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 Real Time Strategy 
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Certif-Eyable!

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Palmer Luckey has mentioned a few times that he wants to see Real Time Strategy games in virtual reality.

I'm having a go at adding Oculus Rift support to 0 A.D. So far I got it to compile, got the FOV right, freed up the camera range a bit, and made it render the sky too. Haven't got much further than that yet though.

I want to have the camera controlled by the rift's head tracking, with controls for moving the camera forward, backward, left and right.

I'm not sure about all the other controls though yet. Currently the game has lots of HUD elements.

Has anyone got any good ideas for converting RTS games to Virtual Reality?


Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:54 am
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One Eyed Hopeful

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I'm glad you chose a game like 0 A.D. Since it is open source it is much easier to add new features and game actions. Perhaps with motion control you could have a 3d map that you can manipulate? You set up the troops, make sure you're ready for the current attack and then it switches to a first person view of one of your soldiers. You could then watch the soldiers battle (maybe integrate a way to fight also?) and when the fighting is done it goes back to 'map mode'.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:20 am
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First person soldier view is an interesting idea. It could be a bit like in Star Wars Empire At War with the cinematic battle view.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:49 am
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!
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What I would really like to try is to dedicate a room to VR gaming: basically empty, with a camera tracking setup that allows full 6DOF in the room. From there, I think you can do some really interesting things with a go-perspective interface like Civ or SimCity. I imagine it being something like Olick's Firefall demo but incorporating hand gestures and not necessarily on the floor.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:03 pm
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I assume that means you want the option of a non-lifesize scale, where people are the size of toy soldiers or miniatures, and head position tracking. Otherwise the room's worth of position tracking wouldn't be much use for controlling an area the size of a city.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:30 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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I think something like Battlezone would be a good candidate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlezone_(1998_video_game)

The game designer could create a cockpit where the player sits and controls everything.

Or the tanks could be drones and the designer put in the story that the controllers in the game also use a HMD at some HQ location not inside of the tank. So the simulation would be like 100% because you play a person in game that uses a HMD and you also use a HMD.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:21 pm
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!
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Yeah, something like a huge field of miniatures. And movement shouldn't be one-to-one either; take a few steps to travel across the map, maybe.


Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:02 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Something like Populous http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populous would be good, but if made as AR it would we better...


Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:12 am
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Populous 3: The Beginning (the 3D one) uses Direct3D 6. My Direct3D 6 VR driver isn't very far along. Currently it only detects and hooks the Direct3D 6 interfaces, but doesn't do anything with them. Coincidentally, I think it was Populous 3 that I was using to test it years ago.


Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:57 am
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@2EyeGuy
Have you considered DAWN OF WAR. From classic first title to DAWN OF WAR to recent DOW II-RETRIBUTION it has so many expansions. so far its the only series i have played from days of my NVIDIA GEFORCE2 till newest title DAWN OF WAR 2-RETRIBUTION on my GTX250. This series has fantastic features from TITLE -1. i have seen best ghosting free 3D right from TEST SCREEN till game i have been fan of this game for long period and this game was consistently eye candy in 3D so must see in VR too.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
Expansions:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm

Sequel:
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Expansions to Sequel:
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution

Most nice features of game ware:
1)In game you can go to full 180" vertical 360" Horizontal camera pan around building & unit
2)Near perfect SKY in 3D from SEP-2004 till today
3)Perfect object depth and mostly flawless object placement in 3d pan
4)Neat Textures
5)Overall good experience for 3D
5)Most special effects were volumatric 3D insted of 2D GIFs

Like to know your views!


Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:57 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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I think that the reason for wanting to implement 0 A.D. is because of its open source nature. Closed source games must be changed by the developer but anyone can change an open source game.


Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:54 pm
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You can change closed source games with drivers that intercept Direct3D or OpenGL, which is what Cybereality is doing. According to MobyGames, Dawn Of War uses Direct3D 9, so it should be easy enough for cybereality to get working if you ask him.


Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:32 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Hey guys, have been watching this thread since it started and figured I might as well put in my thoughts...

On a basic thematic point, that being game-play aside, the best RTS I can think to play in VR is Supreme Commander.

That said, I really have no interest in playing the current iteration of the game with a HMD. What I probably would struggle to stop playing is a sci-fi setting RTS, where you play from the first person perspective of a field commander, piloting a command Mech. There is plenty of space in a virtual cockpit to put in all the displays you need, satellite uplinks, extra control boards, whatever you need to make the game playable.

Writing it down, it seems like an idea that both needs and deserves more thought to execute properly, but the point I am trying to make is that while it would be cool to play these older games with the Oculus, they aren't really VR games if you are just slapping an old game onto the display without considering how you play out the actual experience.

