Building a cockroach horror game in virtual reality for the Oculus Rift


I had a wonderful opportunity to create a game for the Oculus Rift with the MemoryDump virtual reality group at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. We came up with the idea after my wife moved to Hawaii. She was afraid of the roaches in our apartment. Jokingly, we talked about how a person is meant to cure themselves of the fear of roaches.

Then we got the idea to create a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) game. The idea is that you wake up in a dark room. You hear nasty noises in the dimly lit room. As you come to your senses, you see tiny roaches crawling toward you. 

The goal of the experience would be to endure the roaches for as long as you can. You would endure the terror to acclimate to the new environment. Sounds a lot like any virtual reality (VR) experience doesn’t it? 🙂

As we continued to work on the project, we pivoted to make the game more approachable to the average player. We moved the setting of the game from a dimly lit room to the computer science lounge.

We also created a slipper to swat the roaches and kill them. Finally we created a game loop and demoed the finished prototype at the Information and Computer Science (ICS) end of year celebration.

Lessons learned:

  • Unity game programming
  • 3d modeling in Blender
  • Character rigging in Blender
  • Animating in Blender
  • Interacting with 3d space in Unity
  • Coding in C#

Here we are playing the game on the big screen in the Lava Lab:


Interested in learning more?

Check out our project on github: DebuggerPlusPlus


Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.