Do you know how to operate an elevator? Can you give an effortless thumbs-up? Then congratulations, you’re hired!
Releasing on the Quest and Rift Platforms today, Floor Plan 2 casts you as a professional problem solver with an eye for outside-the-box solutions. Fingers stuck in a trap? Grease them up using some butter. Pet missing? Check under their hat! Arsonist on the loose? Quick, give them some sunglasses for a disguise.
These are just a few of the bizarre scenarios you’ll encounter in Floor Plan 2. Like its 2016 predecessor, Floor Plan 2 takes you to a series of strange (and hilarious) rooms linked by way of an interdimensional elevator. Floor Plan 2 is a larger and more ambitious game though. Step out of the elevator and explore a chicken nightclub, a rundown bathroom, and more—and solve everyone’s problems along the way.
We sat down with Turbo Button’s Chief Button Polisher Nic Vasconcellos and Director of Button Operations Holden Link to talk about how VR has changed since Floor Plan first released on Gear VR, what makes a good puzzle, noodle arms, a fondness for escape rooms, and more.
What made you want to return to the Floor Plan universe for a second game?
Nic Vasconcellos: Floor Plan is something that is close to our hearts. It was the first original IP we got to make as a studio, and it felt right to revisit it and bring a sequel to this new wave of VR that's happened in the years since the original’s release.
Holden Link: We love making these kinds of games, but if you had asked us a year after Floor Plan’s release if we would make a sequel, it wouldn’t have been possible. It wasn’t a hit at launch, but the game grew more and more popular every year and by 2019 we were getting requests to make more Floor Plan on a weekly basis.
How has VR changed since you developed the original Floor Plan, and how did that impact Floor Plan 2?
HL: We made the prototype for the original Floor Plan before motion controllers like Oculus Touch were even announced. It was a 3DOF game, and our primary input device was the Gear VR head-slapper touchpad. So you could say it’s changed a bit!
For Floor Plan 2, we didn’t think it was enough to just make more floors. We came up with all new interactions that feel at home with modern VR hardware. The first game was about “reimagining point and click adventures for VR.” The second game asks “What if a point and click adventure got lost in an escape room?”
Are you escape room fans in real life? If so, are you any good at them? Any fun stories?
NV: Oh, absolutely. Escape rooms are such a good time! The sheer amount of ingenuity that goes into them is astounding. As someone who sticks to the digital realm for creation, I’m always impressed to see these things come together in a physical way. We actually did one together a couple years ago that was themed after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a tiny hallway at one point, had to ride stationary bikes, and learned to play some piano. The interactions were just super memorable, and we find ourselves still referencing it every now and again.
What (in your opinion) makes a good puzzle?
HL: Good puzzles are the ones that make you feel smart when you solve them. My favorite video game puzzles are good puzzles that also invoke some other kind of emotion along the way. For example, it could be a sense of wonder like in The Room VR, a sense of urgency like I Expect You To Die, or laugh out loud humor like in the classic adventure games that inspired Floor Plan.
NV: While I love feeling smart after solving a puzzle, I think a great puzzle makes it fun to fail along the way. Trying out different things and forming your own hypotheses can sometimes be just as satisfying as finding the solution.
I’m in love with my noodly arms in Floor Plan 2. How did you settle on that instead of floating hands or any of the other billion possible solutions?
HL: We wanted your hands to be as weird and charming as all the things we ask you to do with them. We were inspired by the sticky hand rope toys we grew up with from goody bags or arcades prizes, and their silliness led us to the Hand Presents system too. Developers like Funktronic Labs and Tyler Hurd paved a path of bouncy, noodly VR hand interactions before us and we encourage people who like our game to check out theirs too!
NV: The noodle arms were actually one of the really early things we prototyped for the game. It was something that we hoped would convey the silly intent of the game even as we were showing it off to friends in white box form.
As veteran VR developers at this point, is there any advice you’d give to up-and-coming creators or people developing their first VR game?
NV: I would encourage people to think about the kinds of genres that are underserved in VR, don’t exist in VR, or don’t even exist at all! As we see more and more people enter the world of VR, the range of experiences people are looking for is going to grow as well.
HL: Nic and I both got started in VR by doing game jams and short projects that could be made in a week or two. Those kinds of limitations were really helpful early on because it allowed us to finish and share our games with other people and get feedback so we could do better next time.
What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?
HL: We’ll be working on updates and new content for Floor Plan 2 for the foreseeable future. Players can expect some quality of life improvements (like a seated mode) as well as a whole new elevator to explore—and more—but we’ll announce the specifics on that at a later date. The number one request from the first game was “More Floor Plan” and we intend to deliver more for as long as we can.