‘Vox Machinae’ Quietly Added New Mechs, Weapons, & Co-op in Updates, Studio Has “Ambitious plans” for the Future

The 2018 early access launch of VR mech game Vox Machinae may feel like a distant memory by now, but it still stands as perhaps the most immersive VR mech game to date. Updates over the last two years have added co-op modes, a helpful cross-platform friends list, gameplay-changing ‘modules’, new mechs, weapons, and more. Developer Space Bullet tells us it isn’t done yet; the studio teases “ambitious plans” for the game’s eventual 1.0 launch and beyond.

Fans of the genre know that mech games usually fall along a spectrum that spans from complex ‘simulator’ style gameplay to simple ‘arcade’ style gameplay, with games on each side having a distinctly different feel.

As a VR mech game, Vox Machinae strikes and impressive balance between playability and immersion. It feels like a simulator, but manages to be almost as easy as an arcade game to pick up while remaining challenging to master. It’s controls and systems are intuitive enough that you can grasp the basics in a match or two, but that doesn’t stop the game from delivering a incredible sense of immersion thanks to its interactive cockpit and unique mech control model.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Even now, two years after its early access launch, Vox Machinae remains arguably unmatched in immersion by any other VR mech game. And that’s made for a sturdy foundation atop which developer Space Bullet has been slowly adding.

Co-op & Comrades

Image courtesy Space Bullet

One of the biggest improvements, at least for anyone who didn’t take to the game’s multiplayer-only modes at launch, is the addition of two co-op modes that let players work together rather than destroy each other.

Added throughout 2019, the game’s co-op modes support up to four players. In Convoy, players must escort three supply trucks along a route while defending them from enemy mechs. Along the way you may find a base to capture or an enemy convoy to eliminate. Bot Stomp plays out like a wave shooter with ever increasing difficulty where players will also bump into more powerful Elite and Guardian enemy variants.

While the gameplay of the co-op modes isn’t fundamentally different than the multiplayer modes, they’re a great option to enjoy the immersion of the game and feel like you’re stomping around in skyscraper-sized mechs on alien worlds with the gang.

Speaking of the gang, the game’s latest update earlier this year added a new cross-platform friends list system called Comrades. The in-game system makes it a breeze to add a fellow pilot to your Comrades list no matter if they’re playing on Steam or Oculus PC, making it easy to keep a tab on your friends and join them in their match.

And while the game’s player base remains small, Vox Machinae developer Space Bullet tells us that the game’s community is a passionate bunch.

“[…] we’re continually encouraged by the tight-knit community that is growing around Vox Machinae, with folks being particularly active over on our Discord server,” the studio tells Road to VR. “They’ve taken to organising their own league play, and building out their own backstories and skirmish encounters. It’s quite rewarding to have played a role in helping to foster that level of engagement.”

Modules for Deeper Gameplay

Another large addition to the game added in late 2019 are ‘Modules’ which are a group of active and passive mech modifications, two of which can be added to your loadout at any time. There’s 11 Modules so far, and they provide interesting tweaks which can change the way you play—like an ‘Air Brake’ which slows down your forward movement for quick stops when using jump jets, or the Coolant Flush which lets you shut down your mech to quickly cool its weapons.

Update Overview

There’s been lots of other tweaks to the game too. Space Bullet offered up a handy overview of the larger changes since the game launched (which have also included two new mechs and two new weapons):

2020 – Comrades Update

  • Comrade system – cross-platform friends/ignore lists allows players to organize and know when their friends are in-match
  • Improved Spectating – easier to use, and a greatly enhanced sense of depth
  • 3D menus for VR
  • New Hover Brawl competitive game mode

2019 – Anniversary Update

  • Grinder Modules – Active/passive mods that change up your gameplay
  • New Bot Stomp Co-op mode
  • Brand-new terrain system that improves all level visuals

2019 – Summer Update

  • New Convoy Co-Op Mode
  • New grinder – Overhaul
  • 2 New weapons – Pulsar and Hammer

2019 – Spring Update

  • 2 New Weapons – Skyjacker and Scattershot
  • New level – Cryptic Tundra
  • Updated avatars and added 3 new ones
  • Controller remapping and HOTAS support

Late 2018 – Oasis Update and Holiday Update

  • New level – Arid Oasis
  • New grinder – Rook
  • Redesigned throttle for motion controls

The Next Update

Image courtesy Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation

Space Bullet tells Road to VR that the next update for Vox Machinae is due out in “late summer,” and offered a preview of some of the changes:

  • Bots have improved aim, will fire at targets of opportunity when their main target is out of view, and can engage at longer distances than before.
  • Little buildings now have dust/explosion effects when they get destroyed.
  • Cables interactions and movement has been greatly improved
  • Hopper has been redesigned to be 20% smaller, making him much harder to hit.
  • Optimizations to CPU usage.
  • Reduced load time when first starting the game.
  • Improved legibility of text.

The studio further says that “lots of other things still getting added, but we haven’t confirmed for them release yet.”

The Future of Vox Machinae

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Space Bullet also spoke of its longer term plans for Vox Machinae, noting that the studio has been “slowly building out our featureset and working towards our v1.0 release.” The studio itself has brought on three additional employees since the game’s launch, and currently looking to fill a few additional positions.

Space Bullet didn’t offer a timeline for the 1.0 launch of Vox Machinae, but did tease some big features in the works for the game’s eventual launch out of Early Access.

“We’re still not quite ready to talk about some of the tentpole features we plan to debut with that milestone release [1.0]. We have some rather ambitious plans and think about Vox Machinae as an evolving and expanding product,” Space Bullet tells Road to VR. So we’re building many things around that concept, and can’t wait to start being able to talk about those when we’re nearing the finish line.”

The post ‘Vox Machinae’ Quietly Added New Mechs, Weapons, & Co-op in Updates, Studio Has “Ambitious plans” for the Future appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Vox Machinae’ Early Access Review: VR’s Latest & Greatest Mech Sim

Having grown up with FromSoftware’s mech arcade series Armored Core and the more simulator-style multiplayer Chromehounds, I have a special place in my heart for the lurching mech goliaths. And now Vox Machinae is here, promising to bring an immersive twist on the classic genre that aims to not only stuff the servers with VR players, but also players on traditional monitors as well.

Vox Machinae Review Details:

Official Site

Publisher: Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation
Available On: Steam (Vive, Rift), Oculus Store (Rift)
Reviewed On: Oculus Rift
EA Release Date: September 26th, 2018

Note (September 26th, 2018): This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game only at its current Early Access state and will not receive a numerical score.

Gameplay

As a multiplayer-focused game at this point, the only way to effectively play solo is to go against bots, which automatically fill out with some not so-terribly-competent AI. That said, the developers have seemingly geared up for launch with an expansive number of dedicated servers that offer up to 16-player battles; three basic multiplayer styles are on offer at the moment, including free for all, team deathmatch, and two waypoint capture modes.

A host of mech styles are available, ranging from pure tanks that are predictably slow but have great armor, to light walkers with drill attachments and even ramming rods for devastating surprise attacks. Weapons are modifiable, even during mid-game so you can change up your tactic depending on the need at the moment. Yes, you can snipe too with an optically magnified in-game monitor, although I personally found the sniping railgun to be a bit under-powered to be a truly useful weapon. Choosing a weapon for your mech will allow you to bind it to a specific button on your controller, so it’s really up to you how your load-out will work and respond.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Much of the game is about striking a good balance. You can go in guns a’blazing, strapped with the most powerful missiles, but heat will successively build up to the point that your mech will physically stop, close down the blast doors, and wait for the heat meter to go down, leaving you defenseless as other mechs come around to pop off yours arms and legs. Once those are gone, you might as well just eject right there and reformulate a better weapons setup for you next spawn, so figuring out what’s right for you will predictably take some time.

As for controls, if you use Oculus Touch or HTC Vive’s controllers, mech movement is dependent on in-cockpit controls, meaning you’ll have the ability to physically manipulate levers and buttons that control forward movement, left and right movement, and directional booster jump. You can alternatively use an Xbox One controller, which personally seems more intuitive, albeit less immersive than using your hands. Some other perks of using Touch/Vive wands include the ability to re-position informational screens such as your radar, honk a big rig-style horn, and physically use a CB radio to talk with team mates.

 

Playing in a multiplayer match stocked nearly a quarter-way with human players, it slowly became clear to me who was a bot an who wasn’t. Human players tended to skirt around large masses of mechs and stay back for farther shots, while bots tended to have no issue with marching into the fray three at a time. It’s still early days though, so it’s hard to say just what sort of tactics more adept players will follow, and if AI will adapt to higher skilled players.

Since it’s also open to non-VR players, I decided to give it a go in desktop mode, which can be launched via both the Oculus Store version and Steam by right clicking the title in your library and selecting ‘Desktop Mode’. Having played many matches in VR, I found that it was easier in the desktop mode to acquire a target picture using mouse or gamepad. This is balanced somewhat by the lowered peripheral awareness in desktop, as its much less intuitive to get a good sense of what’s around you since the cock pit is basically still the same, replete with a tiny radar screen that you physically have to look down at in either mode to determine if anyone’s nearby. Having the ability to look down at that one screen quickly while keeping an eye out for gunfire is an ultimate boon in VR.

In all, it’s a well-polished game that offers most of everything I want as an avid mech pilot, save the rad paint jobs and true ‘stick anything anywhere’ modularity that mech sims like Chromehounds offered, but Vox has clearly shied away from with its uni-textured mechs and specific weapon slots.

Immersion

Maps vary depending on the planet size and type, offering lower gravity in some, higher gravity in others, lava, rocks, weird formations, etc. While well-crafted, I found the render distance on smaller foreground objects like rocks and plants to be somewhat short, which introduced some noise into my goal of keeping a keen eye out for bad guys.

Maps are large, and offer enough variability to suit most player types, with high ledges for snipers and weird rock features for those more sneaky fast types.

 

The cockpit itself is like a fun mix between micro space-miner and 18-wheeler cabin, what with its dingy bed in the back and charmingly anachronistic CB radio. It is by far one of the coolest bits about Vox Machinae, and Space Bullet have really nailed the feel, control, and look of it all.

Comfort

Because Vox Machinae provides the user with a solid a cockpit (which at times can be quite bumpy), movement is mostly grounded in the user’s point of view, making it a reasonably comfortable experience.

That said, the cockpit does shake some and also uses smooth turning, which can be slightly uncomfortable for a fraction of susceptible users. To address this, Space Bullet have included an optional blinder mode that applies a vingette to your field of view when turning, and an optional nose rendered on your face to give you a more grounded feel even when the cockpit is chugging along.

Final Thoughts

Vox Machinae will no doubt attract the mech enthusiasts among us, and keep us playing the deathmatches for a while yet to come. I would love to see a single-player campaign though so future buyers will be more enticed into purchasing, therefor keeping the servers packed with a healthy flow of players. The developers have done a smart thing by allowing non-VR users to play the game too, which should hopefully keep the numbers up as well.

In all, Vox Machinae is a well-polished, classic mech arena that would do well with more customization, a few more maps, and some more interesting mission types to keep us coming back. It’s a really promising jump off point though for the Early Access title, and it’s clear the basic functionality is there – and boy is it solid.


This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game only at its current Early Access state and will not receive a numerical score.

The post ‘Vox Machinae’ Early Access Review: VR’s Latest & Greatest Mech Sim appeared first on Road to VR.

Vox Machinae Hands-On: VR’s Most Immersive Mech Cockpit

Vox Machinae Hands-On: VR’s Most Immersive Mech Cockpit

I’ve played a lot of Archangel: Hellfire, Rigs was one of my favorite PSVR launch titles, and I still fantasize about a real Gundam VR game. But to date, Vox Machinae may have my favorite VR mech cockpit. It’s just the most perfect interpretation of how to do a cockpit in VR that takes full advantage of tracked motion controllers like Oculus Touch.

What you’ll find is that with most VR mech games, the cockpit is a visual ornament. It looks nice to sit behind some controls, it helps alleviate motion sickness, and for the most part people it really does sell the immersion. But then you end up just miming the robot’s arm movements or using the joysticks on your controllers to move and it defeats the purpose. Vox Machinae is different.

When controlling my mech in Vox Machinae, I had to actually interact with my cockpit. Want to go full speed ahead? I’ll need to reach down to my left and push the throttle forward. Boosting up in the air and spinning around to shoot someone behind me? I’ve got to pull up on the boost control at my left, then reach down to the right to turn the stick around to face behind me.

It sounds cumbersome, but what you lose in speed and finesse is more than made up for in sheer immersion. These are absolutely enormous robots and they certainly feel as massive and powerful as they look in a game like this. It’s a bit awkward, but that feels by design rather than because of control issues.

I only got the chance to play a single match, but it lasted about 15 minutes and had my palms sweating by the end. Because of how deliberate everything is in Vox Machinae, the skill ceiling is very high. Not only will you need to learn the weight and physics and jump speed and so much more of your mech, but the maps are enormous and there appear to be lots of weapons to juggle in customization menus — although I didn’t see any of that first-hand.

In recent years it feels like mech games have evolved to be more about a power fantasy of letting you go bigger without having to sacrifice going faster, but anyone that remembers old-school MechWarrior titles will recall the lumbering controls in those releases. With regard to that, Vox Machinae could almost be seen as a return to form in a way, while still iterating on the genre and pushing it forward with VR.

Vox Machinae’s bright, vivid color pallete are also a great contrast to the otherwise muted steampunk designs and it gives the experience a personality all its own.

All in all Vox Machinae has a lot going for it that really makes it feel special in the VR space. You won’t find another game that lets you interact with so many elements of the combat to have actual, immediately results in terms of gameplay like you do here. While playing I quickly forgot about the controllers in my hands and honestly felt like I was piloting a giant, hulking robot death machine.

Vox Machinae releases today for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. There will also be support for non-VR players on PC. This is reportedly a multiplayer-only focused title. Let us know what you think of the game down in the comments down below!

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Mech Combat Game ‘Vox Machinae’ Coming Soon to VR & PC, New Trailer Here

The long-awaited Vox Machinae is almost here, as developing studio Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation recently announced that the multiplayer mech battle game is finally heading into Early Access soon, supporting traditional monitors, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows VR headsets starting in early fall.

First teased back in 2014 during the Rift DK1 and DK2 era, Vox Machinae has had plenty of time to gestate, not to mention learn from some of its less fortunate multiplayer forerunners which struggle to maintain a healthy pool of online players. According to a recent Steam post, to remedy this Vox Machinae will support crossplay between traditional monitors and its supported VR headsets.

Image courtesy Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation

Vox Machinae features offline single-player (bots only), and both local network and online multiplayer with up to 16 players. Modes include Salvage Mode, where you capture and protect your team’s ‘Decker machine’, and a mode called Stockpile that requires your team to control factories scattered across the battlefield so you can benefit from their increased production capabilities.

All modes can be played with 2-4 teams, meaning you could gather together a few buddies and take on other squads in a multi-team shootout. Bots are available in all modes to help fill out the ranks, so there won’t be any waiting around when you’re ready to strap in.

Image courtesy Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation

Designed from the ground-up for VR, the game’s mech cockpits are said to feature plenty of controls and displays to manipulate, as the game boasts full motion controller support; both gamepad and mouse and keyboard will be available for players on traditional monitors. Space Bullet says five customizable mechs will be available at launch, letting you outfit them with an array of weaponry.

There’s no official launch date yet, although as summer comes to a close on September 23rd, we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled for what promises to be the full-featured mech brawler that’s been sorely missing in VR to date.

The post Mech Combat Game ‘Vox Machinae’ Coming Soon to VR & PC, New Trailer Here appeared first on Road to VR.

Vox Machinae Stomps Into Action in These New Screenshots

We already know full well that virtual reality (VR) is capable of taking us to new places, giving us new experiences, and fulfilling long held fantasies. VR enthusiasts and early adopters have already had a massive range of experiences, but one that has eluded many of us is true mecha warfare on the surface of an alien planet, stomping around in some giant boots whilst feeling like an impervious walking tank. Well, Vox Machinae is a videogame that made that promise a long time ago, and now we’re closer than ever to it being a (virtual) reality.

VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_13

We’ve got a bunch of brand new, crisp screenshots from Vox Machinae, which we saw a promising trailer of way back in early 2016. Even then it looked like a fascinating VR videogame, but developers Space Bullet kept us waiting still, and by the end of that year we were still eagerly anticipating the ability to jump into the cockpit ourselves.

Now though players might finally be able to try their own hand at mech space combat while stomping around on a red planet, as Vox Machinae is receiving a playtest next month and is looking for players to sign up now. Their new 2018 trailer looks stunning too, vastly polished over the footage we saw of the videogame from back in 2016.

The videogame continues to impress in our screenshots below, too. We see plenty of screenshots with the player in the cockpit, locking on to and firing on enemies, while stomping around the planet’s surface. Mechs clash against one another creating massive explosions, and kicking up dust as they fight, with impressive vistas surrounding the player. It looks like Space Bullet are truly trying to immerse the player in the experience of being a combative mech pilot, and have spared no expense on the cockpit and the surrounding planet environment. It’s desolate, but fascinating to look at and explore.

We have confirmation the videogame will be coming to Oculus Rift since it’s appearance at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016, but right now we’re not sure which other head-mounted displays (HMDs) Vox Machinae will be making its way to, although the playtest signup page does mention HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality HMDs – though this is certainly not confirmation of support, it makes us hopeful. For all of the latest on Vox Machinae, stay on VRFocus, but for now, check out our screenshots below.

VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_02 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_03 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_05 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_06 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_07 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_10 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_09 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_11 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_12 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_13 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_16 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_15 VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_14

Space Bullet Seeks Eager Pilots for Closed Playtests of Vox Machinae

It’s been quite some time since developer Space Bullet released any details regarding its virtual reality (VR) compatible title  Vox Machinae. For those VR players keen to jump into giant mechs to battle one another will be please to hear Space Bullet has broken its silence to announce its seeking players to sign-up for a playtest due to take place next month. 

VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_04

In a blog posting the studio has outlined what its been working on over the last year, listing a bunch of improvements:

  • Improving networking reliability and smoothness.
  • Optimizations to make better use of more CPU cores.
  • More dynamic music and new sound effects from a real deal audio person!
  • Streamlined menus for customizing your ideal loadout.
  • Virtual nose and blinders to assist those more sensitive to movement in VR.
  • Adding more robots and levels!
  • Improved leg motion that doesn’t run wild!
  • Little buildings around the levels so you feel big.
  • Geometry Tessellation for real cool terrain details.
  • More purdy dynamic lighting.

With its last public outing at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016, Vox Machinae is confirmed for Oculus Rift but no other headsets have been mentioned. However on the playtest signup application one of the questions asks whether you own a VR headset before offering a drop down list that mentions HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. Whilst it’s not a confirmation that either of these platforms will see support – either in the playtest or when fully launched – as a multiplayer title the more devices Vox Machinae supports the better.

VoxMachinae_Beta_screen_08

As with most closed playtests/betas run by developers seeking players, signing up doesn’t guarantee a slot. If you do get chosen then playtests are due to begin in early February, 2018.

In Vox Machinae players take control of enormous walking robots called GDRs or “Grinders”, bristling with weaponry. There will be five distinct Grinder chassis, each with their own benefits, which can be taken into offline, local network, or online gameplay with up to 16 players.

To mark the occasion Space Bullet has released a new gameplay trailer showcasing what’s in store. For any further updates from the studio, keep reading VRFocus.

Watch the Latest Vox Machinae Teaser Trailer ahead of Oculus Connect 3

Today sees the start of Oculus’ third annual conference, Oculus Connect 3. In the run up to the event developers have been releasing new teasing content and info for Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch. There’s been Q-Games’ Dead Hungry, Grav|Lab by Mark Schramm and Force Field VR’s Landfall. Another title that’s made an appearance is Vox Machinae from developer Space Bullet.

VRFocus first reported on Vox Machinae earlier this year, and since then the studio has released further teasing snippets of this mech shooter for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). This new video showcases more mechs and the firefights that take place.

Vox Machinae is all about giant robots battling each other in a multiplayer firefight. The slow paced machines have an assortment of weaponry to destroy opposing enemies, with machine guns, rocket launches, laser and more. If players manage to get close enough they can engage in melee combat, and should the worst happen and the mech is close to destruction then players can eject themselves into the sky. Whether they get another mech is a question that is yet to be answered.

Expect to hear further details from Oculus Connect 3 as the event gets underway, and keep reading VRFocus for all the latest updates for Q-Games’ Vox Machinae.

See Mechs Tear Each Apart in the Latest Vox Machinae Gameplay Footage

When we said that Vox Machinae has been flying flying lowest under the radar, we weren’t joking, but now after six months there have been a few more bits to be seen from this title.

Space Bullet Corp, developers of Vox Machinae, has been posting a series of gameplay moments from spectator mode. This includes mostly massive robots getting shot at and obliterated – and the art is still as impressive as it was at the beginning of the year.

vox machinae screen

The first video shows the absolute carnage that each of the mech can sustain during gameplay from the use of weapons, whereas another shows explosions and defeat as a result of physical impact and collision. It also seems that players will be able to eject from the robots when they are about to die. The latest video shows a robot being taken down by an army of varied enemies.

Vox Machinae is described as a “modern take on mech combat simulators of olden days”, where the player is one of the few certified pilots left after the Earth’s resources had been depleted you fight to survive in one of the few jobs that are left. Players can pilot robots, navigate hostile planets, customise armour, punch with giant robot fists, and experience immersive physics.

This is just something new to be added to the previously officially released gameplay trailer, but there still hasn’t been a date set for the release of Vox Machinae. There is, however, a small hint in the description of the gameplay trailer from earlier this year where they claimed they are committing to a 2016 release, and there are still plenty more months to hear more about the title. Either way, the gameplay and design looks pretty great.

The title will be available on the Oculus Rift when released as it has been previewed on the head-mounted display (HMD), but it is officially classified as a PC platform, so it could perhaps open up for HTC Vive compatibility, but this has not been confirmed.

Until then, VRFocus will continue to keep up with the developments of Vox Machinae, as well as all the latest news, updates, and features in the world of VR.