Digital drones take flight

The Belgian game developer LuGus Studios and drone manufacturers ImmersionRC and Fat Shark have teamed up to create Liftoff, the first video game that translates the rush of first-person view drone racing to the digital world.

Unmanned aerial vehicles frequently get a bad rap, catching the public eye as espionage tools or precision weapons. However, the new technology’s unfair reputation is illustrated by a wide range of positive applications, one of which is the budding sport of first-person view (FPV) racing. In this adrenaline-fueled activity, pilots use virtual reality goggles to steer their drone as if they were looking through the machine’s eyes.

“A while ago a video did the rounds on the internet of some people having an FPV race in a forest. It was fast, exciting and dizzying, and had a real ‘Star Wars’ vibe,” says Tom Lissens, co-founder of LuGus Studios. “We immediately knew we wanted to make a game about it. Some time later we were contacted by ImmersionRC and it turned out the video that inspired us had actually been made by a team member of theirs. It was a match made in heaven.”

The joint creators of Liftoff aim for the game to be a sort of gateway to the quadcopter racing scene, a platform both for pilots with real-life experience and for gamers who are as of yet unfamiliar with the new sport. Veterans can explore new environments or race one another, while newcomers can experiment to their heart’s content and hone their flying skills before taking to the field.

Liftoff is slated to be released for PC and Mac. Further details about the game will be released at a later stage.