GuessworkVR

The GuessworkVR team. Back row: Marc Nie, Courtney Irby, Andrew Decker, Tyler Blust and Kevin Bruggeman. Front row: Elliot Vian, Anthony Mikicic and James Gartland.

Photo courtesy of: Tyler Blust

Underwater

GuessworkVR's first game, UNDR[H2O], will be released fall of 2017.

Photo courtesy of: Tyler Blust

GuessworkVR

The gamer in UNDR[H2O] will act as a plumber, fixing as many leaks as possible with a variety of tools.

Photo courtesy of: Tyler Blust

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OHIO alumni turn virtual gaming into reality


Ohio University alumni Tyler Blust and Anthony Mikicic have three things in common: an interest in storytelling, a love of video games and a lot of “stupid” ideas in their heads, according to Mikicic. After graduating from the OHIO Scripps College of Communication in 2016, the duo decided to turn their passions into a reality – a virtual reality, that is.

Blust and Mikicic founded GuessworkVR, a virtual reality start-up based in Columbus. Virtual reality, or VR, is a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that can be explored and interacted with by a user.

The company’s first game, UNDR[H2O] (pronounced underwater), puts players in the shoes of an unlikely hero: a plumber. In the initial gameplay mode, the user must fix as many leaks as possible with a variety of tools.

“The cool thing about VR is that you can do things that you would do naturally in the real world,” Mikicic said. “It’s very intuitive.”

The 10-person GuessworkVR staff includes eight OHIO alumni and two current students. The team met through the Ohio University Game Developers Association (OUGDA), an organization of students wishing to pursue a career in professional game development.

“They were the kind of guys we clicked with the most,” Blust said. “They always supported things we were working on and always had their work done on time.”

The team developed the UNDR[H2O] prototype last summer during a five-day “game jam,” or a gathering of gamers who must plan, design and create a game with a limited amount of time. They liked the prototype so much that they decided to make it their main focus.

UNDR[H2O]’s release date is estimated for fall 2017, Blust said. The storyline, which involves much more than just plumbing, is still being developed. Finishing the game has been a challenge because the team works remotely.

“Our future hope is to get an office in Columbus,” Blust said. “Being in the same room as everyone during the game jam and having instant feedback was a game changer.”

The game can be downloaded on Steam and played on PC with Vive, virtual reality hardware. Blust hopes the game will expand to Oculus or other VR devices in the future.

Blust credits GuessworkVR’s success to his education at OHIO and experience in OUGDA. 

“OHIO taught me to accept failure because making games is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve probably worked on 10 or 12 failed games at OHIO and only one was ever published,” Blust said. “In a creative industry it’s hard to let things go and learn to fail.”

Mikicic encourages all OHIO students to find a passion and stick with it.

“I think creativity is being lost,” he said. “Be creative, do something creative because it changes you.”