I believe the game has potential to be great but is missing polish right now, so here is some friendly feedback with suggestions. I played the game solo, standing, and in 360 degrees. The colored text is the stuff I feel should be prioritized for the soonest patch possible.
- The weapon holsters could be made more intuitive by instead having the haptic effect stay on for the duration that your hand is over the holster, instead of a bump each time you enter or exit the volume. For this, the haptic effect should also be quite subtle. As for their actual world positions, the holsters and other inventory slots should be able to be placed anywhere the player wants. Let them configure exactly in 3D space where they want them to be, and this can be done as a calibration step. This also helps people with different heights and dimensions. Another good change would be to make it so that if the player already has the grip button pressed down, and their hand enters the volume, to let the weapon go into their hand, this would help with fluidity in reaching to grab weapons quickly and returning with a weapon instead of how it is many times right now, where you go to reach for your pistols for example and come back up empty handed.
- Instead of reloading with a button, a more intuitive mechanic would be to hold the guns against your hips like you do in Raw Data. The button can still be used to release the current magazine, but the actual putting in of a magazine should be an action done by the player even if it isn't that realistic. I mean scripted animations aren't realistic anyway!
- An alternative to reloading in general could be to do gestures that simply mimic the general motions one would do to reload a weapon. So for example if you're trying to reload your pistols, you first press the button to drop the magazines, then you put one hand below the other and simply mimic a reloading motion, which the game detects and puts in a magazine. Something like this: https://youtu.be/-RehCTRrWM0?t=361 (at time 6:01). Although in that video when the player does it, their hand gets animated, so instead for this game we would only have the magazine being animated going into the gun. That way, even if both your hands are occupied, you can still reload fine. This system should work better for all the weapons too. For the shotgun/sniper rifle you'd do essentially tapping motions along the side of the weapons in order to put in individual shells/bullets.
- In order to make the shotgun pumping more consistent, a haptic effect should be present such that you feel the friction or tension as you pump, sort of like the effect on bows and slingshots we've used for VR games. This gives the player feedback on the effectiveness of their reloads. The pumping should also not be automatic as soon as the gesture for pumping is detected, but follow 1:1 like you see in bow and arrow games.
- Melee hits should have stronger haptics effects. At least as strong as the gun haptic effect. This is especially true for faster hand swings because haptics aren't perceived as strongly when the hand moves very fast.
- Sometimes when trying to grab the axe with both hands, the grab by the second hand doesn't always work because the grabbing zone for the second grip isn't along the whole handle of the axe. Instead, it should be expanded to cover the length of the whole handle, especially as the virtual hand is already allowed to slide along it.
- The flashlight should be reworked. Instead it should go on the head, where if you physically tap your headset, it toggles it to on, to the blue scanning mode, and to off. Right now the inventory feels congested since it's placed at your chest near the grenades and pistols, and it does not illuminate what you want sometimes since it never faces up or down.
- Some people may have the extra processing power to enable shadows from the flashlight. Allowing that option would please people.
- When selecting things from the arm menu, sometimes the hand doesn't remain in a pointing finger pose, but goes into the object-grabbing-possible pose because it's near the flashlight. The pointing pose should take priority.
- Maybe instead of bodies despawning so quickly, their physics and other computationally expensive things should be disabled when the game has detected that they've stopped moving, until something like 3 minutes pass, in which they can then be fully despawned. Either way, some option should be there for the player to lengthen how much time the bodies stay, because right now it feels too quick even on the highest graphic settings.
- The drone should float a bit farther away from the player. Right now it's so close that it really distracts from the experience.
- With the smooth movement, it is too easy to just use melee weapons and mow through enemies like your body can pass right through their stumbling bodies or their corpses. Instead, maybe have colliders on at all times for their bodies, but detect when they've fully dropped to the ground, and disable the colliders so that the player can "step over" the bodies.
- Sometimes it feels like melee attacks from enemies hit you even when they shouldn't be close enough to.
- A toggle for UI elements would be nice. Sometimes I don't want to actually see that ring of health and teleport literally in my body (wrists).
- Teleporting and areas that you can walk along might need to be tweaked by hand. Right now it can get pretty inconsistent as it doesn't always register where you want. It should have a snapping nature when detecting a valid area to teleport to.
