Gravity Garden alpha 5 is good to go

Gravity Garden alpha 5 is ready for action. This month i've been experimenting with the locomotion system. Previous versions were working ok, but not as smooth or simple as I wanted. The main problem was the two different controllers for the character.  I was handing off control between the two depending on what mode the player was in. This made for some complicated code and the behaviour was not consistent for the player.  Now there is one controller that handles all of the movement - and it's all physics based. Much cleaner and more consistent. 

I've also been working on comfort options. You can now choose between smooth and snap-turning.  Tap the right stick for a quick snap-turn, or hold the stick to turn to any specific direction. You can also turn strafing on/off. Turning and side to side movement are two of the most common causes of VR discomfort. More comfort options win the works including walking speed, turning speed, dash teleport, teleport blinking, steering with face/hand.

The Teleport controls also got a bit of makeover. Teleporting is no longer a tool-based action. You choose between teleporting or thrusters using the pop-up menu. This makes moving around a more consistent experience.  You use the stick or trackpad to move, no matter which mode you're using. 

Here's a rundown of all the new stuff in Alpha 5:

  • New player controller. Now it's all under one coherent system, all physics based.
  • Teleporting is no longer a tool based action. 
  • Player can change locomotion modes: teleport or thrusters
  • smooth turn or snap-turn
  • snap-turn by specified angle or choose any angle with stick/pad
  • turn strafing on/off
  • Improved teleport controls and marker
  • fixed velocity of thrown objects
  • fixed: some held fruits pushing player around

I'm still working on the inventory system and full game loop.  I wanted get all that ready for this release, but it 's not quite there yet.  Not too much lo

Gravity Garden developer diary #2

A quick update on my progress in the last couple of months. I talk about the new hands, harvesting fruits, the look-and-feel of the game, and the dozens of new 3D fractal islands. 

Gravity Garden alpha 4 released

Gravity Garden alpha 4 is posted and ready for farming.  Quick rundown of all the changes: 

  • Player can now harvest fruits from plants. Right-hand only for now. Grip button when your hand is near a ripe fruit. 
  • Fruits now give an indication when they are ripe.  More colorful and brighter is ripe.
  • Improved Clouds.  Now physics-enabled and more efficient. 
  • 14 new islands to find and explore.  Empty (for now)
  • 4 new farm-able islands. 
  • Velocity is transferred when player turns gravity belt off. 
  • Water and fertilizer particles now inherit velocity from player
  • Improved skyboxes

I also worked this month on some of the things players will find when exploring a new island. Keeping these under wraps for now so that I can have something juicy to reveal for my next big marketing push. These will be little bits of eye-candy, small self-contained experiences, new plants, and other WTFderful things. 

One of the new islands you might find in your Garden.

Still trying to work out how the player will deal with harvested fruits. Need a fun/easy way to turn them into seeds and other resources. So far my experiments have failed. :)  Next I'd like to try something attached to the players wrist that they can use to convert the fruits. 

I've been experimenting a little with the controls, too. I like the current setup, but I feel like it needs to be simpler. Confusing right now with the grip button vs the trigger button. Looking for some way that I can make them interchangable or otherwise define their functions more clearly. 

Gravity Garden alpha 3 released

Gravity Garden alpha 3 is ready for planting. Mostly visual changes and new game assets this month. Highlights:

Look Ma, hands! I wanted to see what the game felt like with hands rather than controllers. Feels good - and also seems easier for new players to understand. Just a few basic poses for now but I'll be adding more specific poses in the future.

New islands. I spent a good chuck of my time this month creating a bunch of new floating islands that will populate the sky.  They are all empty for now, but eventually they will be fill of things to discover and experience.  These island shapes were all created using 3D fractal math, then cleaned, painted, and prepped for the game. 

New dynamic lighting test. I want to take advantage of the real-time lighting, and a day/night cycle is a good way to do that. I hate dark nighttime in games, though - one of my biggest gaming pet peeves. :)  So I'm aiming for something that goes to twilight and dusk rather than a full night. 

See the Release Notes for a full list of changes.

