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JetPack Races (updated)

Krisper
Level 2
I would like to share my first Oculus Rift game, JetPack Races. I really have no idea what people will think of this, I built my JetPack a while ago and enjoyed flying around Tuscany and the Destroyed City so I thought I would add a bit of a challenge to it and add in some time trial racing. It is modeled on the Bell Rocket Belt and it uses Physics to fly, I think it would be pretty true to the real thing.

I have used the Unity Island Demo for this, which is far from perfect as the water does all sorts of weird things, but I wanted to share the idea to see if anyone thinks this might be worth me continuing to develop it. You'll have to excuse my very basic modelling skills.

You can play this with or without the Oculus Rift, although the immersion of the Rift makes it a lot more fun. It can also be controlled with keyboard, XBox Controller and the Razer Hydra. Using the keys is difficult, the Razer Hydra is the most realistic, but the easiest is using the XBox Controller.

If you use the Razer Hydra it is best with the Base set up to one side. I find it easiest to start with the controllers off the base, start the game and you will be prompted to point the controllers at the base and pull the trigger. First check which joystick moves the player, I prefer the left joystick for this. Swap the controllers around if you need to and then point and trigger the controllers to set them. Look down and you will see the hands, put your hands in a similar position on your body and press each start button to activate the hands. The prompts to do this disappeared for some reason.

The first thing you need to do is to sign up by entering your name into the console, with the hydra you can touch a key with your hand to press it, without just look at the keys and the current one will highlight. Type a letter by using the mouse button, A button or Hydra right bumper. Hit the Enter key on the console to finish and your JetPack will be ready on the starting pad.


Move over and position yourself with the JetPack at your back and hit the M key, the A button or the Hydra right bumper to put the JetPack on. This will also start off the starting sequence. Wait for the start signal before taking off or you will stop the start sequence until you land back on the starting pad.


The aim is to fly through the gates around the course as fast as you can. The gate positions make it pretty obvious of the correct course, but it doesn't really matter about the order, as long as you fly through them all. There is a penalty for any missed gates. The race is finished when you land back on the starting pad.


The Scoreboard will hold the top 10 scores so see how you go πŸ™‚


JetPack Controls
Keyboard
Space bar - thrust.
W - forward
S - back
A - strafe left
D - strafe right
Q - rotate left
E - rotate right.
X - reset controls.
The movement keys do nothing unless you are applying thrust. This makes it hard with the keyboard as you don't always want full thrust so you will need to tap the space bar as you fly around. Take care with the rotate keys, the rotation continues until you undo it with the opposite key.

XBox Controller
Right Trigger - thrust
Left Joystick - forward, back and strafe
Right Joystick X Axis - rotation
This is by far the easiest control system.

Razer Hydra
Once you are wearing the JetPack move your hands close to where the handles are, or where it is comfortable to control. Pull both triggers to grab the handles.
Right Trigger - thrust
Once you hold the handles move your hands towards you to fly forward, away from you to fly back, to the left and right for strafing.
Rotation is done by moving one hand away from you and the other towards you. The JetPack handles should move in a similar manner to your hands. You will often need to reset the controls, move your hands back to the start position and pull the left trigger to reset them. This is definitely the most realistic of the controls and once you practice a bit it is pretty easy to fly through the gates.

So let me know what you think, is it worth continuing to develop this?

Edit: New version available for download.
Changes include:
    on screen instructions
    ambient sounds
    more spectacular collisions


I looked at improving the Hydra controls, but each time I tried it with the base in separate places it seemed fine to me. Hopefully the instructions in the beginning will help with working them out.
Download here, Windows 32bit only at the moment.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/42318389/JetPackRaces.zip
19 REPLIES 19

KydDynoMyte
Level 2
This looks awesome, can't wait to try it out. Reminds me of capture the flag on Tribes 1 with the mods where you could jetpack all day and swoop down on the flag. Now I gotta find my Tribes 1 disc and try it out too.

Fluke
Level 7
Just a bit of feedback. This could develop in to a fun game to show off to your Rift to people, but it needs a few fixes (imo).

When I tried to get into the jetpack the only way I could get it to work was to actually face it for it to correctly register my button press. Facing backwards as suggested resulted in it either not registering, or immediately aborting the start-up sequence.

On one occasion, it actually threw up a debug console with error messages (tried to capture the error, but only managed to capture a screen of my desktop, lol). Something about not being able to initialize a tensor or something?..

It definitely needs drift correction enabling. After a couple of minutes, I was facing 90 degrees to my jetpack.

Left and right rotation seems a bit slow. It's also a bit annoying by how much hitting a ring will spin you around. Given there's no indicator to the next ring, that can really throw you off as to where you are going.

Anyway, get a few landing targets/modes and things in there, and you could certainly get a Pilot Wings vibe going πŸ™‚
In-VR Gaming Convention: http://queue.vip/8nNttrc

AusRedNeck
Level 2
I liked it, didn't finish on my first run due to running out of fuel.

