[PROJECT] Gorn (working title)

I've decided to procrastinate working on my game by making a thread about my game so here goes!

Gorn is a physics based VR game where you fight as a gladiator.

The idea was inspired by watching people play Budget Cuts and #Selfietennis. I noticed that most people spent more time trying to smash the robots/tennis people than actually playing the game so I wanted to make a game where the focus is on killing in a VR physics playground.

So far I've implemented physics based characters for you to fight who can use weapons and take and have limbs sliced off with swords or knocked off with blunt weapons. There's also a bow. Here's a video of a sword fight between two enemies:

Due to my lack of experience in 3D and VR there's a lot of jank but I'm enjoying the learning experience. I'm not quite sure yet where the gameplay challenge will lie - it doesn't seem like having the fights themselves be challenging would be the best so I'm considering rather having achievement hunting be the core of the game, so that the goal is pleasing the crowd rather than just winning the fight.

Right now I'm aiming to have a playable version of the game ready by Amaze and I'll build a build up here then as well for those who have Vives.



  • I've finally got a walk cycle that I'm happy with although the attack animations are still terrible:

    I got some tips from punchesbears that have helped a bit since this was filmed so it's getting better.
  • That looks awesome! Sjoe, great job dude. :D
    So when will there be a playable version? ;)
  • I'm taking a build to Amaze. How many people here have vives?
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • If anyone who has a vive is interested, a build is now up at https://raithza.itch.io/gorn

    I also made some quick and super bad videos, free fraps logo and all:

  • Blood tech:

    Procedural bruising:

    Getting some art help now so these will hopefully look a bit better soon!
    Thanked by 1Sean_Goncalves
  • haha procedural bruising is rad. I'd play if I had a vive.
    I'll leave this here for you: https://obsproject.com/
  • Happy to have tried it at A MAZE, here's a drop of the stuff we spoke about:
    1. The initial shock of intimidation is SO REAL. The hulking enemies coming towards me slowly TOTALLY gave me that fight or flight response.
    2. It was super fun doing the bashing.
    3. When their attacks land on me there was definitely dissonance - I don't feel the hit, and I'm not sure where I'm getting hit. Working out the visual/audio feedback on this would be an important challenge.
    4. I feel like I want to be able to outsmart/outmaneuvre them. As it is now they're probably too good at facing the player. Or too big too.

    Really rad and polished presentation so far too, looking forward to more! :)
  • Wanted to share my itch.io analytics cause I thought they were interesting (and pretty encouraging, for me at least!)


    So at Aug 27 I made my first and only post about Gorn one the Vive subreddit. You can see there was some attention but not crazy amounts. at around Sep 5 someone else created a thread ( https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/520ztc/gorn_is_awesome/ ) which actually got less attention then mine, but because it wasn't made by the creator (and perhaps because it was the second time people saw it?) it got more attention towards the game itself. Since then there have been one or two more threads, smaller than that one, that have also brought in more views/downloads than the original post. Pretty illuminating about the mechanics of reddit and marketing in general (what's that rule about someone has to hear about something 7 times...?).

    1000 downloads isn't a lot, but considering the small number of vive's out there this is pretty encouraging for me, especially since the game has managed to keep momentum without any action from my side.
  • Hey man just saw your game got played on Node. Quite a big gaming channel on youtube. Good work love the game so far!
  • I'm briefly exiting forum stalking mode, just to say that I strongly approve!
    Thanked by 1raithza
  • The head dismemberment is probably the coolest feature. Rock on!
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    I've spent far too much time polishing the walk cycle but I'm really happy with the end result:
  • Node did another video, no idea how they manipulated the camera angle like this, but the effect is pretty cool:
  • Looking so awesome, I love seeing your updates!

