- We will add a VR settings section for specific VR options.
- We will add continuous movement / locomotion movement mode options.
- We will add an option to not tilt or offset the camera when interacting with a screen.
- We will add a motion smoothing option.
- We will add controller binding information to tell players what the controller bindings are for their controller type.
- We will add options for selecting the position in which the tablet appears.
- We will add a VR scale slider to adjust the world scale.
- We will investigate improving gimbal camera interactions.
- We will investigate adding grab / touch interactions for wheel / throttle / switches.
- We will investigate interacting with screens without having to enter a seat.
- We will fix the issue pasting invite codes.
- We will fix the issue joining non-vr multiplayer games.
- We will fix the tutorial issue.
- We will fix the orientation issue for on-screen labels.
- We will fix the rendering issue when changing the VR render scale in SteamVR settings.
- We will fix subtitles rendering in a narrow column.
And to the studio’s credit, it has acted on this feedback quickly. Within a week of launch two patches have been released which addressed 10 of the above 16 items the studio said it would fix. More improvements are on the way.
Serious credit to the studio for their quick work. But it pains me (and I’m sure them too) to know that the game got battered with bad reviews right out of the gate due to these relatively easy to fix technical issues. That red ‘Mostly Negative’ text is like a scarlet letter that can scare away plenty of curious customers.
With the fixes deployed so far the studio is steadily climbing out of the hole it dug, but it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Not the First and Not the Last
Carrier Command 2 VR is far from the first VR game to launch with VR-related technical issues that could have been fixed ahead of launch to spare the game from getting slammed with early negative reviews.
VR shooter Larcenauts is another recent example. While the game launched pretty much flawlessly on Quest and Oculus PC, it was completely broken for non-Oculus headsets on Steam right out of the gate. The studio didn’t clearly communicate that non-Oculus headsets wouldn’t be supported at launch, and it got blasted with reviews from understandably confused customers who bought the game and couldn’t play it.
While the game’s most recent reviews are ‘Mostly Positive’ at 72%, the overall reviews are clearly stained by the launch issues, sitting at a ‘Mixed’ 66%.
Even big studios with serious QA resources aren’t immune. Industry heavyweight Respawn Entertainment launched Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond back in December, 2020. It was the first Oculus-funded title to launch on Steam, and it too got battered by early negative reviews.
While the issues weren’t only technical in nature, many of them were the kind of thing that you’d probably uncover easily by testing the game with just a handful of experience VR players ahead of launch.
Basic options like smooth turning and video settings weren’t available, and the game’s ‘face-scope’ sniper rifle and pace-breaking ‘Victory!’ screen between missions were universally disliked (and quickly removed).
Over the course of two months Respawn released four patches addressing a litany of issues, many of which were identified by players on day one.
Like Larcenauts, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, has battled its way back to a ‘Mostly Positive’ 70% rating among recent reviews, but the issues clearly left a mark on the overall ratings which are now ‘Mixed’ at 62%, which can easily steer away interested customers.
So what’s the takeaway here? Making VR games is hard. It’s a science and art that is not nearly as ‘figured out’ as non-VR games—even for top industry talent like Respawn.
To send your game out the door with the best chance of success, testing early with VR users is key—Valve made a huge point about this when we talked with them about building Half-Life: Alyx. It’s hard to get your hands on every headset out there, so find willing enthusiasts and gather their feedback in a structured and actionable way.
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