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XR Indie Pitch London Winners And Runners

XR Indie Pitch London Winners And Runners

The XR Indie Pitch returned to London last month as part of XR Connects for the first contest of 2018.

The longlist was whittled down to 15 projects for the live final, with nine entries for tethered VR, an impressive four on mobile AR thanks to ARKit, and mobile VR looking a little unloved with just two entries - one of which would go on to take a place on the podium.

The range of games on show highlighted the medium’s potential diversity, with futuristic vehicles, puzzle games, murder mysteries, mini-games, multiplayer FPS, asynchronous local co-op and more.

 

The judges were:

 

Let’s take a look at all the contestants, starting with the winner and runners-up...


Click here to view the list »
  • Winner: Hyper VR Party Ware, Shuttershade Studios

    Bright colours, frantic bursts of party games and not a loading screen in sight all made for the slightly psychedelic experience that is Hyper VR Party Ware by Shuttershade Studios. It was the surprise hit of the competition for many of the judges, but there was never any doubt it would emerge victorious once the voting was underway.

    The physics based games were all easy to understand and well executed, from beer pong to buzz wires and darts. The appeal will be obvious to anyone familiar with the minigame mayhem of Nintendo’s WarioWare - is that a tip of the hat in the name? Players can either compete for the highest score online or against their friends in local multiplayer.

    Developed by a team of three young dudes since June 2017, Hyper VR Party Ware had 14 minigames at the XR Indie Pitch, with more planned. That’s a good thing, since the judges all suggested that 40 would be a better target than 14. While Hyper VR Party Ware may not be particularly innovative, it’s just plain fun - and all the judges enjoyed their time in its colourful world.

    Hyper VR Party Ware will be released for Rift, Vive and PS VR from September this year at around £14.99.

     

    Judge’s Corner

    “Very well executed and polished VR party experience. It felt almost like being inside one of those funny japanese TV show contests. It can sure be loads of fun to play with friends or online.” Juan Tamargo

    "Shuttershade Studios took VR motion controls, combined it WarioWare style mini games and created a great experience." Barn Cleave, Niffler

    “Party games are fun, but only those with great execution will get noticed and stay for longer. This one is great. Now it needs even more mini-games - like 100 of them. Or 500…” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • Runner-up: Ground Runner: Trials, Astrofish Games

    Is it a case of ‘always the bridesmaid’ for Ground Runner: Trials? This futuristic hoverbike game took the silver medal at last year’s XR Indie Pitch London and even with 12 months hard work and polish, that’s exactly where it placed again.

    One judge described it as the best looking game in the competition, while another felt that while it shows obvious polish, it’s still searching for core gameplay mechanics. I was too busy feeling like a boss as I swung my bike tail-out into sweeping manoeuvres with my right hand and picking off drones left, right and centre with a handgun in my other hand to find it lacking. It’s an experience unlike anything else.

    Based in 10 square KMs of a post-apocalyptic London, when not tearing through the landscape, players can also build and upgrade their own hoverbike with discoverable items and there’s a story mode with 10 missions at launch, too.

    Ground Runner: Trials is available now on the Oculus store for £10.49 with 72% 5-star user ratings. GR:T comes to Steam Early Access from 15th February.

     

    Judge’s Corner

    “The sense of hovering and drifting was really fantastic. Astrofish Games took some risks implementing the controls, but these resulted in a very immersive and fun experience. It’s a VR game I would certainly buy and recommend!” Juan Tamargo

    “There’s a risk that mixing shooting with riding futuristic motorbikes might attract neither fans of shooters, nor those addicted to motorbikes. This was well done though - and well balanced.” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • Third Place: Pastimes for Pirates, Make Real



    Two minigame compilations in the top three? Have we lost our minds? Well, no - this is the next project from Make Real, the British studio behind whimsical social VR game, Loco Dojo.

    With an impressive track record of top quality VR games and client work, Pastimes for Pirates is every bit as slick as you might expect. Ultimately intended for 6DoF, the build entered into the Indie Pitch was 3DoF - the developers had no intention to show off such an early ‘internal’ work-in-progress, but we bet they’re glad they threw their hat in the ring now that they’ve walked away with the bronze gong!

