Julia Reichelmann

HUXMANJI – The multiplayer games bundle from HUXLEY VR®

They’re here! The new multiplayer games from HUXLEY VR®!

 

Hardfacts

Name: HUXMANJI
Games: Blazing Arrows, Drone Zone, Midnight Magic
Game length: 3 Minutes per Game + optionally Tutorials
Requirements: HTC VIVE or Pro & a play area of 1,5×2 meters per player
Number of players: 1-4 players
Specifics: Replayable, High Score Mode, Cup

An excerpt from the review of HUXLEY I – by Room Escape Artist

“This made me believe in VR.”

Story & setting

We […] put on an HTC Vive and entered the year 3007. We were among the last human survivors living on a space station above an Earth that was devoid of life. Our crew had received a message from the barren planet below: “My name is HUXLEY and I need your help!”

HUXLEY’s virtual Earth was a magnificently rendered WALL-E-esque wasteland where we met a WALL-E-esque robot who was a bit angrier than Pixar’s cute creation. […]

Puzzles

HUXLEY was a fantastic puzzle game. It had unusual puzzles that took advantage of the virtual world and allowed us to do, see, and solve things that are impossible in meat space.

Additionally, these puzzles required teamwork.

Standouts

It really worked. The motion tracking was perfect. Lisa did not get even slightly motion-sick. Every other time she has ever put on a VR visor, she has become queazy within minutes. She spent 45 minutes in this world without the slightest issue.

The puzzles were smart. There was one puzzle in particular that I desperately want to spoil because I want to talk about it. I won’t spoil it… but I want to. It involved something that is physically not possible in real life.

HUXLEY was a truly collaborative escape room. Whereas our past VR escape room experiences were either solo games or didn’t include satisfying group interaction, HUXLEY required teamwork and made it feel natural.

We each selected a cute avatar. These were initially a little off-putting, but successfully eliminated the issues that usually arise in VR from having false, non-representative, and non-reactive bodies.

The gamespace was gorgeous. This wasn’t some homebrew virtual world made of purchased and slightly tweaked renderings. Huxley was professionally designed.

HUXLEY used the substantial physical space in the virtual one. The world was big and open and the mechanism for traversing it was brilliant.

Because we wore all of the gear – including the computer – on our persons, there weren’t wires in the way.

 

Should I play Exit VR’s HUXLEY?

Absolutely. If you can play HUXLEY, you should go play it.

We’ve played a number of VR experiences over the past few years and they have been a mixed bag. Until I entered the world of HUXLEY, I never believed that I would truly want to play VR… not in the current generation anyway.

HUXLEY was a virtual escape room done right: it limited the impact of the weaknesses of VR, while creating gameplay that wouldn’t be possible in the physical world. It was a great escape game.

HUXLEY is available for licensing. I know nothing about their pricing, but I would love to see this game proliferate. That said, please do not license it unless you have the space and will to do it right. Don’t cut corners. This game is too much fun for a hobbled experience.

 

Source: www.roomescapeartist.com

The creation of HUXLEY – an interview with the Art Director

The visual world of HUXLEY and the choice of engine – An interview with the art director of EXIT-VR, Mr. Ryan Lewis.

 

What were your goals in terms of the look of the game?
Lewis: One of the most important points for us was that we didn’t want to focus on one “gamer”, i.e. user. We produce games for everyone, from children to retirees, including people who don’t usually play computer games or don’t play them regularly. Even if someone is playing a virtual game for the first time, not to mention Virtual Reality, they have to feel comfortable in their environment to enjoy the experience. At the same time, we naturally want to impress our customers with the visuals. To achieve this balance, we decided on a semi-realistic look with some stylized elements, but still so close to reality that you actually feel to be ” there “. It was very important to us to make sure that the players are sufficiently anxious to create suspense and at the same time feel safe enough in the world to concentrate on the puzzles and the plot.

