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Fascinating excursion into old-school game design
The original Virtual Reality Studio was a groundbreaking piece of software that allowed home users to create their own games using the Freescape system, as seen in commercial releases like Castle Master and Driller, and was a surprisingly powerful piece of kit that was a lot of fun for budding designers. Making use of a BASIC-style programming language, this sequel adds to the already impressive options available, with pull down menus allowing easy access to everything from movement loops, animation, and object placement. The programming side comes in when you want to create conditions for puzzles, like opening a door with a key. There are around twice as many options included now, with such additions as transparent and fadeable objects, rounded objects, the inclusion of sound effects and even pre-drawn objects for anyone who lacks the skill to create their own. While there might be more advanced game creation software on the market now, for anyone who fancies a trip down memory lane to see how it was done back in the day, this is an unalloyed delight. It's not a simple affair and anyone thinking they are going to knock out a classic in a few minutes is going to be sorely disappointed. However, with a little planning and creativity it is entirely possible to create a surprisingly impressive game which will entertain and challenge in equal measure. The visuals hold up well today, despite being rather simple and lacking in textures and detail but this really is compelling stuff and it's easy to lose yourself in it. Definitely one to check out if you to do more than just play.