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Dark Threads - new Cyberpunk (Blade Runner) inspired VR adventure game

RuneSR2
Level 15

DarkTHreadsPoster.JPG

Toronto-based production house Cream Productions (Story of Late Night, Age of Samurai) has launched its virtual reality (VR) sci-fi drama Dark Threads, a fully interactive experience that allows gamers to embark on a fantastical journey of consciousness. 

 

I just bought and tested it - it does look interesting:

 

 

According to the devs, the game is about:

 

How do you save the world when you can’t even trust your own mind?

Dark Threads is a VR adventure that compels players to consider the essence of consciousness, altruism, cruelty and life itself,” says Johnny Kalangis, Vice President of Digital at Cream. “The experience is like a multiple-choice scripted series with three distinctly mysterious endings; each option directly affects the finale.”

 

"Find out in the interactive drama and sci-fi VR adventure, DARK THREADS (starring Dominic Monaghan). Using your own hands, ears and eyes, you will explore spaces and objects as Dominic Monaghan’s character in an immersive experience that blurs the line between real and virtual. Every person you encounter may be an ally or enemy. Every potential clue may lead you closer to the truth or further down the rabbit hole. And the decisions you make can change the final outcome. Make your choices carefully; the threads you follow will either weave a story where you triumph… or forever unravel your entire consciousness"

 

Screenshot 2021-06-28 134440.JPG

It's not a bad game for its current extremely low price of $5 - but I've only tested it shortly. The game isn't perfectly polished, feels like a game devs for some reasons needed to publish now. So don't expect a perfectly polished game, but still the game did impress me.

 

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There aren't many great VR adventure games - this does not seem bad, but devs recommend at least a RTX 2080 for the game

 

As shown above, Dominic Monaghan stars in the game - maybe this is a better picture 😉

 

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- or if some still can't recognize him 😉

 

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Dominic Monaghan as Merry in Lord of the Rings

 

Another star in the game is Kandyse Mcclure:

 

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- maybe some better recognize her in this image:

 

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Note that the game, even if it says so on the store page, does not support the Index. Well, you do get a picture in the hmd, but controllers don't show up - so you can do nothing. Got an error about bindings not working - so the game is totally dead with the Index, at least right now. I could not edit any Index controller bindings.

 

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The game was made for the Oculus Rift 

 

All hope is not lost, because this is an Oculus Rift CV1 game. And I still have the CV1 connected to my rig - and the game supports native Oculus drivers. Now I got hands thanks to full Touch support and could play the game.

 

Screenshot 2021-06-28 134628.JPG

 

Even using Rift CV1 ss 2.0 the game was blurry, so I tried to max out ss by going to ss 2.5. That's 3344 x 3968 x 2 = 27 mill pixels per frame (both eyes), but I did get close to solid 90 fps thanks to my oc'ed RTX 3090. Ss 2.0 (=17 mill pixels) was solid 90 fps.

 

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The game does use several high-poly model, like some spiders - they look great in the game 


The game feels like an adventure game which could give some vibes from Under a Killing Moon or similar Blade Runner stuff.

 

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The game takes place in the future with some cyberpunk inspiration

 

You've lost your memory and need to find out who you are after having a brain implant. I'm looking forward to continue the game. The game does feel like much effort was put into it, even if the devs may have lacked the funding to give the game more optimization and the final polish. For the current very low price I think you're getting much more than you pay for.

 

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Graphics are fine even if the game could use more polish

 

Recommended system requirements:

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64 bit
  • Processor: Eight Core 4 Ghz +
  • Memory: 16 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX 2080
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 30 GB available space

 

Maybe my 10 cores i9 10900K does make a difference in this game, at least I got solid 90 fps when using Rift CV1 ss 2.0. 

 

Screenshot 2021-06-28 132217.JPG

Get the game here and support the devs - it's only $1 per 6GB, lol:

 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1622060/Dark_Threads/

 

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More info about the game here: 

 

https://thevrdimension.com/2021/07/15/when-threading-the-dark-how-far-are-you-willing-to-go-down-the...

