MIND: Path to Thalamus Enhanced Edition Interview – A Chat With Carlos Coronado
MIND: Path to Thalamus was one of the first games reviewed by our games section. Its creator, Carlos Coronado, is still working on it - in fact, he recently released an Enhanced Edition of the game after porting it to Unreal Engine 4. Steam reviews are very positive (80%) and the Enhanced Edition of MIND: Path to Thalamus now also supports VR and Mac; this version of the game is due for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One soon as well, so we took the opportunity to chat with Carlos about the game and his future projects.
- MIND: Path to Thalamus is a very unique game in today's market. What drove you to create it?
- Well, to be honest, it was the success of Dear Esther. I saw there was a market segment there willing to consume this kind of games and that Dear Esther was really the only one. The other side of the project is Warcelona, my last project. A very unique mod for Left 4 Dead 2. I knew I wanted to make something different. I wanted to run away from violence, destruction and gore. Those were my top 2 motivations with MIND!
- With the Enhanced Edition, you've moved the game on Unreal Engine 4. What were the main differences you found when comparing it to Unreal Engine 3?
- Where to begin! Well. It is really easy. Blueprints. Blueprints. Blueprints and blueprints. Unreal Engine 4 is not just an updated Unreal Engine 3. They literally made the engine from scratch. That means everything is new and shiny and there is no old tech being weighted in the bag of unreal engine 4! Doing Mind in UE3, I had to ask a friend to code some stuff. In Unreal Engine 4? Not a single line of code was written. Everything was done with blueprints. That is how amazing Unreal Engine 4 is!
- Did you experiment with the DirectX 12 branch of UE4 yet? Do you plan to add DX12 support to the game and if so, what kind of performance improvements can we expect?
- I don't plan to give support to DX12 yet. I would like to, but there's work to do for the Oculus, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version coming along the way and aside from that, it has been for me almost 4 years working alone on MIND: Path to Thalamus. I honestly want to try new drugs.
- I'm interested in your VR Olive control scheme, since I've always experienced motion sickness and dizziness after trying Oculus Rift and PSVR. Can you tell us how it works?
- It is quite simple! You want to rotate your body towards there? Cool! Then look with your head where you want to rotate. Click a button on your keyboard or your controller and you will instantly face that direction! It is a really simple system indeed. It only imitates what we do in real life. We always first rotate the head, look if there is no “danger” in that area, and then we rotate the body in that direction.
- Did you experiment with motion controls while developing MIND: Path to Thalamus?
- I did experiment for a little bit, but I am not interested in them anymore. Yes, really immersive but also really a pain in the ass to generate good gameplay with them. For example, I experimented with letting the player grab the balls in MIND with the controllers. It was super immersive, but what happened if the player moved his/her real arm straight and there was a wall in the game? Do I make the ball clip through the walls? Should I not allow it, therefore disrupting the sync between what you are grabbing and what you are doing? Traditional controls, please. At least for now.
- From what I gather, one of the main reasons to develop the Enhanced Edition was to facilitate the console ports. In November you said that these were in the final development stages, can we expect these releases to hit within Q1/Q2 2016?
- I certainly hope you can expect them in Q1/Q2 2016, because I am tired of Mind and want to put more hours in other projects!
- Since the game is already VR compatible on PC, do you plan to support PlayStation VR as well? What do you think of Sony's own VR device?
- Yes, it’s in the plans. Sony VR is an amazing closed VR system, and I think that is amazing! The hardware and the user base is already there so aside from the GearVR I think it is going to be one of the wider audience VR headsets when it is released.
MIND: Path to Thalamus will run at 90 or 120Hz on PSVR, depending on testing.
- What's next for Carlos Coronado and his crew? Do you intend to create yet another innovative game or perhaps a sequel of sorts to MIND: Path to Thalamus?
- I am working on Dafne, a game for GearVR. It is going to be a space exploration game about being a woman. Don't want to say much about it right now. It is nearly finished and it is going to ROCK! Oh, and it is a puzzle game where you move and solve stuff just using your head.
- Thank you for your time.