    Need a Vive so that I can GORN!
  • Wow that is some awesome effect, so basically they set up some kind of greenscreen system that let them "look into" any VR game via an external cam... No idea how that works but it works REALLY REALLY well :D
  • he also has a completely full suit of armor now:
    Each piece can be added or removed by itself, hopefully changing the tactics of each encounter according to what's exposed. When fully armored he has no exposed weak spots and you'll have to knock a piece of armor off first.
  • This looks so awesome. :D
  • The golden nipples are easily the best part of the armour.
  • Rooster teeth also did a video:

    Unfortunately it's from the older build so it must have been filmed a week or two ago, but it's nice to see the game still getting some attetntion.
  • Random update post.

    Work has been coming along decently on GORN. Besides the usual physics/handling/AI improvements, we have also have a test/proxy version of the arena up:

    We've added two handed weapons:

    I've started work on a metagame/unlock/progression style system. This isn't something that I have much experience with, and the added challenge of thinking how to present all the affordances in a diegetic VR UI is quite tough, so I've separated the two issues and am prototyping how I think the metagame should play out in (a very ugly) mouse-driven UI. The idea is to get some feedback and get things working before doing the second tougher job of making it work intuitively in VR.

    Several casualties have been claimed:

    The game has been gaining momentum via word-of-mouth in the VR community.

    Lots of lets plays have been made and a strange phenomenon (tentatively named "the GORN effect") has come to light, where a youtuber will receive far more than their average amount of views on any GORN video they make, which has lead to a snowball effect in Youtube coverage:

    The average daily view/download rate has been increasing or at worst staying the same since I originally put it up and made a reddit post about it. The spike the last couple of days is people who own Oculus who've somehow figured out how to get the game running on there.

    Current goal is to have the game on Early Access on Steam by end January.
  • image

    This is pretty incredible. Have you considered stopping work on the game and just charging youtube streamers usage rights? (/s)
  • I played a bit of this last night. Really fun! I have to be continuously aware of my surrounding walls as I end up getting quite involved in it!

    My only issue was the spear. I'm not exactly sure how you are meant to use it, so I just ended up using one hand to slide it through and the other to shove it into the enemy. Is that the right way? The right hand seems to lose a bit of control with this one and it tends to glitch around a lot.

    Otherwise it's definitely one of the few genuinely addictive VR games out there. Can't wait to see what the final version looks like.
  • This is looking rad! Got to get me a Vive asap...
  • The two handed weapons are a bit shaky rn but how you're describing sounds about right.
  • edited
    GORN's Steam page is up:


    Cowabunga industries and Deon Van Heerden are working with us on a new trailer, and we're going to take a few more uptodate screenshots, otherwise this page is what we're planning on putting out to the public.

    Any feedback welcome!

    Thanked by 3roguecode BenJets Tuism
  • Also, seeing as nobody has mentioned it here yet, GORN is coming out on Early Access tomorrow!
  • Good luck! Have you worked out the sort of sales numbers you're going to need? And do you believe those will be covered by EA, or EA + release?
  • So we managed to get the game onto early access almost exactly a year after the project was started! Check out our badass trailer by @benjets and crew:

    @roguecode not sure, I think break even is somewhere between 10-15k sales.
  • edited
    @roguecode GORN has been free and playable on itch.io for about a year now, and we've seen more than enough people play it and recommend it, and millions of people watch videos of other people playing it, to expect GORN to perform as well as the more popular VR games.

    IF that's the case, and game reaches the kinds of sales numbers the popular VR games reach (20,000 to 40,000 sales) the game would more than cover what we've spent on it to date (I'm not actually certain what that is, as we're not too worried about breaking even, but it's significantly less than the revenue 20,000 sales would bring). Of course we're still developing GORN, and incurring more cost as we go, but we'll scale our ambitions based on what the reception for the game is.

    Thanked by 2Tuism mattbenic
  • Thanks a lot for the detail!
  • We picked Gorn up on Steam and installed it on the office Vive machine, and it's good fun :)

    The cartoony style is great and holds up well at all distances from the enemy (and with being able to use them as flails, we're frequently close enough to bite off chunks :D ). The whole style obviously follows from that with the crazy floating heads and ragdollish enemies.

