I’ve given no shortage of advice to developers lately with my recent pieces offering game design tips, developer critique, and philosophies on self-embodiment in VR. And if you’re a game developer in the VR space, you will find that the fitness gaming market is ripe with opportunities to both immerse your player and help them lose weight.
And now that the standalone, cable-free Oculus Quest has been announced, the inclusion of out-of-home room scale and arena-scale tracking will push the limits on what kinds of high-intensity games you can play within VR.
In the spirit of the Oculus Quest’s upcoming Spring 2019 release, here are 10 fitness-activated game premises that would complement the new cable-free approach to VR gameplay.
Oculus Quest: Fencing
I’ve yet to see a fencing game pop up anywhere in VR. That said, fencing would sit especially at home with the Oculus Quest’s spatial maneuverability.
Why stop at a fencing game though? Why not build fencing simulation into other types of games? Give us a game where fencing is the activity that the player is doing, but perhaps isn’t the point of the game.
Maybe it can be a competitive multiplayer game that’s a candidate for VR eSports. Or maybe it can contain an entire campaign mode with bosses to fight and new swords and armor to collect.
At the end of the day, it’d be interesting to see what a developer can do with this activity.
Oculus Quest: Dodgeball
Dodgeball is already featured in games like Rec Room and, to an extent, Sparc. However, it’d be really interesting for a developer to create a game that leans heavily on the Oculus Quest’s open tracking capabilities to simulate a full-court dodgeball arena.
Dodgeball is also one of those activities that could also be perfect for play in real gymnasiums and in out-of-home VR arenas.
Oculus Quest: Volleyball
I’d love to see a VR volleyball game finally come to fruition that sees players running back and forth across a virtual court to spike a virtual ball.
As this could be a great game idea for multiple real players in the same vicinity, it’d be great to see new businesses built around people coming in and renting out Oculus Quest headsets for games of volleyball in large, open spaces.
Oculus Quest: Soccer
I’d also love to see an arena-scale soccer game that involves Quest players using their hands to move the ball, similar to Rec Room’s soccer mode.
Following the popularity of breakout hit Rocket League in flatscreen gaming, it’d be interesting to see real players running around an arena with Oculus Quest headsets playing soccer with their hands.
Oculus Quest: Fitness RPG
An idea that I came up with while modding Skyrim VR on PC, which I’ve stuck by to this very day, is a roleplaying game where you can conduct skill-training exercises that transfer into your character’s behavior.
For example, somebody playing a warrior character could do squats and heavy bag training to level up their strength skill in combat. Somebody playing a ranger character could complete a 360-degree shooting range, like in Holopoint. The high-intensity fitness game loops would play into regular low-intensity gameplay, where the time and frequency spent skill-training affects your character’s performance in combat.
That’d mean that their health, stamina, and overall effectiveness would respond to how fit you made yourself in the training mode. Creed: Rise to Glory does something like this with the pre-fight workout montages that the player can complete to give Adonis Creed more stamina in the ring.
Oculus Quest: Laser Tag
Once again, this is already possible with Rec Room. I get it.
What I want to see is somebody taking the idea of “laser tag” and putting something original onto the Oculus Quest that makes use of customized arenas. For example, why not put VR laser tag into real laser tag arenas?
When I was younger, I used to dream of a version of (actual) laser tag where I could have different kinds of weapons, grenades, and more. I wanted the local laser tag joint of my youth to come alive in a way that could never exist with traditional hardware.
I’m properly convinced that standalone VR was the thing I craved so badly. Make it happen, developers!
Oculus Quest: Boxing
Oh, boxing. How I revere thee.
Boxing is the bread and butter of VR fitness gaming. Indisputably, The Thrill of the Fight still provides the most fitness output of any VR game, with runner-ups being games like BOXVR and Creed: Rise to Glory.
Playing around on the Oculus Quest at Oculus Connect 5 opened something up inside of me that was primal; a completely unadulterated desire to dive into gameplay and engage virtual geometry as if it were real. I’m excited about boxing with the Oculus Quest because of the potential to go into an open area and have a larger ring to traverse with no worry of cables ruining my experience.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend boxing games in arena-scale with other Oculus Quest users at an arcade setting. For (hopefully obvious) reasons.
Oculus Quest: Kayaking
Admittedly, this one wouldn’t benefit so much from Oculus Quest’s cable-free open gameplay. On the other hand, kayaking would still be a pretty fantastic way to move around a game world in VR.
Who’s up for a VR river race?
Oculus Quest: PVP Archery
Archery has been done to death in VR, which isn’t a bad thing and I’m definitely not complaining. What Oculus Quest allows with open spaces and arena-style gameplay, is enough to make already treaded-upon ideas feel fresh and new again.
Imagine an arena-based competitive archery game where players can literally crawl around a jungle and hide behind bushes, nocking arrows back and hunting one another down.
That might be even better than laser tag.
Oculus Quest: Basketball
To be completely fair: VR basketball could be played in a real indoor basketball court, and it’d be just like playing with a real ball.
“What’s the point?”, you might be asking. But really, why not?
The reveal of project Santa Cruz into the formally titled Oculus Quest was a huge announcement at Oculus Connect 5 that will shake up how we look at VR fitness going forward.
Thank David Jagneaux at UploadVR for slapping down some great theory on which games will make the cut with the launch of the device next spring.
But since I know that some developers read VR Fitness Insider and are always looking for fresh ideas, I thought it’d be fun to talk about some basic top-level game premises that could be run with and turned into sticky, fun games.
If you saw something that you liked here today and one of my ideas makes you filthy stinking rich, don’t forget to write!
Which games are you excited to play on the Oculus Quest?