Gravity Garden Alpha 8 - locomotion options

Removed the Full Body Avatar. I've been messing around with the player movement system and the avatar was requiring way too much attention. I had to tweak and adjust it along with every change I made. So it's gone for now , but may be back in the future. 

  • New "Artist's Palette" style menu. The Menu button opens the menu that's held in one hand as you select an icon with the opposite hand. 

  • Point at a seed or tool to see a short description and inventory amount

  • New Options tab on the menus. Lots of locomotion options:

    • Snap turn + angles

    • Smooth turn + speeds

    • Teleport

    • Free Movement + speeds

    • Swap move/rotate hands

    • steer with hand or face

    • swap hands for info text scree - coming soon.

  • Menus and controls are all fully ambidextrous.  Use anything with either hand.  

  • Revised movement system. Smoother when switching gravity on/off and overall more consistent between modes. 

  • Some tweaks to Teleport system, but it still needs work.

  • New cursors for grabbing, info, and menu selection. Should be easier to tell what you are pointing at. Player can still only grab ripe fruits. 

  • Basic sound effects when player bumps into things are skims across the ground. 

Really interested to hear what players think about the locomotion options. I know that everyone has their own prefernces when it comes to moving around in Vr and I want to  give as many options as I can.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Pay What You Want experiment for my VR games

I've changed the prices on both of my VR games. You can now download them for free or Pay What You Want. If you do decide to pay you get a free Steam key.

These games have both kind of disappeared into the crowd of bigger, more mainstream games that have been released over the last year. I want to try this Pay What You Want as a way to let more people play 'em -  and maybe generate a little income. I can't really make any less money than I'm making with them now so it should be a win-win. []-)

Crashed Lander is my oldest game - released in the Rift DK1 days. Space Taxi style, physics-based gameplay. It's been updated a gaziliion times and still works well with current hardware. Somewhat intense in VR since the camera is constantly turning and rotating, but it can be a lot of fun if you are not sensitive to such things. Works on monitor, too.

Chunky Orbits is not really a game, more of a toy. It's a realistic physics sim that lets you get up close and personal with gravity. Create small 'solar systems', watch orbiting chunks coalesce into larger bodies, fling comets into the sun - all in a small, personal space that gives you a good feel for how gravity works.

Gravity Garden alpha 7 - Full Body Avatar

Hello Gardeners and best of the New Year to ya. I've just posted Alpha 7 of Gravity Garden. Biggest new addition: a full-body, animated avatar system! 

Gravity Garden has never felt quite right since I took the project in its new, VR direction. The prototype for Gravity Garden, called XenoFarm, featured a stylized humanoid avatar and  standard 3rd/1st person views. I've missed it ever since I made the switch to VR. The dis-embodied hands were an ok compromise, but i feels good to have the little duder/dudette back in the world. :) The new avatar setup will also allow for some fun customization options for the player. 

The animation of the humanoid avatar is generated on-the-fly based on the player's RL head and hand positions. Pretty tricksy - and certainly not something that I could code myself. Thanks to FinalIK plugin for this bit of wizardry.  I'm still tinkering with the setup but I'm very happy with the results so far. The realistic motions when you are making small movements within the playspace are very cool.  Walking longer distances looks a bit odd but it's kind of cute - and I might there are ways of making that more realistic as well. 

There's also a new pest that will invade your garden and gobble up all the nutrients in the soil. They multiply quickly , but they don't like water.  A few other tweaks and changes that you can see on the Release Notes page.  I'll post another update soon about the next steps for the Garden.

Love the hear any feedback you have about the new avatar system - or whatever strikes your fancy. head over to the forums or send me a message here.

Crashed Lander v3.1 with Steam Achievements and Global Leaderboards

I've just posted a big update with new features and lots of little bug fixes. Here's what's new:

  • Steam Achievements! There are 11 new goals to work for - from simple things like earning 3 stars on a level to completing all 50 levels in Hard Mode.
  • Global Leaderboards. Probably the most requested feature from players is finally here. The leaderboards are still empty, so now is a great time to make your mark. Also a great time to get the Number One achievement.  
  • Game progress now saved in the Cloud. You'll keep any progress you've made with the old system, and now it will also be stored on the Steam servers. 
  • Upgraded game engine to Unity v2017.2. Faster physics and better performance in VR.
  • Improved the Tutorial level. More info about the controls, quieter video.
  • New pause menu that also shows the global/local high scores
  • New Ringer Runner level 23. The last one was *way* too hard. 
  • Fixed a problem on main menu with launching a level more than once
  • Lander now tumbles and rolls once one of the tanks is broken.

More info about Crashed Lander

Crashed Lander Leaderboards and Achievements

Hello crashers. It's been a while since I updated Crashed Lander, but I've dusted off my project files to make a few additions. I'm (finally) adding Global Leaderboards and Steam Achievements to the game. 

These have been the most requested features ever since bringing the game to Steam. I've tried several times in the past to add these features, but my coding skills were not up to the task. Guess they are now, 'cuz I finally figured it out.  I had to switch programming languages to get it done. Still not really comfortable in C#, but I'm getting the hang of it. 

I've posted a new build to the Beta branch that has global leaderboards for all 50 levels, both Normal and Hard difficulty. Leaderboards are displayed after finishing a level, or you can peek at the leaders on the Pause screen. The local best score is displayed before you start each level. Achievements are working, but not included in the current Beta. They should be active in a few days.

Not many people actually playing the game these days, but maybe this wil spark a little renewed interest and attract some new challengers.

You can acces the Beta build by right-clicking on Crashed Lander in your Steam library, choosing properties, clicking the Betas tab, then choosing v3Beta from the dropdown menu.

I'll also be cleaning up a few bugs and re-jiggering a couple of the levels that I'm not happy with - llike the Overwatch Rings level which is WAY to hard. If you have any suggestions or bug reports, now would be a good time to let me hear 'em. I'll start a Forum Thread for anyone who wants to comment on the Beta, too. 

Gravity Garden Alpha 6 is ready

Howdy farmers.  I've just posted the newest build of Gravity Garden. This month I've added the Tele-harvester. You can now pick your ripe fruits then harvest them to produce Seeds, Energy, or Compost - the three basic resources in the game.  You can get up-close to the fruits and grab them, or point and grab from a distance.  When you grab a riper fruit, the Harvester will appear in your other hand. Just tap the fruit to a target to add the resource to your inventory.  

Speaking of inventory - you have one . Just the basics for now: keeping track of how many of each seed you have plus the 3 kinds of resources.  I'll figure out a better way to display this info soon.  Other changes include tweaks to the locomotion system, and an upgrade to Unity v 2017.2.  Full release notes.

Progress is slow and steady. I'm happy with the way things are now and ready to switch my focus back to the plants and gameplay. Pests coming soon, and some more interesting interactions between the plants and their surroundings.  I also want to start working on the sense of progression for the player. Discovering new plants, buying tools,  things like that. 

Thanks for supporting my indie development efforts and don't forget to send that feedback my way

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.