Retro-style VR shooter Compound is out immediately on Oculus Quest as its lone developer readies for the long run.
Compound was launched into early entry in 2018 on Steam and updates from developer Bevan McKechni introduced it during full launch in 2022. It carries an “overwhelmingly positive” score over greater than 1,500 opinions on Steam, with its colourful artwork fashion and ’90s inspirations a part of the attraction for a supportive fan base constructed over the course of improvement. Now accessible on Quest 2 and Quest Pro, Compound is now being found by gamers in standalone VR.
Compound’s ’90s Inspirations
“Much of the inspiration comes from the bright pixel art of early ’90s games I played on my ancient 286: Day of The Tentacle, Commander Keen, and Wolfenstein 3D. There is also a very heavy influence from the Build Engine trinity of Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior,” McKechni responded over e-mail. “As for gameplay, many of the mechanics were directly inspired by the 2D top-down action roguelite, Nuclear Throne. The excellent Hotdogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades inspired me with its very physical and satisfying reloading and weapon handling and I was interested in adapting that to a more fast paced setting. There are even a few nods to some of my favourite ’80s B-grade movies and cartoons.”
For these unfamiliar, Compound is described as “a randomized, rogue-lite, free-roaming shooter for Virtual Reality veterans. Duck and dodge around enemy fire in a tough-as-nails retro FPS with multiple locomotion options. Prepare to die – a lot – until you are good enough to reach the heart of The Corporation and take back what belongs to everyone…”
McKechni wrote that as “soon as I got my hands on the first widely available consumer headset in 2016 I got to work on making prototypes. After a few false starts, the base of what would eventually become COMPOUND developed organically as I experimented with combining gameplay elements that seemed fun to me, personally. I don’t like to overdesign too early as I think it can stifle the process of naturally discovering the ‘fun factor’ while putting things together, but I was constantly experimenting with what felt right, what to expand upon, what needed removal, etc. Having satisfying weapons and enemies was always a given, though.”
Porting From PC VR To Quest
We’ll be curious to see how Compound resonates with Quest patrons and whether or not the developer is ready to attain a a lot bigger viewers than it present in PC VR.
“I really don’t know what to expect. I’m aware that my game is niche, and might not appeal to some kinds of players, but I really hope anyone who does like the same sorts of games I do knows about COMPOUND,” McKechni wrote. “The PC version had the benefit of a long early access period during which there was a great deal of community interaction. I think that did a lot to drive a minor cult following over the long term. I also think PC gamers are a bit more open to indie and retro style games. Then again, the Quest version has the potential to reach so many more players due to sheer numbers and popularity of mobile VR, and COMPOUND will arrive as a fully complete game with the benefit of 6 years of polish in the public eye, which is not common. Your guess is as good as mine! While I won’t try to make any predictions that would probably age very poorly anyway, I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope for a roaring success.”
Updates & New Platforms For Compound
As for what’s subsequent, McKechni didn’t say what different platforms Compound would possibly come to however teased “I’m sure most people reading this can come up with a few obvious guesses.”
“After that I’ll look into back-porting any improvements made during the transitions to other platforms such as optimisations, accessibility options, and possibly localisations. I’m sure I’ll sneak in some new features along the way, but until the time comes I can’t really say what exactly those might be,” McKechni wrote.
More “retro style VR shooting action” is probably going from McKechni after Compound is finished, and “I actually already made the next generation of pixel renderer that takes the style of COMPOUND and cranks it up to the next level with a host of visual and performance improvements. It looks great and I can’t wait to show it off. I also want to try out making a hand-crafted single player campaign with moments of slower exploration balanced with a lot of intense and violent combat. We’ll have to see where that leads, but I’ll definitely be showing off prototypes early and often as I think real feedback is vital.”