Here we go
We're the Geva Brothers from Peanut Button Studio :)
After launching our first commercial VR game, we're very excited to kick-off our dev blog.
The game is an expansion to the cinematic universe of the Israeli Movie "Mossad!", a wild action-comedy. In the movie, Mossad agent Aharon is the protagonit's best friend, until in a car chase after terrorists he gets killed in an accident. Or so everyone thinks... Turns out Mossad scientists have secretly turned Aharon's corpse to a half-robot-half-white-dude killing machine. They named him: AharonMan! (pun intended)
The VR game we developed puts you in the robotic suit of AharonMan, and allows you to enter the crazy world of the movie through the character's eyes. It launched together with the theatrical release of the film, and is available as a location-based experience in cinema complexes in three major cities in Israel.
Development was a true adventure. We thought we knew more or less everything about VR from our previous experience (we developed for festivals, competitions, etc. from 2015). But creating a polished game with cinematic qualities in a short time and virtually no resources was a huge challenge, both creatively and technically (not that we can draw a clear line between them).
And if development itself wasn't enough, we had to pull-off the location-based side of things, which means we dealt with business partners (most of them with no prior knowledge of VR or gaming), logistics, physical design of the stations, and many more surprises you wouldn't normally expect as a game developer. For example - who could imagine one would need a place to keep their popcorn if playing right before entering the film? This is the kind of attention this project requires.
After launching a couple of weeks ago, we had to quickly iterate on the game itself, and several parts of the physical environment, to efficiently manage high volumes of customers. Putting our stuff out there taught us some invaluable lessons about delivering quality content to movie-goers in a location-based context. And we're still learning and optimizing from the crowd that comes to play every day.
Photo credit: Yuval Sol Boker
We are huge believers in the potential of immersive entertainment. For it to be fulfilled, the audience needs to be exposed to content that's exciting, touching, and empowering. Maturing this artistic medium requires a community of developers, organisations, enthusiasts, and artists dedicated to that mission. We hope that what we'll share here will help strengthening this community. That's the goal of this blog.
Here's a list of ideas for future posts we want to get to:
1. Tips for location based entertainment with Rift-S (to my knowledge, we're the first in the world to use this model in public spaces)
2. Porting existing cinematic IP to VR
3. Digital solutions for physical problems - how content can help dealing with high volumes of crowds.
4. How to bootstrap a business in VR
5. Multi-platform VR development in 2019
6. Designing for a diverse audience
Let us know in the comments if you have more ideas for things we can discuss.
If you happen to read this and one of the above items is especially interesting to you, we can get to it first.
Until next time,
Eyal and Asaf.
Co-Brothers of Peanut Button Studio