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Current Projects/Goals

It has been awhile since I posted an update.  My concept for Mixed Reality Comics got featured in a recent article at!  That concept is still on the table, but I am currently focused on other things.  I hope to have a big update to share soon!

Side note, Diorama Worlds is discoutned to 1.99 for the steam winter sale!

First Mixed Reality Adventure

I am taking a small break from working on the building tools and story tools.  MR Comics was always an idea that I personally don't expect to create since I am working on other projects.  However I hoped that the community would see the potential of story telling using Diorama Worlds and pick up more interest.  Since nobody has really showed any interest I have put that project on hold for now.  I still expect to finish it, but I wanted to take a break and start building some mechanics for MR Adventures.

The first MRA, will be a hack and slash dungeon crawler.  More details about the story will be released soon, but I wanted to share a first look at the combat system.

I am finishing up the enemies AI and will be showing more on that soon.  My goal is to release this by Christmas for Oculus, Vive, GearVR and Daydream!  Similar to all my projects, the standalone game of this will be a game of its own, but the combat system will be used in all my future adventures.

Version 3.1 Roadmap

Version 3.1 - Planned Features: - Estimated Release - On Hold

Improved Save Files - Currently every saved item in a scene keeps track of variables that are not used by every item. For example every item saves a text field for when its used in chat bubbles. In the new system everything will be modular which will reduce the save file size and speed up loading slightly. (Very little change will be seen, but the new system makes everything more modular for future updates.)

Improved Chat Bubbles - Chat Bubbles will work similar to posed characters. When you pick a chat bubble the system will take you to a enter text mode after placing it. In the enter text mode the keyboard will be visible and pressing left/right on the analog will cycle the color of the boarder (and possibly text). In place mode, shift trigger will skip the enter text mode for faster re-placement. And from select mode, shift trigger will skip pickup and go straight to edit text mode.

Viewpoints - Viewpoints will save lighting setups and also a relative position based on the calibration point set at startup. In addition to the current controls, viewers will be able to cycle to different viewpoints and see the scene exactly how the builder meant it to be seen. This also makes it possible to have mobile compatibility one day.

Frames - Frames are a special layer that can be quickly copied for creating stories. You will choose the background world and Viewpoint for the frame, then place character objects, chat bubbles, and other items as props for that specific scene of the story. Then copy that scene and repose characters, change chat text, and move objects for the next scene. Chains of scenes will be used to tell stories in a way modeled after comics.

Comic Demo Player - This will be a very simple mode that lets you cycle through your frames to preview the story you have created. The actual comic players will be standalone applications available on multiple platforms. Creating these different viewers will be the next phase of development after 3.1 is released.

Special Thanks

I want to point out  and offer a huge thanks to the talented developers and artists that support Indie game developers by providing content through the Unity Asset Store!  Especially the ones listed below.  The quality I was able to achieve in Mixed Reality Worlds wouldn't be possible without you.  If anyone is considering Indie game development I highly recommend you take a look at these talented content creators.

Invector for building such a amazing and customizable character controller!

MalberS for the horse riding animation plugin!  (And other ride-able animals which will be added eventually!)

Mod Monkeys for the perfect lighting solution!

And above all Synty Studios.  Dozens of artists have their work included in Diorama Worlds.  However Synty's products provide enough content, to build unlimited professional looking scenes.  And all of their assets are optimized and work well right out of the box.  I for one will be mostly building with the Polygon Series, and hope to do some work with the Simple Series as well.  I am still missing a few packs, but will be including everything this author makes, for as long as they continue to make content.

Version 3 Roadmap

Version 3.0 - Status: Released on Steam 8/28/2017
*Note: I have decided to defer the new saving system to a future update.  It works fine now and some planned improvements to pose saving in the near future will require another rebuild.  When I make these changes I will support loading V3.0 Files in addition to loading the new files.  I am working on some video tutorials to have live by the time of release.

Known Issues
  • Worlds typically load in your face and need to be moved right away to view.  (For sure will be added to the Viewpoint system in 3.1, but might get some improvements for 3.0)
  • Play mode events don't keep their scale on load.
  • Additional Lights exist on a few items and don't scale properly.

Version 3 Changes and Features:

Worlds and Links - The biggest change is the save file system.  Instead of saving each single scene as a separate file, the world system allows unlimited zones to be created in each file.  Moving between scenes is done using zone links.  For diorama viewing you can set up zone links that go from one diorama to the next.  For future projects this allows a playable character to move from zone to zone.

