Tactera is a tabletop RTS designed exclusively for virtual reality.
Inside a futuristic command center, a virtual holographic display allows commanders like you to finally see through the fog of war. Build swarms of gunships, tanks, bombers, and other units, and use them to strategically outmaneuver the enemy. With a perfect close-up view of the battlefield, there are no excuses left. All that counts is the tactical skill of the commander.
Tactera is controlled entirely through the player’s gaze and the Gear VR touchpad. The basic interaction is to select a base (by looking at it and tapping) and then select a destination to deploy troops. The player can also customize the composition of their army through a simple floating UI.
Note: The game includes a minimal tutorial, which is reset every time the application is restarted.
Although Tactera is an RTS in most respects, it simplifies or breaks many genre conventions in order to optimize the gameplay for VR. The usual elements of base control and resource collection are present, but they’re mostly automated so that the player can focus on other tactical concerns.
One of the big strategic decisions is the composition of the player’s army. There are several different units in the game, each of which has unique strengths and weaknesses, but the player must choose a set of 3 to use in each individual battle. On top of that, each of the player’s bases can only build one of those types, forcing the player to prioritize unit types on-the-fly.
Once the units are built, the player must continually choose when and where to deploy them. Units can be sent anywhere on the battlefield, but the player has to outmaneuver the enemy by choosing whether to cluster forces or spread them out, whether to attack or defend, and where to direct artillery and bomber strikes.
Tactera is specifically designed for the Gear VR:
Using a tabletop perspective allows the game to easily direct player attention, remove the need for locomotion, exploit 3D effects to the fullest, and maintain an immersive fictional context.
The RTS formula has been remixed to allow for tactical gameplay that fits the strengths and limitations of the Gear VR. The result is a game with a shorter play session and with no need for complex camera controls, hotkeys, control groups, selection boxes, or other encumbrances.
There are specialized VR settings on the options page, allowing players to adjust the camera height (so they can play either sitting or standing) and to adjust the power of the 3D effect (to monoscopic, full 3D, or in between). This can be used to reduce potential motion sickness caused by the lack of positional tracking.
The player’s units give frequent radio reports via stereo-positioned sound effects, using audio to point the player’s attention in the right direction.
The game’s UI is optimized for VR, with large text, a depth-sensitive crosshair, and UI interactions specifically designed for a tabletop format.