Upwards: Oculus Rift Platformer

July 12, 2014
Game Development

A brief overview of “Upwards”, a VR platforming game that I developed for my college capstone project at the University of Washington.

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Hey everyone! I recently started working with Unity and the Oculus DK1 in my last quarter of college, developing a short VR platformer for my capstone project.

The current version of the game, named “Upwards”, was built in 3 months, with help from Mixamo Animations, the Unity Asset Store Fantasy Megapack, GameTextures, and Stopsecret’s Peerer’s Edge parkour script.

Upwards - Start Area
Upwards - Start Area

You can see the original forum post for this article at Oculus Rift Developer Forums


The primary inspirations for Upwards are Skies of Arcadia, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and Skyward Sword (I also borrowed some music from those games).

I was looking to mix the world building and sense of exploration that you get in those games with parkour mechanics similar to games like Mirror’s Edge and Titanfall.

Upwards - Docks
Upwards - The Village
Upwards - Path to the Bridge
Upwards - Path to the Bridge

Be sure to check out the game mechanics list in the start area, it's useful to know that you can double jump, wall jump, etc.


The game can be played with a keyboard or Xbox controller (by using TattieBogle, a controller driver for Mac OS). Upwards was developed on a Mac, so there might be a few problems with the PC version (potential issues with jumping while holding sprint and mesh flickering).

For those of you who get motion sickness, there’s an option to reduce rotation sensitivity in the settings section of the game menu. Changing the sensitivity can help with motion sickness, but if you're very sensitive to fast motion I'd suggest pacing yourself and taking in the sights instead of sprinting around.

Upwards - Village 3
Upwards - Docks

If you get stuck or encounter a bug, you can access the game menu to reset your position or fix your orientation if it’s no longer centered.


My intention is to rework the game at some point, so that I can give it more story, puzzles, VR interactions, improved parkour mechanics, and higher quality environments. There are still a number of bugs in the game that haven't been resolved, but I felt that I should at least release what I’ve done so far before remaking things.

I’d really appreciate any thoughts or feedback. If you have some cool ideas or encounter issues with the game, please let me know. There are a lot of things that I’d like to do, so I’ll see what’s possible. The download links for the game are listed below, feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions. Thanks and enjoy!

Upwards - Platforming Tower
Upwards - Platforming Tower