Social virtual reality platform AltspaceVR have today announced they’re partnering with Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons and Dragons, to bring the brand into virtual reality, retaining the social aspects that makes the table-top incarnations so popular.
Role playing games, in their traditional, dice-based adventure forms, have always offered an intensely social experience, despite what social stereotypes may suggest about the demographic who play.
Now, publishers of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, Wizards of the Coast, have teamed up with the social VR platform AltspaceVR to bring the official, traditional role playing brand to virtual reality.
“D&D is extremely social, which is why we are so excited to offer it in AltspaceVR,” said Eric Romo, founder and CEO of AltspaceVR. “Players love it! We’ve seen them hang out together for sessions lasting six hours—previously only developers spent that long in VR.”
It’s an intriguing prospect, and demonstrates an almost too obvious fusion of old fashioned gaming with cutting-edge technologies. And, as we’re hearing more and more these days, once core gaming has had its fun exploring virtual reality, it’ll be the unique power of human interaction in and with virtual spaces that may really drive the technology into the mainstream.
“AltspaceVR bridges the gap between Dungeons & Dragons video games and physically sitting around a table with friends,” said Nathan Stewart, brand director for Dungeons & Dragons. “You get the same sense of excitement and drama in the AltspaceVR tavern, from laughing at your buddy’s funny goblin voice to watching the d20 bounce and finally land on the natural 20 you needed to hit the beholder terrorizing your party.”
As of today, those logging in to AltspaceVR will have access to a virtual tavern and officially licensed character sheets, figurines, and terrain tiles for fans to build their maps and craft their adventures. Terrain tiles include dungeon, wilderness and city themes. Figurines include well-known monsters such as gelatinous cubes and dragons, as well as heroes of various classes. The gaming interfaces were built entirely using AltspaceVR’s dedicated SDK, designed expressly for this kind of thing, building social applications in VR.
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It’s a potentially clever play on the part of both companies. Despite D&D and AltspaceVR appearing, on the face of it, generations (almost literally) apart from each other, the demographic crossover – the shared geekdom if you like – between early VR adopters and D&D players may well prove high.
It’ll be intriguing to see just how things work mechanically in the virtual setting, but you can imagine some extraordinary possibilities for enhanced D&D sessions in VR. Players who appear in VR as their characters, effects accompanying spells cast on command and virtual spaces that match the narrative. It has the potential to introduce a whole new generation to a very old fashioned style of gaming.