Behind-the-Scenes of ‘Death Lap’ with OZWE Games CEO Stéphane Intissar

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Behind-the-Scenes of ‘Death Lap’ with OZWE Games CEO Stéphane Intissar

Today, OZWE Games launches its new game, Death Lap, a darkly comic VR Combat Racing Game, a mix of racer and shooter where players battle to survive, and drive Nitro Saint Payne’s wheels and bullet-mad tournament.

The success story began on the shores of Lake Geneva when Stéphane Intissar, CEO OZWE Games, created a free demo for the Samsung Gear VR in late 2013. Since then, OZWE Games has released five VR titles, including the popular series Anshar (Anshar Wars, Anshar Wars 2, and Anshar Online) produced and distributed by Oculus Studios.

We sat down with Stéphane Intissar to get the inside track on Death Lap.

How long has Death Lap been in development? Any fun anecdotes to share?

We created another game called VRTillery at Gear VR launch back in 2014. Basically, this game was about shooting bullets from an immobile car. Death Lap, released 5 years later, is about the same concept. Still, the player can actually move around, shoot other vehicles, and much more. Death Lap is basically its grand grand grand-child.

What kind of reception have you seen since announcing the game?

Players think this game requires strong VR Legs to play. That is not true! We spent a lot of time creating an innovative control scheme that doesn’t make people sick while driving. We learned a lot from our previous titles, the Anshar Wars series, where the players have to move all the time. In Death Lap, players can choose between three comfort mode, with various intensity. We hope this will please a large population.

What’s your favorite part of the game and why?

I like the fact that we can switch between first-person and third-person view. Those views have a different level of stereoscopy, so the feeling is very different for each of them.

What’s the funniest / craziest / best reaction you’ve seen while demoing / playtesting the game?

This game does not take itself seriously. When John Carmack tried the game at OC6, the audience saw for the first time “Nitro Saint Payne,” the machiavellian TV presenter that is hosting the race in Death Lap, everybody laughed. That was the best reaction we could hope for the cheesy look we gave him, that we took from B-Serie movies from the 80s.

What can you tell us about the game’s campaign?

Each track is very different and gets harder and harder to master. Don’t be surprised if some players do a very good lap time because each of them has a secret passage that only master players will discover. The leaderboard will be intimidating, but it takes time to master all of the skills.

How did you build upon lessons learned from your earlier work in VR?

We have been creating games for each generation of Mobile VR since its inception, so we have a very strong experience in building games that run smoothly on those chipsets. We learned the hard way that the engine we use (Unity) does not necessarily provide all the tools for creating such an experience without writing your own custom tech. For instance, relying solely on the dynamic batch for processing the rendering all the cars in the field of view (6 cars x 15 mobile pieces = 90 draw calls, over a 150 hard limit) would not give much else for the environment, the bullets, the special effects, etc, so we had to write our brand new custom dynamic batcher, whose foundations were invented while developing the Anshar Wars Series. We have also improved greatly the shaders written for Death Lap, by utilizing color grading for instance, and squeezing every millisecond in favor of nice visuals. We have been able to increase the anisotropy level to 8, which is something we did not think we could do initially. Additionally, based upon the custom server-side architecture we created for Anshar Online, we have been able to simplify it and therefore been able to simultaneously create an offline (solo) and an online (multiplayer) mode.

What does VR add to the game that wouldn’t be possible in traditional flat media?

In traditional vehicular combat game, the weapons are necessarily facing the movement direction. That such a restriction! Let’s drive one way and shoot another way if we can!

What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?

We will soon localize the game in multiple languages! Playing in Japanese has become my new favorite!

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I hope we made justice to the Snapdragon 835. Only experts will be able to tell us 😉

Take the wheel in Death Lap, now available on

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