Yes, that’s plural. Currently I’m working on not one, but two projects! I’m going to be talking a little bit about both in this blog post. But first I want to say that everything I talk about here is subject to change. This is true in general, but especially with Oculus Rift (VR) development I think. Some things work better in VR than other things and through experimentation you can figure out what works and what doesn’t.
First I’m very happy to announce that I decided to give the haunted house simulator another shot. I think that Linger was a good proof of concept, but that it can be so much better. So I have officially started working on a brand new haunted house experience, which I will call Linger 2 for now. Everything wil be created from scratch and I will be taking everything I learned from Linger 1 into consideration. The scope of Linger 2 will be much bigger, so I needed some help on this one. Luckily two close friends of mine, Tristan Bronkhorst and Tim van Oosterhout, also liked this challenge and joined the team for Linger 2. Tristan is a very talented artist, who will be responsible for all the modeling and texturing. And Tim is a mathematical genius with a lot of experience in Artificial Intelligence, who will be helping with everything my tiny brain is unable to grasp.
The most important thing we will change in Linger 2 is the size of the house. It will be much bigger, so the (tedious) cleansing can be removed and the focus can be more on exploration. We will also travel back in time, to the 1970’s to be precise, because we believe there is something inherently creepy about flowered wallpaper and weird patterned carpeting in an old mansion. To get a feeling for the kind of atmosphere we’re aiming for, think of movies like The Shining and The Conjuring.
Another big, and we think exciting, change from Linger 1 is that we intend to make Linger 2 a dual-user experience. You won’t be exploring this house alone, but with another Oculus Rift user. A lot of interesting and scary things can be done if you’re playing together and we like to explore all the possibilities. Although we still intend to make it possible to play alone if you want to.
Our goal for Linger 2 is to create the best VR haunted house experience possible. A pretty modest goal isn’t it? :) We want to create an experience that a lot of people actually DON’T want see through until the end, because they are too scared to continue. This will take a lot of experimentation and trial and error to get just right, so we will take our time with this one. Linger 1 was created for the VR Game Jam 2013, so it had to be finished in 3 weeks. But now we can take all the time we need to create something truly cold-sweating, bone-chillingly scary.
Because Linger 2 will be a long-term project, I also want to create a smaller project. Just like Iceland and Linger, something which can be released much sooner. The first project I wanted to create for the Oculus Rift was a place to simply relax. Not a game, not a ride, just a place where you sit, chill and forget about your daily problems for a moment. A clearing in the middle of the forest where you can enjoy the sounds of birds, see the trees gently swaying in the wind and maybe even spot a rabbit or deer walking between the trees. A beach where you can watch and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. Or a church where you can sit quietly by yourself. You know, the kind of places people will tell you to imagine when you’re stressed out. But I also thought this project was way too obvious. Every developer would be creating something like this, so I should come up with something different.
But now, months after the release of the Rift, developers have created all sorts of awesome, but not this. And I personally really want this. Sometimes I don’t want to walk around and explore, sometimes I just want to sit back and relax for a moment. Retreat back into a hidden place, which only you can visit. A place where you don’t need to do anything. A place for you to be alone with your thoughts. Your own personal Sanctum. So that’s what I’m going to be creating.
There will be different Sanctums to choose from, but I will start with a forest and add others in the future. If there is a Sanctum you’d like to be created feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear where you’d like to go to chill-out!