When you hear the words, Kung Fu, what comes to mind? Would it be the training one must go through? What about the fighting skills one would earn? What about the focus of the mind someone would have throughout their journey? The art of Kung Fun takes dedication, training, and the mindset to truly become successful. But when I heard that the developer, Field Of Vision, had made something that allows you to do all of this while improving your reflexes while trying to become the master, I had to learn more. So I reached out and Arnaud, was happy to talk about their latest game, Crazy Kung Fu, as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
Interview with Arnaud from Field Of Vision
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do at Field Of Vision?
“My name is Arnaud, though in the VR communities I go by the name of Hyper. Because I’m quite hyperactive, which really explains what I do at Field Of Vision: everything.”
For those that may not be aware, what have been some of the projects that you have been a part of?
“I’ve published quite a lot of games, though Crazy Kung Fu is definitely the most popular one. Though I also published just recently another game called Dungeon Maker which got a fair amount of attention. It’s completely based in Passthrough, you get to design your own AR dungeon in your entire home. (https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/5379303768747494/).
Your first game, Crazy Kung Fu recently released for Quest/2, Oculus Rift, Steam VR, and Viveport. What can you tell us about it?
“Crazy Kung Fu is much more my most recent game than my first. I actually designed this for my own training/teaching about 2 years ago now, because I’ve been training in martial arts for almost 15 years now. It was much simpler back then, like a hardcore training simulator with no scores, challenges, or levels.
Over time I added more functions that I wanted to simulate in training, and then I decided to share it with some players. I got some good feedback, so it slowly evolved into what you see today. The important thing for me is that it’s practical, it refines your reflexes, focus, timing, and accuracy. Even though now I’ve added scores, leaderboards, levels, and challenges, I’ve been very strict at keeping the core game intact: it needs to be practical.”
There are different modes in the game. Can you tell us more about them and how they are different?
“The first mode you are introduced to in the game is TRAIN. In this mode, you are pitted against an almost-static dummy with swinging arms. You punch, block and dodge. And the more accurate you are the higher your score multiplier is. Which will help you progress to the next level. This mode is about your arms, getting them in the right place to block and to punch.
The second mode is FIGHT. It’s got everything from the previous mode, but with a much more active/reactive dummy. The dummy moves around an area space like a person would, going backward, forwards, and around you. This mode is all about footwork, you got to protect your personal space, drive the dummy back if you need space, don’t let it get behind you, and step around it to punch it from the side.
So in Focus Mode, you get to design your own level?
“And yes, the third mode is FOCUS. You get to design your own level, for example how many swinging arms the dummy has, whether it can move around, and what tools the dummy swings at you: punches, blocks, and/or blades. So for example, if you wanted to train to block only, you could set the dummy to have two swinging arms, with just blocks. Pair that with an Infinite modifier and you can train blocking for as long as you want.
Is there a calorie counter within the game?
“There is, at the end of each level it’ll tell you roughly how many calories lost for that session.”
VR fitness can be immersive to keep the player going. What are some of the things that you have done to keep the player moving and going?
“I’m going to break this into three parts because it’s a really important question when it comes to training in general, not just in VR.
Practical training side:
I’m aware that the majority of players will not have any martial arts training, and very few will have a hardcore fitness training mentality. And based on my experience training beginner students, short bursts of information and training works really well. So the entire game is designed around 1mins level for TRAIN and 2mins levels for FIGHT. This allows enough time to get into the flow, and then you can take 10secs in-between levels for your muscles and mind to digest the information before continuing at your own pace.
Another thing I’ve learned from real-world training is that students require acknowledgment. There is a teacher in the game, who does react to what you do, whether it is bad or good. But the main part here is the rewards, which I’ve added recently. For the first 7 levels of the game, you get a reward for finishing each one, which comes in the form of new Dojos. Then after that, at specific milestones, you get new bracers. So the more you train, the better you get, the more things you get to show off how good you are and how hard you trained. There are also challenges to accomplish on each level, like one arm only, or no mistakes.
