Studio Mystery is a small studio located in beautiful Portland, Oregon. We are a small team, including veterans from the special effects and game industry. We are currently working on two VR titles, one an arcade shooter and the other a space-based adventure game. Check back often for updates, screenshots, demos and out latest news.
Well, mission accomplished for 'Trip VR.' The plan was to take a game from conception to the app store, learn all of the pitfalls, choke points, legal realities...
Finishing a game is really hard work. I am sure that many of you have been there. We are proud of getting this far. If we make some money that would be good, but more importantly we know what to expect, how to plan and more importantly, budget game projects.
Some of us come from a lean startup environment and plan to apply some of those concepts to making games. You will probably see a few different prototypes from us here, looking for a vein that drives traction. When we are successful, we will take all of what we have leaned, the connections we continue to make, and then invest the time and hard work it takes to cross the line to a finished project.
Thanks to IndieDB, all hose here and the entire indie community for helping us out, for the encouragement, the testers. At the end of the day it is all about the love of the game!
During the production of our game projects, we have made great use out of resources available on the net, free models, textures, tutorials and code samples. Along the way we gathered bookmarks and have since decided to assemble them into a blog for internal use and as a resources for other gamers.
The name Airtight Garage, for those who don't know, comes from a graphic novel from the famed French artist Jean Giraud, or Moebius. If you are not familiar with his work, we highly recommend reading some of his graphic novels, they are epic in scope and he has a unique ability to craft captivating stories.
We are sorting all of our posts by tags, and will soon add a menu to link up posts from a list of categories which will include models, tutorials, programming, textures and inspiration.
Most of the assets we will feature are free, however high quality low cost resources will be included as well. This blog is a way for us to stay current with what is available and give something back to the community. It is really amazing the quantity and quality of free resources out there.
Visit our game resources blog here: Airtightgarage.tumblr.com<
Or follow us on Twitter where we will be posting game resources daily: Twitter.com
Also be sure to check out our latest game "Trip" for VR, iOS and Android.
We have finally gotten around to upgrading the website for Trip. We now have what could be a release candidate, with all of the levels in place and the bugs ironed out. However we will continue development through at least the weeks following Betacon.
We got some help with the brand and art direction and have updated many aspects of the games look. The experience is now more meditative, although we have kept the quick pacing and sense of acceleration that makes Trip the game that it is.
We have been in touch with many different artists that are interested in being part of the project. We are narrowing things down and are really pleased with the quality of music that we are finding fo0r the game. Things have gone in more of an ambient direction, but there are still some trance and techno style tracks.
We have all of the release tracks up on Soundcloud. You can liten to them here:
We are so excited. We are getting a booth and will have two VR setups, some tablets and beta invites for people and hopefully some swag of some kind. We have been getting great feedback so far, but we are really looking forward to demoing the game on the showroom floor and getting first-person reactions.
Shortly following Betacon, we will be going in for a final push and releasing version one of the game for iOS, Android, MacOS and PC. The VR experience will require a Google Cardboard, GearVR or equivalent setup, but is not at all necessary. The game is a blast in virtual space, but the tablet and mobile versions have come along really nicely.
We have put up one level demos for both PC and Mac on our IndieDB page today. This is a one level demo with mines, powerups and electrified centipedes that need to all be destroyed.
Trip was originally designed for VR, and is currently in beta. If there are those with Google Cardboard and an iPhone and want to help, email us here: email@example.com.
The final game is 9 levels and is set to launch shortly after the beginning of the summer. We have 8 complete levels, and are working on collision art and adding more enemies, reaching out to electronic artists and dialing in the art.
If there are electronic musicians that are interested in participating, we would like to hear from you as well!
There has been a lot going on with the business side of Trip. We will be attending Betacon here in Portland and have been reaching out to groups about the possibility of exhibiting our game. If you are able to attend this event, it looks like it will be a good one. The indie game scene has really grown up in our rainy little town and this event is filling up fast. All of the early bird tickets are gone, so if you think you might be able to make it, grab your tickets soon. If you have any questions about the city, how to get around, places to stay, etc., please feel free to reach out. We would be happy to provide some recommendations.
We have also met with the producer over at Mystik Sound in San Francisco about helping to find more and better music for the game. We are really amazed at the level of quality music that we have been finding and the artists that we have been working with are very supportive.
The iOS beta is also coming along really well. People had a lot to say and that meant some significant changes and coding sessions. The game is much better for the effort. The targeting system has been completely rewritten and the touch controls for mobile and tablet has also seen a major upgrade that greatly improves that experience. We are still looking for people with iPhones with VR Headsets to help out. You can reach me here to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
Level 6 ended going in a bit of a different direction, One comment that we have been getting is that the psychedelic colors start to get a bit repetitive and we are looking at some other art directions that do not stray too far from our brand.
New enemies and challenges are also in the works. Missile shooting ships, snakes that emit bolts of lightning and bouncing mines bouncing are some new challenges and we are definitely interested in hearing ore about what kind of boss battles people would like to see for the final levels.
