It’s been a few months since my last update on Darknet. That’s not a sign of bad news! All’s quiet, all’s well. After the game launched on the Gear VR, it went into a sort of hibernation, but you can expect to see more activity later in the year.
Darknet went up for sale on the U.S. Gear VR store about two months ago, and it just went up for sale in the rest of the world as well. Since Oculus has started to provide analytics to developers, I can see that it’s being steadily downloaded and played every day. As expected, these first few months have been slow, parallel to the slow launch of the Gear VR, but Oculus has announced that the Gear VR will have a full, wider launch this fall. It almost feels like the game isn’t really out yet, and the true launch is still months away.
The game is going to get bigger and better before that time comes. I gathered some feedback on the current version of Darknet and got some suggestions for how to improve and expand it. You can expect to see new game mechanics, extra twists to the puzzles, and some general refinement and polish. (All owners of the Gear VR version will, of course, get these updates for free.) I’ll be spending some effort on the PC version as well, with more complex 3D geometry and a full integration of positional tracking. The goal is still to finish the PC version around the launch of that platform’s consumer VR hardware.
Oddly enough, I think that this hiatus from Darknet development will ultimately make the game better. When I made my older games, I found that some good ideas wouldn’t occur to me until I had some time to forget about the work for a while. Sheer calendar time is an underrated resource. Some ideas can’t be rushed, and I find that the extra distance can offer a better perspective.
In the meantime, I’ve kept myself busy with Oculus’s Mobile VR Jam. The original VR Jam was what led to the birth to Darknet, and I’m hoping to build another promising prototype in this new contest. My entry is called Tactera. It’s a simple RTS game set on a virtual holographic tabletop. I don’t know if it will become a full commercial project, but I’ve carved out a month to spend on the prototype. We’ll see where it goes from there.