Test Subject 901: 5 Easter Eggs revealed by SPINVR

Last modification: 29 Oct, 2018
10 mins
Based in Toronto, SPINVR is a virtual and augmented reality company specializing in creating customized immersive experiences for users and businesses around the world. Their most recent undertaking is the newly launched VR horror game now available for free on Steam called Test Subject 901. With over 14,000 downloads and counting, and compatible with all major VR headsets, Test Subject 901 arrives just in time to terrify players this Halloween.

Made in collaboration with SPINVR’s sister company, SPINVFX - the internationally recognized visual effects and animation studio with credits such as Game of Thrones, John Wick, and the upcoming series based on George R. R. Martin’s novella NightflyersTest Subject 901 offers thrilling visuals, eerie detail, and visceral fear for players trying to escape with their lives. But this didn’t stop the nightmare-makers behind the story from inserting some Easter eggs throughout the game. Here we reveal all of the ways in which 
SPINVR snuck some surprises in for their fans around the world.

1. From whence it came

As the title reveals, the escaped Test Subject in question is #901. Sure, the number rolls off the tongue, but it was actually chosen because 901 is the building number where the SPINVR studio is located in Toronto: 901 King Street West.

SPINVR shares that home with SPINVFX. The two collaborate extensively, sharing artists and design tools to recreate the high-quality, stunning imagery that SPINVFX is known for on the big screen for AR and VR enthusiasts.

In the case of Test Subject 901, Autodesk’s 3ds Max, Fusion 360, and Maya were central to the design pipeline of the game. SPINVFX artists used these design platforms, which they typically use for VFX work, on the game models to ensure that only the highest quality graphics made it into the game. This was essential since any poor design elements break the illusion for the player and take them out of the story.

2. You can’t hide

SPINVR’s biggest product since its inception in the web-based AR/VR platform known as BRIOVR, which they recently launched out of BETA. In an effort to create an AR/VR tool that was artist-friendly and didn’t require any coding or programming knowledge to use, SPINVR developed the platform that is now being adopted by digital designers around the world. In fact, most of the 3ds Max, Fusion 360 and Maya models that were created for this game were prototyped in BRIOVR, since the artists could drag and drop them into the platform to see them at actual size so that they could measure distance and scale.

SPINVR used Maya to build the lab itself, which is the central environment of Test Subject 901. Since the components were designed by different artists over several months, the team relied on Maya’s snapping toolset to quickly assemble and deploy the lab for the next phase of development. This saved a significant amount of time and enabled more collaboration on the project.

So how did BRIOVR weasel its way into Test Subject 901? Throughout the facility, eagle-eyed users may spot the BRIOVR logo on stickers and posters. You can run from the monster, but not from BRIOVR!

Horror VR game made in Autodesk Maya

3. Inspired by 
The Expanse

The big reveal of the Test Subject 901 – if you don’t tread carefully – is #901 itself. The escaped test subject at the center of the game is elusive and persistent in its blood-lust, but since your goal is to avoid it, sneaky players may be lucky enough to escape without seeing it rear its ugly head.

However, if you do witness #901 in all of its terrifying glory, you may find it somewhat familiar if you’re a fan of The Expanse, the Amazon-bound television series which is entering its fourth season.

SPINVFX has been providing visual effects to the show since it began, and SPINVR has even created a 360-degree video experience for the show where viewers could follow the lead characters through the second season’s epic "Battle on Mars."

It’s no surprise then that #901 is inspired by Katoa, the infected monster of the most recent season of The Expanse, who similarly pursued the show’s heroes. As huge fans of the series, who have watched the birth of the creature on their studio floor, the creators of Subject 901 could not help but incorporate some flashes of the iconic sci-fi character.

If you do happen to make it to the end of the game, you’ll find the escape vehicle also gives a subtle nod to the show. Made in Fusion 360, SPINVR was able to use its capabilities as a ‘solid modeling’ tool to speed up the development process of the vehicle. Hint: players might be surprised to find themselves fleeing much further than just the perimeter of the test facility!

4. Did you hear something?

The building address isn’t the only location-specific Easter egg in Test Subject 901. The low growl that rattles through the test facility as players are trying to escape is actually made up of a combination of sounds that include breathing, metal scraping, and the studio elevator!

A truly immersive experience requires sound elements that match the vivid imagery. In Test Subject 901, SPINVR sends shivers down every player’s spine by letting them hear the creature before they see it, adding to the suspense and discomfort of the atmosphere.

Maybe it’s less frightening when you know that it’s just the repetitive sound of an elevator rather than the bellow of a disfigured monster…or maybe the thought of having to ride in a confined space with strangers, while making awkward small talk as it stops on each floor unsettles you even more! *shivers*

Too afraid to enter the game to hear it for yourself? Check out the trailer where you get a small taste of what it sounds like to be trapped in the test facility with the monster.

5. They’re hidden in the walls

Call it vanity, or just plain old pride. The SPINVR team couldn’t help but put their names all over Test Subject 901, albeit in all of the places that you may never think to look.

If you’re too busy looking over your shoulder, you might miss the “Go Stewart” written at the bottom of the dead doctor’s shoe (an homage to VR Developer Stewart Gottfried, and the guiding voiceover you hear in the game). The more self-deprecating of their VR Developers, Christopher Jadoo, welcomes you to his home in a trash can if you decide to peek in there.

Many more are hidden all over the facility, but we don’t want to give them all away! Keep one eye open, though. It may be a source of comfort in the terrifying atmosphere to know that the SPINVR team is with you all the way.

If you’d like to see how people are reacting to the game, check out one of the many reaction trailers online now! Our favorite was done by the brave souls at SPINVFX, which you can check out below.


  • 3ds Max
  • Maya
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