On the Ruff Talk VR podcast, Almir and Alek of Sinn Studio joined hosts Dscruffles and Stratus to talk about their game - Swordsman VR. An exciting VR combat game out now on PCVR and Playstation VR, and finally making it’s long awaited release on the Meta Quest app lab store on May 26th!
On the podcast, Almir and Alek felt confident with being able to get everything ready for the release date. In fact, they said that they have had the release ready to go for weeks. At one point, they were playing around with the idea of a April release date.
“We've actually had app lab approval for how long now? A couple of months… you know, we had the button to click to go live.” said Alek, one of the founders of Sinn Studio involved heavily in the technical development.
“We were going to attempt to do the last week of April, but we found some things that we felt like we could fix and make better. And I think we chatted earlier how important it was to us that when the Quest users first got their hands on it, that it was to a level that we would be proud to present it to him.” Said Almir, another one of the founders of Sinn Studio.
However, to make sure Quest users get the best possible experience, Sinn Studio had decided to wait to release it alongside their latest update for existing versions of the game; what they call their “Advanced Combat Update”.
“For Quest users, we really wanted to include that update as part of the day one, because it might've been a little weird if we released the game. And then two weeks later, it's a whole new game all of a sudden. It might've been jarring. And also that first impression, we really believe the update will deliver a much better experience overall.”
Podcast co-host Stratus asked about any differences we might see in the Quest version. Almir and Alek both feel happy with the final product of the Quest port and feel it is an accurate representation of the experience on Playstation VR or PCVR.
"It's pretty much there. Most of what you might expect on say console, you will get on Quest. The only differences we had to reduce the complexity and the scenes a little bit. Like you might not see some of the clutter, little tiny details that are all over the place." Alek explained
But the general idea is still there. And it's surprisingly sharp. It's surprisingly good looking. We were not expecting to be able to push it that far."
If this holds true, Swordsman VR is on track to be a must-own app lab title. Digging deeper in to the Advanced Combat Update, they went into what exactly this update is.
"The game as it is currently, a lot of it is relying on the foundation that we built when we started making the game. And at the time we had to use marketplace assets for animations, for example. And so kind of like what the combat is, was limited to what the marketplace animation pack happened to have in it." Alek explained
"So now what we did is, we went into a mocap studio with like professional actors and and just spent a lot of time, energy and resources into really building out what exactly what we wanted fully from scratch." He continued.
"And so when you pair that up with the new, AI brain that we've got now, which can anticipate the players moves very precisely....There's a thing about a second in advance that it knows what the outcome is going to be. And so when you pair that. All that custom mo-cap that we did, you're essentially dealing with a technically invincible AI. The AI can be undefeatable. But then the challenge is how do we balance this to actually make the AI fun and vulnerable in just the right ways to make it fun."
Swordsman VR sounds like it is going to be one of the most complete combat experiences on the Meta Quest store. Combined with the gaming having pre-existing success on other VR platforms, the Ruff Talk VR hosts were shocked to find out that Swordsman VR would be released on App Lab. A hidden store on the Meta Quest store for games without full Oculus approval or still in development, app lab has some of the best experiences on the Quest. However, app lab games can be tough to find as a user and hard to market as a developer.
“Why is it not going to the store? I cannot figure that out for the life of me” Podcast co-host Stratus inquired
Dscruffles agreed “It's a no brainer for the official store”
“We had been in touch with Meta at the time about a potential official Quest store launch. And the conversations were going really, really well. And they understood the potential of Swordsman because of how well we had done on PSVR.” Almir explained
“But I think it was just more so they were looking to confirm that we were going to continue to put the effort into Swordsman that we were, and they wanted to see what the game would look like when we did do all the things that we were saying we were going to do.”
“It's just now our job to make sure that we make it as easy as possible for users on every single platform to find it. And I mean we have different ways of doing that and we're still, we're still incredibly excited and we've treated this app lab launch as like an official launch.”
Dscruffles put on his tin-foil hat for a moment and threw out the idea that maybe they were being set up by Meta to be an “app lab success story” for other developers.
“I mean, I feel like they're getting thrown on app lab just to be the app lab success story. Look what you can do on app lab. You can go from app lab to the official store”
We here at Ruff Talk VR left this interview extremely excited for the release on app lab May 26th! We fully expect to see this one on the official Meta Quest store soon. Be sure to check out our full podcast interview with Sinn Studio for more information about the upcoming Swordsman VR and some great stories about the studio!