You’re somewhere in deep space, piloting one of the most advanced starfighters in the galaxy. Your task is simple: Protect the United Trade Consortium’s secret jump-drive technology at all costs. You dive and dodge incoming missiles from the Tartus Liberation Front, who will stop at nothing to take your ship down, turning their projectiles into space dust. In virtual reality, all of your sci-fi fantasies become real. Previously available on the Rift Platform, Oculus Go, and Gear VR, you can experience all of these adrenaline-pumping, space-stopping starfighter moments in End Space now on Oculus Quest.
The game’s creator Justin Wasilenko found inspiration from his childhood playing space simulators and eventually created his own VR company alongside his brother, Lee Wasilenko. With the game’s initial success on Gear VR, Go, and the Rift Platform, the developers at Orange Bridge Studios Inc. have spent the last three years updating their out-of-this-world flight sim with new levels, graphics, and more for its Quest debut.
We recently spoke with Justin Wasilenko to learn more about End Space’s journey from early concept to launch and where he sees the game in the future.
What was the initial inspiration behind End Space?
Justin Wasilenko: When I was younger, my favorite games to play were flight/space simulator games. I spent a lot of my childhood sitting in a virtual cockpit flying spaceships and planes. Tie Fighter and Wing Commander have always ranked as my favorite games of all time.
My brother had shown me his Oculus DK2 that he got from backing the Kickstarter, and I was just amazed. I saw the potential for virtual reality and what it meant for the future of video games, and I wanted to be a part of it. I had never worked in the game industry before or even attempted to make a game. I was a wildland forest firefighter in the seven years before the release of End Space.
While I was in Germany visiting my brother, I met a girl who would become my future wife. That led me to move to Germany at the end of 2014. I couldn’t work as a firefighter anymore, so I started to learn Unity by watching YouTube tutorials and taught myself how to make games. For every tutorial I did, I would take what I learned and put it into my first game. Taking inspiration from my favorite childhood games, I started to build what would become End Space.
What was the development process like to bring the game over to Oculus Quest?
JW: I feel super lucky to have been invited by Oculus to the first ever Oculus Developer Summit where we were shown the Santa Cruz prototype. Since then, I knew what was coming and what to expect from the Quest hardware. End Space was originally designed for the Gear VR and Oculus Go, so we already had good performance on mobile. Later, when End Space released on Rift, it had better graphics and more control options thanks to the Touch controllers.
The Quest version of End Space takes the mobile version and Rift version and mashes them together. Once I got the game running on Quest, the next tricky part was passing the Quality Assurance process which proved quite challenging, but the game is much better for it.
What kinds of changes have you made since the game originally debuted in 2016?
JW: I got married and had two kids :) But to End Space itself? It has drastically changed over the last three years. The game first released on Gear VR when the Touchpad was the only controller. Since then, I’ve added new levels, a storyline, voice acting, localization, all new control methods, support for more platforms, better graphics and sounds. There isn’t anything remaining in the game that hasn’t been reworked since 2016. It’s been a constant learning process for me.
Are you offering cross-buy for owners of End Space on the Rift Platform?
JW: Yeah, I’m excited about offering it as an extra “thank you” for the Rift pilots that have already supported me. The price has also dropped on the Rift version down to $14.99 USD to match the Quest release pricing.
Any future updates on the roadmap you can share?
JW: End Space has been in development for over three years, and we’ve been constantly updating the game since. One of the next features in development is an infinite wave mode with a leaderboard to see how far you can make it. With the newly announced cloud save, I also want to look at being able to save your progress on Quest and pick up where you left off on Rift. Also, expect to see more missions to further the story, more weapon types, and more of everything.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JW: I would like to take the opportunity to give a huge “thank you” to everyone who has supported me and End Space over the last three years. There have been so many emails and reviews over the years telling me how much they loved playing the game and how it brought back memories of playing the space games of the ’90s. I am so grateful for that support.
The last three years for me have been incredible—getting married, the birth of my two children, and creating End Space. Now, seeing the release of End Space on Quest, I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds.
Fly safely, pilots!
Thanks for chatting with us, Justin! We hope your journey from beginner game developer to launching your own VR flight simulator inspires more creators in the Oculus community.