How eye tracking and haptic feedback will immerse you in this music rhythm title.
Drums Rock, the arcade game of playing drums while smashing demons to the rhythm of rock, offers its most complete edition (and the craziest news) as it arrives with the launch of PS VR2! From the team here at Garage51 Entertainment, we’re delighted to highlight what we’ve done with this technology, which you can try at home on February 22. Let’s rock!
We had been developing Drums Rock for a few months when we received a PS VR2 dev kit. At that time we were refining gameplay and fighting record labels to get cool songs for the game. We set about testing the features of the PS VR2 headset and Sense controller.
We’ve tried countless different VR headsets in the past, but with the PS VR2 headset we saw that things could be done here that nobody had done before. And that is exactly what we did. We wanted to take a risk and nail it. We opted to go overboard rather than be afraid to try all these new features, and now I think it was the best decision possible.
In case anyone hadn’t noticed, we’re huge fans of the music rhythm genre. Drums Rock is a tribute to everything we loved about the games that defined that genre. Maybe it’s just us, but didn’t you know part of the songs by heart and even played them without looking? I’m sure some madman has even played a guitar controller with his mouth like Jimi Hendrix. Well now, in Drums Rock, playing without looking scores double!
After getting our hands on the PS VR2 development kit headset, eye tracking was the feature that surprised us most, to the extent we built a gameplay mechanic around it and set about fine tuning it so it felt really fun. Let me explain:
Below the streak marker there are two switches, one for each eye. These switches activate either when we have our eyes closed, or are not looking at the incoming notes lane. They have a small cooldown period so as to avoid being triggered by the player blinking or taking side glances to see the notes. Once the switches are activated, your score is multiplied x2. They can also be combined with no fail chain modifiers, reaching x8. It’s a risk-reward mechanic that I personally adore!
All of this looks good, but I’m sure a few of you are asking yourselves the following question: If I have my eyes closed or am not looking at the notes, how do I see that I am scoring double? It is painful to admit that this question plagued us after the design concepts were finalized, but the answer came much quicker thanks to the game audio. We had to work with our sound design team to create an effect that wouldn’t sully the songs we love so much. To our relief, a few reverb effects paired with volume adjustments were enough to give clear feedback while maintaining the essence of the music.
With all the work that we put into eye tracking, and a game in which you play drums and cymbals with drumsticks, surely you don’t think that we forgot haptic feedback, right? Obviously not.
Imagine how each drum, plate or snare has a different vibration. The Sense controller’s haptic feedback allows us to replicate those differences in-game. We left players the option to adjust the strength of feedback they receive.
By now you’ll know that the PS VR2 headset also includes feedback. We couldn’t miss an opportunity to use it. Imagine the awe experienced when you’re in a concert hall and you feel the subwoofer vibrating through the floor with each boom! Creating that tangible feeling was crucial to this immersive experience.
In order to implement headset feedback with the music, we prepared a special vibration map key for each song. To keep them captivating and avoid you tuning this sensation out, each is unique.
We’d love to keep revealing more, like how the game runs at true 120fps and 4k resolution, or how we’ve pampered every single mechanic and song, but I think you’d better wait and try it out for yourself. There’s only a few days left before you can get carried away by rock ‘n’ roll in Drums Rock!