Today is the day, CryENGINEERS! It's your last chance to vote for your favorite game in the CRYENGINE Indie Development Fund. Our last interview in this round reveals more about HAZARD ENGINEER, a VR experience and puzzle game developed by Nemesys Games, Hungary.
The premise of Virtual Reality is to provide an immersive experience, first and foremost. But as the medium is still young and has a limited user base, Indie Developers risk a lot diving into this genre. On the other hand, it presents a rare chance to leave your mark in unknown territory and help define the genre of VR games with your stories and ideas. Nemesys Games is experienced in developing games like Land It! and Ignite, but is using CRYENGINE to dive into VR for the first time. Let's see how they describe Hazard Engineer in their own words:
Hazard Engineer is a fun party game with various levels and game mechanics. This game can be perfect to someone who wants to experience the feeling of being on the top of the world or jumping in space. Thanks to the VR environment the player can travel to faraway places and enjoy beautiful and realistic sights all around the globe. For us it's key that the game is intuitive to play, the player should know what to do immediately and how they can achieve the goal of each scene should be a natural process. The challenge is the environment itself: these beautiful places hold various surprises which makes the game difficult to master. Imagine yourself changing a part of a space station, or collect resources from the top of an ancient tree!
Virtual Reality is new territory, so there are as many challenges as opportunities in here. Why did you decide to make a VR game and what challenges did you face so far?
VR is a great territory to make exciting games. We wanted to create an environment in which the player can feel like they would really be there, this is why we decided to make Hazard Engineer a VR experience. Of course playing VR games can be a collective experience: it can be really fun to watch others trying to remain on the tree and not fall down, for example. Get your friends to cheer for you while you're on top and pick you up when you fall - just like real life. :) For us, the hardest part of developing in VR was the User Interface, because it had to be intuitive and available in every moment of the game.
At Crytek we have a lot of experience with VR development. Our engine has some sweet features we used on our in-house titles like Robinson - The Journey and The Climb. Is this why you have chosen CRYENGINE to make Hazard Engineer?
We chose CRYENGINE because we think that this engine is the best in visualizing open world spaces. We wanted to give the players real-life experience and CRYENGINE has beautiful assets to work with. Otherwise the level design interface is really easy to use and the Flowgraph editor made it much more simpler to prototype the game. We really liked the Environment Editor too, because we could make real life weather conditions and since the environment is a key point in our game, this was an important question. Crytek's games were a big inspiration for us. We spent many hours playing with The Climb and it's what inspired us to use small arrows as UI on the tree trunk :) It's a really elegant way to indicate to the player where they can be safe while it showing where they have to go at the same time.
Alpha gameplay teaser for Hazard Engineer, showing off some of the UI as well.
You describe two scenarios in your Indie Dev Fund page; the Treetop & the Space Station. How do these tie in together? Is there a story that comes with the scenarios and links them or is this more of a collection of VR demos & experiences? Why is the game named Hazard Engineer?
Hazard Engineer is a non-linear game and has several different gameplay options. We are planning to make more levels and make it a collection of short party games with different places to visit. Each level has a different goal and gameplay mechanics. For example the Treetop scene represents a classic balancing game, while the Spacestation will be more like a puzzle game with the possibility of jumping in zero gravity. But of course there is an overall premise to the game: the player is an engineer who is really great at their work and doesn't hesitate to take jobs in extreme environments others probably wouldn't dare. This is why we wanted to come up with a name that reflects the tasks the player has to do in the game, and the circumstances he has to deal with to complete these tasks.
The treetop demo looks interesting but also shows a lot of fail states. It can be frustrating to fall off all the time, doesn’t it? Are you planning to enter special achievements or other incentives to track success in the game and keep the player going?
Right now the Treetop scene contains simple balancing mechanics. It is because we wanted to give the player the feeling of being on a tall tree in reality. We tried to focus on this and ensure that the player has the immanent feeling of danger, because this task involves a lot of risk and the probability of failure. Otherwise we think it would make a great party game; the players taking turns and trying to go down the branches and get back without falling down is a competition. Right now we are at the beginning and are working on adding more features to the Treetop scenario, and trying out many things to make it more fun!
Tell us something about yourself and your studio! Who are you guys, where are you from, what’s your past experience?
We are an independent game developer studio headquartered in Budapest, Hungary, and have been making games since 2004. The team have previous releases in the racing and casual genres, and we have a few upcoming VR and AR titles too. You can find more information about our projects on www.nemesys.hu. Our team is tasked with trying out new things and experiment. We are three people at the moment: Tamas Notari, Adam Janos and me, Anita Szegedi. I say experimental because we didn't make a full project in CRYENGINE, yet and many of us are new to VR too. I think you have heard a few things from Tamas already - he is our level designer and he really loves CRYENGINE. I have to tell you that his enthusiasm is contagious! :) Janos is our programmer, and I have been working on the design and the UI.
Not in Hazard Engineer: Viking Temple, by Tamas Notari, created with CRYENGINE Designer Tool.
We have come across Tamas' impressive works in CRYENGINE a couple of times, indeed! And what platforms are you developing for?
We love to experiment with new technologies. Virtual Reality is a new and exciting platform and our studio is really eager to dive into VR development. We experimented a lot with this environment and lately decided that we have to make games in it. In the summer we organized VR tournaments in our office in Budapest (we made a small game for the occasion - Western Shooter) and we plan to open an eSport lounge with a possibility to try VR games. So we indeed love VR, but we have other projects too. Lately we released Land it! on Xbox and Steam, and we have some small mobile games which are waiting for acceptance right now.
Wow, now I really want to see and try this Western Shooter. ;) Maybe submit that next time. If you win a grant in the Indie Dev Fund, what would you do with it?
We would love to finish Hazard Engineer and implement new levels with new features and game mechanics. We started the development only three weeks ago, so it's kind of a fresh project, which is now in the prototype phase. We'd love to add some more fun to it, more tasks to the player and a little more immersion into each scene. Additionally, we plan to update the game periodically and add new scenes every now and then, because Hazard Engineer is a game with endless possibilities. We started this project because we love VR, and we'd like to experiment in virtual environments: what game mechanics are working and what can we achieve with this new platform. Our hope is that we can achieve to make a game which is easy to play but hard to master so it always proofs to be a fun challenge.
Mind your head! Become a Hazard Engineer and explore distant places to fix them - but safety first.
Let’s say I just heard about your game and want to know more! Where can I follow news about HAZARD ENGINEER? Can I support you guys somehow?
Since it's a new project, we haven't put it out yet - we want to implement all the features first, and at least three scenes. We have this idea for a while now, but for some reason the final decision to make it only came to us when we saw this opportunity. So it's a fresh thing, but of course we plan to make an online introducing on our website and IndieDB.
I hope we can make a fun VR game with many scenarios and exciting places to visit.
That's it for today and this interview concludes our first round of the Indie Development Fund Spotlights. Don't forget to check out Hazard Engineer at their Indie Dev Fund page and cast them a vote and give them some nice feedback.
Voting for the Community Choice Grant ends on September 23rd at 23.59 CEST! Winners will be announced in the following weeks. Thanks, all, for participating and voting!