Little Cities now supports hand tracking on Oculus Quest and Meta Quest 2.
We recently spoke to James Howard, one half of the Purple Yonder duo responsible for Little Cities, shortly after the game’s launch, and we reconnected last week to discuss the game’s ‘Big Hands in Little Cities’ update. The update allows you to ditch the controllers and use only your hands for the entire Little Cities campaign.
After some discussions internally and a few requests from fans, Purple Yonder decided hand tracking support would be the game’s first big piece of post-launch content.
“We really wanted to jump in at the deep end and see what we could do and if we could make it playable with hands and that’s what we’ve managed to do,” he told me. “It was a lot of work to get to that stage, a lot of challenges, but we’re there and it’s working really well.”
To place objects and build roads, you’ll point at an area of the map and use the familiar pinch gesture, found in many other hand tracking apps. However, movement with your hands is a bit unique in Little Cities — you close and drag your hands in a fist to move laterally, while moving fists closer or further apart will let you zoom. Moving fists in a steering wheel motion will rotate the map.
Apart from that, a lot of the remaining buttons and actions transferred from controllers to hands without much modification. The wristwatch mechanic, for example, works almost exactly the same as it does with controllers. “That just works really well with hand tracking because you just naturally look at your hand and that all still works the same way.”
“When you’re selecting things, if you haven’t played Little Cities, the way it works is you have like a build bubble and you pop that with your finger. And then you get a section of other bubbles which shows different options you can build. And that just works really well,” he explains. “We didn’t really have to change much to get that working with hand tracking and it just feels really good, this kind of tactile feeling. Cause it’s not only you kind of popping these bubbles to select things, but it feels like your real hands when you’re doing it.”
The Big Hands in Little Cities update is out now on the Quest platform. Both Quest 2 and the original Quest will support hand tracking, with players on the newer headset being able to take advantage of Hand Tracking 2.0.
You can watch our full interview and check out some gameplay linked here and also embedded above.
This article was originally published June 27 and republished with the release of the hand tracking update on June 30. To bring attention to its hand tracking update for Little Cities, nDreams is paying to promote the link back onto UploadVR’s homepage in July and August #promo.