Introducing Tactera

Today, I’m proud to release a new demo of Tactera, my “virtual tabletop” RTS game. It’s available now on the Gear VR store, and I’ve made a DK2 demo available as well. Give it a try!

The full version of Tactera isn’t done yet, but the game has come a long way since its inception. It started almost a year ago, at an Orange County VR hackathon. After 23 hours of work (straight through the night!) I had created a tiny prototype that I called “VRTS”. It was a simple idea: a miniature tabletop war game, where you could dispatch tiny tanks, bombers, and giant lasers to conquer the enemy bases.

VRTS was a not a very fun game, but it helped me discover the advantages of tabletop VR. With all the action taking place in a small space front of you, there’s no need for artificial locomotion or rotation (or even a swivel chair). Plus, keeping the action close to the player takes full advantage of VR’s 3D effects, and it keeps everything in easy reach of motion controls. It felt that the concept showed a lot of promise.

When Oculus announced the Mobile VR Jam, I decided to remake this idea from the ground up, renaming it “Tactera”. Instead of putting the player inside a plain box, the game was set inside a futuristic war room. Instead of being made out of a bunch of cubes, the units were modeled by an artist who had mastered a stylish low-poly aesthetic. Instead of an absolute silence, the game was filled with radio chatter, music, and sound effects. The demo ended up being named as a finalist, and people seemed to like it!

My first VR game, Darknet, also started out as a relatively small demo for an Oculus game jam. And, like Darknet, the game jam inspired me to turn that small demo into a full-fledged VR game. The demo I’m releasing today has updated graphics, a revamped UI, new maps, new audio effects, improved gameplay, and a host of other features.

And just to be clear: this is just the demo! The full version is planned to include twice as many units, more maps, an improved tutorial, a full campaign mode, and head-to-head multiplayer! Some of that is already complete, but a lot is still in the works. I’m aiming to be done with the full version in time for the Oculus Rift’s consumer launch.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get feedback on the demo so that I can make the full version even better. Please let me know what you think via Facebook or Twitter!


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A game by E McNeill.