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'EVE Online' developer builds a virtual reality space dogfighting simulation using Oculus Rift

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If you had any question whether the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset would lead to desirable new games, just ask any of the 1,500 people who attended FanFest 2013 in Iceland this year. There, EVE Online developer CCP showed off "EVR," a proof-of-concept game, which stuffs players into the virtual cockpits of a 360-degree turn-and-burn multiplayer space dogfighting simulation that appears to be set in the EVE Online universe. If reports from the conference are any indication, attendees who tried the game were extremely impressed.

It looks something like this, if you can imagine this trailer inside the wraparound 3D view of a virtual reality headset:

Presently, the demo uses a standard gamepad to fly around and fire weapons, but the Oculus Rift is key. Using the built-in motion tracker, players can look around in 360 degrees to spot enemies — frantically hitting the afterburner to dodge incoming missile attacks — or look at a target to gain a lock-on with their own missiles. "The sense of speed, danger, and excitement are hard to describe," reports Penny Arcade.

Reportedly, the demo actually isn't related to EVE Online at all, or really part of CCP's future game development plans. It's built on Unity, a different game engine, and doesn't involve integrating Oculus Rift support into EVE. The proof of concept took took seven weeks to build, using the company's 20 percent time, and employees repeatedly told attendees that there's no plan to release EVR or show it off anywhere other than the FanFest convention. Still, it sounds like CCP found the excitement hard to ignore. Lead artist Andy Robinson told Digital Spy that the team plans to keep working on EVR even if it's never released.

"God knows what we'll do with this," EVE executive producer Jon Lander told PC Gamer.

Even if EVR is never seen again, though, CCP has shown another batch of people that such a virtual reality experience is desirable. You can read a number of first-hand impressions of the game at our source links below.