Aaaaaculus! = Aaaaa! + Oculus Rift
When the Oculus DK1 was released, we (Devin and Alex) immediately dropped everything and spent a month developing a game for it. We took our base-jumping game, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA, and built it for the new medium. We of course had to name it AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaCULUS and we were able to take a design we loved and make it for this incredible new technology. In the days before best practices guides, and common wisdoms, Aaaaaculus! was the experiment that helped us learn the strengths and trials of VR development. We quickly learned that conventions common to traditional game development, like turning the player’s camera or getting by at 30 frames per second, don’t work in VR. It truly kicked off our path down the VR-rabbit hole, and many of the lessons we learned then still inform our development decisions today.
Since the DK1 and DK2, VR technology has gotten quite a bit better. With features available like positional tracking and hand-tracking, Aaaaaculus! doesn’t quite have the same effect as it did on the early dev kits. While we’re no longer maintaining this experience, it remains the first VR game we developed and one of the first VR experiences that many people played. At the time, it was the most fully-featured VR experience to date, fully playable from end-to-end within VR without futzing with menus on the PC using keyboard and mouse. The all-encompassing sense of free-fall was so intense, the feeling of blasting past buildings for points so real, playtesters were known to duck their heads, in real life, when large objects screamed past their face!
If you recall, our intrepid team of Owl Scientists teamed up with the wonderfully fragrant Dejobaan Games to create AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, the semi-sequel to the IGF-nominated AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.
Funny enough, immediately after the Rift was first announced, gamers (and press) started asking for a VR version of Aaaaa! to slap them right in the face. Observe all the clamoring:
You can find additional screenshots here!
Check out what a few of our favorite sites said about our AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAannouncement:
“When thinking of games that would be both exhilarating and possibly stomach-turning when played with an Oculus Rift, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome is a good candidate. Developer Owlchemy Labs has announced that such support is coming “sooner rather than later” for the base-jumping game.” – Jordon Devore, Destructoid
“Perhaps no game is better suited for Oculus Rift than Dejobaan’s falling simulator, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome.” -Andrew Yoon, Shack News
“This is either the best or worst idea I have ever heard: freefall sim AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome is getting Oculus Rift support. Please pass me that bucket. Thanks.” -Brenna Hillier, VG24/7
“I mean, now that I give the idea some thought, it’s like the two were made for each other… in some demonic nausea factory, inextricably fused by a glue made of congealed stomach acid.” -Nathan Grayson, RPS
“They sent me an early, unfinished version of the game, and their work is amazing. You truly feel as if you’re falling through these amazing environments, which is a scary, thrilling thing to experience.” -Ben Kuchera, The PA Report