In this issue of Mr. PSVR’s Interview corner, we talk with Cecile Valary of 3dRudder and learn about a new foot motion controller for the PlayStation VR called the 3dRudder that allows you to move, lean, and turn with your feet so that you can do more with your hands in Virtual Reality. We also look at what current games are supported as well as how it just might have an advantage in the way you play and experience games in Virtual Reality.
Hi and welcome to the PlayStation Brahs. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the company.
“Hi and thanks for the opportunity to talk with you. We’re a start-up company created in 2014, based in the South of France with an office in New-York and representation in Japan. We’re a team of enthusiastic people, totally passionate about what we do. I’d say that our strength lies in both our diversity (we all have different backgrounds & work experiences) and in a well-shared sturdy character and love for hard work & fun!”
I believe it was in 2015 that the announcement of 3DRudder was made, can you tell us about how it evolved from then until the present? Were any of the earlier concepts different from the final design and if so, what were they?
“Yes and no! What never changed is that the 3drudder was originally designed as a foot-powered motion controller. It took around 2 years of research & development: the very first prototype did not look that different from what it is now (circular, round bottom…) though it had some kind of pedals and was quite bulky! What really changed since 2015 is all the features we’ve added to the 3dRudder. You know it as a VR motion controller. But did you know it can be turned into a foot joystick (up to 4 axes), a foot keyboard (up to 8 keys), a foot mouse (or a combination of the 2 latter) to play almost any PC games on standard screens? Yes, that includes Fortnite, APEX, Metro Exodus, Star Citizen…
And it also happens to be a very convenient gaming controller for players with limited upper-body mobility both on PC and on Xbox via the Xbox Adaptive Controller.”
3D Rudder has been available for PCVR, were there some roadblocks that you may have not thought about when designing it PlayStation VR?
“No. The product itself and its features are the same on PSVR as on PC. We just seized the opportunity of the PSVR edition to implement some changes: the foot bars for example (the “fins”) that we launched around 1 year ago as an optional accessory for the PC edition have been so successful that they will be included in the box of the 3drudder for PSVR. We also made the built-in USB cable longer (3.6 meters) so that you can play comfortably seated without having to use a USB extender. And the pads will be blue on PSVR when they are red on PC. Obviously, the main roadblock was initially to convince Sony to let us introduce a new category of device to the PlayStation. And after that to talk game studios into integrating the 3dRudder in their games to have as many as possible to make the 3dRudder a success.”
How exactly does 3D Rudder work? Is there a long learning curve or would you say it’s pretty small and actually become second nature?
“Since 2015, we made literally thousands of demos, and there are 2 comments that we keep hearing, one of which being “it’s intuitive”, “very easy to use”. It has no button, no stick. All you have to do is sit down, put your feet on its platform and tilt it to where you want to go: tilt it forward/backward to move forward/backward, to the left/right to go left/right, spin it to turn… It’s pretty straightforward, and its curved bottom makes it effortless to operate.”
This question comes from @TheIndieLegends and is a two-parter, “How well does the 3dRudder work? “Have you thought about something on a bigger scale, possibly for a surfing, snowboarding or an extreme sports game?
“Hello to @TheIndieLegends! Now comes the 2nd comment we keep hearing about the 3drudder: “it works surprisingly well”. We designed it with life-like motion in mind: it lets you go exactly where you want to (you can combine direction like moving forward while turning…), seamlessly (it’s all very smooth), and at the pace you want (the more you tilt it the quicker you go). Now, you’re citing types of games that are indeed a very good fit for the 3drudder: if you’ve ever played “Steep” by Ubisoft, it’s very cool to glide with the 3dRudder. Yes, surfing games, snowboarding games are definitely really nice to play.
This question comes from GamePitt: “Have you thought about a generic left analog emulation option so more games could be supported?
“Actually, it does not depend on us but on the way the platform was designed. On Xbox for example, when you plug the 3dRudder in the Adaptive controller it takes the functionality of either the left or right thumbstick of the traditional Xbox pad. On PSVR, it works differently. That’s why we work closely with game studios to add support for the 3dRudder in their games.”
Speaking of games, how many games are supported for PlayStation VR when 3DRudder launches?
“There will be at least 30 PSVR games compatible at launch. We published a few titles on our website: Sairento VR (coming soon on PSVR), The Wizards Enhanced Edition (released March 12th), Ultra Wings, Beat Blaster… For the others, game studios asked us to wait to publish the information. Either because they’re still working on the integration or because the release date of their game has not been officially announced yet. But I can already tell you that we’ll have exciting news to announce by the time we launch.”
This question comes from Military Precision: “Will there ever be a version where you can stand instead of having to sit?
Hi, Military Precision. A standing version implies lots of questions & issues that would need to be addressed. There could be health issues (risk of falling/injuries, tiredness of movements…) as well as other questions like the size of the set-up, the complexity of use, price… For the time being, we focus on adding features to the existing 3dRudder and increasing the number of natively compatible games so that you keep on having more for your money!”
3D Rudder launches this April, what is the price point and do we have a specific date as of yet?
“The 3dRudder for PSVR will sell in the US $119 and this will include: the 3dRudder with its built-in USB cable (3.6 meters) + a pair of foot-bars. This makes the price of the 3dRudder for PSVR the same as the 3dRudder for PC when you consider the foot bars. We don’t have a specific launch date yet but it should be announced soon. All I can tell you is that we’ll have a limited quantity available end of April and these units will ship to customers who were the 1st to place their order online.”
What are some of the specific advantages that you have found when using the 3D Rudder? With the DualShock 4, Aim Controller and Move controllers that are essential to the PlayStation VR ecosystem, why should someone consider adding 3DRudder into their PlayStation VR experience?
“The 3dRudder is all about offering a new, thrilling experience to PSVR owners. It brings a new way to move in compatible games: you can go wherever you want to (you just need to tilt the device the way you want to go to), with full control (the more you tilt it, the quicker you go). And the icing on the cake, it frees up your hands. Imagine yourself playing an FPS into which both your hands hold a weapon. You still want to move away from your enemies’ fire. The 3dRudder makes this possible: you can shoot an arrow while strafing to dodge your enemies’ blows, and still look around for enemies.”
For 2019, what is the goal for the number of games and experiences to be supported for PlayStation VR?
“The more the better and we’re working hard on it every day. And you can help! The more players ask game studios for 3dRudder support of a specific game, the more chances to have this game compatible. You could start a poll!
I really want to thank Cecile Valery from 3dRudder for taking the time and letting us know more about 3dRudder. To learn more about 3dRudder, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Until then, please enjoy.