Play Test Mode Preview - I had always intended this to be an in-house tool for creating levels for my future game projects.  However I stumbled across a great solution that was easy to implement and pretty much turns Diorama Worlds into a simple "Build your own platformer" game.  The play test mode will allow you to drop a simple character into any scene and navigate them around with action and jump buttons.  Some basic actions are in place that can be added to a scene such as climbing and horse riding.  In a future update this will be expanded on with additional playable characters and mechanics to create different types of gameplay possibilities.  Aka Mixed Reality Adventures.

Redesigned Lighting and Backgrounds - Instead of doing custom detailed lighting, I have opted to go with a simple time of day solution that worked beautifully.

New Layer and Lock System - One of the goals was to have the option to toggle layers on or off.  This portion of the goal is being differed to another release.
  • Layers and Position locks are now independent of each other.
  • Layer 0 will be the Unlocked Layer.  When this layer is selected, any object can be picked up and placed again without changing the layer.  New objects will be placed on Layer 0.
  • Layers 1-9 will be Locked Layers.  When these layers are selected, only objects that are on Layer 0 or the Currently selected layer can be picked up/dropped.  Picking up a Layer 0 object will convert it to the currently selected layer.  New objects will be placed on the currently selected layer.
  • Position Locks can be set at any time, regardless the layer.  The same position locks are in place.  Grid, Rotation Locked, and Unlocked.
Title Screen - Seriously, Version 2 didn't even have a title screen!  Not sure what I was thinking to skip out on that bit of polish.  Additionally the options mode will be moved to this scene and redesigned.  There are only going to be a few options, but the new system is modular for easier updates in the future.

New Menus -  There are now 4 menus attached to the left arm, that only show when they are being looked at.  Buttons can be activated while holding an object in addition to not holding an object as before.  And buttons highlight when they are in the activation range, so you will know what your about to press for sure.  The file manager top menu is slightly redesigned to only be used for selecting objects and is only visible when in selection mode.  All other menus are visible in all building modes.  Save/Exit/Layer Selection/Zone Tags/Start Play Test Mode/Start Lighting Mode will all be moved to these new menus.  (In a future update I plan to allow the user to place these menus in their custom work space as an option)

Selection Mode Highlighting - The object your about to pick up is now highlighted so you know for sure what your about to pick up.  This helps a ton with difficult to pick up objects.  I was going to add a cycle mode to move through all objects in case you found one that was difficult to grab, however I don't currently feel this will be needed.

New Controls - Modified control layout that should make Vive users life easier.  Rift users will not see as much change (for common actions).  Details on the new controls can be found in the tutorials link.

In-Game Keyboard - Right now this is going to be used to name your zones and files.  Additionally this will be used to input text for chat bubbles.  This feature is planned to be optional.  If you prefer to use a standard keyboard for input, that will be an option as well.

Favorites (Lite) - Favorites wasn't planned at all, and got worked in while I was half asleep and tinkering with ideas how to do it.  Right now there is one favorite folder and it works.  I want to expand this to allow for multiple folders that can be named.  And special folders such as "Current scene objects" and "Last used History".  Flushing out the details of all the possible features will take some design time.  But for now 3.0 will include the one simple folder.

New Viewer Mode - I have converted all current diorama files into the new format.  You can find legacy scenes created by myself, Baron and Pigeon in separate sub-folders.  Everything else got put into "Other"  If you want a scene published and a custom folder feel free to ask!  I will be doing a new in-game publishing system in a future update.

Features Removed (For now)

Chat Bubbles (Editable text) - Coming back with update 3.1 (See below)

Tutorial - The currently tutorial doesn't work well and it will take far too long to rebuild it.  Instead I plan to record a series of tutorial videos after the 3.0 Release.

Diorama Publishing - I want sharing scenes to be done in game.  But the system I had in place for this needs some more design to work well with the new world files.  There are going to be a decent number of prior user created dioramas that will be converted to the new system and view able.  Once I implement User Accounts it will help a ton with sorting and organizing user created content and the new publishing design.  So viewers will be able to easily locate content by a specific artist or a specific type.  Until then if you create a world that you would like to share, I can include them with each patch.

Custom Lights - This one is the big change.  I decided to simplify the scene lighting process by removing this feature instead of rebuilding it.  I fully intend to go back and find a better way to do this, but for now I am removing lighting options and replacing it with a very simple lighting solution.

Background Selection - Currently in 2.X, you can choose the background you want, load any scene and view it with any background.  While this is neat, some scenes just don't look right unless you have the correct background.  Ideally I want to put background selection back in for the builder mode so you can build in whatever space you want.  But for the viewer mode, I want the artist to have control over how the scene looks.