Game mechanics side:
I’ve equally designed the mechanics to help with that self-drive to want to push a little further with the training. The scoring backend is fairly complex, but the top line is that accuracy influences a lot of it. You get good accuracy if you do actions at the right time, and the further away you are from that “right time” the fewer points you’ll get. Combine that with multipliers when you have good streaks you can really get high scores if you focus on your accuracy of movements. But this takes a lot of training if you want to reach the top, which is what training and gaming are all about if that’s what you are looking for.
I say that because you can still pass levels without getting the most insane scores. I designed CKF so that it’s achievable for everyone, whether you want to just train for fitness, hunt leaderboards, get some Steam Achievements, or just zen out in a dojo casually.”
Are there different levels, such as intense, for those that really want to push their limits?
“I like this question! And yes there is. TRAIN, for example, has 3 Tiers of levels. Tier 3 in TRAIN gets really intense, which double arms swinging from all sides, it’s really for those who want to push themselves much further.
But that’s not the more hardcore training, TRAIN also breaks down into Ranks: Apprentice and Expert. Apprentice is what you start off in. Expert basically takes all the levels again but with a new twist: there are specific points on the pads/poles that you need to punch/block in order to get points, and the blade now requires a punch either before or after it while you dodge. Being accurate is the ONLY way to get points in Expert: if you don’t hit the right spot you don’t get any points.”
Will there be any new activities added in the future?
“Possibly! I’m currently working on in-game rewards. But I won’t be able to say here what other things I’m going to work on yet.”
Was there anything that surprised you when creating the world of Crazy Kung Fu for Virtual Reality that you were not expecting?
“Building up such a great community/following was not what I expected. As mentioned before, I designed this for my own training and then shared it with others. It wasn’t really my intention to make anything particularly popular, though somehow it connected well with those who want to train in VR like me. And honestly, the game wouldn’t be the same without all the amazing feedback I got over the years, it’s grown so much with the help of all my players.”
When it comes to VR, what do you feel are the top three items that need to be checked in order to have the best experience possible?
“Wouldn’t that be awesome! I think “best experience possible” is debatable. And creatively the answer would be very subjective. So technically: low latency, high framerate, and high resolution. These 3 will offer potential experiences a comfortable framework to build on.”
Watching the trailer, it sounds like there was some effort put into the sounds. Was there anything that surprised you with the sounds that you didn’t think would work in VR as well as it did?
“I went through a lot of sound iterations for punches, blocks, and swinging. At first it really never sounded good, but I didn’t really care. Training is training, it doesn’t have to sound or look good. If you care too much about what you sound or look like while you train, your mindset is wrong.
But once this evolved into an actual game, I had to really put effort into the sound because players expect that from a game. For example, the blade makes a nice swishing sound when it misses you, and it’s really immersive now. You can almost feel that metal gliding past you by the sound it makes! That one was something that surprised me after I implemented it, it really makes you want to get out of the way of the blade even more. Which is great for training that muscle memory!”
Are there any plans to bring Crazy Kung Fu to PlayStation VR/2 in the future?
“I’ve looked into it, though I haven’t made much progress on that as I’m taking care of my current store releases. I am interested, so I’ll hopefully be able to investigate some more in the future.”
If you walked through the door into THE VR DIMENSION and you could have anyone from any time period to train you so you can become the master, who would it be and why?
“That’s a tough one. There’s a great martial artist from the 19th century called Huo Yuanjia who I’d want to learn from. His family lineage trained a specific style of martial arts called Mizong, which is known for being very deceptive. You can imagine it is like fighting a chameleon: continuously adaptive and changing, so you can never really predict what will happen next, or if what you are dealing with is the final form.”
With the library continuing to grow for Virtual Reality, what would you say to someone as to why they should experience Crazy Kung Fu?
“Well, it usually doesn’t take too much convincing, because there’s a free demo! Though on a more serious note, Crazy Kung Fu will allow you to improve of IRL skills while in VR, in a practical way. Many players report to me how their reflexes and focus improved a lot, which is really what it’s all about. But there’s also so much more, and you get to choose what you want to get out of it. There’s also a pass-through mode, so you can train in the comfort of your own home whilst keeping an eye on things at the same time. Like having your own training dummy in your living room!”
I really want to thank Arnaud for taking the time out of their day to give us a closer look into Crazy Kung Fu as well as talking about Virtual Reality.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.