Today the new Oculus Go all-in-one VR headset is released and End Space has been updated to take full advantage. We received our Oculus Go in December 2017 and were instantly excited about it. It removes all the pain points of the Gear VR from the user and developer experience and improves on the Samsung Gear VR in a lot of areas. Oculus invited Lee and I to the first ever Oculus Developer Summit at their head office in Menlo Park. Only 20 selected developers were invite to attend and we were honored to be part of it. We got a exclusive first look and Go and some other exciting upcoming things from Oculus. To cap it off they even took us out for a fun night of Go-Karts (no pun intended).
What’s new in End Space for Oculus Go?
The Oculus Go offers some significant improvements over the Samsung Gear VR. Performance is the biggest gain with the Go offering 40-60% more performance than a Gear VR / Samsung S7 combo. With the increased speed we are able to bump up the resolution on the Go for increased image sharpness. Exclusive to Go is Fixed Foveated Rendering which allows increased resolution in the middle of the image where you eye is looking, and decreased resolution along the edges where it is less noticeable.
Oculus Go also offers a 72 Hz mode for a increase in screen refresh rate. We haven’t enabled this yet due to the coming expansion content not being tested with it (yes the promised ‘summer expansion’ is coming, more on this below)
Audio is very important to immersion in VR and the Oculus Go has a great solution for stereo sound without headphones. End Space is mixed for fully 3D positional sound but less that 25% of people use headphones with the Samsung Gear VR. That great 3D sound is being downmixed to just one little mono speaker on your phone losing all direction and audio quality. With Go there are 2 speakers integrated into the head strap that blast the positional audio straight into each ear and a huge improvement in sound quality.
Improved Flight Modes
In today’s update we improve the Gaze based flight mode with a new system that doesn’t require the use of a swivel chair. By looking left, right, up, down your ship will rotate in that direction. The farther you look in a direction the faster the rotation becomes until the Minos Spacefighter vector thrusters run out of power. This is a huge improvement for Gear VR users without a controller and who might not be sitting in a swivel chair.
With the introduction of the Samsung Gear VR controller last year we added the exciting flight mode of using the controller as a virtual joystick. This was the default option for everyone new to the game but some new pilots found it confusing or didn’t understand how to use it. In this update we take the new gaze based flight mode as the default and then use the Gear VR / Go motion controller to control the Mino Spacefighter turret. Your head controls the ship, your hand controls the guns. Of course the option to use the motion controller as a virtual joystick and your gaze to control the ships turret is there as well.
We also have added support for even more Bluetooth gamepads for those with Android compatible Bluetooth controllers.
We created a 360 Intro trailer to give the new storyline introduced last year a little more context for new players. The video only plays once but if you want to watch it again head to the credits menu and select ‘Replay Intro’. It is also available on YouTube.
Where’s the Expansion?
For all of our existing Gear VR users the big question is where is the promised Summer 2017 expansion? The plan was to release new levels last summer and provide more content for the game on Gear VR last summer. Then life happened; I had a baby, Lee bought a house and got married, and sales slowed down. We decided to concentrate on releasing End Space on new platforms and generate some more revenue. The expansion was always going to be free but we also have to fund our love of VR development and keep a roof over our heads.
The expansion levels ended up being released first on PlayStation VR, and then in the Rift / Vive release. They used assets that were too performance heavy to possibly run on Gear VR however in the last month using some new clever techniques we have the new levels running on Gear VR and Go internally. Unfortunately they were not ready in time to make it into this round of app testing by Oculus for the Go launch but we hope to get them out soon!
More to come
The Tartarus Sector isn’t done with you yet. On top of the expansion that we are releasing we have more exciting news to share in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for news on our new Twitter profile as well at: https://twitter.com/EndSpace_game
Fly safe pilots,
Creator of End Space
Below is a quick list of some of the updates and bug fixes.
- Increased screen resolution on Go
- Use of Fix Foveated Rendering on Go
- Added support for Oculus Achievements
- Improved Sound Effects
- Improved control options
- Support for more gamepads
- New star dust effects
- Game Balance improved
- Improved lighting & environments
- Added option to switch missiles with a long press on the bottom the the Go / Gear VR controller
- New collision and incoming missile alerts
- All debris breaks apart more realistically
- Pressing the Pause button twice will unpause the game instead of bringing you back to the main menu
- Added option to invert pitch controls when using virtual joystick mode
- Backend updates to support the coming expansion
- Update to Oculus SDK 1.24
- Update to Oculus Utilities 1.24.1
- Update to Oculus Audio SDK 1.24
- Misc. improvements and updates
- When switching between a gamepad or a hand controller the ship will only take input from the active controller
- Audio now fades in and out when switching scenes
- Solo and Plasma weapons were playing the wrong hit conformation sound effect
- Various bug fixes