AZTB recently took a tech field trip to the University of Advancing Technology to sneak a peak at just some of the game development awesomeness taking place. We were lucky enough to speak with UAT almunus Tristan Parrish Moore, developer of the thrilling virtual reality experience – Grave. Parrish Moore graduated from UAT in 2012 and began working at Redacted Studios in Palo Alto, California. Grave is a first-person, open-exploration survival experience where the player must discover a series of mysterious items in an abandoned town. What’s even cooler is that it utilizes Tech Crunchie winners Oculus Rift to give players a full virtual reality experience.
TD: Tell me about Grave? How did you come up with the idea?
Grave is an open world first person survival horror. To clarify, survival horror is a combination of survival and suspense. We are basically putting a modern spin on a genre that has been stagnated. A system is constantly changing the game while you’re playing, which makes it unique. Environments change and there is a day and night progression. The worlds change when the sun comes up. Our main focus was to create a surreal supernatural world, where when it gets dark, things happen and the creatures come out. It was actually developed with Oculus Rift, all initial ideas to make game immersive fit with that concept. The word “game” is not appropriate for what we do because it implies rule sets, challenges, and requires a set of skills. We like that Oculus Rift employs a virtual reality and that’s how we view what we do. It’s a virtual reality experience.
TD: What virtual reality experience is this similar to and how is GRAVE different?
In a broader sense, the experience was inspired by Silent Hill and a little bit of Resident Evil and we really try not to focus on combat and action.
We subscribe to the philosophy that video games are a lense in which we can view the world. We want to create real immersive realities. The goal for Grave is to create an experience that you can become emotionally invested in and it’s not just about suspense. It’s kind of funny because the origin of grave was based on my discomfort of attending conferences. I go to them every year and I have to figure out what to say to people and how to relate to them. There’s this weird loneliness and apprehension that I feel every time. People represent different forms of themselves at these types of things. I was sitting on the roof of Culver Hotel and thinking about how all of us are there but completely isolated. The whole idea of Grave was exploring isolation and what it really means. We wanted to take that idea and set it as a theme – this idea of being alone in a world that is constantly changing and exploring how you feel.
TD: What specifically creates this aura of loneliness?
The first thing we always highlight is that it is a procedural world that changes and it is not possible to predict what happens. The interactions between creatures will always change and you will find that lightness and darkness convey different actions. Although we’ve only shown a few creatures so far, each creature has a different reaction to light, which we are exploring further in development.
T: What kind of traction have you had so far?
We made the decision to make game available to play from the time we developed it. Eddb.com has been helpful because they offer hosting for game downloads. We basically developed a community and following through that hosting service. We’ve had 40,000 views since we launched and five or six thousand downloads. We’re also beginning to expand into Facebook and other outlets.
TD: I understand you are in the process of raising capital?
Right now, we are also exploring funding options, raising money, and networking as much as possible. We’ve worked on this game for a year completely unpaid and exploring funding options can be tough, but it is important. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, with the game being rated with 5 stars and a 99 percent success rate for uploads.
TD: Marketing a game in the right place is crucial, what are you plans for GRAVE?
Social media, basically. We don’t have a budget for proper marketing. From there, we’re using Facebook and doing lots of social networking. Other than that, we’re focusing on trying to make a solid product that people want to see.
TD: What’s next for you?
For the future, our goal for the game is to have multiple characters experiencing multiple aspects of this world.
TD: Anything else our readers need to know?
We want to take the way that horror films interact with your emotional state and transport that into an interactive environment. We think that creating an experience that is equivalent to what you can get out of a book or film. We want you to have an emotional connection to this experience. Also, the 2.0 demo will be available for download soon.
Learn more about Grave by clicking here.
Photos provided by Tristan Parrish Moore