Meet Your New Sparring Partner. Credit: Thrill of the Fight

2018 got off to a great start with some new updates for Thrill of the Fight’s beta, and an October update you might have missed if you haven’t been following development. The VR Health Institute says Thrill of the Fight is one of the most intense workouts on offer in VR currently, equivalent to a brisk run, so it’s a great cornerstone game for those looking to take the fitness game to the next level.

Without further ado, here is a breakdown of what’s new and what’s changed.

Signing Up for the Beta

To get the most out of these updates, you will want to join the developer’s “beta” program. This will give you a kind of preview of changes coming to the next bundled update (probably called “Update 18”, although the developer did say he’s trying to move away from such boring naming conventions). One thing to keep in mind: beta programs can be unstable. If any serious problems occur where the game is unplayable, the developer maintains a revert branch you should use to go back to a stable version.

Also, be sure to post feedback in the forums on Steam, or email Ian directly like I did at [email protected].

Recent Changes

Here is a quick breakdown of recent changes, in order of what will most affect your gameplay.

Update 17

Update 17 was dropped in October of 2017, so if you haven’t dropped in since then you can expect some hefty changes that are designed to bring back those who previously felt they had “mastered” the game. The biggest change is the force of your swing is now correlated closer to a knockout blow, which takes away some of the randomness of the game before. Swing for chins, solar plexus or temples for higher chances to score a knockdown. There is also an improved feedback system that detects and registers hits with visual cues (think sweat flying off the opponent after a blow to the face).

New AI has already led to some interesting reports from user and the developer himself. Try it out. Opponents are now doing very unexpected things to try and beat you.

A more traditional menu system makes the game a little easier to navigate as well, and a few oddball fights are tucked away in extras. Be sure to hunt.

Beta Changes

Here are the changes exclusive to the beta.

New Models

The Thai Spider Gets a Reskin. Credit: Thrill of the Fight

The first big noticeable beta change is that every boxer and venue is getting an improved texture model that will provide a more realistic feel. This has been an ongoing process since the 15th update, which improved lighting and textures greatly. Thai Spider was the most recent change to be given, but the Sparring Partner and Luis were also updated to include better models and a new cut and bleed system that appears to work only (or best) on Luis.

Hits and Feedback

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it:

  • Gloves rotate with your controllers in true 1:1, so no more tumbling or shaking gloves after a blow
  • Slightly more effort is required to achieve hard swings (as of January 8th, 2018)
  • Boxers generally require more effort to take down now
  • You can block with your shoulder now by arranging your hands and head a certain way (just be careful you don’t take a blow to the temple trying to test this)
  • Boxers are generally more aggressive if they are lower in points
  • Opponents now notice if your open for uppercuts and punch combos a bit more often

These are on top of a host of bug fixes too numerous to mention here. There are also some funny glitches to be found (although the referee with no face and disembodied eyeballs appears to have already been patched out).

I reached out to Ian about hits and feedback, and he had more detailed information. Essentially, the game calculates the force of your strike based on a multiplier. This is intended to allow for anyone of any fitness level to enjoy the game. One of the changes that came with the most recent updates includes an auto-calibrater meant to help new players find a resistance level that better fits their endurance, with options for more control over that multiplier.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s a lot here for fans of the game to come back to and newcomers to love. Improved damage systems and better feedback on strength of your strikes means you have to physically work harder to achieve a knockdown. It would be interested to hear from our readers who have seen these new improvements. How are you liking the new and improved Thrill of the Fight?

 

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