Here's a new dev diary where I talk about the new full-body avatar system. There's also a new pest invading the garden and a few new particle effects.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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 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.
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 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. :)