Category Archives: Game Industry News

Immersive 4D VR is now available in Singapore

Last Friday, our team at GameTrader was invited to the media preview of the new Sandbox VR at Orchard Central for an out of this world VR experience. We screamed, laughed and thoroughly enjoyed ourself as we battle zombies and ghouls on a tattered pirate ship. It was truly a different kind of VR experience at a new level of realism.

By now most of you would have experienced Virtual Reality (VR) in some form or another. From the simple Google Cardboard that uses your mobile phone as a VR screen to  the PlayStation VR, VR was proliferated rather quickly to the masses in recent years.

If you have a mobile phone, which you would most likely have, you can get easily buy a VR headset and jump into VR. Some of these headsets cost only SGD10. If you wish to have a better VR experience, you can also spend a few hundred dollars on higher-end VR sets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

Google Cupboard – The low-cost VR headset

The current state of VR

Unfortunately, the much excitement surrounding VR has mostly been subsided in the last two years or so. It’s seems that VR is going down the same path as 3D television, in which the latter is declared a failure by the TV industry.

Farpoint VR game on PlayStation VR

The major complain that I have with VR is the giddiness that I will usually get after being in VR for even just 5 minutes. Having tried the recent Farpoint VR game on the Sony PlayStation VR, I felt nauseating after less than 5 minutes of play. The main problem of that VR game was that the player uses the analog stick to move in a fairly big open space. My brain simply cannot reconcile with the fact that I’m moving in VR but stationary in the real word. What I see simply doesn’t match with what my body experience. This remains the main reason why I think VR gaming will not take off in the near future unless this issue is fixed.

Sandbox VR immersive VR

Sandbox VR opened their first store in Hong Kong in June 2017. The booking for the Hong Kong store is usually full. Customers have to make booking weeks in advance. Their success have attracted Alibaba to invest $3 million in the company. They also produced their own proprietary games such as Deadwood Mansion and Curse of Davy Jones.

What makes Sandbox VR different

Your tactical vest and weapons

Unlike other VR, Sandbox VR combined motion tracking together with latest VR hardware technology to bring about an wholistic full-dive VR experience. Other that the Oculus Rift VR headset, players would have to don on a backpack, motion tracking devices on their arms and leg as well as a tactical vest which provides mechanical feedback. If you get injured or shot, you will get vibration on the vest adding to the realism.

Staff explaining how to wear the motion tracker

The combination of all hardwares together with the high fidelity graphic of the game, will literally teleport you into another world. In the virtual world, your avatar move as you move yourself physically within the room. You can also see your friends, albeit in their chosen avatar, in the same gameplay. Everything felt realistic from the sight, the sound and even the physical surrounding. I shall not spoil the game for you but the fans shown below are not to keep you cool.

Fans not design to keep you cool

Game Play

Soldier from the future

Players can choose between the two games that are currently available. They are Deadwood Mansion and The Curse of Davy Jones.

The game is social unlike most VR game. Each room can accommodate 2-6 players together in the same game play. The games are design to be cooperative in nature. For example, if your party member is down, you would need to hold on to their shoulders to recover them, much like Left 4 Dead. At one point when all three of us were swamped by pirate zombies, we were literally cuddling up together at a corner of the room in true bromance fashion. Needless to say, there were lots of laughter and screaming at that point in the game.

The game that we tried, The Curse of Davy Jones, was quite unlike other VR games we have played before. It is fairly challenging. At the beginning, pirate zombies just rush to you in a haphazard manner. But towards the end, flying ghosts will dash in your direction like a homing missiles. That is when the game really get serious.

Shoot all zombies!

Unlike the typical escape room, we experienced a total of four different ‘room’ throughout our 30 minutes in the game. Besides the zombie horde that you have to shoot to kill throughout each level, there are also a total of three to four bosses to battle. Each has their own vulnerability that you have to figure out yourself. The game requires brawl and brain as well. To advance to next level there are also puzzles that you and your friends have to solve.

GameTrader.SG Tips for Players

Wear your contact lenses if you have.

No glasses are allowed to prevent scratches of the Oculus Rift lenses. Hence if you have your own contact lenses, do wear them. However if you don’t have, Sandbox VR does have some prescriptive lenses at various degree. They are available in limited quantity so you might not get the exact same degree as your spectacles.

Make full use of your body

Remember that this is not your typical VR game. Move your body around to avoid the enemy. Dodge the projectile like how you will in real life. Don’t be shy and move that body.

Use that torch

The team leader will be given a torch. That is actually a rather useful piece of equipment. While you are busy shooting the enemies, do not forget that your torch can help you and your team mate as well.

Teamwork is important

The zombies are going to come at all directions. Shout out to your team mate if the enemies are coming from your direction. Strategize beforehand. Assign team mates to cover certain angle so that there will be no crossfire and all angles are covered. See that zombie creeping up your friend? Shout to them or shoot them for him. When your teammate is low in health, be sure to rush to them and heal them.

Experiencing Sandbox VR

Sandbox VR is located at Orchard Central level 5 unit #5-31. Their official opening hours and pricing are as such (as of 31st March 2018) :

Sandbox VR storefront

Official Store Launch: Friday, 30 March 2018 Pricing

● Monday – Friday from 11.30am – 6.00pm: $38/pax

● Monday – Thursday from 6.00pm – 10pm: $48/pax

● Friday from 6.00pm – 11:30pm: $48/pax

● Saturday – Sunday from 11.30am – 11pm: $48/pax

An entire session is about an hour with 15 minutes briefing and preparation of gears followed by 30 minutes of gameplay. Finally you will be debriefed and will get to see videos of your team in action which will last about another 15 minutes. At the end of the session, you will also get your gameplay video which they will upload to their Facebook page as well.

