Our VR Development Setup

2 May 2016, 2:06 pm

We’ve had a lot of people writing in asking what we stream with and how we’ve setup our room for VR development. Let’s do this with a nice cellphone shaky-cam video!

The room is approximately 4m x 5m large, with a playable space of around 3m x 3m. 

Parts list:

Red “3rd Hand” poles
- C-clamps for mounting
- Lumix DZ1000 camera
- Battery-door clearance plate for camera
- DC power adaptor for camera
- HDMI to Display Port adaptor
- AVerMedia Capture Card
- Rode swing-mount microphone arm
- Studio Lighting (not pictured in video)

Follow-up video coming soon will show the room in green-screen mode.

How we made a stretchy goo ball.What should you do in a game...

24 March 2016, 1:01 pm

Stretchy ball in action (editor)

My hierarchy setup

Script interface

hang time curve

How we made a stretchy goo ball.

What should you do in a game when you have a ‘ball’ that you can’t allow the player to throw away? 
Well the obvious thing is don’t let the player throw it.
Everybody ‘wants’ to throw it, so all our solutions to avoid doing that were unsatisfying.
What we need is to let the player think they’ve thrown it, without letting them actually do so.
What we decided to try was to make the ball stretch out and snap back to where you released it.

How do I program the physics of that though???
Well, you don’t. Lie cheat and steal. That’s what tech-artists do best! We only want to do this on the art, note the collision, snaps and greater part of the object don’t actually move.

-Cheat :
So we’re going to point the ball in the direction of the throw. You should be able to convince your friendly local programmer to feed you a vector indicating the magnitude and direction of the throw.  Hint: In unity you can ‘set’ the `.transform.forward` parameter of any object!

-Lie :
So a big advantage in implementing this is that we’re using a  uniformly coloured ball. If you aren’t, then you could always do some uv-fakery, but that’s tougher.

In Fantastic Contraption, objects only throw when you’re above a certain velocity, so that’s going to be our min throw. We’ve somewhat arbitrarily set that to ‘25’ and I also arbitrarily set max throw strength to be 4X the min.

Steal : pretty simple code to get the values from the Animation curve and settings. (ditto for throw distance)
protected float GetThrowTime(float magnitude) {
 float normalizedMagnitude =  (magnitude - Globals.settings.throwStrengthTrigger) / (maxThrowStrengthForTime - Globals.settings.throwStrengthTrigger);
 float throwTime = Mathf.Lerp(minThrowTime, maxThrowTime, throwStrengthTimeFalloff.Evaluate(normalizedMagnitude));
 return throwTime;

AnimationCurves are awesome for adjusting interpolations for anything and everything. I’m adjusting the time the stretch takes, and the distance it travels based off these curves and min and max values set below them.

My tween uses the curve shown above, and my custom tween system to move the joint furthest out on the edge of the ball. You can see there’s a good ‘hang time’ section in the middle there, and a nice little ‘wiggle/ settle’ at the end.
There’s also a scale tween on the second joint that mostly does stuff during that big bump which is the major part of the throw.
You could use a Unity animation I think, but setting the far value and making sure scaling sets it to be the right time length might be a bit of work.

I also have an adjustment based on the size of the ball so that giant goo balls barely stretch out when thrown.

It’s a pretty ‘special case’ solution, but it might spark an idea or be useful to you somehow!
Any questions or comments, hit me up here, or on twitter @mrlinds

Oculus Walrus by mrlindsJust back from GDC in San Francisco...

22 March 2016, 1:01 pm


Oculus Walrus by mrlinds
Just back from GDC in San Francisco where we were showing Fantastic Contraption on the Oculus for the first time ever.
We also had a great time in the IGF booth and at the Valve booth.

Our own Dr. Kimberly Voll gave a multitude of talks and even I was honored to present Contraption as part of the Experimental Gameplay Workshop.

Phew, what a busy trip.

For more news see the Radial Games development blog.