After announcing Stormland in June 2018, anticipation and excitement were high. The reviews are in. Road to VR called it “the new bar for VR open-world adventure,” while UploadVR dubbed it “VR’s slickest shooter yet.” And now, you can finally enter the world of Stormland on the Rift Platform.
Beginning at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT today, you can watch as the team from Insomniac Games plays Stormland and doles out prizes on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also check out our mini-Q&As with Insomniac Games Principal Designer Duncan Moore, Lead VFX Artist Yancy Young, Lead Gameplay Programmer Joel Bartley, and Oculus Studios Executive Producer David Yee to learn more about the game and its development path. To celebrate today’s launch, we’re back with Insomniac Games Lead Designer and Stormland Director Mike Daly for his take on the game.
How did you get your start in the game industry?
Mike Daly: I went to a summer camp when I was 14 that taught programming. The course was pretty basic, but it pulled back the curtain on computers just enough to realize that it wasn't black magic—that it was something I could do. I started trying to make video games immediately.
As far as getting started in the industry, when I was in college, some engineers gave a guest lecture on game engine development in one of my computer science classes. I pelted them with questions, skipped a class to go to lunch with them, and we became friends. After I graduated and started sending out my resume, I asked them for advice, and, as it turns out, there was an entry-level opening at their company. Talk about a lucky break! I got my start doing tools programming for a middleware game engine where I got to write tools for and support games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Sid Meier’s Civilization IV.
What role did you play in the development of Stormland?
MD: I acted as Stormland’s Game Director and Lead Designer.
As Game Director, I worked with the Creative Director, Duncan Moore, to define the game’s setting, story, and structure, then communicate it out to the team. I worked with the leads of each department to set incremental goals for the project and generally spent a lot of time talking with people about how everything is supposed to fit together and what higher level purpose each thing serves.
After having identified a need the game has, I love giving the problem to a team of smart folks and seeing what they come up with to solve it. The team was constantly making things better than I could have imagined!
As Lead Designer, I acted as a sounding board for the design team, worked with them to figure out the biggest chunks of work that needed to be done, and divided it up among milestones and designers. I occasionally led smaller sub-teams to focus on standing up specific features quickly and wrote lots of bugs and tasks as the game started coming together.
Although those roles kept me busy, I still found a little extra time to go back to my roots and do some programming work. I tinkered a little bit with the iron sights aiming, alloy collection motion, and created a tool for authoring island arrangements.
What’s your favorite part of the game and why?
MD: My favorite part of the game keeps changing the more I play; you can't make me pick just one!
Recently, I’ve gotten into the habit of flinging myself from a high place, then quickly diving to gain speed. As I glide around an island perimeter, I try to shoot alloy deposits mid-flight and swoop close enough to catch the dropped resources without touching the ground. It’s thrilling and rewarding.
As I’m traveling around, I get really excited when I see an abandoned habitat. I know that there’s usually some interesting stuff left behind in them. We have so many different things you can find that I’ve managed to forget some of them and it’s like a fresh discovery! I also love how your friends back at camp chime in to comment on the things you’ve discovered; it lets you get to know them a little better.
I've also been looking at grenade tuning lately. I get a ton of satisfaction from landing a good grenade toss and quickly following it with Carbine shots to wipe out small squads.
Thanks for the insights, Mike! We’re thrilled that the Rift community can jump in and play starting today.
Check out Stormland on the Rift Platform and let us know your thoughts in the comments!