Image: Hackett and Skillman
Quest Pro turns the table into a Goo battlefield. Slimeball! introduces local multiplayer and tricks like face recognition.
Even with a professional device like the Meta Quest Pro, demo games are good for demonstrating new features. This is demonstrated by the AR game Slimeball! by Hackett and Skillman.
During the Slimeball battles, the game uses all the features of the VR AR headset. It merges the real outside world with the playing field and characters, which are superimposed via computer graphics (passthrough AR). It also uses hand and face tracking and introduces the new local multiplayer features.
All Quest Pro benefits in one app
Using Shared Spatial Anchors, the app shares anchor points in physical space on the headsets. For example, both participants look at the same slime alien scurrying across the table at the same spot.
The aliens picked up via hand tracking and other slimy things are misused as ammunition here. Your hand practically becomes a cannon. Simply open your fingers and the eponymous slime ball flies across the table.
The first player to score 25 goals wins. This is where face tracking comes in: The opposite “goal” is a fat, grinning alien that copies your mouth movements in real time, detected by the Quest Pro’s sensors.
So it’s worth opening your mouth wide to hurl as many slime balls as possible into the fat alien underneath your opponent via hand control. If that doesn’t look stupid enough, you can also distract your opponent with grimaces. The underlying “Social Presence” features include eye tracking, face tracking and avatars.
Compatible with Quest 2, but …
The gameplay is simple, but is enhanced by a few extras. For example, some ammunition aliens that flutter through the air rhythmically extend their spikes. So you shouldn’t pick them out of the air at the wrong moment. Or you can bomb the ammunition on your opponent’s half of the game with grenades.
For now, the free augmented reality game is available in the App Lab, Meta’s experimental store for early access titles. The Quest 2 is also mentioned there as a supported headset.
However, I had to do without most of the features during a test play with it, because the Quest 2 does not offer eye or face tracking after all. Instead, the three-eyed goal alien opens its mouth automatically.
In addition, the point cloud sharing interface currently only supports the Meta Quest Pro (see here for tips on settings and permissions). On the Quest 2, multiplayer experiences with shared anchor points will be possible from 2023.
Behind the game are the makers of the creative 3D painting program Tilt Brush, the mother of all VR hype games, so to speak, which for many years illustrated the potential of the technology at trade shows and events because it is so easy and intuitive to learn. Google bought Tilt Brush and later discontinued it. It continues to be developed as open source.