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Dragon Rider VR

Posted by SolarPortal 29/01/2018 0 Comment(s)

To see the two of us jumping around like children at 3am in the morning must mean something positive and significant happened to us. It was one of those moments that empowers us to keep pushing forwards even when we don't feel like it.

So what am I talking about? well just best I start at the beginning......

In the beginning.

As you all know we have been developing Skyline with the aim to be able to make releasable games quickly.  Every now and then you get a glimpse of this power but then it's generally quashed with so many problems that we are thrown back into deep development awaiting the day we can attempt an idea again. Last week was thankfully not one of these times.

This quick journey was started five days ago on the back of the 0.9.7 release when we were asked to create a demo for the OSVR headset. we thought yeah we can do that, then we realized we only had a week left to finalise the OSVR Skyline integration and create a complete stand alone game package eek!


The demo idea was broken down into five stages and we discussed what we could possibly achieve for each stage. We knew early on that our vision would have to be watered down a little and made into a realistic goal. These stages were then shoehorned into the week ahead but necessarily a stage per day as all tasks were juggled in between other jobs and we tackled only what was needed at that moment to keep the project moving forwards.

Our idea was to create a fantasy flight on the back of a dragon through a huge landscape filled with dragons and mages who would try to stop us reaching our destination, great idea for a game too ;)

Stages of development

Stage One: Find Character assets - We were going to need characters, more so we needed dragons. So we search through our characters folders and located the 3DFoin Dragon and Wyvern. At the same time we looked for some mages as these would be needed.(Note we didn't get the mages into the demo as the deadline came around very quickly, maybe in the next demo update)


Stage Two: Locate World Assets - This is a fantasy with dragons, so we definitely need Castles and these we purchased from the Arteria3D library. Also to make the world more fun to fly through we needed to find other assets such as rocks, trees etc. The rocks were courtesy of Manufactura K4 who provide us with some awesome rocks and other medieval assets.

Stage Three: Proto world -  we needed to create a few quick poc scenes to get a feel of what is really going to be possible within the world. With a few simple placeholder assets we created an area but this soon got boring and we decide the only way to go was with a terrain. Now we thought creating a big terrain was going to take up too much time. But this is Skyline! The terrain was in and hand painted and within a couple of hours we had created a rough layout for the flythrough including the placement of some cool rocks


Stage Four: Engine fixes and feature requirements - As we were using Skyline intensely under pressure we instantly hit the bugs and issues from the new release, as many of you have also encountered. These problems were located and then resolved to keep us on track. On top of the demo code adjustments we had to integrate our test version of the OSVR sdk into Skyline and make it a simple work flow which has ended up being a VR check box on the camera entity, nice and simple.

Stage Five: Game Mechanics - Even though this is a fly through there were a few technical problems to solve and Skyline was quick in aiding us to get these in place. Also in this stage we looked at performance and converted textures to dds and reduced the image dimensions where possible. Here are a few examples of the required game mechanics:

  • Dragon needed to follow a path.


  • Camera needed to follow dragon with the ability to turn it off so we get a god's eye view of all of the paths.
  • Dragon needs to spit out fire, for this we made many types of fire effects but they did not get into the early demo version. Now this task was made harder by the fact that the dragon's fire animation moved the head so the fire effect needed to be attached to a bone in the dragon's head so it moved with the animation.
  • Fire to burn the castle, also didn't make it into early demo version.
  • Game start screens.


A lot of the above mechanics were made straight out of the box without any new code apart from the OSVR integration. We worked our ideas into what was realistically possible with time and the current build. The path system did need a new action to attach the dragon to the path and that was it!

This new action plus OSVR was released in the patch so you can all do easy flythroughs. We did advance the path system so that adding a node was as easy as moving the camera and pressing space key to add new nodes.


Following video is of the OSVR in action inside Skyline:

As time was short we had to cut corners from the original vision so we could make the deadline. Skyline worked as we hoped and enabled a fast development of our demo.


By doing this project we have surpassed one of our personal Skyline development milestones which was to conceive and create a project from start to a complete user installer game package all from within Skyline. This is why I started this post with our 3am jubilation. By working under pressure we have uncovered areas that need reinforcement and from this we can plan for the next set of features to be added and upgraded over the next few months so bigger more populated levels can be created and a full game can come from the ashes of the dragon's fire.

If you want to try out the Dragon Rider VR please feel free to download this package: Dragon Rider VR

Following video is of the Skyline exported game:

Watch this space for new more improved versions of our Dragon Rider VR.

Now there is nothing stopping you from creating your cool flythrough as Skyline version has the same features as used in our Dragon Rider demo. We look forward to seeing what you can create :D

Hope you enjoyed this blog :)

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