    One thing we found really frustrating with the drag/swim movement. Is this intentionally slow to avoid the player teleporting around the enemies to retain some challenge?

    We kept resetting progress so each player could try from the first Arena level (to not get wiped out immediately :P ). It would have been nice to be able to rather select levels. That said we haven't tried the other mode (the door to the left that unlocks after two arena levels, so maybe there's something there that allows it.
  • The movement is intentionally 1-1 with the player's arm movement to allow for maximum agility and control.
  • Ok, it felt really sluggish to us, but if that's your design preference so be it :)
  • I've [very reluctantly] added an alternative [but objectively inferior] movement scheme to the game, a bit of a more standard trackpad/joystick style.
    Thanked by 1pieter
  • Well done guys. Super impressive work and congrats on the new IP as well.
  • I've [very reluctantly] added an alternative [but objectively inferior] movement scheme to the game, a bit of a more standard trackpad/joystick style.
    I'll give it a try next time I'm in the office :)
  • That trailer is soooo good .....gg
    Thanked by 1BenJets
  • I just gave the alternate movement system, and I agree it's definitely inferior to the swimming system. The alternate movement system I was talking about (that I've seen pretty extensively in other games) is the teleport where you hold a button, an arc or other marker is displayed, and on release you jump to that location. As I said above, I'm guessing you didn't use a system like that here because it would give the player too much of an advantage, but perhaps some level of sensitivity control on the current movement would work?
  • It can probably be balanced somehow, a bigger issue for me is how teleport breaks congruence in the world and the fact that I just personally dislike it, and after some brief efforts the physics is a nightmare!
    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • Yeah, teleporting definitely doesn't make sense in every context. Other than a combined solution so the player can teleport longer distances but swim close up, with some control over the swim sensitivity, I really have no useful suggestions for you. And that combined solution would probably be too complicated and most players would just stick to one or the other anyway. Anyway, thanks for taking my feedback under consideration :)
  • I stumbled across an hilarious gorn video. Do recommend!

    Thanked by 2mattbenic Moga
  • ...and we are done!

    This has been a great project to work on and we've been overwhelmed by how fortunate we've been with good the reception has been, throughout development. Currently, GORN has just over 200k sales on Steam. We are sitting at a (inflated) metacritic score of 87, and currently have about 3700 Steam reviews of which 96% are positive.

    We also got a full Steam front page takeover for a few days!


    Thanks to the whole Free Lives team for making this dream a reality. Happy to answer any questions people might have about dev or whatnot.

  • Well done guys :)
    I hope you're planning a Quest port, I think it'll be a great match for the platform.
  • mattbenic said:
    Well done guys :)
    I hope you're planning a Quest port, I think it'll be a great match for the platform.
    Between Oculus, Facebook, Free Lives, players, the only ones who doesn't want a Quest port is the Quest itself, burning its processor and dropping frames like a Voodoo card :p
    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • edited
    I just wanted to pop in to say that Gorn was the reason I bought a Quest 2. I played it in 2019 at a VR arcade and even thought it was my first VR experience, I was instantly hooked. It was the first and last time I played VR before getting my Quest 2.

    I can't wait to download and play Gorn on my Q2 as soon as I get off work this evening.

    It makes me really proud to see a local company getting so much love in the international VR industry.

    Apologies if you've already done it and I missed it but it would be really interesting to hear about some of the challenges faced with porting it to Quest and Quest 2.

    Also, thank you for making all voice lines appear as captinedy text on the arena board (IIRC). My partner is deaf/HoH and it's been a bit of a nightmare trying to find games we can play together which don't rely on spoken instructions or games which have subtitles. Although, I think Gorn would probably be the former.
    Thanked by 2Tuism mattbenic
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