Dungeons & Dragons has traditionally been something that’s played around a table with a grid/graph paper, character sheets, handfuls of dice, and a heaping pile of books to make your characters and as reference materials for both the Dungeon Master and the players. AltspaceVR is looking to change that to include Oculus Rift headsets.
AltspaceVR is a company focusing on communicating in virtual reality using virtual avatars, and last year they took that concept and ran with it. Following a 2-day game jam, they sought to bring D&D to the virtual table and have since gotten not only the interest of its parent company Wizards of the Coast, but also their full backing.
The game itself is set on a virtual table top in what looks like a quiet tavern, with the players able to freely move around. There’s a menu to set up the game board quick to get everything going and additional GUI elements to help make the transition to using the Oculus Rift headset from pen and paper less confusing. The Dungeon Master does get some additional stuff that the other players don’t, like being able to set music and the ability to move different tiles, but for the most part, the layout is the same for everyone — a browser to check stats and rules and a bar that you pull the dice you need to roll from. Thankfully, players won’t need to thumb through the entirety of the 2014 Player’s Manual to figure out what they’re doing right and wrong this time around.
Bruce Wooden, the head of developer relations at AltspaceVR, said, “the next big challenge will be enabling people to make their own games, to basically take this over from us.” Dungeons & Dragons may be the start — a multitude of other pen and paper titles like Vampire: The Masquerade could get the same chance to be played with friends via a VR headset. And card games could also be included — Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone could be a great outlet for this system, and Yu-Gi-Oh could finally be played the way the TV show showed it off. Hopefully these tools will be released for people to develop their own communal VR games, because the possibilities are endless.
One of the big hurdles is that not everyone has an Oculus Rift. Worse yet is this version of the game is only designed to work with the DK2 headset, coming in at around $350 dollars. If AltspaceVR does come though and develops the tools for people to make their own VR experiences like they plan to, it could make that cost worthwhile.
Beyond “early 2016,” there’s no official release date for AltspaceVR’s Dungeons & Dragons app for the Oculus Rift. Screen Rant will have more details as they are made available.