Technolust was one of the reasons, along with Elite Dangerous, why we had to deactivate the Oculus service in order to test the demo, since it was compiled with the Oculus SDK 0.3… until yesterday. The new version of Technolust, which we can download if we have supported the Kickstarter campaign or have bought it on the web, is a sample of the potential of virtual reality.
Those of you who are eligible to download this beta will have received a link in the mail, and those of you who missed it can pre-purchase the game and access the beta here. After our tests, the improvement of the experience thanks to the new Oculus SDK is evident. Although it has still given us some problems with the Direct mode (the result may vary depending on the graphics card), using the extended desktop we have managed to enjoy a very smooth and jerkless experience, with a graphic quality that has left us speechless, more typical of engines like Unreal Engine than Unity, but the creators of Technolust have shown that, with effort and attention to detail, Unity 4 can shine with great force.
In the demo it is possible to visit 6 zones, and we can jump from one to another by pressing F1 if we do not want to play it (note that F1 also activates and deactivates the low persistence):
- Our apartment, including a hallway in which we hacked a terminal to go outside
- The arcade
- The train station
- Another apartment
The first thing that has caught our attention has been the overwhelming atmosphere, that style that reminds us so much of Blade Runner. The image is very dark all the time, and it is easy to be dazzled by the brightness of the neons. Its creators have corrected the bleeding effect and have managed to make it inappreciable most of the time, but when comparing it with the previous demo, created with the SDK 0.3, it is noticeable that the blacks have lost strength and, when the area is very dark, we have the feeling of seeing everything behind a transparent veil, a kind of very faint film effect. The quality and level of detail of the scenarios is extraordinary, each object is modeled with great care, especially in the initial area of the game where we can tour our small apartment. We can lean over the objects that populate the shelves, including two Oculus Rift, a DK1 and a DK2. How important is the absolute positioning! Now it is difficult for us to understand that we could have been with the DK1 for more than 1 year.
The exterior areas, although much better than in the previous demo, may seem less worked compared to the interiors, but they are also full of details such as smoke coming out of the floor vents, garbage cans and posters. Looking up and contemplating the huge buildings in the distance is something that leaves us with our mouths open. The arcade is shrouded in a gloom that makes it disturbingly real, and it’s amazing when the machines connect and we can see mythical games like Pacman, Double Dragon or The Joust, as well as a gigantic Radial-G machine.
In the train station we have seen one of the effects that has caught our attention the most, despite its apparent simplicity: some fans on the walls that serve to keep the interior airy. It is here that the 75 hz of the screen is noticeable, since it is easy to get gobsmacked watching how the blades rotate and spin, with a smoothness that does not seem artificial as in any other video game limited to 60 frames per second.
Chinatown, finally, is still half done and we can’t interact with anything, but the realism of the neighborhood at night is amazing, although it is here that the veil effect that they have used to correct the bleeding of blacks is most noticeable. This area links to the final scene of the demo, inside another apartment decorated with as much care as the first and where, apparently, we can watch the movie Night of the Living Dead in its entirety, on a virtual projector (we have not endured so long to check it out).
Technolust has left us with our mouths open. Experiences like this are the ones that should be taught to those who do not know virtual reality, so that they can get an idea of the gigantic change that the world of video games is going to experience when we stop seeing it through the eyes of the protagonist and move on to occupy his position, when we really feel that we are there. And Technolust is one of those experiences that will surprise the most when it is finished and we can enjoy it in the commercial version of the Rift. The little we have seen so far could not be more promising.