CoolPaintr VR: Video game development for PlayStation VR
The experience of painting space
SNGULAR Studios has been working with Sony under the PlayStation Talents initiative for several years. The collaboration started way back when part of the VR & New Interfaces team was still at Wildbit Studios.
After launching the video game Drawfighters for PS4 and seeing PlayStation’s passion for its PSVR (PlayStation Virtual Reality) platform, SNGULAR reinforced its commitment to the collaboration.
We wanted to get deeper into the world of VR and started with market research to learn more about the existing offers for this type of platform in the gaming sector. It dawned on us that Sony needed its own products for its VR platform. That’s when we came up with the idea to create CoolPaintr VR.
We asked Sony the following question: Do you want us to create something unique for VR? Sony immediately responded by sending us an assortment of VR technology, which we started researching with various goals in mind:
- We needed to do something unprecedented.
- We wanted to create something that would make the most of the VR technology.
- And we wanted to avoid the motion sickness that was problematic with some VR programs at the time.
After playing several Sony video games and conducting an in-depth study of VR experiences, we came up with the idea of painting in 3D space. And we wanted to make sure the program was extremely pleasant for the users.
Unlike other platforms, CoolPaintr VR had to work perfectly on a closed system like PS4. It also had to be created for an audience of gamers.
A digital painting created with CoolPaintr VR.
Development with the client
The audience and closed-system characteristics led to our decision to create our own engine that would allow us to squeeze the maximum power from the console and achieve 120 frames per second (FPS). On the other hand, we decided to create a gaming experience that was accessible to a more familiar audience and professional artists.
As the project grew in functionalities and algorithms, and we realized that our product didn’t have any competition. We were in a VR space where there weren’t many products. Sony quickly recognized the commercial potential of the video game and gave us all their support, not only technologically but also by inviting us to participate with them in trade shows, talks, and conferences where we could show off the product.
A presentation of CoolPaintr VR
The feedback was extremely interesting. Thanks to the processing speed, stable 120 FPS, people could comfortably wear the headset for up to five hours. The game helps users draw, whether they were artists or total beginners. When they enter the virtual space, the canvas is ready. As they paint, the game assistant offers tips, tricks, and ideas to get started or enhance the drawings.
At the end of the day, we achieved our goals. We made it a relaxing experience and provided a creative space to bring out the users’ imaginations.
Luis Ángel Alda, Technical Director at Sngular Entertainment, shared one of the user's comments that reflected a common experience:
"It’s so absorbing that there comes a time when you'd rather be inside painting than outside."
Union of WildBit Studios and SNGULAR
When 70% of the product was developed, WildBit Studios got in touch and eventually became part of the SNGULARecosystem. This provided the security and extra support that allowed us to push CoolPaintr VR forward with full dedication.
The merger wasn’t a concern for Sony. They understood that as a team, we would remain the same, with the same communication channels and the same level of involvement. What changed was only for the better, as we began to draw on the experience of other SNGULAR teams. Eventually, the product presentation was spearheaded by Sony, with the support of SNGULAR. They took charge of both the presentation event and the relationship with the media.
Coolpaintr VR has continued to perform very well since its launch in 2018. That year, it was one of the platform’s top five best-selling products in Europe and the US.
Today, CoolPaintr VR offers a wide range of experiences on PSVR. Artists, professionals, and amateurs alike can paint and create in a virtual space with a PS4 in an unmatched experience. The game now allows for the use of voxels, thanks to the launch of the new Voxel DLC.
Check out this video to learn more about CoolPaintr VR for PlayStation VR.