Tuesday 5 April 2016

The Launch Trailer For HTC Vive's 'Fantastic Contraption' Is Pure Magic

An example of Mixed Reality with Fantastic Contraption | Image credit: Northway Games

Just yesterday I found myself pondering the possibility of streaming VR games on Twitch with some sort of integrated chat solution, where viewer chat would be integrated into the headset display. I assumed top minds in the development community had to be working toward a solution for this, so that in this brave new world of virtual reality, Twitch streamers could stay engaged with viewers without breaking the deep immersion and presence established by VR headsets like the HTC HTCCY +% Vive. Well, what perfect timing: Northway Games‘ brand new trailer for their HTC Vive launch title reveals that some of those top minds have already figured it out.
Oh, and not only is the game itself pure magic, but this is one of the most professionally produced trailers we’ve seen for any VR game this far, and that level of polish is something the industry needs.


Fantastic Contraption was originally a 2008 Flash game about building stuff, and it has been completely reimagined and rebuilt from the ground up for VR. Using the Vive’s motion controllers and room scale VR technology, you can now feel as if you’re physically building stuff inside a whimsical and imaginative world. The game is an absolute blast, and the developers have been fixtures of the “mixed reality” streaming community on Twitch.
Mixed reality footage is what you see in the Fantastic Contraption trailer, above. The developers even have a detailed tutorial on setting up your own mixed reality studio, and the reason they’ve embraced this method is that it very clearly demonstrates how awe-inspiring it is to be inside virtual reality. Granted, you’re still viewing the results on a flat screen, but it goes a long way toward showing how precise the Vive’s motion controllers are, and how room scale gaming changes everything by making you feel physically present in a non-physical world.
Back to this cool Twitch feature, though. The developers have confirmed to Road to VRthat tomorrow’s final launch of Fantastic Contraption will come with Twitch chat integration, meaning you’ll be able to read comments in real-time inside of the game. Some mixed reality settings and camera direction tools will also enable Twitch streamers to have some real fun with their viewers. Combined with entirely new types of gameplay experiences only possible in VR, this could open up entirely new styles of streams and in-game interaction.

Fantastic Contraption is bundled for free with all HTC Vive pre-orders, alongside Tilt Brush and Job Simulator (all Vive customers get free access to Valve’s The Lab). The game will later be released for $39.99. It includes 50 levels, online solution sharing, and a seemingly endless amount of childlike fascination. The HTC Vive launches tomorrow, and Forbes will have complete, ongoing coverage.

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