If you could shoot arrows like Hawkeye or Green Arrow, how far do you think could take your skill? Do you think you would be the best in the world without even trying? Or would there still be that ounce of pressure you would face hoping that your shot did not miss? What kind of special ability arrows you have? Would they be the exploding or piercing kind or maybe it would be electrical or made smoke with the impact? It’s quite fun when you think about it and what good and harm one could actually do with that power. So when I heard that developer, Business Dog Studio made an archery game where you had to not only have the skill but be able to block and dodge any attacks, I had to learn more. So I reached out and the founder and developer was happy to talk about their newest game, Rain of Arrows, as well as talk about Virtual Reality.
Interview with the founder and developer of Business Dog Studio, Adam
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Business Dog Studio?
“My name is Adam, I’m the founder and developer at Business Dog Studio.”
For those who may not be aware, what games and projects have you worked on in the past?
“While I’ve done small games and projects in the past, Rain of Arrows is my first major game project, as well as my first game to be publicly released.”
Your first game, Rain of Arrows just released. What can you tell us about the game?
“Rain of Arrows is a VR archery game where you use archery skills and magic powers to defeat hordes of mythical enemies. Oddly enough, the game actually started out as a gun shooter in space, before being completely reworked early in the process.”
So blocking and dodging is a very important part of the game and was it always the idea for the game to be an on-rails shooter?
“Yes, blocking and dodging is very important. I’ve found that placing an emphasis on player movement, in addition to just shooting, adds another layer of fun and challenge to the game, and occasionally makes you feel like Neo from The Matrix when you manage to dodge everything just right. The game was always planned to be on-rails from the start, as I didn’t want the player to have to worry about potentially awkward movement mechanics during an intense battle.”
What can you tell us about the variety of magical powers and how do you earn currency to purchase new ones?
“During each level, players can earn treasures in a variety of ways. Some are simply laying around in chests that the player can shoot to collect, others are rewarded to the player for killing enemies, avoiding damage, and as a bonus for killing the level’s boss quickly. Between levels, players are presented with a variety of different powers and upgrades that they can then choose to spend their treasures on.
Looking at the game, I really like how some of the structures, like bridges, can be used to help take down some enemies. Are any other parts of the environment destructible?
“Yes, there are also boulders in the river which the player can destroy using explosively charged arrows, or otherwise paddle around to avoid hitting. I would have liked to have more destructible structures in general as I find them to be quite satisfying to destroy, but unfortunately, there aren’t too many structures you can add to a river other than, well, more bridges.”
I see that there are dragons that are trying to attack you in the game. What other types of enemies can players expect to come across?
“A giant Kraken, the grim reaper, and my personal favorite, an enormous titan. Along with, of course, an assorted horde of archers, wizards, orcs, ogres, trolls, and harpies.”
Are there leaderboards in the game?
“No leaderboards yet, but it’s under consideration for the future.”
Did you find it challenging to get the archery mechanics just right for Virtual Reality?
“Yes, it took quite some time to find the right balance between accuracy and fun. With completely accurate archery, the game can become frustrating at times, as it isn’t fun to miss a headshot because you were off by two inches. On the other hand, if you provide too much assistance to the player, the game becomes too easy. After a lot of playtesting, I think I found a good balance. It was also important to balance the difficulty of each level so that the fighting is interspersed with less intense sections to give the player a chance to rest and shake out their arms, as VR archery can actually get quite physically tiring after some time.”
The music in the game has that intense action, how important was it for you to have the sound and music just right?
“Very important. The music really sets the mood, especially for the boss fights, and I went through countless samples trying to find tracks to fit each scenario.”
What has been the most challenging and surprising when it came to developing Rain of Arrows?
“How much effort it takes to develop games for VR. I knew it would be more work going in, but I didn’t realize how *much* extra work it really entails. VR forces you to rethink every aspect of your game: from input and UI to framerate optimization. It also makes development itself quite physically exhausting, as you’re getting up from writing code, putting on your headset, jumping around to play your game, and then sitting back down to write more code, potentially dozens of times a day.”
What are the top three things that you learned when creating for Virtual Reality?
“1 – Be prepared to get up and move a lot every day of development.
2 – Make sure you’re happy with your VR integration solution early on (whether it be SteamVR, OVR, or something else) because it can be a real pain if you find you have to replace it with something else down the road after you’ve already built a lot of the system on top of it. This may get easier in the future, but right now the VR ecosystem is still in a state of rapid flux.
3 – Keep an eye on your performance at all stages of development. You need to maintain a constant high framerate for a good VR experience, so you want to be aware the instant you add something that causes performance to drop so that you can optimize it immediately.”
Rain of Arrows releases on Steam on May 26th, are there any plans to bring the game to other platforms such as Oculus, Viveport, and/or PlayStation VR?
“The game is currently undergoing review for release on the Oculus store, so it will hopefully be available there soon. No plans for the Viveport and PSVR at the moment, but it will be considered in the future once things have settled down after launch.”
With the content of Virtual Reality increasing like a batch of arrows flying at you, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Rain of Arrows?
“If you enjoy action games, and especially archery games, I really think Rain of Arrows offers a fun and exciting experience. I know there are a lot of quality archery games out there, but I think Rain of Arrows does an excellent job of blending blocking, dodging, and intuitive and interesting magic powers into the mix in a way that you don’t see very often.”
I want to thank Adam for taking the time out of his day to give us a closer look into Rain of Arrows and for also talking about Virtual Reality.
Rain of Arrows comes out on May 26, 2021 on Steam and should also be coming to the Oculus Store.
Also, check out the Rain of Arrows review.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.