The best Tron game you can play right now is exclusively available in Dreams, and it was made by one creator with a heaping helping of lockdown time.
Hypercycle Arena is a fan-made recreation and playable expansion of the light cycle scene from Tron: Legacy. Just putting you on the back of one of those mirror-black and neon machines to enjoy the light show would be a worthy cause by itself, but creator John "AgentWombatUK" Williams aimed to turn the roughly five-minute scene into a full-fledged game.
A software developer based out of Australia, Williams has been working on Hypercycle Arena for about a year and a half in his spare time. Here's how it stands now: AI opponents get tougher the further you go. Power-ups let you kit out your light cycle with weaponry for an extra edge in the arena. You can make an escape out into the badlands and find a Kevin-Flynn-worthy safehouse where you can kick back in between races. Oh, and you can play the entire thing in VR or on your flat screen, whichever you prefer.
"There were so many challenges specific to my game," Williams told me. "How do you make a game look like a movie, and not like a Dreams creation? How do you make leaning bikes that handle realistically? How do you make glowing, bending bike trails? And most of all, how do you make teams of AI bikes that battle each other and behave in a seemingly intelligent way? If any one of those things was not quite right, I don’t think the game would work."
While making Hypercycle Arena hasn't been easy, he said the set of tools Dreams gives creators is "incredibly inviting," and working with it has led to something Williams never anticipated.
"I caught up with a friend in early 2020 and, knowing I was a software developer, he asked me if I had ever considered game development," Williams said. "At the time it felt a strange question, as I just assumed game development was a very different skill set. But Dreams has proved otherwise, and the results are way better than I ever could have imagined back at the start of the project."
Check out this stylish Dreams RPG made by a delivery driver in his off time for even more to play.