- Smooth stick movement gets stuck at certain places or suddenly jumps in height so the geometry for where the player can walk might need to be tweaked by hand. Places where I witnessed this happen was the entry platform into the first boss encounter area, in the sewers while walking into the water, and one of the doorways in the Paris level where you're using the stairs indoor.
- Collisions with the environment should also not suddenly stop the smooth movement, but work more like regular FPS games where one can slide against the barriers/walls. This may cause more discomfort in certain people, but it is better than being stopped at certain times and suddenly moving and stopping again as if stuttering. Actually moving the player so that they can't stick their heads through geometry also might be the better trade-off to enable that kind of smooth movement, like how it works in Echo Arena where putting your head through the wall just pushes you back.
- Enemies seem to not be able to deal well with attacking you while you're moving backwards from them with smooth movement. To fix this, maybe make it so that once an enemy is close enough to grab you with their hands AND you are moving with the smooth locomotion, make them do a grabbing gesture and actually stop the player from moving. So the gesture activates the "stop", and then the enemy is free to attack the player. The "stop" should be active until the enemy is killed or is stumbled or is pushed back.
- Many times it is very easy to just back up into a corner and camp there while spamming melee. There needs to be some way to reduce the player's ability to melee too as "waggle" can definitely still apply right now, even if you have to swing your hands faster. This is a general problem with VR of course... Maybe we can make it so that the player's hand can actually get "blocked" or slowed down depending on the force of their swing, the momentum of the attack, and the momentum of whatever their hitting, such that if the momentum is not high enough from the player, their weapon doesn't go through the enemy geometry but actually collides with it, and a ghost hand with weapon shows up so that there isn't too much mental dissonance in the player's brain from seeing their hand not where their real hand is. This would also provide more intuitive and immediate feedback to the player on how much damage they're doing with their swings, as right now only the amount of hits seems to be able to let the player know that the game does in fact take into account how hard they swing into the damage equation.
- The boss fights aren't well balanced for smooth locomotion solo players. The boss enemy is faster than the player, which means the player is backing up a lot with smooth movement, but eventually has to find a way to dodge the boss' attacks when they eventually catch up. That means the player has to teleport to dodge, because using the smooth locomotion is too slow. That breaks the consistency of the gameplay, but the main problem is that after the teleport to dodge, the player will most likely be using the smooth movement to walk around again, so the boss will eventually catch up to the player again, except this time because the player has been using smooth locomotion after a teleport, their teleport was never able to recharge, which means they have absolutely no way to dodge the boss' attack. All this means is that the player eventually has to learn that they mainly can only use teleport in boss battles or has to constantly seek out health packs, which feels like a contrivance. To fix this, possibly make it so that the boss' attacks can be mitigated through other methods than teleportation. For example, make the boss' attack something that can be ducked from. In addition, give the player some time at the beginning of a boss battle to understand and get used to the movements and attacks of the boss, before spawning in more enemies, because those enemies can distract the player and make them never realize they can do something like duck from the boss' attack. And there also needs to be a "hint" to let the player know they can do something like dodge the attack, maybe words from the drone, or maybe a bullet time activation every time the boss attacks until the player learns how to dodge.
- There is not much replayability currently or in fact some things discouraging it. To help remedy this, we should be able to skip any part with talking, after the player has gone through the part once. Any part with talking, meaning any time the drone speaks, any time the Big Head speaks, and the tutorial. Slave slots to make for different profiles would be a good addition. For the level selection screen, we should have more of a tile/list instead of the single switching which is currently cumbersome/slow. For gameplay, a hard mode of some form would be nice, where enemies are in higher numbers, where waves last longer, where ammo and health is randomly placed around at a lower frequency to make it scarce, where the player's flashlight can run out of battery but automatically recharges at a slow rate, where "special" enemies can occasionally spawn (ones with special stats and maybe a slightly different skin/texture), and where the drone can be shot down and destroyed because why not.
- The spider-like enemy feels like it could be more scary and flexible. Right now it has to actually wait behind slower enemies. Maybe make it so they can jump or crawl over them. These guys could also jump and attach/hug onto the player to attack them, which would be very scary if done right and make them a more significant enemy.
- The female enemy variant feels almost pointless in what gameplay variety it offers. I did not once seem to have a problem hitting them and killing them quickly like the regular guys. Their invisibility effect was also a bit obvious. Maybe make them a bit more invisible. They also did not seem to have invisibility powers after the boss encounter in the cave, which means what little variety they did add didn't carry through to the rest of the game they appeared in.