Category: Virtual Reality

Haunted Motel is a VR Horror Game For Android (Google Cardboard)

Virtual reality horror games have quickly gained popularity among gamers after Google introduced their first VR headset prototype, the Google Cardboard, back in 2014. Now, for the past two years developers of vr horror games have been busy working on their projects and we can already enjoy some of the most insanely terrifying games like Silent Home, 11:57, House of Terror and Sisters, just to name a few.

These games, coupled with my overall fascination in virtual reality technology, have inspired me to start developing my own vr horror game for Android phones. The game is called Haunted Motel.

VR Horror Games Haunted Motel Android Cardboard

Haunted Motel – A work in progress

I don’t remember the exact date any more, but I think it’s safe to assume that I started developing Haunted Motel somewhere in the second half of May, 2016. I know this because, earlier that month, I had published a very basic how-to guide on virtual reality game development.

On a side note, I didn’t intend to give the game a lame name (wow) such as this. At first, I was considering a fancier name like the Lakeview Motel, but because it’s a demo, I figured Haunted Motel will work just fine for the time being.

That, and I was just too eager to publish it on the Play Store to bother with the tedious name picking process.

horror games vr virtual reality haunted motel screenshot

Why do I say the game is still a work in progress?

Because I don’t plan on ending the game any time soon! In fact I’m hoping to get enough feedback and NEW ideas from gamers themselves and implement those directly into the game as we move forward.

I think it would be epic if this project would turn out to be a kind of social vr horror game where anyone can add a piece of their imagination.

Of course I am going to add more content to the game on my own as well, but that requires time and being “in the zone” which is, unfortunately, kind of rare to happen these days. Come to think of it, adding other people’s ideas will require the same amount of work, if not more. Damn. Anyone willing to lend a helping hand?

At this point, I am still unsure where the game will “end up” as I am planning to, eventually, leave the building altogether and get the player on the streets. You know, Silent Hill style, but as a vr horror game.

Haunted Motel’s Storyline

As of right now the game doesn’t have a decent storyline. Instead it’s meant to kind of show off my skills as a game developer in general.

The only real story that I have added into the game so far is the note which you can find under the main staircase. In the note the motel’s administrator briefly welcomes a newly appointed janitor.

Short walkthrough

That said, the game starts after you’ve entered the motel building. To your right you can see the administrator’s office (locked) and to the left there’s a small storeroom with a bloody newspaper on top of some shelves.

As you move forward, you’ll eventually find yourself in the center of the building with stairs going to the 2nd floor (unfinished) and two narrow corridors leading both left and right.

virtual reality vr horror games android haunted motel cardboard headset

At the end of these corridors, on both sides, there’s a small room where people can hang out and smoke a cigarette, for example.

Each corridor leads to two additional apartments so on the 1st floor there are a total of 4 apartments. But since it’s a demo, you can currently only enter one of them.

It’s up to you, the player, to figure out how to enter that room. All I can say at this point is that you will first need to enter the administrator’s office where you’ll find (surprise surprise) a key. It’s not really that difficult.

The hauntings

In the demo the player has a chance of meeting a ghost. Well, sort of. While you can’t interact with it directly, it is supposed to scare you from afar. For those afraid of jump scares, you’re in luck because right now there aren’t any. Promise.

Haunted Motel vr horror game virtual reality cardboard android

While not directly hinted throughout the game itself, the ghost is in fact a burned man who died in a fire a few years earlier. The 2nd floor is still unfinished, but *spoiler alert* there will be a room completely burned down. This is where the guy used to live. Anyone care to tell his story?

Future plans

For the more observant bunch, I’ve added a few subtle clues on the noticeboard in the main hallway. These should give you an idea on what to expect from the vr horror game in the future. You will have to actually play the game though. I’m not going to reveal anything else.

And, as I said earlier, I am eventually hoping to be done with the motel building and put the player on the streets where they can wander around and enter other, more interesting houses.


Silent Hill 4 (The Room) Apartment 302’s Living room in Virtual Reality

Silent Hill 4 – The Room is one of my favorite installments in the Silent Hill series and if you’re a true fan like me, you have probably dreamed of what it would be like if you had the chance to actually step inside the game– literally.

Well, guess what? Thanks to Oo-FiL-oO from Deviantart who extracted and converted a 3D model of Henry’s living room, I managed to mash up a Virtual Reality experience! All you need is the dirt cheap Google Cardboard headset and a regular smartphone to step inside Apartment 302 for the first time.