You can start booking at their home page with this link. Walk-in are also welcome.

Debriefing of your VR adventure

Console VS PC/Mac gaming is no longer relevant…

A new 2017 Gaming report by IDC and App Annie has shown that the spending on mobile game has way exceeded that of console and PC. To be exact, according to the report, mobile gaming is 2.3 times that of PC/Mac games and 3.6 times of home gaming consoles. Now, it’s no longer the case of console vs PC. Mobile is officially the newest and shiniest kid in the block.

This chart from the report tells it all. The emerging trend of mobile game is overshadowing both PC/Mac gaming as well as home gaming console.

What it means for gamer

Good news for you if you are mostly playing games on your mobile phones. Already we have seen some very high quality mobile games recently such as Lineage 2 Revolution, Fate Grand Order and Onmyoji . With this ongoing trend, expect more investors pouring money into development of mobile gaming. So more choices and high quality games for you. On the flip side, being such a lucrative market, gamers may see more pay-to-win games emerging. Developers may also start to get creative with ways to get you to part your money via micro transactions.

Console game developers are fighting back

Not to lose out on the growth of mobile gaming, lately we have seen traditional console game developers such as Nintendo and Square Enix moving into the mobile space.

Nintendo now has a number of titles in the iOS and Android store. Amongst them Super Mario Run which was a paid game at $9.99. Traditionally, Mario had never leave the Nintendo console ecosystem. This game is the first for the Mario franchise and a pretty bold move for Nintendo.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp launched in October 2017 has also attracted a fervent group of gaming. Some of whom turned the game into a weird experimental cult game. Nonetheless, for Nintendo, it is an encouraging results from their early foray into Mobile gaming.

Then you have games that used to be on consoles but are now ported to mobile. Some like Final Fantasy VII and IX are mere direct port from the original console version.

The latest Final Fantasy XV (15) Pocket edition is Square Enix first attempt at repurposing a console game title into a mobile games built almost from ground up. I must say that the playability, graphics and experience of FF15 Pocket is way better than the normal direct port version of other Final Fantasy.

Gaming by region

Asia is the biggest spender in gaming. According to IDC and App Annie, 60% of the global spend on gaming came from the Asia Pacific region, led mostly by China, Japan and South Korea.

Gaming experience

Recently, there are many distasteful decision by game developers aiming at monetizing their game. You may have encountered some of these games.

Whatever the outcome of this gaming war is going to be, we sincerely hope that developers do not deviate from providing the best gaming experience to gamers.

Data source: IDC and App Annie

MapleStory Launches 5th Job Advancement After an Almost Ten Year Long Wait

Flame Wizard
SINGAPORE: The wait is over. MapleStory, the free-to-play, 2D, side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has released the much-anticipated 5th Job Advancement that will entirely change the gameplay of MapleStory. The patch is  for download since 16 November 2016 and it is live since 23 November 2016.

The 5th Job Advancement promises to break down boundaries, bridge new connections and boldly change the way players experience the game. New 5th Job skills will be introduced to all 39 characters a week later on 23 November, opening up endless play possibilities, with countless permutations and combinations for players to create the perfect game strategy.
For the very first time in the game’s history, the damage cap limit will be removed. In addition, the levelling curve from level 60 to level 200 has also been altered. This means that the experience that players require for levelling up will be significantly reduced, allowing them to quickly level up to gain special skills and strength, and making it easier to reach the 200th level required to unlock the 5th Job.

Commenting on the new patch, Quang, Managing Director at Asiasoft, one of the biggest publishers of MapleStory SEA, says, “We are extremely excited to roll out the 5th Job Advancement which players have been waiting for, for almost ten years. With a new boss, Lucid, a new continent, Arcane River, a new area, Chew Chew Island, and various revamps, the game-changing patch is definitely worth the wait. The new patch demonstrates MapleStory’s commitment to creating unique gameplay experience for every player.”
As one of the biggest games in the region, MapleStory has a wide base of active players in Malaysia and Singapore, MapleStory is ranked even higher than the most talked about games that exist today. With its consistently strong presence in both countries, its impressive 2D graphics, limitless cosmetic options and a wide variety of skills really embodies the concept of crafting your own unique gameplay experience.

New skill system - V Matrix

New skill system – V Matrix

 Key features of the V Patch

This patch will include updates such as:

  • New 5th Job skills introduced to all 39 characters
  • Levelling curve from level 60 to level 200 is reduced. This means that the experience that players are required to gain for levelling up, is significantly reduced
  • No damage cap limit
  • New skill system (V Matrix)
  • New Arcane system and equipment and a new level 200 Arcaneshade equipment set
  • Greater content rewards – players will receive better rewards in Party Quests
  • New continent such as Arcade River, Road To Extinction, is released (1st gateway to Black Mage)
  • Revamp of the User Interface – wider and cooler screens and customized adjustable quickslots
  • Expansion of inventory – each tab now has the capacity to store 128 items. Previously, each tab could only store up to a maximum of 96 items.

You can of course get the upgrade now at today!

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