Oculus is one month away from shipping its Touch controllers to the first customers. As part of Oculus’s marketing campaign, the company started Touch Tuesdays, in which it showcases one Touch title per week leading up to the release of the controllers. The first Touch Tuesday (opens in new tab) focused on Dead and Buried, a first-person shooter that comes free with every Touch pre-order. The second Touch Tuesday is all about Crytek's The Climb.
If you already own an Oculus Rift, you’re probably familiar with The Climb, a virtual reality rock climbing game, and you may have even tried it. Crytek launched the game as an Oculus exclusive title in April, shortly after the launch of the Rift HMD.
In the current version of The Climb, you use the triggers on an Xbox One controller to climb you way up the mountainside. The left trigger represents your left hand, and the right trigger is your right hand. When you play the game with a controller, you get the feeling of vertigo that heights can cause, but the controller prevents you from truly losing yourself in the game. When Oculus releases Touch in December, Crytek is shipping an update to add support for Oculus’s motion controllers.
Oculus spoke with Crytek’s Niels Stoelinga, Gameplay Programmer for The Climb, about the implementation of Touch controls to the game. Stoelinga said that the motion controls add to the realism of the climbing mechanics. With Touch controllers, you don’t have to rely on buttons for certain mechanics, such as reaching out to grab your next perch.
“Some mechanics became simpler with Touch,” said Stoelinga to Oculus. “For example, in the gamepad version, we used a button press for players to check their watch in-game. Now you can just look at your wrist. This actually becomes a lot more immersive and natural because it replicates real life.”
Not all mechanics are simpler for Touch. The developers had to compensate for hand movement. “Playing with a gamepad, the movement of the player is automatic. With Touch, the player decides how to move through the space,” said Stoelinga. The developers also had to consider player fatigue while fine-tuning the game mechanics.
Two Side-By-Side Versions
Part of The Climb’s charm is the game’s online leaderboard, which allows climbers to compete for the highest score on a given course. Crytek decided to create separate leader boards for gamepad players and Touch players because the game mechanics are so dramatically different. The gamepad version is mostly about timing. Every player has the same reach, and you can always jump the same height. A Touch player’s reach is at the mercy of their arm length, and their ability to jump will vary depending on their height, the strength of their legs, and the ceiling height in their VR room.
Oculus Touch launches on December 6, 2016, and Crytek is ready for the hardware release. Touch support is a free update for The Climb. If you already own the game, you won’t have to purchase anything. If you don’t own the game yet, it’s available in the Oculus Store (opens in new tab) for $49.99