 

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Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

11 REPLIES 11

RuneSR2
Level 15

I've now spent 2 hours in the game/experience. It's much better than I anticipated - sometimes there is such a thing as free lunch, lol. 

 

My updated review from Steam: 

 

This game or experience is 10/10 - if you have the rig to run it - and also a fully supported hmd. I recommend oled like Rift CV1.

 

I really have no idea why the developers are giving this beyond awesome experience away for free - or close. For now the price should at least be $19.99 - or maybe even 29.99. But I have not finished the game yet, so I will get back to that subject.

 

The game isn't perfectly polished, but it's still more polished than many other similar experiences, just don't expect a perfectly polished game. The game did impress me. In some of the larger and more open locations you do get an idea why this game may like a processor with 8 cores or more - some giant statues and monuments have awesome polygon counts. This is PCVR at its finest, not in all locations, but in many.

 

Note that the game, even if it says so on the store page, does not support the Index. Well, you do get a picture in the hmd, but controllers don't show up - so you can do nothing. Got an error about legacy bindings not working - so the game is totally dead with the Index, at least right now. I could not edit any Index controller bindings.

 

All hope is not lost, because this is an Oculus Rift CV1 game. And I still have the CV1 connected to my rig - and the game supports native Oculus drivers. Now I got hands thanks to full Touch support and could play the game. Even using Rift CV1 ss 2.0 the game felt blurry, so I tried to max out ss by going to ss 2.5. That's 3344 x 3968 x 2 = 27 mill pixels per frame (both eyes), but I did get solid 90 fps thanks to my oc'ed RTX 3090.

 

The game feels like an adventure game that could give some vibes from Under a Killing Moon or similar Blade Runner stuff. But it's also a walking simulator like ZED, but Dark Threads is much more advanced than ZED. Dark Threads has a heart and an agenda, and wins greatly in that perspective.

 

In Dark Threads, you've lost your memory and need to find out who you are after having a brain implant. I'm looking forward to continue the game. The game does feel like much effort was put into it, standing next to Dominic Monaghan’s character is a great experience, and his face and clothes look great. Kandyse Mcclure is also constantly with you, as her voice is used for an AI floating next to you.

There are great use of dynamic lights and shadows, which probably also is why devs recommend a RTX 2080 or better for this experience.

 

For the current very low price you're getting so incredibly much more than you pay for.

 

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Some dynamic lights and shadows

 

Maybe Dark Threads is more art than game. Could be an interesting discussion. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Just got confirmed that Wands aren't working too. For now Dark Threads requires Touch and only works with Oculus hmds (not sure about WMR though). 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

> Maybe Dark Threads is more art than game. Could be an interesting discussion. 

 

@Zenbane 

Will you accept this game as an example of game were graphics plays large role? 🙂

 

I think if game contains 4K textures and high res models and you have payed for them you would like to get GPU capable of rendering them all 🙂

Especially if game is allowing to see those models and textures in closeup. Not every game allows you to see your enemies in close up and static scene 😄

I like those games you could see those detail 3D models after completing a level. So you have time to experience those art without time limits. It could be some "trophy", "rewind" or "manual on creatures you have seen in game".

 

I think it is important to see guest stars* models in high res also 🙂  (fix. "stars" not "starts")


@Nekto2 wrote:

> Maybe Dark Threads is more art than game. Could be an interesting discussion. 

 

@Zenbane 

Will you accept this game as an example of game were graphics plays large role? 🙂

 


 

Well played, good sir 😁

 

Yeah from reading the features of the game per the website, it seems that the main feature is simply "what you see." Which means that yes, visuals play the larger role in something like this. I would also add that this is where the lines get blurred between what defines "a game" (sorry, semantics) since this is more of an experience than an actual game. 

 

Typically, a game will test your skills and abilities to some degree; whereas this particular application merely involves making "choices" which allow you to advance between previously scripted scenes. Similar to a Pick-A-Path Book:

 

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That is not a criticism on my part either! I own a few Pick-A-Path books and absolutely love an experience that is centered around "decision making." To-date, my favorite experience in this genre is the TellTale: Walking Dead series. It is 100% pick-a-path story-telling and highly addictive.

