I spent the weekend doing two things, building furniture and mucking about with Vive games such as Fantastic Contraption. It’s a remake of an old browser game in which you must transport a ball towards a goal by building a vehicle to carry or push it there. I was pretty sore after bending and twisting at odd angles to put screws in my furniture and, sometime on Sunday, as I bent and twisted to attach a balloon part to an elongated contraption chassis, I realised that really I’d only spent my weekend doing one thing.
“I wish I could play this while sitting down, I thought.” Lo and behold, a video showing a very early version of the game at “seated scale” is below.
Developer Andy Moore, who is playing above, likens the experience to building a model ship. That looks about right.
These kinds of physics construction games have been around for a long time, but there’s something much more natural about playing them with your hands than with mouse look or menu buttons. I like how quickly you can grab, resize, position, resize, reposition objects as you’re building your machine. That’s as much down to the motion controllers as the virtual reality headset.
The developers aren’t yet sure that they’ll “ship with seated-mode available”, which means everything you see above might just be a test that doesn’t go anywhere. They also throw a few other caveats into the video description on YouTube, which pins the blame for the visual controller lag on using a substandard webcam. I can confirm I never encountered anything like that while playing at the weekend. We’ll have more thoughts on the game later this week, hopefully.
If you’d like to get some thoughts of your own on virtual reality in general, you might like to pop along to Rezzed next month, where the HTC Vive will be playable along with five games.