A spinoff of Radial-G: Racing Revolved and its high-speed action on the Rift Platform, Radial-G: Proteus has been hailed by VR Focus as “tubular racing at its most intense.” And today, it’s crossing the finish line on Oculus Quest!
We sat down with Things3D Co-Founder Chris Byatte for a lap around the inside track.
How does Radial-G: Proteus differ from and/or build upon its predecessors?
Chris Byatte: The most obvious difference is the art style. Our developer (Tammeka) has completely overhauled the graphics by applying cel shading across all in-game assets. It’s hard to believe the original Racing Revolved game in the Radial-G franchise is over five years old, so we felt a fresh lick of digital paint was needed.
Secondly, the original Racing Revolved was launched when the Xbox controller was the typical input device. So the game now offers two control schemes utilizing Touch controllers.
The biggest difference, though, is in the new boss-fight game mode. Players will have to wait for the Omega update early next year to try it themselves, but I can attest from many hours of gameplay that it’s a really fun mode that pits players against a giant mechanoid boss! You’ll need to hone your twitch responses to avoid attacks while delivering your own explosive punches!
What kind of work has gone into getting the Radial-G franchise ready for Oculus Quest? How have you gone about optimizing for a mobile chipset?
CB: The cel shading technique applied to the art served a dual purpose. Not only did it dramatically improve the vibrancy of the game, but it meant every 3D asset was revisited to radically reduce the poly count.
For example, the cockpit in the original Racing Revolved had a poly count higher than the entire budget for Quest! It was therefore an art-heavy project that initially picked the easy wins such as the track geometry and environment furniture (way too many hours spent on asteroids!). This created a stable build running at over 60 fps, before fine-tuning the remaining assets to hit that magic 72 fps.
The developer of Radial-G: Proteus has worked on several mobile chipsets previously and was surprised at the performance of Quest. Moving forward, it’ll allow us to add increased gameplay functionality that we’d previously not considered.
Were there any technical challenges you’ve faced along the way? If so, how did you tackle them?
CB: The core codebase is very stable. Five years of working on the game will do that! However, the major challenge was related to the combat game mode. All tracks, across all speed tiers, performed at a rock solid 72 fps in standard races. But the combat modes would produce sporadic frame rates between 55 and 65 fps. Upon further investigation, it seemed the geometry and particle effects of a handful of weapons were dramatically increasing the number of draw-calls.
An overhaul of the weapon systems and effects was needed, and we’re now happy to report combat game modes play as buttery smooth as the standard race modes.
What’s the craziest reaction you’ve seen when demoing the game on Quest? Have you noticed a difference in how people play on Quest compared to the Rift version?
CB: As one of the first VR publishers we have a duty to spread the virtual joy, as VR isn’t something you can easily explain to someone. It’s entirely experiential, so you need to fully immerse people in VR for them to understand what all the hype is about.
So we’ve racked up a ton of miles attending every gaming show we can, whether that’s one of the larger gaming events, or a meetup down at the local pub. Inevitably it’s always the parents of the child they’re accompanying to a show that give us the best reactions. The 50-something, slightly awkward mother that goes from a picture of serenity to a squealing teenager always brings a smile to our faces.
It’s also been previewed by a lot of the top VR influencers. We’ve seen content creators accidentally use up their entire live stream on the game, when they’d intended to cover several titles. I don’t think people expected such an intense, premium racing experience in an untethered version of the game.
In terms of differences, there are now two control schemes for the game; the more traditional thumbstick control and a motion control option. We’ve found that new VR players tend to use the more traditional scheme whereas those who’ve played the original want to increase the immersion by trying out the new motion control scheme.
Who did you work with on the soundtrack? What was that experience like?
CB: The soundtrack was a very important consideration on Radial-G: Proteus. Racing Revolved had a stellar lineup of artists including Utah Saints and Delta Heavy, but the new art style meant the soundtrack required an evolution too. The soundtrack is a collaboration between the in-house composer Michalis Mavronas (also known as Kohtakt), Tom Evans, who supplied a track for Racing Revolved, and Last Ronin, whose style we felt best fit with the new visual design.
Each track is inspired by the different races and circuits within the game and adds to the intensity and sensation of every curve, jump, boost, and battle!
You can tell how much Kohtakt, Tom, and Last Ronin loved the game, and wanted to add to the experience. And they nailed it perfectly. They’re seasoned gamers, and they totally get the futuristic, high-octane nature of Radial-G: Proteus.
What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?
CB: As previously mentioned, we plan to launch the Omega update early into next year. This adds an exciting new game mode, additional ships, extended career mode, and a new racetrack. After that, multiplayer is coming!
Radial-G: Proteus is the first game to be launched under the Things3D publishing label, and we’ve got some incredible developers on board with us. There are already a host of amazing games we’re working with and gearing up for launch, which span a wide range of genres and really epitomize what VR gaming is all about.
You’ll hear about them first at Oculus, so keep an eye out and we’ll dish out some specifics as soon as possible!
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CB: We fully anticipate people will want to own the soundtrack just as much as they want the game, so we’re considering releasing it, or even giving it away if the demand is high enough. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter @Things3DVR if you want the Radial-G: Proteus soundtrack, along with news of the updates as they happen.
Otherwise, if you’ve never tried VR and are wondering what the hype is all about, get along to one of the many, many gaming shows. Once you’ve tried VR, you’ll never go back!
Thanks for letting us cruise along in the passenger seat, Chris. We can’t wait to hear how the Quest community reacts.
Take Radial-G: Proteus out for a spin on Quest today!