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Escape the sinking ship in Globiss Interactive’s VR game Titanic: A Space Between

In VR horror title Titanic: A Space Between players find themselves entangled in a bizarre time-travel mishap. On a mission to locate and rescue a missing time-traveler named Diana, you end up on the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Trapped within the confines of history’s most infamous vessel, players must navigate the ship’s decks as they gradually succumb to the icy depths of the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s quite an intense VR experience!” 

Developer Globiss Interactive has worked hard to build a convincing virtual replica of the Titanic. “The visual style definitely took us a while to decide on, as we weren’t sure if we had the capability to go for realism on the Quest platform”, says Frans Overman, one of the two brothers that make up the dev team. “After we spent a few months playing around with lighting, we realized that we had reached a place where it was convincing enough to start adapting our assets to a more realistic style. 99% of our assets are self-modeled and textured, as we believe in creating a product that’s totally our own. Plus it’s fairly difficult to find era-appropriate assets for the Titanic.”

Players will come across most well-known areas of the Titanic, including the Grand Staircase, the boiler rooms, third class accommodations, the upper decks and more. As they try to escape the ship, the events match the timing, location and intensity of the sinking, based on the latest historical data available. The game utilizes a complex water system that slowly fills up the hallways and cabins on the ship. “I’m really proud of the physics of our water systems”, says Willie Overman. “We spent countless hours trying to create something that would be compatible with the limited processing power of the Quest. Through many shader iterations, we can finally say that the water has reached a level where it actually feels convincing in VR.”

High pace escape scenario

Willie and Frans Overman founded Globiss Interactive in 2020, when they were both finishing up their bachelor’s degree in university. They were both far spread out though, with one of them in San Diego, and the other in Delft, Netherlands. Eventually they settled for San Diego as the location of choice for Globiss Interactive. “We run a pretty lean operation, mostly just consisting of the two of us, with some outside contract help along the way. Willie is the only programmer in our team, so he takes care of most in-engine work himself. As the creative lead, Frans takes care of writing storylines, creating assets and planning out the bigger picture of the title.”

The brother’s 2020 title Under: Depths of Fear was the catalyst for their recent project. It’s a horror game set on a sinking ship around the early 1900’s. Sounds familiar? When marketing the game, the brothers kept getting the same requests over and over. ‘Please make this a VR game and make this actual set on the Titanic.’ Frans Overman smiles: “Needless to say, we really took this to heart! As lifelong Titanic fans ourselves, we started working on something that we thought would be an intense VR experience. We felt that intertwining a deep storyline along with a high pace escape scenario would be a perfect combination set in an infamous setting such as the Titanic.”

Complex VR interactions

As this is their first VR title, the brothers found that VR development has a rather steep learning curve that comes with many challenges because of the freedom of interactions. “I would say the hardest part of this process has been dealing with the complexities of VR interactions”, says Willie Overman. “This took us literal years to master, and we still find that planning puzzles for VR requires extra attention to detail to make it work. Our creative process is a bit mixed. We usually brainstorm together, starting with a piece of paper to ideate our levels, and slowly working this out until we have something substantial.”

This way of working required the brothers to take their time to get things right. A lesson they learned along the way. “As two young developers, we tend to be eager to move fast, and had completely different expectations at the inception of this project. I think if you truly believe in your own title, you have to be comfortable to take your time, especially in an industry like VR. So, be patient!” 

Refreshing take

Titanic: A Space Between launches on Meta Quest store first with PC VR and PSVR2 versions to follow at a later date. Willie and Frans have high hopes for the game. “We really hope that this title will provide a refreshing take on horror and puzzle VR titles, as it introduces a more intense setting, and tries to bring a piece of history back to life. We always loved the Titanic, and as horror fans, we hope that this title can spread that passion and leave a memorable experience for players.”

Eric Bartelson
Eric Bartelson
Editor-in-Chief of PreMortem.Games. Veteran game journalist for over 20 years. Started out in 1999 for game magazines (yes the ones made of paper) such as PC Zone Benelux, PlayNation and GameQuest, before co-founding Dutch industry paper Control Magazine.

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