Tammeka Games’ Radial-G has been in the virtual reality (VR) spotlight for some time now. Following an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign the team looked to secure other methods of funding, and since then has continued to expand the videogame. The latest update comes in the form of a new build for Razer’s OSVR head-mounted display (HMD), playable for the first time at Shayla Games, Copenhagen.
A well received Steam Early Access launch and an interest in pushing the videogame onto multiple HMDs, Radial-G is becoming a cornerstone of VR racing. After its OSVR debut at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), San Francisco, back in March of this year a brand new build has come to Shayla Games. This version brings Radial-G up to scratch with the Oculus Rift DK2 version in many respects, but most notably in the speed of the experience.
As a futuristic racing videogame the expectation is always that Radial-G will follow F-Zero and WipEout in being eye-bleedingly fast. However, it’s easy to see how this may not have been the most appropriate experience for VR. Tammeka Games has been careful to turn up that dial slowly, ensuring that they can deliver a high-octane experience without sacrificing the VR essentials: framerate and an uncluttered design. Radial-G is now blindingly fast, and yet doesn’t suffer in terms of enjoyment because of it.
Playing in the Viper vehicle, this new build took place on the Dead Zone Alpha course. This super-fast craft got put through its paces on high-rising ramps and through alternating track orientations, and yet not once did any technical issues present themselves. Controlled with an Xbox 360 pad, the only problems came in the form of not being able to handle the craft at high speeds; catapulting off the edge of ramps or missing the trajectory realignment that would return the vehicle to its natural orientation.
The formula of the gameplay remains untouched: hit green pads to increase speed and build boost quota, hit red gates to drop speed and lose health. There are no weapons in Radial-G: your tactics revolve around track positioning more than anything else, and that is of course aided by the ability to look further afield than a traditional 2D monitor would allow.
The resolution of the current OSVR HMD remains inferior to the major competitors in the field – Oculus Rift DK2 and Crescent Bay, Project Morpheus and Valve/HTC’s Vive – though is mostly accommodating to Radial-G‘s demands. Looking ahead along the track to evaluate the corner you’re about to head into is still the greatest advantage offered by playing Radial-G in VR, but also understanding your competitor’s positioning as they pass by either side of you on the cylinder that the track is predominantly made of. Despite the inferior resolution, Radial-G is still a videogame that has obviously been made with VR at the forefront of the developers minds.
OSVR remains set to launch next month and Radial-G will soon leave Steam Early Access in favour of a full launch. Whether or not Tammeka Games and Razer intend to offer a parallel between the two launches remains to be seen, but at present very few titles on OSVR are able to compete against Radial-G in terms of quality and performance.