Created for the Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 virtual reality headset, Deep Rift is a prototype stealth-horror game. Developed with Will Owen it is set undersea as a game of cat-and-mouse between sharks and a submersible piloted by the player.
Players navigate through a dim, foggy, and labyrinthine undersea cave and must avoid attacks from roaming sharks using sonar noise detection and sight. Visibility is limited to the submersible’s small spotlight and a series of externally mounted cameras displayed on the console.
The design utilized the Oculus Rift’s head tracking capabilities and enhanced depth-perception to convey the cockpit experience, and uncertainty in peering into the murky water beyond. The submersible’s console is spread around the player’s periphery keeping information partial at all times.
A final prototype was demoed at multiple RMIT University open day events to showcase VR technology, and at a youth event in Wangaratta held by Uniting Care. It was a great success with students and kids alike.
Insights learned during development were later presented in a talk about developing and designing for VR as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, titled “How (not) to Develop a VR Game”.