Hong Kong, October 2019. My first experience of VR. When I first picked up that headset, I could never have imagined that just a few months later I’d be coding my own game.
From the start, my favourite apps were the exercise games; it hadn’t occurred to me before that you could use VR in that way, and they soon became part of my daily workout routine. Then Covid emerged. Hong Kong closed its schools, and my wife took the kids to Europe where we have family who could help with home learning.
Suddenly, the flat was very quiet. The VR exercise games were a welcome distraction, but what I really wanted to see was the outside world – surely it was possible to combine the two? I also wanted to move more while playing; the headset was wireless, so why not use the full 360° functionality?
I decided to make my own game. I’d never coded in Unity before – the last programme I made was in Assembler on the C64! The first iteration was rather basic, but slowly it started to come together.
By the time everyone arrived back home, I had an alpha version up and running. My wife started playing it each day; like me, she enjoyed the outdoor environments and was amazed at how much of a sweat you can build up with a headset on. The best part though – and what so many people have echoed since – was that she didn’t realise she was exercising.
We started working on the game together and released what we’d done so far as an early demo. We were blown away by the response. The ‘journeys’ we’d created – exercise routines against beautiful backdrops from around the globe – gave people an escape. It felt good to be doing something to boost people at a time when so many were struggling.
My journey, of going back to my coding roots, wasn’t always easy. The technology landscape has changed dramatically since I last actively coded, but I think I’m possibly the definition of being able to teach an old dog new tricks.
Nearly two years on, we’re ready to launch the full version of Hitstream. We’re incredibly grateful for the support we’ve had from the VR community along the way – our demo players, our fellow indie developers, the headset manufacturers, SideQuest, everyone who has featured Hitstream on their social media channels, our incredible playtesters – you are all an integral part of making our vision a reality.
For us, this has been a real labour of love. We’re a small team, and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. What we’re most excited about though is finally releasing the full game so that everyone else can experience the incredible scenery, music and choreography that we’ve curated for you.
We hope it’s been worth the wait!