Put Your Hands Up!
Last month I promised an announcement, so let's get that out of the way. After evaluating the current state of the game I have decided that the Steam (i.e. public) build of the game has been horribly neglected over the past year. For the unaware, the Steam build has not changed since the last release of the Speed games. This means the build is woefully outdated in feel and look, is inefficient, and in worst cases buggy. Although releasing the prototype was still the correct call, it needs to be updated. As it stands it just gives a rough representation of the game which can give negative impressions to those who are not patient with Mythlink's development process.
The second part of the Steam neglect is the lack of communication. Previous Steam posts have been copies of the blog posts such as this one and mention that for constant communication one should visit the web page. This is probably nothing more than the result of being a little lazy, the Steam communication page should have all of the blog content as the website does, who really cares how one accesses the information.
So what do both of these points mean? First, the blog posts will be copied to the Steam page as accurately as they can. I'm fairly certain this should pose no issue and the Steam developer news page has all of the same capability to display pictures and GIFs. This duplication will begin in January. Second is that the Steam build will once again start receiving periodic updates similar to what was previously done, instead of waiting for the entire game demo to be completed like I was planning. This update will happen in December or January. A blog post will be made when the task has been completed.
Now that that is taken care of, let's move on to the new stuff! Earlier this year there was a blog about how inputs needed to be standardized to support multiple VR systems. Back then the focus was on the inputs themselves. However, I eluded to the problem that still remained, that is, the issue of the controller model. In order to support multiple VR systems and control types, it is virtually impossible to stick with the previous method of just showing whichever controller the user was using in the game. Instead, we need to take a more generic approach which should work regardless of controller type. What is this solution? It is fairly easy to come up with. BEHOLD! HANDS!
All controller models have been replaced with new hand models. As you can see above, they are even animated so that when the "grab" action is triggered on the controller, they will grasp to make a fist. At present time the controller model itself was pulled from the SteamVR package provided by Valve. It will eventually be replaced with a more theme-appropriate model, but for now this should do just fine.
One of the best parts of this new method is we can start doing all sorts of fun stuff. In the GIF above, note how when something is grabbed, the hand model becomes transparent, allowing players to see more clearly what exactly they are grabbing onto without the glove model interfering. Also note how now a new symbol appears when users attempt to place a puzzle piece into an invalid position within the puzzle game grid. Previously, you may remember, the controller would pulse-glow red to indicate the problem. During gameplay, it would be somewhat difficult to take note of that indicator. This new system is far more clear and the benefits don't stop there...
Here, we can see that the strength focused game of the punching bag now transforms your hands into boxing gloves! This adds a new level of immersion and fun into the game. I'm looking forward to what other crazy things the controller customization allows for within the game. Stay tuned and Merry Christmas!