    There may have been just two minigames on offer, but the world already feels well-realised, with a distinct art style and a lot of playful research into potential games in evidence. We’re told that various pirate-themed pub games are in the works, including skittles, shuffleboard and… karaoke!

    For the Indie Pitch, we were treated to a surprisingly challenging game of two-player ‘Darrrts!’ that had us longing for more time to dial in our arrow hands. While one player aims for the bull, the other has two shots with a flintlock - do you shoot the dartboard that’s mounted on a ship’s wheel to spin it, or aim for the monkey that’s running loose in the cabin?

    The build we tried was running on Samsung Gear VR, with versions planned for Oculus Go and Google Daydream. Pastimes for Pirates should be out by the end of the year for around £9.99.

     

    Judge’s Corner

    “Pastimes For Pirates certainly needs further development, but already shows great potential for a simple yet very fun and addictive experience.” Juan Tamargo

    “Another great title from this developer with an interesting fantasy at the core of the game, together with fun ideas to socialise in VR. Not too many users have even one headset, not to mention two, but that might change soon with prices dropping and new standalone headsets on their way.” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • A Most Curious Murder, Impact Unified

    A last minute entry into the Helsinki Indie Pitch in September, we were impressed by the innovative locomotion system in A Most Curious Murder that rewards walking on the spot with forward movement.

    Impact Unified has made some brave design decisions with this game and the atmosphere remains suitably noir, our interest piqued to reveal the story through a combination of exploration and CCTV footage.

    We look forward to digging deeper into this mystery when it’s released on Samsung Gear VR on 9th February.

     

    Judge's Corner

    “An interesting approach to storytelling with 360 videos and something the movie industry might take a look at, as it shows quite some potential. Although the locomotion worked pretty well to cheat my brain that I'm moving, I felt dumb walking on the spot. I’d like to play it with a gamepad or teleportation, sitting comfortably on my couch.” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • Coming Home, Critical Lit Games



    A familiar project returning from XR Indie Pitch Helsinki is this postmodern mobile AR piece from Critical Lit Games. It’s an AR gamebook that was inspired by retro paper books such as the Fighting Fantasy series, given a literary twist.

    The pitch is that consumers purchase a physical book for £20, which is accompanied by an app that provides a gaming element and overlay to the story. While the paper counterpart can be consumed in its own right, the full experience is only unlocked by using mobile AR to display additional content.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • The Tesseract Room, 3OGS



    Only viewable on flatscreen at the XR Indie Pitch, The Tesseract Room instantly disqualified itself from the running. Which is a shame, because the two-handed approach to Portal-style puzzles seems well-matched to VR.

    Here’s hoping 3OGS get the funding to further develop a truly immersive version of this futuristic puzzler.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • The Condor, Saturn Animation Studios



    This AR animated serial follows the adventures of Tonio, a hapless Colombian condor who is afraid of heights - not great for a bird! So his friends decide to teach Tonio how to fly, which is when ‘it all starts to go wrong’...

    The mobile AR app runs on iOS and Android, enabling users to watch Tonio’s adventures as they are played out on real-world surfaces. The tracking proved solid enough for the most part, with a good sense of scale from a suitable room-filling jumbo jet.

    Created by animators from Canada and Colombia, Saturn Animation’s project prompted debate among the judges with some feeling that while the animations were cute and the graphics stylish, it felt more like a tech demo than a full app in its own right.

    Episode one is available to download now free, with a further 12 episodes planned.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

     


  • Escape World AR, Satwant Singh Kenth

    A welcome return for Satwant Singh Kenth, who we first met 12 months ago at last year’s VR Connects London, when he entered the Indie Pitch with mobile VR game, Titan Attack On Town.

    For 2018, Kenth has moved on to mobile AR. Obviously an early work-in-progress, Kenth has been working alone on this project for just a month - and it already demonstrates that an augmented escape the room experience is something to look forward to.

    Players solve a series of basic puzzles to reveal letters that they must input in the right order to escape the room and… well, we won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s slightly more surreal than you might expect.

    The experience ran smoothly and is certainly enjoyable. While some judges felt there were issues with UX and level design, Escape World AR succeeds as a proof of concept.