But hey, to each their own. I'm trying to stop my self from expecting one thing or another to 'work' in VR until I can get my eyes into an Oculus and try it for my self. :)


Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:39 am
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!
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I think I tend to agree with you, Additives. More so than FPSs and simulations, RTSs will require a complete overhaul in UI and organization to work in VR. I would like to see people working on prototypes that strictly test out new kinds of user interactions, UIs, playfield navigation, and data organization. There is a lot of work to be done in developing the VR vocabulary before we get really useable and engaging experiences.


Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:33 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Hi Guys, nice to meet you all, huge Rift fan here, new to the Forums, been lurking for a few weeks, etc yada yada yada. :lol:

So anyway, I just had a flash of creativity of how a VR RTS could be possibly designed:

You are a VR commander. Your job is to have an overview over the battlefield, to command your troops, units, basically to do what every run of the mill RTS Player does. However, the difference is that you're (virtually) physically present INSIDE your central base/command building (however that thing is called you start with). You can walk around it in-between missions to have chit-chat with npcs, getting information about the next mission from the personnel that's responsible for it, look out through window onto the battlefield in an ego perspective, and basically get to experience the whole strategy and paperwork stuff that happens at the front.

However, for the actual RTS-part of the Game, you have to go into the command center of the building, and enter your tactical VR immersion rig. Your virtual-virtual View gets then coupled to an aerial drone that launches from the command building you're in, and that you subsequently control. You then control the Game similar to an regular RTS, in the sense that you have an aerial view of your units, can select them, give them orders, have an virtual-virtual HUD overlay for stuff like messages, maps and stats etc.

BUT, and here is what would make it quite immersive I'd imagine, your cam-copter or whatever it is you end up controlling IS PHYSICALLY PRESENT ON THE BATTLEFIELD. Specifically, it can get shot down by the enemies, which means you'd get static in your vision and have to waste valuable time starting a new drone and getting back to where the action happens, or jammed and have to make the choice to either waste time struggling to get back into a clear zone, or self destruct the drone, and you can also only rapidly switch between two scenes if you have multiple drones in the air to switch between.
Likewise, if the command building you're in gets attacked, your virtual VR booth and thus your vision shakes wildly, you might get signal noise/outtakes, maybe even your drone up-link fails and you have to switch to grey scale exterior cameras to be able to SEE what attacks you, and to get a chance to recover.

This would drastically change the way you'd play the RTS, and make you drastically set priorities, especially in regards to defending your base. The Fog of war would no longer be the annoying I-can't-see-that-far-yet part of the terrain that you can flick over with your mouse in high speed, but an real, possible thread to your very own ability to play and see the game properly that has to be approached cautiously, at best with a few armored units in front. Same situation in battles: No more hovering over the epicenter of hundreds of lasers, rockets and machine guns firing in at each other, while just making sure that the health bars of the bad guys are depleting faster that the health bars of the good guys. No, YOU have to remain in the back, near enough to effectively control your units, but far enough away to not get shot down yourself. And if you want to roll into the enemy base with your tanks while their defense towers are still operational: Goodbye aerial view of the scene, and hello bullet proof panorama cam attached to one of the tanks only 5m above ground!


Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:13 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Another series of games which would probably work well with the RIFT would be the "Total War" series. You can freely move and rotate the camera over the battlefield, but you can also get from an overhead view, where your soldiers look just like little dots, all the way down to eye level with them. Must be an incredible feeling to be standing amongst a charging squad of cavalry...


Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:06 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Kyundi wrote:
Goodbye aerial view of the scene, and hello bullet proof panorama cam attached to one of the tanks only 5m above ground!


I don't know, but I think today's satellites can already get good pictures; no need for a drone or video feed from a tank.


Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:41 pm
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!
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I think that's a really cool idea Kyundi


Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:53 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Seems like something along the lines of a set of VR UI design principles would be useful. A set of considerations to check off, and a way to prioritise them so that we end up making consistently usable and engaging interfaces for interacting with what I am coming to think of as 'Virtual Experience' games. I.e. Games where you aren't just playing with a HMD, you are actually trying to step into the shoes (or I guess, eyes) of a person in order to play the game.

If that makes no sense, then I'm probably just crazy, but I would totally buy every game of the genre 'VRFPRTS' :)


Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:30 am
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Cross Eyed!
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What I immediately think of when I think "VR RTS":

* Fixed perspective. The camera is controlled by head tracking - you can simply look around the battlefield however fast or slow you want.

* Units are controlled with hand tracking and signals:
- You can select individual units or groups with your fingers. Draw a path on the ground with your finger to guide them.
- Use some version of military hand signals to make selected troops attack, change formation, patrol, defend, harvest, etc.

* No overlayed HUD elements. Unit build numbers appear on buildings, or you can just see the units inside the building.

Other ideas are:
* The ability to slip into first person perspective of specific troops.
* Focus on a single spot to zoom.


Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:54 am
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