 

I would imagine that the key difference between TWD by TellTale and Dark Threads is that TellTale's TWD still had gaming elements, like fighting and having to move quickly (twitch skills) for combat. So it still had the actual "video game" element. Whereas Dark Threads seems more centered on simply "sights and sounds" based on a choice you make.

 

I would have to play it myself to give a final verdict of course; but for now it does seem to lean more towards a VR Experience vs an actual Video Game.


But semantics aside, I would have to agree that if we consider Dark Threads to be a Video Game then yes, it is an example of where Visuals do matter above all else since the game doesn't test any skills or abilities of the player but only presents things to enjoy with the eyes and ears 😊

 

"I think it is important to see guest star models in high res also"

 

Only Dominic Monaghan is reproduced as a full character in the game, Mcclure is only the AI voice (at least up to Day 3, haven't finished the game), and while Monaghan is not as impressive compared to npcs in Medal of Honor AB (or Olivia in Lone Echo), Monaghan is nicely made. 

 

Thing is - my guess - due to performance problems this game was reduced in res, and even the High setting (the highest in-game setting you can choose) does not remove the blurriness. That's why this is the first game I've set to a totally massive CV1 ss 2.5 (2.5 is the highest setting available in Oculus Tray Tool and might eat up more than 10GB vram). But then Monaghan's facial details really start to look great/realistic - and you can enjoy the finer details and textures of his clothes too. Maybe I can take a few shots of him later 🙂 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Maybe I took too many shots, lol - but all are in-game (using Index res 250% - 300%). Res 250% seems to be the highest I can go with this game for close to solid 90 fps - but res 250% in this game was 3904 x 4336 x 2 = 34 mill pixels. So res differs from game to game, res 250% isn't always the same number of pixels. 

 

Click on each image to enlarge and see the full res.

 

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Skin details - looks much better in VR

 

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Possibly a better shot of Monaghan's face

 

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Some lighting...

 

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Clothes - textures, nice but not Boneworks' ultramersion

 

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The spider looks really awesome in VR - even more detailed than can be shown here

 

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Stuff on wall and a warning...

 

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Hand textures and details - looks awesome! I never get tired of looking at my hands, lol

 

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More lighting - and spaceships!

 

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Models and lighting - and an AI and Monaghan discussing the future of the human race

 

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Large monuments

 

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Everybody loves a great ground texture, right?

 

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Some humor... 

 

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More awesome monuments - and maybe why devs recommend an 8 core processor for this experience

 

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One of my favorite models in the game - it looks awesome!

 

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Everybody loves great ground textures - part 2 🙂

 

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Dynamic lights and shadows

 

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High-poly models, great dynamic lights and shadows - and nice textures too

 

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Awesome light - need sunglasses, lol

 

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Example of environment

 

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The cables look awesome - many may never notice them, so took a shot 😇

 

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Hallway with reflections

                      

For $5 this experience is truly 10/10. Index controllers now work - even with finger tracking. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Also note that Dark Threads is somewhat special. I'm fully convinced that the game was made for Rift CV1 (=oled), because in some very places I simply could not see some of the awesome monuments (croc and rhino), while these monuments were very easy to see and looked beyond awesome using oled. No designer in his or her right mind would have made these beautiful monuments nearly impossible to see, if the game was designed for lcd. (Also when Dark Threads first arrived on Steam, only Rift was supported - Index/Vive was added through a day 1 patch - and Dark Threads supports native Oculus drivers.) 

But when there is light- and that goes for most of the experience - lcd shines much more than the Rift CV1. So overall Dark Threads will probably be a win for lcd, even if there are several pros and cons. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

> I would also add that this is where the lines get blurred between what defines "a game" (sorry, semantics) since this is more of an experience than an actual game.

 

Fully agree! 🙂

 

> Thing is - my guess - due to performance problems this game was reduced in res, and even the High setting (the highest in-game setting you can choose) does not remove the blurriness. 

 

I think they could add the model with higher detail in update  later 🙂

Will you mail them? 😉