     

    Judges’ Corner

    “Escape room games in VR/AR seem to be a very good fit. Escape World AR, being still in a very early stage of development, comes to prove exactly that”. Juan Tamargo

     

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!

  • Dispatch, Mythical City Games

    This asymmetrical local co-op game from Mythical City Games shows a lot of promise with its social approach to VR.

    The premise is that an emergency response driver must be guided to a series of destinations by their handler. The problem is that the headset-sporting driver doesn’t know where they’re going, relying on their real-world partner to guide them by following their progress on a top-down flatscreen map. All against a countdown timer.

    We had issues with vehicle control and found it tricky to negotiate a simple 90-degree corner with any pace - and they all seemed to be 90-degree corners in this game; a bit more variety would be welcome. As big fans of driving games, we understand the appeal of demanding handling models, but in this instance it only distracts from the core game mechanics.

    It’s a great concept and anyone who has played Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes knows how much fun playing across VR and flatscreen can be, when neither user can see the other’s information, placing a strong focus on clear communication. We have no doubts that Mythical City Games will iron out the wrinkles over time and we fully expect this to become a couch co-op favourite on release.

    Tested on Windows MR for the pitch, Dispatch is also being developed for PS VR, Rift and Vive.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • Bad Day To Fly, BELOUDEST

    A familiar face to the competition, BELOUDEST entered its quadcopter shooter, Bad Day To Fly, into last year’s VR Indie Pitch, so we were curious to see how the game had shaped up in the subsequent 12 months.

    Inspired by Desert Strike, this first person flying game sees you defend your home planet across three chapters, each comprising four to five levels and both co-op and competitive multiplayer modes.

    The game is currently nearing MVP Alpha stage, ready for introducing to potential partners, or developing further for release via Early Access platforms whilst exploring crowdfunding.

    With another 12 months before a planned release of Q1 2019 on Rift and Vive, we hope Bad Day To Fly will prove to be worth the proposed £40 season pass.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • VR Paper Star, Omar Saeed

    Remember Atari’s 80s classic, Paperboy? Now picture it in first person while you ride a hoverboard instead of a BMX. That’s VR Paper Star by one-man developer, Omar Saeed.

    A senior developer at an insurance company, Saeed has worked on this project in his spare time as a labour of love and many of the judges were impressed by what he’s achieved.

    While it was fun launching papers at doorways, the aiming mechanic wasn’t intuitive, being gaze based, rather than via controller tracking. We appreciated the stacks of cardboard boxes to be cleared in front of some doorways, but some of the judges felt the world needed to be brought to life with more characters and opportunities to score bonus points.

    Saeed hopes to release VR Paper Star for under £10 on PC VR later this year

     

    Judge's Corner

    “This is an interesting approach to a nostalgic game, but it needs way more work to happen. And a defined art style instead of dropping whatever goes into an editor.” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • Skyfront VR, Levity Play / Hypester OU



    Online multiplayer FPS and eSports are popular in VR and Levity Play hopes to capitalise on this trend with Skyfront VR. It’s a zero-G shooter that places a weapon in the player’s right hand and a locomotion device in the left. It’s a neat solution to the controls that players should find effective after acclimatising.

    Combat is set among and around free-floating structures in two maps, with up to six planned for full release when the current deathmatch modes will be joined by elimination and capture the flag. It’s an interesting game, if sparsely populated by environmental items and players alike at the time of writing, but it is still in early access.

    How ironic, though, that the game making bold claims about being ‘nausea free’ was the only title on test to cause motion sickness for one judge that rarely suffers it.

    Skyfront VR is out now on Steam Early Access for Rift, Vive and WMR at £15.49.

     

    Judges’ Corner

    “One of my favorites! Greatly reminded me of the original Quake with the grappling hook mechanic, which Hypester has achieved to implement to its full potential for VR. The game still needs some polishing and further development, but it has potential to become the new Quake like type of game for VR!” Juan Tamargo

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now! 


  • Truck Simulator VR, Mogworks-Studios

    This entry split the judges and caused some of the most heated exchanges in the debrief. Comments ranged from ‘What’s the point?’ and ‘It feels like a training app’ to ‘I could spend all day doing this’.