Have these considerations led you to choose a robot as the main character?
Lewis: Robots are easier to animate, haha. But actually the whole story evolved around a robot, which allowed us to travel into its head and show that as a virtual environment. With a real human being as the setting, this level would have looked very different. The level in Huxley’s head is full of wires and circuits, which are familiar objects to the players, but in an extraordinary environment. If you want to show real people in VR, they have to look absolutely photorealistic, otherwise you lose the player. You can give a robot a personality just as well and make it look believable and “real”.

Huxley’s appearance in HUXLEY 2 is very different from the first part, what led to the changes in style?
Lewis: A lot of concept art was done for Huxley 1 in advance, so I picked the best elements from that and combined them with my own ideas. I had the intention to make it look more childish and innocent. He stands in contrast to his environment, which, due to the story, looks rather dark and threatening. HUXLEY 2 is a prequel, it takes place in a steampunk past. Huxley here is an animated automaton with an odd but lovable personality.

The first game was developed with the Unity Engine, for HUXLEY 2 the studio switched to Unreal, how did this change of direction come about?
Lewis: Working with Unity was good, it’s definitely not a bad engine, it gives the programmers a lot of options. But with a project like this, an entertainment product in virtual reality, the visual experience is a big part of the appeal. During development, we can firmly assume that the game will never be played on low-performance hardware, because we know exactly which devices are specially equipped for VR gaming purposes. Such PCs are equipped with at least an Nvidia GTX 1070, which is a beast of a graphics card, and with that we can safely plan. This is one of the greatest joys of programming for location based entertainment. I believe that our games are “graphic-driven”, so it was obvious for us to work with one of the most powerful engines for graphics, and that is unreal. The Unity engine is a great tool but for artists it’s a bit limiting, for programmers it’s wonderful.
Another point is that Unreal gives us as artists all the power. We make our own animations, our own effects and timelines with it, we can put it all together and clock it ourselves. All the little interactions and things like that can be orchestrated by the artists themselves, which makes the environment seem even more in tune with itself. With Unreal more is possible, the levels in HUXLEY 2 are much more alive and full of creatures and parts in motion. Everything we could imagine, we were able to implement quickly in the game.
And there’s another big plus: Unreal has a VR editor, so you can really sit inside your own creation while you work on it. You can move completely free and fly through the levels, you can shrink the whole creation to the size of a baseball and hold it in your hand, pick the part you want to continue working on, zoom back in and just start tinkering. It’s fantastic! It also saves us a lot of time because it gives us a lot of decision-making power. The editor has made great progress lately and now it is not unusual to spend 50%-60% of your time in VR without having to “get out” all the time.

Which software tools for visuals were still in use?
Lewis: As an art director, my philosophy is that people can choose what software they want to work with. As long as we get what we need from it, I’m satisfied. If an artist is particularly happy with a software and likes to work with it, he/she should use that software.
Our main programs are Maya and Blender. The whole studio tends more and more to Blender, which is absolutely powerful for games. Nevertheless, in the field of animation no other tool can keep up with Maya so far, which is why it is also heavily used by us. ZBrush is mainly used for sculpting and is excellent for small details and maps. We do our materials, looks and textures with SubstancePainter and SubstanceDesigner. In addition, we use a variety of other applications here and there. Of course, classics like Photoshop are also included. We use just about anything as long as it gives us the look and feel we want.

OUR SHOW! – Escape Room Industry Conference

In October we exhibited at a great fair and wanted to share this experience because it might be interesting for you, as you might start your own business.
The fair contained many interesting impressions and a number of speakers and workshops where experiences, knowledge and expertise about Virtual Reality and the Escape Room Business were exchanged.
In addition to the exhibitors, the talk by Kevin Williams on “Location-based Entertainment´s VR opportunity” or workshops on marketing and better sales, as well as the networking evenings as inspiration and exchange offer a high added value.

It is still a rather small event, but very well organized and with great potential.
We would like to recommend this show to you, especially if you already work in the Escape Room Business.
On the website you will find more information and you can also sign up for a newsletter to be informed about next year’s dates.

Escape Room Industry Conference ERIC
CEME Conference Centre in Rainham, London

http://ericuk.org/

Also have a look at the report from ESCAPETHEROOMers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcBYxbDWVk0