Hi I’m Hessvacio– I’m a web developer at IAC Apps by day but secretly, by night I’m a game developer working on cool projects with my friends. We made a virtual reality experience called Don’t Look Away that we hope the world will love. For most of the team this is our first video game release and we are excited to share the announcement with Playcrafting- the organization which made this all possible!
I’ve loved video games since my first console, an N64 as a kid. I’ve wanted to make games sincechildhood. I still remember drawing out ideas for extra Banjo and Kazooie levels in class. I always wanted to learn programming but found the barrier of entry way too high, until I finally took the plunge. To all those people looking to get into programming and game development; I started seriously programming in 2015, if I can do it so can you.
How did your team form?
I formed this amazing team of friends from my classes at Playcrafting. Playcrafting’s classes have a ton of great teachers in the field to learn from. The real magic comes from the people you meet who share your passion for making great games and experiences. I found most of my key teammates from the Unity course. Jose Zambrano is a talented animator and modeler who has guided the look and feel of Don’t Look Away from it’s inception. Bobby (Robert Canciello), is a great game designer and photoshop extraordinaire; honestly if a player is wowed from any visual aspect of the game, it’s probably because Bobby had a hand in it. Andy Lohmann, is a great developer- his credits include AAA titles like Just Cause 3. It is a great honor to work with such a talented developer. We tackled some of the toughest coding problems Unity had to offer through peer programing, I learned so much from Andy. Most of the team first worked together on the Global Game Jam’s runner up and student project nominee Witchualistic.
We loved working together so much that we continued into this project.
I met so many other talented people from other events and classes like Andrew Garrahan’s VR class and I really am happy to have worked on Don’t Look Away alongside people with such a diverse set of skills. People like Sean Hyland, Andrew Struck-Marcell our sound engineer, and DJ (yeah that’s his name) our voice actor. It was the team that made Don’t Look Away go from a forgettable student project to an awesome app on the Oculus store.
Tell us how your game started to become a reality.
We started the game in Playcrafting’s 8 week VR course. The idea came from a episode of Doctor Who, called Blink and this cat gif:
After the class we met up every week at Pret and continually added to the experience. We even got a few play testers in the cafe! It felt as close to making a cool project in your garage in Palo Alto as we were going to get in New York City.
How does the game work?
Don’t Look Away is a psychological horror experience, so we moved away from random jump scares of typical modern horror. Most of the gameplay features the player exploring his or her space and getting a grasp on what can and can’t be done in the world. We actively chose to make this more of an experience than a game to take players on a ride they won’t soon forget.
In the game the player is strapped to a chair, bound and gagged, with only a limited ability to reach for what’s within their grasp. We ask the player, can you figure out the mystery of the room before it’s too late? They must also remember that everything within the world is not entirely what it seems; so to our players: remember, whatever you do, whatever may happen, whatever you may see or hear… Don’t Look Away.
Where can people try it out?
Don’t Look Away VR came out on January 23rd on the Oculus Gear VR Store. Players looking to find this experience can find the game in the Oculus Gear VR App on their Samsung Galaxy or with this url:
Anything else in the pipeline?
To the future fans of Don’t Look Away VR, this is only the beginning for our team we have another project on the radar coming next Holiday Season. If you enjoyed Don’t Look Away, you’ll love Holiday Wars, coming this fall: