The Making of SteamHammerVR

Nine Months from Storyboard to Release

Mark Bellinger, Managing Director, ShowstormVR

30 June 2016

Here is the journey of making a VR game from the development team at GamestormVR, from the very first sketch to release.

It all has to start somewhere, a brainstorm, throwing ideas around, working out what your team can actually make a reality.

We arrived at the name SteamHammer a steampunk based bash ’em up for VR based in Victorian London, if we built it in a smart way, it would lend to our strengths of design and story.

Mark Bellinger gives a summarised introduction as to the history of how our team got into VR and the process of game development.

With a super ambitious timeline to release in Winter 2016 and a team who frankly had little business meddling in Game development, what chance did we have?

Warning to new developers, people will be quick to tell you what you can’t do and how you will probably fail, in our case, what if VR doesnt take off? Dont expect your first game to be successful or any good blah blah blah.

“With a super ambitious timeline to release in Winter 2016 and a team who frankly had little business meddling in Game development, what chance did we have?”

Reality Check: That is all a load of horseshit, with game engines like Unity, the right association of like minded people, resources like the Asset store, Unity Connect and relentless persistence towards your dream, anything is possible…even if your first trailer footage is shit and plagiarises off the back of a well known space opera trailer!

Make lots of trailers…its fun!

So, how do you plan and work as a team to make a VR game? At GamestormVR we are big fans of Evernote, Dropbox, Zoom Conferencing etc. and of course not to forget Unity Collaborate.

Now meet ‘Magic’ Martin Rowe, the Artistic Director behind SteamHammerVR as he talks about the realisation of a dream, his process and his motivations behind the idea.

Whatever you use, the key thing is to ensure everybody understands the big picture and has access to everything that everyone else is working on. Share and build FAST!

Now take a look at a montage of footage with the multi talented Gavin Reeman providing voice work, concept art and much more besides.

Seriously, you can never make too many trailers

Now meet Tomasz Kirsz, the genius coder behind SteamHammerVR as he talks a little about his process for coding and testing.

As you develop your game you will often find you are pushing boundaries, other developers are most liekly facing the same challenges that you are, so, if you cant find that tutorial on YouTube, then solve the problem and make one yourself.

Here is a tutorial of my first test of recording footage from the HTC Vive and mixing it with real world footage, I run through the camera set up screen recording and the compositing process I used.The GoPro used for this first test was a Hero3+ recording at 1080p 60fps Wide on a tripod at a distance of 1.5 metres from the Vive user.

So as mentioned earlier, success is all about building a team with the right attitude, the right skills are nowhere near as important, skills can be bought in as and when required, we were very fortunate however that the subcontracting we did led us to work with some exceptionally talented individuals with a kick arse can do attitude.

The video below shows our core team but here we must give a massive shout out to 3D Artists and animators Jesto Jose, Jestin Jose, Raj Chhettiyar and audacious coder Stephen Long.

A key success factor was focussing on making a game that we were proud of, that way we could not lose, in life when you do your give something your best shot, you simply cannot lose.

Oh and the trailers were getting much better!

So after the launch of a demo, we had some great feedback from the community which we could use to fine tune our game, it was certainly being described as beautiful and polished, but the gameplay needed some work, how hard could we really push the Unity engine? It turns out that we could push it much harder than we ever dreamed.

It was time for the Launch Trailer!!

Truth is, we missed our advertised launch date of 9th December 2016 and eventually launched in Early access on the 20th January 2017.

You can witness that beautiful moment, right here!

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