A downloadable game
MINIATURE MULTIVERSE AS A CONCEPT began with a daydream of an idea - what if you could wander around visually detailed artistic miniature settings, like a really nice handcrafted model railroad layout or similar, in first person view?
Now I know I can do that. Not only will there be many dozens of panoramic-interface views captured inside handcrafted miniature art worlds, but they'll be integrated into the start of a bigger puzzle/adventure game that could well expand to 23 imaginative worlds or more, by the end of 2018, not with paid DLC but with free updates. I cannot 100% guarantee that I'll have the resources to reach that end goal and finish the story I've written (even though I've got a large series of documents outlining the design and storyline up to that point, but that is up to all of you. If enough of you are buying this my work on this project could continue for a very long time.
RELEASE IN FALL 2017. (probably late October or early November)
The reason I'm not giving you a clear date for release is I'm not sure how quickly I can wrap up the first launch and do so well, and attempts to set dates on other projects in the past have often ended badly.
PRICE AT LAUNCH IS $1.50, and that means a lot of extra work and more expenses, more assembly before release... but it also means all of you will be happier with the result. The price per world is 25 cents, so in other words, the first version released contains six worlds in all, along with the essential things a game of this sort needs to have, such as customizable graphics options, inventory system, save game slots and an autosave system, hotkeys, clear navigation, beautiful animations embedded in the panoramic interface and bringing it to life, transitions between views, ambient sound design, and so on. Initial worlds included in the first version are 'LOKUS', 'PRYME', 'VYRSUL', 'CLIAK', 'SEDEST', and one secret small sixth one which is only accessible to those who wish to solve a simple puzzle embedded in the world design.
YES, a puzzle. A relatively easy one, but still. I've heard the cries from those who want more than just a walking sim or virtual tour. There are a lot of adventure gamers who are looking at this and asking for substance, narrative and puzzles. I wasn't sure if it would be viable but it was always a hope in my creative vision as well. I'd had some ideas for that anyway, but was hesitant to move forward with them until now - not knowing how well the project would do from a sales standpoint, it was difficult to know how to tell a story when you don't have a clear idea of how long it should last or where it needs to end. Same goes for game mechanics and a string of puzzles that interconnect - better if you have a defined point to head towards and can plan for a particular goal.
The 'world 23' end point is a compromise and I hope this game sells enough that I can actually get that far along in the next couple of years. That would complete the main batch of interlocking puzzles as well as the story - it would be the point at which a conclusion is reached and the player's questions are answered. Anything updated beyond that in terms of story or puzzles would be tangential - worlds added on later as bonus, for the sake of the visuals and atmosphere and to reward the player for having made it to the end.
During initial launch, you will be able to explore the initial six worlds and tour them, and they should contain in excess of 50 panoramic nodes at time of release... but ideally it'll end up being over 200 by the time the last core update's posted and the story's done.
There is some digital animation blended in, usually the skies are by necessity, digitally added [otherwise when you'd look up you'd see the roof of my garage and the camera that's taking the picture!] and some other elements are likewise 3D. I felt that digital fluid simulation, for example, would move more nicely than a stop-motion or still ocean, and to that end I took a simple 3d version of the worlds as needed, and ran fluid simulation through that, reflecting low-res photogrammetric scans of the miniature worlds! It has been a long and computationally intensive process, and soon a lot of the results will be viewable on this page!
As for the game engine, this uses Unity 5.6.3, and the tour system makes extensive use of PlayMaker's visual scripting, along with other assets such as a bunch of very nice postprocess shaders and effects.
Between miniature supplies and handcrafting the models, the Unity assets, and the camera stuff, I think it has easily wound up being a multi-hundred-dollar effort that also involved a large amount of work and time on my part. And if it succeeds, or even if it does not, it's only the start. I'm fairly determined to hit the 23-world mark and finish the core story, even if it takes another 3 years and lots of personal costs [$1200+ and hundreds of hours] of developing free updates, but any expansion of the project beyond that [not only making worlds 7-23 but making them with better quality, bigger in scope, and developing them a little faster] generally depends on the project making at least a decent flow of sales.
You may have noticed that I am working on a long list of games - yes, realtime 3d adventure games - including Spiral Skies, Vortex, Panoramic Worlds, and Isola. I'm also doing a few other visually appealing game projects in other genres, such as a top-down arcade racer, a pinball game, and a miniature golf game which is called "Vivid Minigolf" but which uses miniature courses, thus resulting in the ongoing joke that it's 'miniature miniature golf'. And then there are some other unrelated things like a video channel, still art, stuff like that.
But bottom line: Any purchases you make here - buying Miniature Multiverse, or tipping, will go towards updates, and more creative work. It won't be wasted, I'll use it efficiently, primarily - first and foremost - for expanding this production but also to some extent for other creative work you will all likely enjoy seeing.
This is actually going to be a very lean independent development process, particularly given the fact that I have no salary included. It's a personal passion project, always has been. And 100% of any generous tips you give in support beyond the price on Itch.IO, are directed to expanding this specific project, they'll go nowhere else.
I'm optimistic that when this launches (soon) it'll be successful enough to sustain active development for a long time. If you're wondering where the images and video are, this is just the first draft of the page - a lot of visual stuff will be uploaded in a matter of hours. Until then, check out the official website, also rapidly developing, MiniatureMultiverse.com.
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