Apartment 302 in Google Cardboard

Apartment 302 Hallway

You’ll find yourself standing in the main doorway, looking at the other end of Henry’s apartment. There are a couple of chairs further away and beside the TV set you will notice a familiar chest where you used to store all of your items.

Unfortunately everything’s completely rusted shut in this alternate dimension, so I’m afraid you can’t open any cupboards or drawers at this point.

Apartment 302 Kitchen

I’m sure you’ll recognize Henry’s kitchen to your left. If you look closely, you might notice there’s blood in the sink. I wonder whose blood is that?

Apartment 302 Living room

Turn around and walk into the main room with a comfortable couch. You can rest your legs here if you feel like it. Oh no! The television set… it doesn’t seem to be working.

By now you’ve probably noticed Room of Angel playing in the background as you walk around Apartment 302 in this dark, alternate reality. How does this make you feel?

You can use the stereo on the bookshelf to switch between three different music tracks.

How to walk around

You can move around the entire living room by pulling the Google Cardboard’s magnetic trigger once. Now just look towards the direction you want to go and you’ll slowly keep walking until you pull the trigger again.

I haven’t tested it myself, but if you happen to have a newer Cardboard model, the trigger button should work fine on that too. Let me know if you run into problems!

Not the whole apartment, sorry

Since Oo-FiL-oO’s 3D model didn’t include the rest of the apartment, I only managed to do the living room, so there’s a big, rather poorly textured wall right where you’d normally go into the hallway that connects the toilet and Henry’s bedroom. I hope you’re not too disappointed.

You can’t interact with drawers, the fridge or any other items at this point (except for the stereo and couch). It’s just a simple VR experience where you can walk around the Apartment 302’s living room, but I think you’ll have a blast looking at things from a completely new perspective.

On top of that, Room of Angel is playing in the background so it should give the overall atmosphere a nice finishing touch. Think of this as an interactive music video!

Easter egg?

I’m not sure if you can call it an easter egg, but if you look closely, you should be able to find it. I’ll give you a hint: there’s an object in Henry’s living room that doesn’t belong- I took it from Unity’s asset store because it wasn’t included in the 3D model of the room. Can you find it?

Download Room of Angel (Apartment 302) VR Game

Note: Room of Angel was the original name for this app, but it has since changed. The official name from this day forward shall be Apartment 302! I had to make the change in order to comply with Google’s tough policies on impersonating someone else. In this case, Konami. And just in case you’re wondering, Konami is totally fine with this.

You need to make sure your phone’s security settings allow apps from unknown sources. Don’t worry, I’m a nice guy and would never do anything evil to your phone. You can download the installer here:

RoomOfAngel.apk (31,6 MB)

Or from the Play Store

Currently the game will only work on Android devices and because it uses a Cardboard viewer, you’ll need a phone that will fit in the headset.

It should work with a wide range of mobile phones, but so far I’ve only tested it on my own Samsung Galaxy S2 that’s running Android version 4.1.2 so I can only guarantee it will work flawlessly on that phone.

*EDIT* Looks like it’s working fine on Sony Xperia Z5 Compact as well, but only after the Cardboard headset was paired with the phone using Google’s Cardboard Viewer app. It’s actually a great app to get rid of double vision in most VR games out there.

I’m very much interested in finding out on which phones this works so please send me some feedback and if you like what I’ve done, make sure to share it with your friends!


How to make a simple Virtual Reality room for Google Cardboard in Unity

Google Cardboard is an excellent way to experience Virtual Reality for the first time as it’s fairly cheap and is compatible with most modern smartphones so you don’t have to buy any additional hardware. Combine it with Unity, the most widely used free game engine, and you’ll have all the necessary tools to create your very own VR experience. In this tutorial I will walk you through a step-by-step process of building your first Virtual Reality room on top of a Google cardboard Unity demo.

The room will have a floor, four walls and a ceiling and you will be able to move around inside of it freely. If you don’t yet have Unity or the necessary SDK’s, please follow this straightforward guide from Google and continue reading my article when you have imported the demo and your working environment in Unity looks like this:

Unity Cardboard SDK Demo Scene

Problem parsing the package error

When you build the .apk file for the first time, load it to your phone and try to open it, you may encounter an error stating that “There is a problem parsing the package“. If this happens you need to open up your AndroidManifest.xml file inside Your Game/Assets/Plugins/Android directory and change the value of android:minSdkVersion to 16:

Change android minSdkVersion to 16 instead of 19 to fix problem parsing package error

Now build your game again, load it to your phone and you should be able to install the app. Oh and by the way, your phone’s security settings should be changed to allow unknown sources.

How to build a Virtual Reality room for Cardboard

Alright, let’s get started! We can optionally remove all the things we don’t need in our current game so in the Hierarchy panel, right click on Cube and delete it. Do the same for Floor Canvas, Overlay Canvas and Event System.

  • Now click on the GameObject drop down menu, navigate to 3D Object and click on Cube to create a new object in our game.
  • Right click on it in the Hierarchy panel and rename it to Character.
  • Drag the Head (under CardboardMain) inside the Character object.
  • Click Continue to confirm your action.
  • Left click on the Character object that now is parent to the Head object to select it.
  • In the Inspector panel at the right side Scale it to X: 1; Y:2; Z:1 and Position it to X:0; Y:1; Z:0.
  • While the Character is selected, navigate to Component, then Physics and choose Rigidbody.
  • In the Inspector panel edit Rigidbody settings by expanding Constraints and freezing the Rotation of X, Y and Z.
  • Additionally tick Convex in the Mesh Collider settings panel (for the Character object).

Adding the Character object and setting it up for virtual reality game

The Rigidbody will prevent us from walking through the walls and by constraining the Rotation of X, Y and Z, we prevent our character from possibly falling over. This was especially the case with the Capsule object set as our Character- you’d simply fall over when you touched a wall. Hilarious, but annoying.

Adding walking functionality

Now that our character is ready, we need to add a way to move around in the world. Luckily JuppOtto has created a script that we can use. You can download it from here.

  • Save the file as Autowalk.cs somewhere in your computer.
  • From the Assets drop down, navigate to Import New Asset and import the Autowalk.cs file.
  • Left click the Character object in the Hierarchy panel.
  • In the Inspector panel, click on the Add Component button.
  • Navigate to Scripts and choose Autowalk.
  • In the newly added Autowalk script component set Speed to 1.
  • Tick the Walk when looking down option and set Threshold Angle to 20.

Importing Autowalk.cs script and setting it up for Virtual reality game

If you play your game now you should be able to move around the empty space simply by looking slightly down. Your character stops when you look back up.

If you’re not satisfied with the angle you can always change it to something else, but I think 20 degrees is perfect because from playing other people’s games, I have found that if the angle is set too high it will be hard to pick up objects that are placed on the floor (you keep moving over them because you’re looking down).

You may have noticed that there is another setting called Walk When Trigger is pressed. It’s another great example of how one can move around and you should definitely try it out! This method was used in the VR Horror game Silent Home and for that particular game, it’s a great fit.

Building walls for our Virtual Reality room

Walking around in an empty space is boring so why don’t we add some walls and a ceiling to our game? We can do this simply by adding 3D objects, namely the Cube, into our game. To make the cubes more wall-like, we simply need to adjust their position and scale properties.

  • From the GameObject drop down, navigate to 3D Object and click on Cube.
  • In the Hierarchy panel, right click the Cube and rename it to Wall#1.
  • Adjust the Position and Scale properties of the Wall#1 in the Inspector panel. I set the Position to X: -3; Y: 1.5; Z:0 and Scale to X: 1; Y: 3; Z: 5.

Wall number one settings

  • Take advantage of the Duplicate option by right clicking Wall#1 to create three more walls.
  • In the Transform panel, Rotate the Wall’s Y coordinate by 90 degrees if needed.
  • Finally add a ceiling which should be placed on top of everything like a lid on a box.
  • Make sure to drag the Point Light object inside of your room once it’s ready.
  • You can optionally left click Point Light from the Hierarchy panel and adjust its light properties in the Inspector panel (range, color, that sorta thing).

Adjust Near Clipping Plane to 0.01Note: When you walk around in your room, you might notice that you can see through the walls when in close proximity.

To fix this, expand the Character object, then the Head object and select the Main Camera by left clicking on it. From its Inspector panel look for Camera and adjust its Near Clipping Pane to 0.01 which is the lowest possible value.

Here’s what my virtual room now looks like from outside (yours can look different. Just be creative!):

Virtual Reality Room Outside View

When you play the game now you should be able to move around in your virtual room, and because we applied Rigidbody to our Character object earlier, it’s working together with the wall’s Box Collider and thus preventing us from traversing through the walls as they weren’t even there.

So far so good. Now it’s time to add some textures!

Adding textures to our Virtual Reality room

Unity comes with its own built in Asset Store which is very similar to Google’s Play Store. In the Asset Store you can look for and download various scripts, textures and other stuff for your virtual reality game or any other game for that matter.

Searching for wall texture in Unity's Asset Store

Select the Free Only filter and search for wall texture from the Asset Store. I chose Make It A Brick Wall by Allegorithmic as the suitable texture for my walls.

When you find what you like, simply download the asset, wait for Unity to prepare it for you and when the Import Unity Package popup appears, select all and press the Import button.

Adding the texture to a wall

adding textures to a wall objectSelect the Wall#1 by left clicking on it in the Hierarchy panel. Expand it’s Mesh Renderer – Materials drop down and click the little circle right next to Default-Material.

A popup should appear in which you should be able to locate your newly imported texture easily. When you double click it, the popup should close and your Wall#1 will now have a texture.

Repeat the process on the rest of the walls (and ceiling if you like). I chose Dungeon Ground Texture by Pixel Indie as my ceiling’s texture.

Adding a texture to the floor

While you can use the same texture on your floor as you did on the walls, it will look a lot better if you add a different texture to it so after you have found the right material from the Asset Store again, left click on the Plane object in the Hierarchy panel to select it.

The Plane object’s default material in the Mesh Renderer should be GroundPlane. Simply click on the little circle next to it as before, browse to the material you want to use as your floor and double click it in the popup to set it as your new floor material.

Adjust tiling if needed

Adjusting the tiling settings for stone floor texture material

I used the Stone Floor Texture Tile by 3dfancy, but because the default tiling settings didn’t match with my floor quite right, I had to adjust its tiling manually. Simply find your texture folder inside the Assets panel at the bottom of Unity’s UI, open it and click on the texture material (with a blue sphere icon) to edit its tiling settings.

Your room in Virtual Reality is ready!

If you’ve followed this tutorial so far, you should have a single room in your VR game with solid walls and in which you can move around by looking slightly towards to the floor. Here’s what my room looks like:

Ynef's VR Room Game Demo Screenshot

If you want, you can download this app and try it out yourself.

Where to go from here?

This was just a basic tutorial on how to create a room in Virtual Reality for the Google Cardboard headset and the next step would probably be to create more rooms. Perhaps even a maze?

To be fair with you, I have to come out and admit that I made this tutorial to be a future reference point for myself because I’m a complete noob  in Unity and I have only been at it for a week. That being said, I hope my guide has helped you and if you get stuck, feel free to comment here or email me.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing or leaving a like so that I will know it has been useful for people and that you want me to write more similar tutorials in the future.


Best free Google Cardboard games for low end smartphones

The world of Virtual Reality really took off earlier this year when Oculus finally released a consumer ready version of the Rift- a standalone VR headset used with high end gaming computers running the Windows operating system. However not everyone can (yet) afford this new technology and according to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, we are still years away from a Rift for everyone. But does it stop us from experiencing Virtual Reality right now? Of course not.

Poor man’s Virtual Reality headset

Google cardboard

Back in 2014 Google realized that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to trick the brain into believing it’s actually inside a virtual environment and by combining a regular smartphone with a magnet, a couple of lenses and a recycled cardboard casing held together by a rubber band, the Google Cardboard was born.

And even though the Do It Yourself head mount is not intended to be 100% immersive, it will give you a first hand VR experience for less than the price of a Happy Meal and it’s definitely worth it. Just slide your phone between the cardboard case and you’re off to explore the wonders of a completely different, virtual realm.

Best cardboard games to get you started

In the last two years since Google Cardboard was first introduced to the public, game developers have been eagerly working on creating the next best Virtual Reality game for your smartphone and to be honest not all of them get it right.

For example the most common issues I’ve faced when testing numerous VR games for android phones with a Google Cardboard are double vision due to the screen not being split exactly right and excessive lag in the head tracking technology which can induce motion sickness rather easily. It’s basically when you move your head to the left and the camera keeps going left even after your head has stopped. It’s confusing to the brain and sort of feels like being way too drunk.

Of course I’m not blaming the developers for everything since I have a low end smartphone myself with poor processing power by today’s Virtual Reality standards to begin with, but still there are certain things you can do a lot better by simply writing better code.

Anyway, I’ve been testing various VR games from the Play Store using my Samsung Galaxy S2 and a regular Google Cardboard I bought off eBay a while back and here’s a list of games that I actually enjoyed playing and didn’t uninstall immediately.

On a side note, if you’re like me and get motion sickness easily, you should probably take breaks between gaming sessions to avoid feeling sick for up to an hour after removing the headgear because Virtual Reality Sickness is a real thing.

The Dark Forest VR

The Dark Forest VR

From the few Virtual Reality horror games that my smartphone can actually handle flawlessly, the Dark Forest VR really surprised me as it didn’t make me feel sick at all. I guess it has to do with how natural your movement feels when playing the game and there’s absolutely no double vision or any other crap that will make the overall experience awful to say the least. I really recommend it if you’re a fan of horror games as the atmosphere in the game is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

VR Fantasy

VR Fantasy

If you like fantasy adventure type games then you will enjoy VR Fantasy– a first person fantasy game where you are taken on a quest to explore a mysterious fortress filled with cute, but dangerous enemies. The graphics in this game are a lot more detailed than in Dark Forest and the scenery is really enjoyable to just stare at for a while. It’s almost as if you were inside a childhood dream.

As with a lot of other VR games for android devices, you can move around simply by looking down at your feet where you can find an icon which, when focused on, will make your character move forward. You can fight enemies and break treasure chests using the magnet button at the side of your Cardboard headset and if you happen to have a Bluetooth controller, you’re in luck because the game supports that as well.

Deep Space Battle VR

Deep Space Battle VR

Even if you’re not a true fan of space shooters, you’ll definitely get a kick out of protecting Earth from a bunch of alien attack vessels that fly out of a mothership parked in orbit around our planet. The Deep Space Battle VR is basically a modern version of Space Invaders, but this time around You are in the center of action- literally. All in all it’s another immersive VR experience well done by Archiact Interactive Ltd. With a 4.1 rating on the Play Store, it’s a must have in any mobile VR game collection.

VR Silent Home

Silent Home creepy woman

Ohh man… so Silent Home is officially the first Virtual Reality horror game that managed to spook me so much I had to take off my headset just to make sure I was still in one piece. It happened when I was walking through a corridor very similar to what I’ve previously seen in Konami’s Silent Hill series with a lot of doors leading to various messed up rooms.

There I was just minding my own business, taking a look at some notes on the floor, and as I was about to leave the room, I lifted my head up and saw a woman standing in the doorway (yup, that’s her on the screenshot).

For a moment I thought she was a friend, but then she turned her head… you know, slowly and all the way back 180 degrees… she stared at me for a moment just to make sure my brain registered her horrific blood shot eyes and unleashed a bone chilling scream right before dashing at me. Then… everything went black…

What’s more, after removing the headset to make sure I was still alive, I realized that I had completely lost all sense of “reality” because I was standing in front of a wall in my room and I had no idea how I got there. Talk about immersive virtual reality… and that all happened using a plain old cardboard. I’m impressed!

Where to go from here

After you have experienced these new and exciting virtual worlds on your cardboard, you will probably want to try out even more fun games, right? Well, you’re in luck because VR has really started to grow exponentially. I remember just last year when the best game, called Tuscany Dive, was a big hit. You could only walk around a virtual house and there were no objects to interact with, but it was considered mind blowing by most.

Now, just a year later, the entire Play Store is filled with epic content. And while some developers are definitely doing a better job than others, it’s important to realize that we are only at the beginning of a very interesting journey into the virtual realms and the most immersive and epic experiences haven’t even come out yet.

Upgrade to a more advanced headset

Over time you will no doubt realize that your cardboard isn’t very effective in taking you into the virtual world. For instance, I can only enjoy playing mobile VR games in complete darkness because of that annoying ambient light that otherwise shines through the cracks.

Additionally the cardboard doesn’t really align with my face that well, isn’t very durable and has a nasty sweat collector right between the eyes. Ugh. This is why it will make sense to eventually upgrade to a better, more advanced headset built by Samsung and meant for mobile virtual reality gaming.

In some ways it’s actually a better solution than Oculus Rift to a lot of people, mainly because it’s portable and since our smartphones are getting faster and faster chips all the time, we can soon experience “Rift class” virtual reality on the go.