Hepta VR 
virtual reality video game with oscilloscope aesthetics
tags: vr, indiedev, gamedev, unity, c#, glsl, oscilloscope
About me

My name is Vladimir Storm. I have a 5 year Diploma in Radiophysics and Computer Science and a 5 year Art School certificate. I've been coding for 20 years including 10 years of business app/game development and media art. For the last 5 years I’ve been focusing on computer graphics, game development, interaction design and virtual reality. I speak English, Russian and a bit of German.

During my life I've been working on a lot of different software/media art projects, being a team lead, developing apps architectures and visual solutions. I’m always trying to stay up-to-date and learning new things every day. In the last couple of years I've made a couple of games such as Printed Mars and Miserable Pocket Man, and also a couple of shader assets such as VHS Emulation Post Effect and Retro Video Cards Post Effect. Besides that I’ve been making music as a hobby for about 10 years. I have made about 10 albums and performed over 50 times throughout Russia and Western Europe. In addition, I am also giving music/design/visual programming workshops and making tech talks.

About project

Hepta VR is a virtual reality video game with oscilloscope aesthetics. The story is based on ancient Greek mythology, from the times when all the sciences were one system. Astrology, alchemy, philosophy, physics, geometry, mathematics all were represented by the one system of seven. The game is a journey where the player visits 7 worlds named after 7 planets. Each world has an unique challenge and representation. Each world brings physics which we can’t experience in real life such as negative gravity or portals. Virtual reality as a new medium allows us to create new environments which people could never experience before.

Hepta VR uses the 1960’s oscilloscope cathode ray tube look as a visual solution. After working on other projects and doing a lot of shader programming I decided to choose this aesthetics because it’s unique for video games. I did a lot of research into audio-visual communities where people draw pictures with sound on the actual analog oscilloscope. I used a lot of those ideas to develop the visual style and I’m building the game around it.

Early Experiments

I started with just tinkering around and seeing what people did already. Trying parametric equations on different scope simulators the way people did it in 60s.

Sound Experiments

There’s a small community of people who are drawing things on the actual analog scopes. They generate sound on the computer and connect the output of the sound card to the X,Y inputs of a scope. The sounds become pictures.

I made a lot of research about sound/visual effects and frequencies to get a feeling of what is possible and not to make with the real hardware.

Scanlines Emulation

Next step was a scanline emulation. The cathode ray tube TV’s work on the similar principles but with a higher than audio frequencies.

Scope 3D

After learning the hardware part I took those ideas from 2D to 3D space. Implementing scope-look shaders and spaghetti resampling.

Function Generators & Texture Scanlines

Further research allowed me to draw any textures with the scanline look in 3D space. Also I made a lot of more detailed parametric equation experiments on my scope simulator.


After I made research about main aspects of the oscilloscope emulation and wrote a lot of shaders I finally was ready to make the actual game. The first was the main room. The temple.

Moon World

First world is the moon world. I made water simulation for the prototype. The challenge will include playing with the moon phases and maybe gravitation.

Saturn World

Next world is a Saturn world. I made a tornado emulation. You can interact with the tornado and wind.

Vive Dev Kit Playtesting

I made a couple of playtesting with vive dev kit setup. Almost everything worked as planned but of course there were few unpredictable and exciting things.

Future Development

I am making this game specially for the HTC Vive. I'd love to focus on physics and events which are impossible in real life. Things such as portals, negative and zero gravitations, glitched and distorted environments, unpredictable interactions, etc. Also a big part of the game will involve body postures and rituals. For example, you will have to kneel down to open the gates.

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