Spaceteam VR: Mobile Experience
A web-based companion app that allows virtual reality players to play with friends on mobile devices.
Spaceteam is a cooperative mobile party game originally released on iOS and Android way back in 2012. It received a fantastic reception, with frenetic multiplayer that challenges players to shout technobabble at each other until their ship explodes.
Following that, Cooperative Innovations acquired the rights to create a VR evolution of the concept resulting in the fantastic release of Spaceteam VR in May 2020.
As part of this modern take on the game, Etch Play collaborated with the development team, to deliver a web-based companion app, allowing VR players to play with friends on mobile devices.
Spaceteam VR is a premium VR experience that leverages the best in modern VR capabilities. The primary platforms are Oculus and Steam VR, intending to make use of the very capable Oculus Quest/Rift and Valve Vive headsets.
Whilst ownership of capable VR headsets is ever-growing, these premium devices do still lag somewhat behind the more ubiquitous gaming consoles in terms of market share, and even more so compared to the footprint of mobile games. As such, the decision to allow VR players to play alongside mobile players was an extremely insightful plan to greatly increase the potential player base. Spaceteam VR works best as a multiplayer experience, and lowering the bar for entry makes a lot of sense.
After some initial discussion, it was decided that the ultimate platform for maximum ubiquity would be to leverage the web for the companion experience. This offers the widest possible reach and lowest barrier to entry for VR players to call upon their friends and families to join them on their space adventure. The companion experience is as such, available to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or PC running a current browser.
To offer the most game-like experience in-browser, the companion app was developed using the HTML5 game engine Phaser 3. This allowed us to leverage many game-like features such as interactivity, animations, shader effects and audio.
Throughout the development of the web-version of Spaceteam VR, we worked very closely with Cooperative Innovations. The real time nature of the game relied on services and information from the VR game, so close collaboration and an iterative production process was key.
Shared code repositories, Slack chat and extensive use of video calls and screen sharing allowed our distributed teams to work together seamlessly and allowed the Play team to act as an extension of the Cooperative Innovations development capability.
CEO/Co-founder at Cooperative Innovations
"Working with Etch Play enabled our studio to scale up our capacity and quickly add expertise to implement the web version of Spaceteam VR. More than just a service provider, they quickly became an extension of our team, being readily available via video and Slack for discussions and knowledge sharing. Etch Play really understand what we do and how we work, this absolutely helped to deliver against tight timescales and within budget."
Like many independent game development projects, budgets and timings were of critical concern, but what was achieved by the effective collaboration of knowledge, skills and technologies was extremely satisfying.
Spaceteam VR is available now on Oculus and Steam, and has been well-received by critics and players alike.
“4/5 Stars | Really Good”
“Thanks to cross-play support, players can team-up no matter what platform they’re on. Even those without headsets can join the action via the official mobile app.”
At Etch Play, we help games businesses think about, plan and execute on their extended experience, which means delivering value to players beyond the traditional boundaries of a game. The Spaceteam VR mobile experience allows more players to engage with the wonderful world of Spaceteam - without the need for additional precious production resource being taken away from the primary development team.