Could use more sounds but i think it's a solid piece of fun.

Would be cool to have an online scoreboard.

Krisper
Level 2
Thanks for checking this out guys, appreciate the feedback. One thing I have noticed is there are about 45 logs in the database, but no times were recorded. You need to land back on the starting pad to finish the time trial and record your times. I guess I better make that a bit more obvious, or log the times at the last gate.

@Fluke thanks for the feedback. Bug fixes would be the first thing I would want to fix. When you put the JetPack on I check that you are close enough, and looking in a similar direction to the JetPack. Maybe I should make it a bit easier and just make it so you need to be close.

The start up sequence shouldn't abort unless you leave the start pad, maybe I should put the JetPack in the center and make it easier to put on. I want to avoid frustrating people.

I am not sure what would have caused the errors you saw, I'll see if I can work out a way to send bug reports to my database so I can know when there is an error, I'll look into this.

I haven't experienced much drift at all with my Rift, I can fly around for ages without any drift. But now the new SDK is out I'll look at incorporating the mag calibration.

Regarding the rotation, I am not sure how you turn one of these JetPacks in real life, I think it might involve shifting your body weight, but I don't think you would be able to turn very fast, so I made it slow. I can tweak that though. The spinning when hitting a ring is a different story. The rings have various properties I can set, this can make them move around, rotate, and also add forces to you as you pass through them. Some spin you around, this is deliberate and is designed to add a bit more fun to it. Some rings give you a boost, some slow you down. I plan on randomizing this too, without it I think it would get boring pretty fast.

But when you collide with a ring, the result is purely from the Physics, I don't do anything in code. I do have the X and Z axis frozen, so the spin is only on the Y axis. I do plan on playing with this and unfreezing these other axis for large collisions. This should cause some pretty dramatic crashes.

@AusRedNeck Sorry about the fuel problem. I might set it for unlimited fuel for now. I haven't added a way to refuel yet so until I do I'll remove this worry. And yeah, it definitely needs more sounds, the ambient silence is not good. The whole level needs some improvements.

An online scoreboard would be easy to set up, the scores are already stored in a website database.

I guess I'll continue to improve this and post updates.

whoisonline
Level 3
Jetpack races is great, I attempted with the Hydra, but I think theres something wrong with my setup right now, so I just used the xbox controller, but its definitely one worth trying with the hydra again coz this one is fun.

And the potential is great, so I hope you keep working on this one, possibly multiplayer? flying loops in the air?

Anyone else having issues with the hydra setup? I can go backwards easily enough, but forwards is hard, the xbox controller is fine too, but if the hydra configuration is sorted out properly, it would be even better.

I look forward to some updates.

I've posted on : http://virtualreality.com.au/2013/08/18/demo-jetpack-races/


Krisper
Level 2
"whoisonline" wrote:
Jetpack races is great, I attempted with the Hydra, but I think theres something wrong with my setup right now, so I just used the xbox controller, but its definitely one worth trying with the hydra again coz this one is fun.

And the potential is great, so I hope you keep working on this one, possibly multiplayer? flying loops in the air?

Anyone else having issues with the hydra setup? I can go backwards easily enough, but forwards is hard, the xbox controller is fine too, but if the hydra configuration is sorted out properly, it would be even better.

I look forward to some updates.

I've posted on : http://virtualreality.com.au/2013/08/18/demo-jetpack-races/

Thanks for posting about this on your blog. Looks like you had some fun flying around.

You jumped the gun on the start though, when the red lights come on it means you false started, so I think you might have missed all of the gates being activated. They fly on jets too.

The hydra controls definitely needs work, I am so used to having the base just to the right of my laptop, I really need to test out other positions for it. I will work on that as a priority for the next update I do.

Multiplayer is definitely what I had in mind for this. I think that would make it a lot more fun.

Anonymous
Not applicable
I tried this several times.. got into the jetpack after entering my name (and hitting enter). Nothing happened. Just sat there but nothing beyond that.

Krisper
Level 2
"nerocom" wrote:
I tried this several times.. got into the jetpack after entering my name (and hitting enter). Nothing happened. Just sat there but nothing beyond that.


That's odd, did you get to actually wear the JetPack, you will know because you get a helmet with a HUD on it. Once that happens the Start Gates come up, and then a few seconds later the count down begins. Did you see any of that?

You should be able to fly the jetpack without the race starting too.

ProfessorEAB
Level 2
Just gave this a go, and had a lot of fun right out of the gate. I'm glad I read through the details here first, it was not clear in game how to do much of anything. (A potential fix I'd suggest for a future update.)

I played with the Hydras, and though there is a steep learning curve, I was getting the hang of it after a few minutes.

I don't usually get any real motion simulation from my Rift experiences (rift coaster does nothing for me, for example) but there were a few times in this that my brain made a 1:1 connection and I felt like I was tilting or spinning like in real life...well done!