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VRChat, Tennis, and the future of the Game Industry

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

It's been quite some time since I've posted an update on Tennis. I had some obstacles in my life to deal with and didn't have the head to be creative so I put my work to the side for a bit. But during that stressful time I learned something valuable.

Like many people, I handle stress by playing video games. Sometimes I boot up a random game, sometimes I boot up VRChat. It relaxes me because it is nothing more than virtual companionship from strangers, a place to hangout and escape. Or so I thought. I've been popping in to VRChat every now and again for about 3 years. I was an early adopter of VR, back when you had to choose between Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. I am very much an enthusiast of the technology, and just this week upgraded from the Rift to a Quest 2. It was only recently during a stressful couple weeks that I fully commited to playing VRChat every day.

This time around, I saw VRChat for more than just a social hub. I attended the second annual music festival Sly Fest which included famous artists such as Protostar. I attended a VR festival called Virtual Market 6 which included sponsors as big as Disney. I saw worlds designed for excercise. I saw obstacle course worlds that were part of a VRChat Game Jam. Lastly, while copyright infringement is rampant across the platform, I was impressed by maps from familiar games and film that were ported into VR for me to experience. These included Hyrule from Legend of Zelda, the hub city from Phantasy Star Online, Shiganshina from Attack on Titan, ACDC Town from Mega Man Battle Network and many, many more.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, as I covered in my last blog post, I am designing Tennis to be a throwback to the release of Pong, where two people at a bar or club can walk up to a game, put a quarter in, and have some casual fun. I knew even before I started I didn't want to implement online functionality. It's something I might change down the road, but the focus was still to bring people in the same place together. I knew that the market for this would be small- and I plan on releasing the game for free anyway- but VRChat has shown me an entire market that has barely been touched, a market perfect for this sort of game.

So to sum things up, I plan to implement Tennis into VRChat. Whether this will be a module I release with source files for world designers to use or if I simply place it in my own world is something I will decide when the time comes. I still have to finish the game before I even plan for this. I believe social platforms like this are one part of the future of the game industry- It won't all be self contained VR games, but social worlds that contain games within them.

As for the progress of the game itself, It is coming along slowly. I am still learning many of the C# functions in Unity and scrapped my first prototype since the controls weren't very intuitive. I may be doing a Game Jam next week so this project would be pushed back again, but my goal for publication is October 31st.


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