Rejoice! Today we officially take the wraps off VRMT (working title), a new VR creation game and worldbuilding tool we’ve been working on for a couple months. Aiming to be something between Minecraft (a little creation game you might’ve heard of) and Maya (more what I mean by “worldbuilding tool”), VRMT gives you a set of props and tools with which you and your friends can create environments. Much inspiration comes from Bruce Branit’s short film Worldbuilder.
On one hand, VRMT is a creative, social, potentially meditative standalone game where you and your friends create spaces, experiences, and worlds together. I want to take what I love about creating stuff in programs like Maya, and give normal non-3D-art-geek people some of that creation-joy. In fact, that’s been my driving force with all game projects I’ve touched; VRMT is a little more direct about it than the others.
On the other hand, VRMT can actually be used in a game / 3D pipeline. You can build a new art pack in a 3D package, bring it into VRMT (currently requiring going through us; open art-modding coming later), lay out the environment, and then load that environment up in any other piece of software. VRMT scenes are saved as local JSON files, readable by all (especially Unity, with our free JSONObject). We’ll soon be dogfooding this idea by using and integrating VRMT as the level editor for CosmoKnots.
Looking ahead, the plan is to add many more tools, including architecture tools (create walls, stairs, bridges, etc), curve tools (populate curve with props, loft surfaces, etc), and the CosmoKnots internal level layout tools (mostly abstract generators based on Maya’s Duplicate Special tool). The tools should eventually be implemented in an interpreted Python layer, letting users edit and add their own. We also intend to add a basic action sender/receiver system, similar to Minecraft’s Redstone. And of course more and bigger artpacks are forthcoming. And multiplayer. And more inputs, and non-VR mode. And voxel terrain (the smooth kind). Hoo boy.
And the most exciting news of all: VRMT is available for download
right now SO SOON (I’m fixing a few glaring bugs, and waiting for an update to the Oculus SDK to work better with the version of Unity we’re using). It currently requires an Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra, so that’s a very small pool of people, namely fellow VR devs and enthusiasts, who can actually play it right now, but that’ll change as we add support for more platforms — other inputs, and non-VR mode — and as VR hits the mass market in the near future.
This is a very exciting time. As you can tell, this has been a passion project which I’ve really enjoyed working on so far, and have been wanting to pursue for years: I first saw Branit’s film, and was inspired to create such a thing, before we started Defective. At last, our skills and experience, and the technology, have converged to make this possible. Furthermore, working on a designed-for-VR project is a sci-fi dream made real, and a major reminder of why we’re doing this indie thing in the first place: this is the kind of thing that we simply wouldn’t be able to work on, at least not until after the future-tech dust had settled and the market matured, at a big established game studio. In other words, this has been a very refreshing and inspiring thing to work on.
There’s much to be done, and I’m eager to stop writing this and jump back into development, and couldn’t be more excited to be letting the project out to the world today. It’s gonna be an interesting ride, and we hope you’ll enjoy taking it with us.