Major Update To Virtual Reality Rhythm Game ‘Holodance’ Now Available Via STEAM™
Holodance @ AWE Europe 2017
Today, the Virtual Reality Rhythm game Holodance celebrates its most important release so far – almost exactly one week after Augmented World Expo Europe 2017, where the release and new collaborations with Miguelangelo Rosario and LIV Inc. were first announced.
Holodance on STEAM™
- Music Library: Browse and play a library of more than 55,000 high quality osu! beatmaps for more than 12,000 different songs, directly from within the game.
- New Environments: Sci-Fi Tunnels, Trippy Tunnels and Mutant Club, a creation by Virtual Reality artist Miguelangelo Rosario. Holodance now has a total of 12 environments from Story Mode (also available in Free Mode), 5 official bonus environments as well as several special purpose environments. This makes a total of almost 20 environments, ranging from a tropical beach or underwater environment with dolphins and whales, to trippy abstract tunnels or asteroid fields. Screenshots are available in our press kit.
- Progress in Story Mode: New song for Level 1 by Billy Maestro from Brazil, remixed by Sheipz, improved animations for Level 2, Preview of Level 5.
- Vive Tracker Support: Players can catch those orbs not only with their hands and head – but if they have two Vive Trackers, also with their feet – Kung Fu Style!
- Steam Trading Cards: Holodance now has 9 trading cards, themed with environments from both Story Mode and Free Mode. When players have completed a set and crafted a badge, they can get one of 5 profile backgrounds and one of 8 alphabet-based emoticons. These letter-based emoticons spell out HOLODANCE. Which also lets players write words like HELLO, DANCE, or DOODLE. The badges themselves are themed in the five elements, so that’s based on Story Mode.
- Major improvements in the look and feel: A completely new UI, much improved look of Orbs and Sliders – with outlines for better visibility against various environments, new Orb Score Bubbles, that can be customized, and a completely new Sci-Fi based HUD used in several environments; also completely redesigned achievements icons. The Catch Area grid that helps players know where to best catch the orbs now has five styles, from just an outline to various graphical designs.
- Mixed Reality: Plenty of fixes in our default SteamVR-based implementation, including Vive Tracker support, cooperation with LIV, built-in MixCast Support
- Major improvements in Streamer Mode: Players that use Holodance to produce content for YouTube or Twitch can now set the timing in musical bars for when each camera switches to the next. Also, the 3rd person cameras in Streamer Mode have been significantly polished for much better footage. Eventually, Streamer Mode will let players produce complete videos by playing a single session, with little need for post-production.
- Ruirized Achievement: For catching orbs in difficult osu! beatmaps only with your head
- Major performance improvements, environment specific performance settings
- Heavy project cleanup, countless bugfixes and polishing, resulting, among other things, in much improved loading times
- Improvements on how Scoring is handled, detailed statistics on how scores are calculated are now available to players after each session
- Not all players enjoy Sliders and Spinners, so those gameplay elements can now be converted to regular Orbs with an option in the settings.
The Augmented World Expo conference theme “Superpowers to Change the World” is very much in-tune with what Holodance is all about, so the conference was the perfect platform to announce this major milestone.
BACKGROUNDER & HISTORY
Holodance originally started out as a project to use Virtual Reality to increase awareness and remind players both of their power to change the world, and their duty of care for the planet. In the yet to be finished Story Mode, a group of dragons has – according to the story – returned to planet Earth to take the players through a half historical journey in the game’s first 9 levels: From a time where land, oceans and air were still in perfect harmony, untouched by industrialization, fast-forward in time to dying oceans only inhabited by futuristic submarines, lush jungles turned to deserts through climate change and the air overcrowded with plane-traffic. Level 10 takes players to a potential dystopian future where AI tries to save the planet by removing the human species from the equation after logically deducing that we collectively are a severe threat to the future of the planet. By using Virtual Reality as medium with superpowers, players feel like they are actually there, for a much more immediate experience than just reading about it. In its final Level 12, the game will suggest, then, that today, there is still the time to write a new history for a better future: If instead of competing and carelessly exploiting, we start collaborating creatively, internationally, and across our imagined borders of different cultures.
In tune with that theme, Holodance naturally is a collaborative effort from people from all over the world: While narayana games is based in Germany, the game studio works with people from Turkey, UK, Netherlands, France, China, United States, Canada, India, Russia and Brazil (see also full credits in our Press Kit).
A frequent player request from the beginning of Early Access was opening Holodance to more content, for different styles of music, and more challenging gameplay. narayana games solved this through collaborating with another rhythm game and adding what is now called Free Mode. This a game mode is almost completely separate from Story Mode, and is designed to let players play with a much larger musical library: October 14, 2016, almost exactly one year ago, marked a major change in direction when Holodance received initial support for so-called osu! beatmaps. osu! is a popular 2D rhythm game developed primarily by Dean Herbert aka Peppy, with a large and highly active player community that authors high-quality rhythm gameplay. From 2007 until today, more than 55,000 such beatmaps, for more than 12,000 songs have been “ranked”, a term used to indicate that the beatmap successfully went through a qualification process assuring that the beatmap meets high quality standards like being perfectly timed to the rhythm of a song, and fun to play.
Given the difficulty of many more advanced osu! beatmaps, and the physical activity involved in catching orbs, tracing sliders and spinning spinners in Virtual Reality, Holodance has now also become a game using Virtual Reality for a very immediate positive change in players’ lives: Because the game literally gives its players a workout keeping them fit. Players can use their hands, head – and with HTC Vive Trackers even their feet – to interact with the gameplay elements. For the truly brave, in top physical condition, there even are two achievements for handling all orbs, sliders and spinners in a session exclusively with your head!
Until today’s Holodance release, while playing osu! beatmaps in Holodance was easy for existing osu! players, new players had to jump through some major hoops to get it working. With the official release of Holodance V0.8, players can immediately browse and access the full library, now called Music Library in Holodance, with all currently ranked osu! Beatmaps. This marks a major milestone in the development of Free Mode and the primary focus is now on finishing Store Mode for the move out of Early Access and into full release in early 2018.
Mostly due to the interest in using greenscreen-based Mixed Reality, like narayana games did on a larger scale for the first time at Gamescom 2016 (almost 300 Mixed Reality videos of players trying the game, recorded within five days), narayana games today also announces two new collaborations:
At Cebit 2017, narayana games founder Jashan Chittesh met the artist Miguelangelo Rosario, known for his Tilt Brush live performances that now also happen in Mixed Reality. Miguelangelo provides a new environment to Holodance, called Mutant Club, originally built as virtual pavillion for “The wrong” Biennale, and now also giving Holodance players a trippy new area to play Free Mode in. At the reception event of Augmented World Expo 2017, Miguelangelo has shown participants the world premiere of his new show Automated Pleisure, the first Tilt Brush theatrical interactive performance: A fusion of a game-like questionary and a musical.
Doing Mixed Reality right requires both the right technical equipment as well as a software platform calibrated properly to that hardware. Hence, narayana games is now collaborating with Liv, to take their Mixed Reality based VR spectator experiences to the next level. At Augmented World Expo 2017, for the first time, narayana games has used the Liv platform, both software and hardware, to record the play sessions at booth 422, in Hall 2, right next to the Startup Pavillon and Networking Area.