posted in: Observatory, Unity, VR | 1

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

First off, I want to say that this blog post is the first of a slightly different variety than the ones before it. Up until now, 2DArray.net has been my personal website to show development progress – but “2DArray” isn’t just my online alias anymore. It’s also a company, although admittedly that company is only two people (myself and David Carney – he’s still doing the music and sound for the games, but now he’s also doing other stuff, like designing this rad new website), plus some art contractors.

As a result, the focus will be shifting toward the team as a whole. We’re still fans of posts with technical info about how stuff gets made, so we’ll still be doing those as the meat of the blog (and doing them more often, to end the recent radio-silence on the site) – but now instead of just me writing them, we can also include posts from David and as many art contractors as we can wrangle into blogging about their work.

So with that aside, we’re proud to announce that we just put something onto Early Access. This is our first release since Not the Robots – over two years ago!

Before we get into that – what the shit were we DOING over all that time? Well, basically, picking a project is tough. And we had a hard time with it. Out of fear of not-finishing-anything, we spent too long working on what ultimately felt like a bad game.

It did have this weird scene in it, though.

For some reason, I thought that a physics-fluid-based puzzle game would be an appropriate place for scenes of unexpected violence. We’ll probably end up releasing this as secret content somewhere, with a heavy disclaimer about why we didn’t finish it (spoiler: the whole game was needless angst).

I made some other prototypes that were kinda cool, but they weren’t quite “clicking” in the ways I was hoping for.

An AI truck-friend for a sandbox car game:

Faction-based top-down shooter where you capture rooms to spawn allies, with local co-op (only shown in single player here):

Turns out, VR was the spark we needed – while on vacation to my hometown in Virginia, an old friend showed me his new GearVR, and I took an afternoon to slap together a Unity demo game for it. I could immediately tell that VR would be a great format for us to work on: It was brand new and nobody knew what the hell to do with it yet, meaning there was a ton of fresh space to explore, and it also introduced some strong-but-still-ambiguous new constraints. It might be counter-intuitive, but those types of constraints are actually wonderful for designers because they stop you from feeling overwhelmed about how “this product could be literally anything” and instead, they can guide you around while you make decisions.

SO – what have we made?

It’s called “Observatory: A VR Variety Pack,” it contains three games and a music video, and here’s our Steam page.

(It’s $10, because we’ve spent a year on it so far, which was the same as Not the Robots when it released). The game is currently available on Early Access, and it works with an Oculus, a Vive, or a standard monitor. Currently, the default branch gives you access to the completed music video and a functional-and-polished-but-incomplete version of the Hamster Slide (it has asyncrhonous online multiplayer, but no metagame yet). We’ll be adding the remaining two games as they become more polished and substantial. You can use a gamepad or a keyboard+mouse, and we’re adding Vive-wand support in our first patch (later this week, ideally).

One Response

  1. What was the story?

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