From an early adopter prototype to the World’s most talked about VR sci-fi racer

Radial-G: Racing Revolved is a sci-fi arcade racing game developed from the ground-up with VR in mind. Published by our affiliate company, Tammeka Ltd, and developed in collaboration with MakeMedia Ltd, Radial-G: Racing Revolved has fast become accepted as the last word in how to create a fast-paced VR experience. Radial-G launched as a Day One launch title for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, was a bundled game with the OSVR 2.0 headset and was one of the first wave of games to be released on Sony’s Playstation VR platform.

Back in the summer of 2012 we happened upon a very young looking, enthusiastic Palmer Luckey trying to generate support for his Oculus kickstarter campaign. His driving motivation was to bring VR to the masses. As VR developers working on equipment costing several tens of thousands of Pounds, we were already keen supporters of VR and shared Luckey’s dream of revolutionising the games industry. As we watched the funding go north of their $250k target, finally closing at almost $2.5M, we knew the VR revolution was about to happen!

When we received our DK1 in 2013, the team set about creating a basic prototype to showcase VR to our friends and family. The developers being relatively ‘old hands’ to VR wanted to push the technology to its limits, so against all advice we picked a genre that would test our own skills as well as the ‘VR-legs’ of the people we subjected to our testing!

In mid-2014 we had the bare-bones of what we know today as Radial-G. Friends and connections in the gaming industry led to some early customer testing as we showed our prototype at various small-scale gaming events. The response was something we as developers live for, gamers were simply blown away! This response led us to think of the game as something more than simply a demo and Tammeka Ltd was formed in December 2014 with the explicit aim of creating immersive VR games.

Throughout 2015 we garnered support from industry heavyweights, including Palmer Luckey himself who described the game as “sick” [we later clarified this was the US version of ‘sick’ meaning awesome, as opposed to wanting to vomit!].

In August 2015 an early version of the game was submitted through the Steam Greenlight process, a section of the game distribution website that allows gamers to vote on games they want to see fully released. This was the acid test for the game, would people actually want to pay for our creation. Just six weeks after submission we were greenlit, ranked #21 out of 1700 games, considering access to virtual reality headsets at that time was very limited this was a phenomenal achievement that demonstrated the tremendous desire of the gaming community to support studios making good content for a promising new technology.

As an Indie developer with zero marketing budget, we learnt very quickly that regular, accurate communication with the gaming community was critical to getting exposure for the game. Reddit (r/Oculus) in particular was a rich source of community feedback and support. Many development decisions were based on feedback received from the Reddit community and we’ve never shied away from changing direction if the community’s feedback was different to our own. We fully believe the exposure on Reddit led to many mainstream gaming publications picking up on the game, and proved, if proof was needed, the approach to marketing has radically changed over the last decade and the importance of direct dialogue with your audience is paramount.

In December of 2015, an early access version of Radial-G was launched on Greenlight, this allowed the community to play the game as it was being developed and contribute directly to the ongoing development.

Steam Greenlight generated a small revenue stream that enabled us to continue development into early 2016 but it was the support of Oculus that propelled Radial-G from a solid VR experience into a full game that was launched alongside the Oculus Rift (CV1) headset in March 2016.

The game also launched alongside the HTC Vive headset a month later and was selected by Razer as a bundled title for their OSVR 2.0 headset in late summer of 2016. Radial-G made its console debut in January 2017 launching on the Playstation 4 for the PSVR.

In an industry full of goliaths, we’re proud of what our comparatively tiny team has delivered, we put the success down to two key tenets –

– Delivering rock solid performance that gives people a comfortable (sim sickness-free) experience

– Taking the community on the journey, communicate and remembering that communication is two-way i.e. listen!

The Future

We have lofty ambitions for the Radial-G universe, ultimately those ambitions will be guided by the will of the community. We intend to support as many new VR platforms that emerge, new content for the existing game as well as spin-off/sequel games are all on the wish-list.

 

To learn more about Radial-G, please contact us