News: 8/12/2017

Got all the new controls worked in.  I was going to try and make everything a button menu, but its just too clunky.  Instead I found that keeping the controls grouped together well made it easier to remember what each control does.

Common Controls: (Controls that work in all Builder modes)

Camera - Right Controller Position and Right DPad
Up/Down - Zoom in or out
Left/Right - Rotate the scene
Right Hand Movement - Move the scene

*Right Grip Hold/Toggle -  From any builder mode you can swap to camera mode by holding the right hand grip button.  Additionally for vive users I added an option to make this a sticky grip (press to toggle on/off) since its uncomfortable to hold the grips for long periods of time.

File Manager - Left Controller DPad
While the file manager is active, left and right go forward/back pages.  Either up or down will return you to the last page.  The left DPad is not used for anything else in the builder tools.

Menus - Activated with Main Hand Button Presses when the 3D cursor is near the button.

Mode Controls: (Controls that are mode specific)
Right Button Press - Action - Vive Right Trigger / Oculus Touch Right Trigger or A Button.
*This button is used for some sort of primary action based on the mode.

Left Button Press - Back - Vive Left Trigger / Oculus Touch Left Trigger or X Button.
*This button has some undo type effect such as back or delete based on the mode

Hold Left Grip + Right Trigger Press - Shortcut - (Oculus Touch can press just B optionally)
*This button is a shortcut for common actions based on the mode.

Scaling - Up/Down
Cycling - Left/Right
*In most cases this is holding instead of pressing

(Additional Shortcuts could be possible and might come as user created options later.  But for now I feel it just complicates things to use more buttons.)

Mode Specific:

Select Object Mode: (The object nearest to your cursor is highlighted)
  • Action - Pickup (Go To Place Object Mode)
  • Back - Ignore object for this round (For when an object gets in the way and you cant target what you want)
  • ShortCut
    • Pose-able object -> Go to Pose Detail Mode without picking up object
    • Event object -> Activate Event
  • Up/Down - Adjust Cursor Distance
  • Left/Right - Reserved - Coming Soon

Place Object Mode: 
  • Action 
    • Normal Object - Stamp Copy of Held Object
    • Pose-able Object - Drop Object (Go To Pose Detail Mode)
  • Back - Delete Held (Go To Select Object Mode)
  • ShortCut - Drop Object (Go To Select Object Mode)
  • Up/Down - Scale object
  • Left/Right
    • Normal Object - Rotate object in hand
    • Pose-able - Cycle Initial Pose (Can only be done once per new model)

Pose Detail Mode (Basic Version):
  • Action - Toggle Joint Rotation on/off (When on rotating controller, rotates the joint)
  • Back - Drop Object (if held) and Go To Select Object Mode
  • ShortCut* - Pickup Object in left hand
    • This is a slightly modified ShortCut key that only requires the left grip press
  • Up/Down - New Features Coming Soon (open/close selected hand/finger)
  • Left/Right - New Features Coming Soon (cycle selected hand/finger)

*Play Test mode controls are simply left stick for movement and Right hand presses for Action/Jump.  Custom Lighting modes have been removed for redesign.

Menu Commands: Menus that are activated with the 3D cursor will drive most everything else that is needed.
  • Layer Selecting
  • Layer Visibility
  • Position Locks
  • Save/Load/Exit
  • Grid Visibility Toggle
  • Start Play Test Mode
  • Choose Background/New Lighting System
  • Etc

News: 8/7/2017

Just wanted to share a preview video of a few features I am working on for Version 3.0.  Should be ready in a few weeks!

3.0 Features:
World Building - Link multiple dioramas together to create worlds instead of single scenes.

In-game Keyboard - No more blind typing or generic file names

Object highlighting - So you know what your about to pick up for sure! =P

Title Screen - Yup... a real one! =P

Calibration on startup. So scenes don't load in your face.

New viewer mode with better organized player created scenes.

Player set viewpoints - See the world as the author intended!

New control setup - In-game menus will drive everything. Required controls will just be 1-3 buttons depending on the mode. Menus will activate when looked at and have controls used on the current mode.  (Looking into custom hotkeys)

3rd Person character sandbox mode. Move, Jump, Action. Simple controls, think "build your own platformer". More actions will be added later.  (Check out the preview video in the MR Adventures Page.)

And more!


News: 7/25/2017

New website launched!  More updates coming soon.