This past weekend I participated in TOJam, a 3 day game jam based in Toronto. It was a hectic weekend, but a lot of fun. I had already decided to expand on my last game jam idea about echo location: Echo Chamber. This time I was determined to make sound and music the core game interface, and I think I’ve succeded in Harmonia.
If you find the screen shots confusing, it’s because they probaby are. You really need to see the game in motion, preferably via the Oculus Rift, to really get a sense of what the game is like.
Harmonia was designed to be used with the Oculus Rift, but is now playable without VR equipment. However the game does require a Mic to play.
The basic premise is very simple: you interact with the world using sound, your voice, a musical instrument or just by blowing on the Mic. Harmonia is an exploration focused experience, with two playable levels.
VR Mode: Mouse will turn your around and the left Mouse button to moves forward
Non-VR Mode: Mouse will look and turn, the left Mouse button to moves forward (WASD also works)
Sound & Microphone:
The game is hardcoded to use the first Mic in your system, so will hopefully “Just work” for most people. It works best if you have a hand-held or movable mic, since it helps to shout/blow into the microphone at times.
Your only input other than movement is sound. You’ll need to be able to hit certain pitches/notes to succeed. You’ll need to sing, whistle or hum from time to time, so it helps to have a musical instrument near by if you have trouble. I used a cheap electric keyboard when developing, but any instrument should work.
It can be hard to play if your environment isn’t quiet, or you’re unable to make a bit of noise.
Being a game jam game, the scope of Harmonia is of course quite limited. There were a lot of features, designs, tricks and techniques I wanted to try out but simply didn’t have the time. Also in the journey of creating a game like this – where even the basic inputs are new, with no existing preconeptions or best practices to follow – you learn a lot along the way. So there’s a lot of room for improvement both in execution and design.
However I’m quite happy with the final result, I think as a proof of concept it works quite well, and just about everyone who tried Harmonia was able to expereince something novel.
A new version of Heroes of a Broken Land has been released!
Lots of fixes and improvements this time most notibly a minor change to how status effects are handled, where now the most powerful effect will take precidence (cast Poison and the Decay, the Decay effect will take priority). Plus, there is now an icon for Haste, Chill and Burn statuses. Also a lot of fixes and adjustments to Golem character building.
Here’s the full changlist for 1.5:
Add icons for Haste, Chill and Burn statuses
Healing spells now ignore resistance
Status inflicting skills now inflict the stronger version (Decay will override Poison)
Added more messages to battles
Golem could not learn Shock Proof
Golem stat cost increased
Golem skill level requirements increased
Golem stat adjustment UI improved (hold mouse down)
Fix bug where Golem could learn skills by adjusting level up and down
Added message to clarify Golem is delivered to home town
Added icon to show purified dungeons
Elemental lord messages updated, spawn near pillars
Rebalance monster types found in dungeons
Fix classes found in Jail cells
Reduce the amount of Adventurer recruits (new heroes only change class once)
Clairfy Gladiator class description
Clarify Storm spell descriptions
Fix incorrect wording in Trade Dispute event
Fix Void shrine giving XP to all parties
Thieves guild UI tweak
Tweak Ghost Rat stats
Improve slowdown on really large dungeon logs
Fix issues where objects would not fade properly during battle
Fix Frostbite being learned during battle
Fix upgraded skills remaining in Favorites list
Added self-patching to Linux versions (will take affect in future updates)
After releasing Heroes of a Broken Land on Monday, I was pretty rushed to get ready for the Toronto Global Game Jam. This was my first Game Jam so I was pretty excited, the organizers did a great job and a lot of fun was had by all.
I took the opportunity to dust off my Oculus Rift Dev Kit, which I’d been ignoring for far too long. I wanted to put together something that was technically interesting to me and also made use of the unique interface of VR.
It doesn’t look like much with our a Oculus head set, but the premise is really simple: you see by echo location. It’s not the first game to try this out, heck I don’t think it’s even the first one called Echo Chamber! Still, I’m happy with the result and am finally able to share my first “complete” Oculus Rift demo.
A year in the making, Heroes of a Broken Land is finally done! Combining the best of old school dungeon crawling and large world strategy, plus prodedural generate for a new adventure each time you play, Heroes of a Broken Land is not to be missed!