Probe from Sony interactive Entertainment and Voxel Labs is a game dev sim experience on PS4. Learn more in our Probe review!
Probe from Sony interactive Entertainment and Voxel Labs is game dev sim experience on PlayStation 4. The game is also compatible with the PlayStation VR headset, but it’s not mandatory. You will get to work at EcoSoft, where ecology and technology come together. You’re being offered a job as a specialist in problem-solving, so you’ll start your new journey as you learn the basics of how video games are made. It’s an interesting indie release that offers something that is very different from everything else on Sony’s console. While Probe supports the PlayStation VR headset, it’s not required for you to play the game.
Adam Helms, the EcoSoft CEO, has hired you to lend a helping hand around the studio. It seems the team has fallen a bit behind schedule, and he wants to prevent his employees from having to spend more hours than necessary at the office – a.k.a. crunch – and that’s why you’ll be working alongside them to fix some of the issues they’re having. You can ask him about the projects and the leads for each one so that he can then introduce you to them for you to get started with your journey in game development.
The first interaction you’ll have after talking with Adam Helms will be with EcoSoft Lead Designer Aria Schiavone, who will introduce you to Solar Bloom, a game about platforming and resource management. For this particular project, there’s a need to improve the lighting in the game since they’re having issues with some specific scenes. You can then ask about what lighting is about, ask about what you need to do for this particular project, or take a step back to absorb what is going on.
As to not spoil this short experience, I’ll only talk a bit about the lighting segment for Probe. You’ll be going into a virtual world, where you must light a scene in different ways. The team is running some in-engine lighting trials based on what the Concept Artist has proposed, so you’ll be using directional, paint, and spot lights. Directional light simulates a distant source of light, such as, say, the sun. It will light up a scene based on the direction you point it, casting shadows. Paint light is similar to what a candle or a light bulb would do since it will cast light in all directions. Spot light acts as a light cone, casting a concentrated beam of light to illuminate a specific area.
You’ll then get to use the motion control capabilities of the DualShock 4 – something that isn’t used in many PlayStation 4 games – to control the directional light needed to complete the first objective. You can check other objectives by pressing the L2 button so that you can then use the right analog stick to move the camera around as needed while you try to work on each pending objective. In the case of lighting, all objectives will have to do with setting up the lighting for each scene as required.
Probe does not have a Platinum trophy, which has been happening every now and then from some recent indie releases. The list is split into one Bronze trophies, seven Silver trophies, and then the one Gold trophy. The objectives include entering the virtual world for the first time, completing all missions in the art department, the programming department, the missions for the lighting, all logic missions, all AI missions, all 2D and 3D kitbashing missions, and then there’s the Gold trophy which acts in a similar way to a Platinum trophy since you’ll unlock it when you complete all game missions.
Probe is an interesting video game that shows you some of the stuff on the video game development feel, explained in a way that is easy to understand as you interact with each of the tasks presented to you. As you complete them, you’ll be presented with QR codes linked to Voxel Online, a platform where you can learn more about each of the areas of video game development presented in Probe. The information is only available in Spanish – which makes sense since this is a game from a Spanish indie team. If you’re ready to learn a bit about the industry in a short video game experience, then you can check out Probe on PS4 – with non-mandatory PlayStation VR support – for a $17.99 price.
This Probe review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.