A few weeks ago we launched our multiplayer VR game Half + Half! We’re beyond thrilled with the release, and we wanted to share a few highlights as well as a few updates we’ve made today.
We made a big splash at the Oculus Connect 6 keynote. Half + Half will soon have support for Rich Presence + Destinations so your friends can see you’re in Half + Half and hop into your game.
My personal fave though was definitely the video montage of games that came to the Oculus Store recently. It’s wild to see just how different Half + Half is from the bulk of the VR experiences out there right now.
We definitely got a laugh from seeing our blobs between all of those first person shooters. Half + Half is the first title the team at Normal would want to play in VR. And we’re not just saying that because we made it and we’re getting paid to say that ;P We’re saying it because it’s true, and we believe there are other people out there like us, that are tired of more shooters & violent games. We want fun, family oriented stuff. We want collaboration. We want positive experiences. We want things that aren’t just for gamers. Honk if you agree!
On top of the Oculus Connect love, NathieVR also gave us a glowing review on his channel here:
We’re in love with this review and love that people understand our intentions with Half + Half. It’s what you make of the time you spend with others in the game, and it’s all about the connections you make while playing. Nice going, Nathie and team!
Half + Half is about people
I talk about this concept at length in my fireside chat with Yelena Rachitsky at Oculus Connect 6. VR is dominated by games and gaming culture right now, but I don’t believe that’s going to be the extent of what VR is capable of. Many people expected Half + Half to be a game you try to complete, but Half + Half is more about the people you hang out with than it is about completing each experience.
I prefer to think of Half + Half like going to the park. You don’t go to the park to complete it. You don’t try to sit on every bench or play on everything in the playground. No, the park is about the people and the space itself.
When we hang out with friends, we don’t hang out in an empty room. We go out. The park gives us something to calm the ADD part of our brains. We can people watch and hang out, but at the end of the day, the experience comes from the people, not the park itself.
Half + Half updates
Ok, let’s get into the good stuff. We’ve got a bunch of shiny updates for you all today!
We’ve received a lot of feedback about matchmaking in Half + Half. What good is a social experience if you can’t find anyone? Half + Half now shows you which doors have other people waiting for a match, as well as who is online, and how many people are playing each of the games.
We now have shared lobbies in the Homeworld! You’ll see a handful of the other players online. If you want to play a game with someone, just gesture to the door and you can both hop in together.
While you’ll see these players in your space, we prevent anyone from getting in your personal space. If anyone gets too close, they’ll disappear and you’ll disappear for them too. We always want people to feel safe in the world of Half + Half.
Swim and Glider were designed to be open world experiences. Places that have no mechanics or rules. In the latest update, you no longer have to wait for a match to join either of these worlds. When you enter a door, you’ll hop in instantly and we’ll add up to 12 people before we create a new room.
We’ve also fixed a ton of small bugs with invites and each of the experiences in Half + Half. We’ve been working closely with Oculus and have resolved issues around inviting other players too.
I really think that we’ve created something special with Half + Half. It’s the first title of its kind, and there’s still so much for us to learn about the multiplayer VR space. If you’re enjoying Half + Half, leave us a review! We’re doing our best to change the mold of what a typical VR title is. Those reviews help us out a lot.
If you’ve had any issues with matchmaking or invites, give it another shot this weekend! I’ll be in there saying hi to people. See you all in Half + Half!
Follow along on Twitter @maxweisel and @normalvr for the latest updates.