Fans of Dungeons & Dragons will be able to play their favorite tabletop role-playing game in virtual reality soon, thanks to AltspaceVR. The company specializes in using VR as a new type of communication platform—kind of like a 3D version of Skype.
However, AltspaceVR also wants to use VR for gaming, and that’s where the idea of hosting VR D&D games comes in. A few engineers with the company came up with the concept informally last year, but now Wizards of the Coast have officially offered their backing.
Bruce Wooden, the head of developer relations for AltspaceVR, said that initial testers were extremely enthusiastic about early renditions of the game–sometimes to the point of keeping their Oculus DK2 headsets for more than five hours.
The players have their own virtual avatars and game mats. One panel offers quick-reference info about D&D resources, and a separate bar lets players access different dice. The Dungeon Master can also play music (to help set the scene) in-game, and move tiles for different scenarios. Basically, the VR experience can serve to enhance the game while simplifying certain tasks.
Wooden told Gizmodo that, “One thing we want to do is create things you can only do in VR and make experiences people are going to want, but the next big challenge will be enabling people to make their own games, to basically take this over from us.”
Wooden noted that this initial software version is a sort of “first step” for the shared D&D project between AltspaceVR and Wizards of the Coast. The partnership also allows for more official details to be added—like monster art. This particular app is oriented around the 2014 edition of D&D, and it’s designed to function with the Oculus Rift DK2. The commercial version of the Rift is coming in 2016, so you and your D&D friends can start gaming in a virtual realm pretty soon.
Check out the demos: