Back at EGX 2016 I got involved with virtual reality game Craft Keep VR. A certain portion of the game was already available in Early Access before I even heard about it but over the past few months I’ve been writing story and dialogue and gradually seeing the whole thing take form. At this point my work is done and, not only that, the finished game has just been released! You’ll need either an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to play it, but even if you don’t have one of those knocking about I highly recommend checking out the trailer.
I got a chance to play a very nearly complete version at EGX Rezzed this year, and the experience was…strange. Amazing, but strange. I don’t have the VR equipment necessary to play this sort of thing at home, so beyond a few YouTube videos I hadn’t really seen the work in progress while I was writing. It’s quite a shock to go from “Ha ha! This’ll make for a fun bit of dialogue,” to “Oh wow! There’s the guy saying it!” with absolutely nothing in between. It would be weird if the jump were simply from page to screen, but when it’s from page to 3D people walking around in the room with you, it’s especially striking.
Everything about Craft Keep is very intuitive. I got some video of my most recent attempt at playing the game, and though for the most part all you see is me blundering through the tutorial, at one point you might notice that I pass a crossbow from one hand to the other. It’s the sort of thing that would be borderline impossible in, say, a standard first-person shooter, but in VR it feels like a natural option and it works exactly as you’d expect. Watch a little longer and you’ll see me gorge myself on virtual sushi and then get virtual drunk. That’s very intuitive too.
One thing that stood out to me when I first saw Craft Keep – and one of the reasons I was so keen to get involved with it – was that the tone and setting were really close to a lot of the funny fantasy stories I’d already been writing. At this point a fair chunk of that is actually down to me (keep an eye out for “Gurf” hanging around Dave’s Discount Dungeon), but an awful lot was already there to begin with: there’s just something innately funny about stepping into a wacky fantasy universe full of wizards and demons, birdmen and bandits, and then finding that actually you’ve stepped into the shoes of the local shopkeeper.
If you’ve got the equipment to run it, you can find Craft Keep VR right here on Steam. It’s on sale this week too (and at less than a tenner it’s a really good price), so if you know anybody who might be interested then please do tell them about it! I gather that Steam isn’t terribly helpful when it comes to giving visibility to new indie games, so we’re really counting on word of mouth for this. If it helps persuade anyone, it’s currently got a higher user rating than the Rick and Morty VR game that just came out so do have a look!