    Truck Simulator VR puts the player (operator?) behind the controls of a fork lift truck to complete various tasks, from moving crates to a set point, or stacking pallets as high as they can. Planned levels will include wrecking balls, shipyard cranes, diggers, military construction vehicles and even a sci-fi level with drone style forklifts and the Caterpillar P-5000 work loader as seen in the Aliens film.

    We thought this was a fantastic looking game with some great textures on metal surfaces and dirt on screens. Given the popularity of unconventional sim games such as the Euro and American Truck Simulators, as well as Spintires: Mudrunner, we can see this being a hit.

    With a previous number one release on the iTunes Charts, Prison Escape, Mogworks hopes for similar success with Truck Simulator VR when it's released on early access for Rift and Vive later this year. The game will start under £5, increasing to £15 as levels are added.

     

    Judges’ Corner

    “I always thought handling heavy machinery as a game concept could have good potential to create a crazy and fun game. Mogworks has quite nailed that concept into a VR experience, which is incredibly hypnotic. I look forward being able to handle more destructive machinery to enjoy demolishing aplenty at no risks!” Juan Tamargo

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now! 


  • Monsterplants vs Bowling, Pay-off Technologies

    This base defense game looked good and served up some chaotic lane-based plant action. With a branching map for single player mode, plus custom items across six environments, Pay-off Technologies is also planning special elements to celebrate real world holidays such as Halloween.

    We enjoyed the cartoon style graphics, while some judges were disappointed that the gameplay wasn’t bowling focused as per the title. One criticism was that the game needs to do more to clue the user in as to what is expected from them.

    Monsterplants vs Bowling Arcade Edition is available now for Rift and Vive at £3.99, with a PS VR version to follow later this year.

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • Silent Streets: The Mockingbird’s Last Dive, Funbakers



    Billed as a Victorian detective adventure with AR features, the Silent Streets story is told through a combination of onscreen text and dialogue played out over static artwork of the kind you might expect to find in an old volume of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Funbakers have taken a nicely stylised approach for this mobile game.

    But it fares less well as an AR game. Although the player can scan the room around them for clues or investigate crime scenes in closer detail, objects aren’t secured in place and float above surfaces. The judges felt that the AR elements detracted from the story and gameplay. Silent Streets is entirely playable as a flatscreen game on iOS and Android and we suspect it’s best enjoyed that way.

    Silent Streets: The Mockingbird’s Last Dive will be published by Playdius later this month for £3.49.

     

    Judge's Corner

    “AR storytelling sounds like something to explore. In this case, I'd prefer to skip AR and focus on the grim and atmospheric story instead.” Adam Robaszyński-Janiec

     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now!


  • Thank You!

    Thanks to all the teams that took part in the XR Indie Pitch London - it was a pleasure and an honour to see your works-in-progress!

    We hope everyone that took part found the event valuable, with usable feedback from the judges and good practice for pitching to publishers or investors.

    Congratulations again to the winners, Shuttershade Studios, runners-up, Astrofish Games, and third place, Make Real.

    L-R: Make Real x2, XRIP organiser Simon Drake, Steel Media; Shuttershade Studios x2
     

    The Next XR Indie Pitch And XR Connects San Francisco

    The next XR Indie Pitch will be held at XR Connects San Francisco, on 14th and 15th May. Could your VR, AR or MR project win? There’s only one way to find out – apply to take part now!

    If you're not ready to compete, but still want to find out what XR indie devs are working on, why not come along to XR Connects and see for yourself? You'll also find networking aplenty, with more than 500 visitors coming to Bespoke to hear expert speakers addressing the key issues for the VR, AR and MR industry, from global trends and new tech to monetisation.

     

    Don’t miss out on the early bird discount for XR Connects San Francisco – get your tickets now! 

Editor

Steve has been a games journalist on and off since the first PlayStation made games ‘cool’, but he’s never forgotten the thrill of finding a Space Invaders machine in the wild. Neuromancer is one of his favourite books and The Matrix is one of his favourite movies, so he’s been ready for VR all his life.

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