Our plan is to offer 4 levels of the game for free with 4 or 5 available as an in app purchase. We are still building for iOS, android, PC and Mac with both VR and non-VR modes.
We are well ahead of target and might be submitting our final app for review the first week of June, if not sooner.
Thanks so much to everyone that has provided feedback so far. People are really enjoying the gameplay and playing levels multiple times. There has been some call for endless levels, but so far we are planning to have each level have a beginning and an end, with the player needing to build up enough energy, by destroying things, avoiding being hit and picking up power-ups, to cause a spectacular collision/explosion at the end. It has been suggested that the end sequences be saved for use as screen savers. We will also probably include trophies for accomplishments, probably extending the particle accelerator metaphor, with the discovery of various real and fictional subatomic particles.
We are changing the name of our game. We have discussed this internally and reached out to some industry contacts about choosing something with more reach. Players often remark about the sense of movement and how our game feels like a voyage. Our initial thought was to focus on the arcade aspect, but the sense of movement is starting to play a bigger role.
Trip seemed like a natural choice. Add the psychedelic nature of the colors and the techno music, and it is a natural. Something witty, short, descriptive and fun.
We have also cut our first teaser to show off the gameplay.
Things are moving along really quickly. There is still another push, but we have 6 complete levels and all of the UI completed for both VR, desktop and tablet. We are still on target to be on test-flight by the end of the month and looking at a launch as early as April.
Please feel free to let us know how you feel about our new name and the gameplay so far. We are moving beyo9nd tunnels, and adding more destroyable barriers as well as implementing new enemies and goals.
We found this video by Nerdwriter and it hit on some core concepts that we have been talking about in the studio.
The concept of identity, how spaces help shape who we are as individuals, is very relevant to gaming. VR takes this to another level, but even the console experience can have a trans formative effect. We have all spent hours, if not days working through levels of a particularly challenging game. To what degree does this make the game part of who we are?
They have done an experiment on a few different occasions, where people were asked to wear special glasses including special optics that turned the world upside down. It took some time, but after several days, the world started appearing the right way around. Our brains adapt to the situations that we are in. If we spent months in a VR mech simulator, would we start to 'become' the mech? What if our sense of touch, hearing and smell were wired to sensors of a remote control robot or drone?
It will probably be some time before we get so lost in virtual avatars that we forget who we originally were, however as the tech progresses we will include a set of virtual identities we adopt for work, gaming and networking.
Perhaps we already do.
We allotted a fair amount of development time to getting Google VR up, running and dialed in. I am happy to say that this was not necessary. All that was needed was downloading the SDK, dragging in the GvrViewerMain prefab, and making sure to have a default camera in the scene. Our game has been designed from the beginning with VR in mind, so much of the legwork on the camera was already coded, but how quickly this came together was still a pleasant surprise.
There are many settings with VR that can be explored, and there are some features we are still experimenting with, but the basic camera was just a matter of dropping in the proper object.
It was a good thing that the VR setup ended up went smoothly. The touch input for the tablet version of the game was much more challenging. We tried a variety of off-the-shelf components to emulate the desktop trackpad, and many got close, but in the end, not close enough.
We ended up writing our own controller which actually went rather quickly. In the end we arrived at an intuitive setup and a Tablet/Mobile experience which is a good approximation of what is happening on the desktop. This game is really at its best in VR, however.
With all of the technical issues out of the way, we can now get down to the business of dialing in the remaining 5 levels. They come together quickly and we hope to be on TestFlight by the end of the month. We have concluded the desktop beta and are now looking for users with a Google Cardboard or equivalent to test the app on their mobile devices. You can reach us here about the beta program: email@example.com.
We have been getting great feedback so far and people are really enjoying the game. There has been a fair amount of comments about adding more interesting enemies, so we are working hard on that. Expect electrified targets, segmented snakes and more static walls that need to be destroyed.
Here are some of the mines and menaces that you will encounter while playing Proton Star. The focus is on arcade action with this game, collecting power ups, knocking out targets, chasing alien spacecraft. It looks like we might be pushing our launch date up (believe it or not!) Things are starting to come together. Stay tuned for more updates!
We are still looking for beta testers for ourdesktop app, please contact us here if you would like to help out! firstname.lastname@example.org
Our arcade action game Proton Star is starting to come together.
We have finished the main gameplay mechanic and have everything working in VR. We are looking for about 10 more beta testers, so please contact us here: email@example.com if you would like to help out. The demo is for desktop only, but it gives a good sense of where the VR experience is going.
This game is all about arcade action and beating high scores. The mechanic is simple and the music upbeat. The result is a low stress shooter that is exhilarating and fun to play. You can track our progress on this blog and things will start moving pretty quickly. We have a bunch of cool new enemies and are wrapping on 4 complete levels.
The final game with have 9 levels, each increasing in difficulty. Our main push is for iPads and VR, but there will be a desktop game and probably a mobile build as well. We will also be posting gameplay videos shortly.
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