Oculus Connect was jam-packed today with updates and new demos for attendees to jump in and try. However, there was one demo that really stuck out from the rest. It seemed like any conference attendee you asked about their favorite demo experience, they all seemed to respond with a resounding Bullet Train.
Epic Game Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney revealed their sci-fi shooter Bullet Train for the Oculus Rift on stage today, which takes advantage of the Oculus Touch controller for locomotion. The latest VR experience from Epic Games puts you in the middle of the action where you can master the art of teleportation, time manipulation, and close quarter combat that shines a light on the potential of creating amazing VR experiences.
Although I had registered for an Oculus Touch demo time for later in the day, it was not immediately clear until Bullet Train was announced on stage exactly what VR experiences Oculus would be introducing to attendees.
When the time came, I knew exactly which demo I was going to try. The Oculus Touch event space was littered with semi-private partitioned rooms designed to look like an average size living room. I was greeted by a friendly staff member, strapped on the Oculus Rift headset, tightened the Oculus Touch controllers, and fired up the Bullet Train experience.
And so it began.
I found myself virtually standing in the middle of a train running through a subway tunnel. I immediately stared down at my glowing virtual hands in front of my body and wiggled my fingers. This is cool. For much of the short introductory train ride, a narrator trained me on how to take full advantage of all the game controls on the Oculus Touch, preparing me for my stop and what was sure to be an intense gun battle with resistance forces.
When the train finally stopped at the station and the doors slid open, the firefight began. The immersive battle was unlike anything I have experienced before in a game and I made sure to take full advantage of my character’s abilities.
The Art of Teleportation
One unique VR movement element to Bullet Train was the ability of teleportation, adding an entirely new level of mobility and interaction to the game world.
As I was dual wielding two shotguns (which can be reloaded with a simple one-handed pump action) I plowed through enemies on the platform left and right. Spotting resistance coming down an escalator, I pointed my left hand in their direction, knowing I needed to get closer with a shorter-range shotgun blast. I held down a button on the Touch controller and teleported to the escalator waypoint in the blink of an eye.
The idea of teleportation in virtual reality was quick and intuitive, allowing me to traverse the train station environment with limited IRL physical movement and any risk of motion sickness. I like this superhero power.
Another ability within Bullet Train was the ability to slow down time. Any reference to the Matrix from demo attendees describing this action all day definitely came from this ability to slow game action down to a crawl, allowing me to watch bullets slowly float towards me.
Time manipulation was exciting, but even better was the ability to also catch the bullets in midair and throw them back at the enemy forces. This is where I really had fun. Picking off rounds and flicking them in any direction I wanted, even stylizing my combat by throwing rounds behind my back or under my leg. I love this superhero power.
Close Quarter Combat
Discovered by accident, I teleported towards a group of enemies and found myself face to face with an adversary after having already accidentally dropped my handgun. My first initial reaction as an unarmed user was to jab my fist into his face. With no surprise to me in the heat of battle, the enemy dropped to the ground, and I stole his weapon. I was armed again and ready to fight. It all seemed so natural.
Bullet Train was a whirlwind of ducking, swiveling, throwing, and smiling the entire time. For being just a demo that might not actually be developed into a full title game, I couldn’t be more excited for the possibilities of virtual reality.
Next year couldn’t come soon enough.