Players face real Dungeon Masters in Virtual Reality

Independent fantasy film company, Arrowstorm Entertainment, has brought the traditional role-playing experience to virtual reality

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, USA – (Aug 22, 2016) – The guys at Arrowstorm Entertainment are huge geeks, and they know there are plenty more people as geeky as them, so they’ve built a company around that, catering to the entertainment needs of hardcore lovers of High Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Role-playing Games. This has included 11 fantasy films and a fantasy MMORTS game. Now they’re gearing up to bring what they believe is the most immersive role-playing experience yet to their fans, in virtual reality, with Mythica VR.

“The first time you put up your sword to block the blow of an attacking orc, and it feels as real as life, you know that there is no going back.” says Kynan Griffin, one of the owners of Arrowstorm Entertainment.

The Arrowstorm guys are regular players of tabletop role-playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, and they contend that the social aspects of those experiences are essential.

“It’s not full role-playing for me unless I’m with my party,” says Rogan Griffin, the lead engineer on Mythica VR. “There is nothing like when you’re being overwhelmed by a horde of undead skeletons and you hear the battle cry of your friend as he hacks his way in and saves you.”

Mythica VR is all about multiplayer, and everyone who plays does it on their own virtual reality devices. To make it accessible to as large an audience as possible, Arrowstorm has made their game not only compatible with the more expensive VR devices, like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but also Google Cardboard, Google’s sub-$10 virtual reality headset that is really just two plastic lenses and a cardboard rig that holds a phone. By allowing you to use two other phones as motion controllers, they’ve managed to get your whole body into the game, allowing you to swing your sword and defend with your shield like you would on the HTC Vive with its motion controllers, making it more immersive than most Google Cardboard experiences out there.

Along with groups of players, they’ve also managed to incorporate dungeon masters into the game, and this isn’t just an afterthought. The game master is pivotal to making role-playing a transcendent experience, and in Mythica VR it is no different. The game master makes the world and story rich by making decisions in real-time while the players are playing, spawning monsters and items, and taking control of NPCs. Yes, game masters can literally inhabit NPCs’ and monsters’ bodies with the motion controllers, whether that’s to attack the party as a hulking troll, or to give timely information as a wise wanderer. It’s bringing over these essential elements from table-top gaming that really makes the difference in Mythica VR, making it a game really designed for role players.

To lead the project they’ve brought in Rogan Griffin, a software engineer and technical director from Pixar Animation Studios, where he worked on films like Toy Story 3 and Brave, who they’ve worked with in the past. Rogan remembers fondly, “I was a day-one backer of the original Oculus Rift, so when it arrived, my office at Pixar was crowded with everyone wanting to try it. We are huge geeks at Pixar too, so of course the discussion turned to how we could make a dungeon crawler experience in virtual reality. I’m so excited to finally have the opportunity to do that here at Arrowstorm.”

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