Can you describe a moment players will encounter in Stormland that’s perhaps unlike anything they’ve experienced in VR before?
MD: As an open world game, each player will have their own stories about amazing moments or discoveries playing Stormland. For me, I was when I was gliding down from a ridge and spotted a hole in a dried-up volcanic field. I glided down into it and found myself in an underground cavern with flowing lava and bioluminescent plants hidden under the island.
This sort of experience is enabled by the freedom to easily travel and explore wherever you want. Stormland’s diverse palette of beautiful environments uses a new system to remix the layout of the world in ways that will continually surprise the player.
How did you go about creating a real sense of “presence” for players in the game?
MD: We have a fully articulated body that calibrates to your proportions. We use a middleware technology called IKinema to help solve where all your joints should be, given the position of a player’s head and hands. You can look down and see your whole body. As you begin to walk, or adjust your orientation in the real world, you can see your avatar’s legs taking corresponding steps.
Reaching out to interact with the world by pushing buttons, twisting handles, or pulling levers makes the world feel real; but it needs to look real first. We make sure a player’s avatar uses accurate hand poses and remains connected to the world via IK (inverse kinematics).
Audio, of course, play an important part in achieving immersion. As your android body articulates, subtle servo sounds emanate from your joints. As you approach trees, you hear their leaves rustling in the wind. Distant gunfire has a long echo.
Characters in the world need to respond to the player believably, which means having dynamic head turning and eye orientation to lock eyes with the player during conversations.