Hodge says:

      I was just cleaning up my Steam list and Shattered Horizon is one of my unplayed ones. I haven’t the faintest idea how it got there, but it sounds like I should give it a go.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Well there are bots now, so you could. But that’s mostly it.

  8. Cloudhead says:

    Saying “And, frankly, the Rift’s optional.” is a dead giveaway that the author has never experienced the Rift. The difference between playing Spacewalk on a monitor and playing it in the Rift is that in one of those scenarios…you’re actually IN space.

    You will understand…one day everyone will understand :)

    • Entitled says:

      Yeah, Spacewalk is basically a Rift game, and it works amazingly well, according to those who have already tried the Rift on a lot of other things as well.

  9. Caenorhabditis says:

    I wouldn’t call this space exploration, it’s just spaceship exploration.

  10. Adeste Fideles says:

    Aluminum.

    Ah-loo-mi-num.

    What is this crazy word?

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      It is a surprisingly common isotope of aluminium. Its nucleus consists of 13 heavily armed protons, 14 “freedom” neutrons, and it has a habit of invading other atoms to get their electrons.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        “Invading”? On the contrary, those “heavily armed protons” are greeted as liberators.

    • mrcalhou says:

      I teach chemistry in the States (I’m American through-and-through), and it is ALUMINUM! (even though half the time I will prounounce it the “correct” way)

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s the original name before someone decided it didn’t sound pretentious enough, apparently. “Classical sound”, pah.

  11. cmsd2 says:

    I really want this blended with Kerbal Space Program.

    By the way, I guess that was an MMU rather than a SAFER unit? Seems the latter only has about 3m/s of delta v. lolwhat.

    • phelix says:

      I really don’t want anyone to experience the horror of flying one of my contraptions with full body awareness. If they fly.

    • LionsPhil says:

      And yet tiny baby man of space suit still doesn’t have enough oomph to turn you into glorious incendary comet within any reasonable timeframe.

  12. CutieKnucklePie says:

    XBOX controller only for PC? Really? What’s with the love for that unwieldy thing and what’s so wrong with a mouse?

    • luukdeman111 says:

      probably has to do with the oculus rift thing… keeping your fingers aligned to the keyboard without being able to see it might be pretty difficult…

      • LionsPhil says:

        There’s a little lump on F, so you can find everything relative from that. Don’t your fingers stay on the WASD cluster as a whole anyway?

    • bravepower says:

      Spacewalk creator here. The keyboard and mouse are fully supported (QWEASD keys and mouse movement) on all platforms. That said, the controls do work best (as a kinesthetic experience) using the Xbox controller’s triggers, with or without the Rift.

      I can see how the phrasing of “Currently Xbox controller input only works for the Windows version” can be confusing. I’ll update that to show that keyboard+mouse input works on every platform, but only the Windows version supports the Xbox controller.

  13. Stellar Duck says:

    And now I want to play Shattered Horizon again. Shame they messed it up.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I was just thinking of that, too!

      some Occulus Rift support could really only make that even more fun as well!

  14. Iskariot says:

    This kind of spacewalking (with or without the Oculus rift) should be in the upcoming Elite D and Space Citizen too.

  15. Steed says:

    Used to do this in Shattered Horizon – turn off suit functions and just drift. It’s lovely, until someone spots and shoots you

  16. Spacewalk says:

    Hello.

  17. mrcalhou says:

    I must get a Rift for my classroom now. Thanks, as if I wasn’t broke enough as is. :D