Super Monkey Fun successfully swings into the virtual realm of gaming

For some time now, gaming platforms were limited to consoles, and with consoles came gesture controllers like Wii U controller, Kinect and PlayStation Move. But with introduction of VR headsets, developers have got a new playground to test and immerse players into different reality. With the likes of Samsung’s GearVR, Google’s Cardboard and India’s very own Aura VR and unreleased Abenstia Virtual Reality, the virtual reality experience can be acquired with a local cardboard VR headset costing your pockets as low as Rs 199 or as high as Rs 19,000 . A lot of mobile game companies worldwide have started venturing into this new dimension of game development and are serious about providing fascinating experience to users. One such company is Super Monkey Fun, led by Kunal Joshi and Jayati Khulbe which started in 2013 to offer end-to-end mobile game development services. Since then, the company has moved on to publish their own games across various mobile platforms and have progressed into developing VR games. SuperFunMonkey1 Speaking to co-founder, Kunal, we got a better insight into the company’s entry in the ever so growing virtual reality space, the difficulties faced during the development of a VR game and how it managed to generate a sizeable downloads with its second VR game. “Anyone who has closely associated with the area of mobile gaming is aware of the pace at which Virtual Reality is picking up pace with gaming. With the release of the Google Cardboard, we were pretty bent upon trying out our hand at VR as well,” explains Kunal. Game development for virtual reality means the studio had to move away from the linear game design methods to a 360 degree environment. There are certain aspects that one has to keep in check to make the user experience seamless. One of them is to ensure that at no point in the game, does the user feel dizzy or nauseated. The challenge is to get right the use of stereoscopic camera, a smooth gameplay with no jagged lines. “Working in the category of Virtual Reality, the tasks difficulties were a double at each step. The camera used in Virtual Reality game is stereoscopic, that is the camera has two lenses. Because of this, each object that is placed in front of the camera is seen as double. This not only decreased the allowed limit for smooth gameplay (10,000 polygons), it also increased the draw-calls, which also affects the smooth working of the game.” Kunal says that he has been fortunate to have a proficient team on board and with consistent research it isn’t difficult to tackle challenges.SuperFunMonkey2 “In a genre which is quite new, a lot of research had to be put in through the pre development phase. Be it for the development part or the designing part, we had to make sure that we were completely prepared for the discrepancies that will follow once development starts. Understanding the stereoscopic camera and the constraint of less number of polygons was something that needed to be worked around. And as they say, however much you research the actual learning happens on the field. It took consistent trials to understand the perfect way of working out a VR game. And it has all been paid back really well by the wonderful response the game has been receiving.” The company did not want to start with usual walkthroughs but something which involved a lot more gameplay. A scenario, where the users can immerse themselves into the VR environment while playing a game is what they aimed for. VR Silent Home, the second VR title from the company, has hit a jackpot on Google Play Store with more than 50,000 downloads and receiving a lot of reviews from users all over the world. The game has user trapped inside a haunted house and to escape the house he has to perform an exorcism on the trapped soul. But the book of exorcism is damaged and the missing pieces needs to be found to escape. After this, Super Fun Monkey is planning to add much more VR content in the coming months.
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A still from the game VR Silent Home
Horror genre is quite popular among the VR enthusiasts, with popular games like Slender: The Arrival, Alien: Isolation and Amnesia: The Dark Descent jumping to the VR bandwagon, and new games like Crystal Rift and DreadEye, the VR space is already crowded with horror games, so how does one differentiate from others? “One thing that keeps the audience clipped onto a game is that there is constantly something happening to keep him involved. With the genre of horror mixed with VR, we had to make sure that either the user has something to do at all times or there are enough jump-scares to startle and keep them engrossed in the game.” Kunal says the growth for VR Silent Home has been organic until now and no promotions have been done for the game. Normally game publishers will acquire users at $10 rate per user but in our case our growth is totally organic. “VR Silent Home, is a game that has gone beyond the expectations of so many users across the globe that we are now adding another chapter to the game.” Talking about the company’s future plans Kunal adds that after publishing content on Google Play Store, it plans to go live on Oculus and Gear VR stores very soon. “We are being optimistic with the growth of Super Monkey Fun. A studio that started out with two in tow has now become a highly professional team of 15, and we can say we haven’t been happier. Over the years, we will continue to work stringently to develop games that not only cater to one genre but are spread over all the genres. With persistent hard work, Super Monkey Fun aims to become the AAA VR studio of India,” signs off Kunal.