Sketching VR: Dragon Dentist and Epic Monsters

I loaded up Google Blocks to sketch out a Dragon Dentist game, and brainstorm ideas for epic-sized enemies.

Aetherball: Easter Sprint

This Easter I've been working on my VR project, Aetherball. I decided to approach it as a kind of solo sprint, to produce something playable.

I separated my time into the following:

  • Concept
  • Core
  • Level
  • Art
  • Sound

Saturday: Concept

I found the easiest way to settle on a concept was using tonnes of images and short sentences, which is why I put it all into a Powerpoint presentation. The presentation is 30 minutes long, and it's not truly a pitch - it's more of a motivational piece, verbalising and visualising concepts that I've been connecting mentally. It's a snapshot of what I'm most excited about in the VR/AR space.

Sunday: Level design

I took on level design with a simple aim: to lay out groups of targets with timers. If the player can trigger all the targets in a group, then the group disappears. The purpose of this level is to establish the expectations of the core mechanic. So in a sense, this is a kind of test and training ground.

Monday: Core development

I have implemented a first version of the flow mechanic; the player can wave their hands around, and the balls or "elements" will smoothly follow that path. I plugged in the teleselection mode I developed the week before, and put together the above video.

Tuesday: Work :(

Wednesday: Art

I had work in the afternoon, but I managed to learn and apply some noisy toon rim shaders to my balls, which is good enough for now...

Thursday: Sound

I was relying on an overnight download (Sonniss, see previous post) to give me sound effects, and on Thursday discovered that it didn't have what I want. Instead, I decided to make this a "career" day and post some updates. This was inspired by a recent video showing off the office of a large Melbourne game studio.

Learning Unity & Blender

I'm learning Unity and Blender in my spare time, so I can make some of my ideas come to life. In the long-term, game development will not be my field, but it will help to understand the tools and work flows. My goal is to produce a virtual reality multiplayer strategic ball game; I'm calling it Sourceball.

My Unity learning plan

I've broken down the elements of the game to discrete building blocks. As I approach each element, I will draw from various tutorials such as shooter games, physics-based ball games, and so on. The first few items on my list are:

  • First-person POV, movement and actions
  • Sprint
  • Basic user interface
  • Basic level design
  • Throw ball
  • Throw ball harder
  • Throw and explode ball
  • Detect ball collision
  • Walled off play area
  • Bounce ball off walls
  • Trail effect on ball
  • Block ball
  • UI for hit/miss feedback
  • Block high and low
  • Ball node
  • Node claim zone

This is a very exciting time to be getting into the 3D interactive space, as I believe VR/AR is the next leap beyond the web browser.

My previous 3D experience

While I fumbled around the Blender interface, I was reflecting on my past in 3D art. I've included two pictures below. I modelled the wand in 3DS Max about 2007. The Team Fortress 2 pose used the Source Filmmaker application with existing assets.

The two tutorials I have used are: Roll a Ball and Blender Beginner Tutorial