Impulse Gear, an independent game developer and publisher located in San Francisco, continues to prioritize game features based on community feedback and requests for Larcenauts, a team-based multiplayer first-person hero shooter that was released last month. Today’s Immersion Overload Update focuses on gameplay options that allow for an even more engaging, VR-specific experience such as two-handed pivot-aiming, manual reload, and immersive sprinting. Meanwhile, the Impulse Gear team is also considering community input regarding continued growth of the playerbase as well as explorations into the realm of VR esports.

While VR gaming itself is an immersive experience, we continue to see the best in the industry strive for even greater immersion and that’s what today’s update is all about. Additional controls that allow manual reload and two-handed pivot aiming will provide increased engagement for all players, but for those with a bHaptics TactSuit vest, there will be increased engagement through sensations delivered while wearing the consumer-ready haptics vest that makes you feel one step closer to that Ready Player One experience with feedback in real time to coincide with in-game activities.

The Larcenauts: Immersion Overload update is free and includes:

  • Manual reloads: An immersive new reload system option that lets the player perform actions to manually reload their weapon for maximum realism. Combined with style and automatic reload options, players can tailor the reload mechanic to their liking. 
  • Two-handed pivot aiming: Players can now select an all-new aiming mode that uses the position of both hands to aim weapons, keeping them in control and in the action. 
  • Immersive sprint: A new sprint mode option where players retain control of their hands while sprinting. Players can simply aim their weapon downward to start sprinting.
  • Cross-play lobbies: Cross-play lobbies are live so Steam VR and Oculus players can join each other’s lobby by entering a player’s unique lobby code. 
  • Native support for bHaptics TactSuit vests: This third-party wearable interprets in-game actions into haptic feedback that the player feel when wearing the bHaptics TactSuit vest. 
  • Free new skin for Calima: Impulse Gear are giving away a brand-new cosmetic skin for Calima, the Infiltrator, for free to all users who login before the end of July 2021. 
  • Spatialized VOIP in lobby: Players in the social lobby will now hear their friends VOIP spatialized. 
  • Localized text English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean: Full in-game text localization of the noted languages, including localized dialog for Captain Kas in the tutorial. 

Larcenauts is noted by some, including this author, to be the team-based multiplayer hero shooter VR needs. The game is a lot of fun and you’re able to select from an array of specialists that have individual personalities and backstories carefully crafted by the creative team at Impulse Gear. Of course those stories are sure to be embellished by players and lore as the game progresses. Each specialist has customizable weapon loadouts and unique skills that can be upgraded over time as you play and earn loot boxes, etc.

Community

The VR gaming community tends to be active and vocal, with many of the early leaders and well-known names investing time and energy to play the games, provide input to developers, and encourage growth of the playerbase. Such is the case with Larcenauts and you’ll see many familiar names from the realm of VR gaming on the Larcenauts’ Discord server. These players have been actively making suggestions since the game released on June 17 and in addition to the Immersion Overload update, the developers seem eager to encourage growth of the playerbase with fun activities focused on community engagement.

Recent suggestions made on the Discord server have included:

  • Community contests
  • Instructional videos
  • Teasers of works-in-progress
  • Dev Happy Hour with an advertised time when players can play with the developers
  • Highlight reels of game clips
  • Sharing more news on social media
  • Continued access to fun Discord tools for players

While the developers have confirmed that they will institute some of these, such as a Dev Happy Hour, other activities can be community-led. Content creators have already been stepping up to the plate by creating how-to or informational videos about the game, such as this video from FNH8iT showing all Larcenauts specialists’ overcharge abilities and weapons.

There are also plans for community contests on Discord that could result in in-game gifts for winners.

As always, we recommend that you engage in VR communities where you can make suggestions, find friends, ask questions, and participate in community events. Also follow games on social media for news and information.

Esports

Impulse Gear developers have been carefully monitoring community feedback and one question that continues to come up is when the game will be ready for the competitive esports scene. There are several things to consider and Greg Koreman, Founder and CTO of Impulse Gear, weighed in on this topic.

“Private Lobbies are very important for esports, and this is an avenue that we want to explore with Larcenauts,” Koreman said. “We think the game has a lot to offer in that area so providing the right tools for esports to flourish is going to be critical for us.”

Cross-play lobbies with the unique lobby code are a step in the right direction toward private lobbies for esports, but timing is essential. If private lobbies are introduced too soon, players will absolutely jump into the esports scene and sometimes that can have disastrous effects as we’ve seen in other games where average players dwindle because they simply don’t enjoy becoming fodder for high rank players who gleefully practice stomping them.

Fortunately many of the most active players in the VR esports scene want to see growth of VR gaming overall so they’ve begun to prioritize community-building activities, bug fixes, and development of a solid relationship with the developers, etc. before pushing too strongly for esports. This is an improvement from several years ago where the immediate reaction to every game was a desire for ranked competitive play. While VR gaming is rapidly expanding, the fact is that there are a lot of great games out there so each game must first establish a positive foundation and build the playerbase overall if they want to succeed.

With that said, Larcenauts developers seem committed to continued community growth and at it happens, Koreman states that they do plan to iterate private lobbies. He sees that as a short term goal that would come with other benefits.

“Spectator mode for casters would be part of a later iteration of private lobbies,” says Koreman. “We want to get the initial feature in place and gather community feedback as we go. Spectator mode takes a bit more work than private lobbies so I am not certain on the timeline for it, but we certainly recognize the value in the feature.”

Where to Purchase

Larcenauts is available with full cross-play and cross-buy support on Oculus devices, including the Quest, Quest 2, Rift, and Rift S. The game is also available via Steam VR and has cross-play support for HTC Vive, Valve Index, and Oculus Rift. MSRP is $29.99 on all platforms.

The Immersion Overload update is free for those who already own the game. Everyone who logs in before the end of July 2021 will receive a new, free in-game cosmetic skin for Calima, the Infiltrator.

 

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