August is harvesting month. I want to get the resource and plant harvesting up and running and start getting some Game in the game. :)

Gravity Garden alpha 2 is now available

I've just posted the June build for Gravity Garden.  

I spent a good chunk of time updating the project to use Unity v5.6. Overall a smooth update but I did run into a few small problems related to materials and GPU Instancing. But the good news is that GPU Instancing is now working along with Single Pass Stereo Rendering. This setup wasn't working properly for me in Unity 5.5. Kind of important since I've designed the game to take advantage of this combo which gives us the ability to have thousands of individual mesh objects and still maintain 90 fps.

You'll also see the beginnings of the harvesting and inventory systems. You can harvest water from clouds, energy from the yellow stars, and fertilizer from planetoids.  And speaking of clouds - new cloud system! More dynamic and interesting clouds created with Unity's particle system. I've also added the ability for players to apply new colors and image effects to the scene. 

See the Release Notes for a full list of changes. 

Harvesting of fruits did not make it into this build - still working out the kinks. I may have another update towards the end of the month that will include this feature. 

Thanks for supporting my indie gamedev efforts and have fun with the new build. As always I am open to any and all feedback. 

Gravity Garden is Go!

Announcing my next VR game: Gravity Garden.

It's a science fiction themed farming simulation. You're in charge of your own private island, floating through an alien universe full of bizarre plants and quirky critters.

This is an open-world simulation of plants that live and grow according to the conditions in their environment. Plant your garden in any soil - no preset plots or rigid, square fields.

It's a sandbox experience where you are free to do as you please. Work towards a series of increasingly difficult achievements or simply grow a beautiful garden and admire the view - it's up to you.

I'm using Itch.io to offer alpha access and crowd funding rewards for the game. You can get an early peek of the Garden, support my development efforts, and help shape the game with your feedback and suggestions. Built for both Rift+Touch and Vive, with a monitor version planned for later in the development cycle.

Chunky Orbits updated - new movement method

I've added a new option for moving around the Chunky Orbits sim. It's very similar to classic first person shooter controls. You can move with the left touchpad or thumbstick, and rotate with the right. Modify your direction by pointing your left hand. Press in on the pad/stick to move faster.

I still like the funky 'accordian' stlye movement from previous versions, but several users have requested something a little more familiar. You can use either method, they are both available at all times. 

Other changes include some small adjustments to the main menu and an update to Unity engine v 5.6. See the ChangeLog for the full list. 

Thanks to everyeon who's supporting my indie dev efforts by buying my stuff! Please let me know if I broke anything. 

BrainBlinks Update: I'm bad at blogging

Just noticed that I haven't posted a blog update here since November.  It's not that I haven't been busy making things, it's just that I forget to post about it here. :)

Let' see, since November I have...

Released v1.0 of Chunky Orbits. It's now out of Steam Early Access and fully compatible with Oculus Touch and Vive controllers. I Made a couple of new gameplay videos, too.

Released Crashed Lander v3.0. Now with 50 full levels, better VR support, new tutorial, new options menu, and all sorts of smaller improvements. 

Released the Brain Blinks Stockpile - a collection of free gamedev assets.

Created a video tutorial showing how to get the colors from your Oculus Medium sculpts into your other 3D apps.

Started work on my next VR project: XenoFarm. This is taking most of my time now. Should be ready to show an early build within a few weeks!

If you'd like more timely updates about my creative efforts you can follow me on Twitter. I post much more often there. :)

 

 

 

Chunky Orbits early access beta 4

A new version of Chunky Orbits is ready for action. Now with 100% more fireball! (^_^)

What's new

  • Molten Chunk. A destructive projectile with fancy-schmancy particles.
  • Asteroid Belt. New option for rebooting your universe that spawns 150 small Absorbers that orbit a center stone.
  • The mini solar system Reboot now creates random orbits for the 3 planetoids plus a sparkly comet with eliptical orbit. 
  • Adjusted the menu positions so they are less likely to intersect your other hand when activating. 
  • Menus now disappear when you move away from them or spawn a new chunk. 
  • Fixed a case where chunks would get stranded in space and not included in the gravity calculations.

Just a couple more weeks of working on the sim. If you have a suggestions or feedback now is a good time to send 'em my way.