We already know the Oculus Rift is the perfect tool for immersing players within cockpits, but I was unsure until I played SuperBike TT whether they might similarly benefit motorbikes. The narrow straddle-rockets can cause problems with positional awareness even without a head-mounted display, but the indie project currently on both Greenlight and Kickstarter suggests threading the racing line in VR could be thrilling.
Recently being thrust into the development of new Oculus VR project via our Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/264944598/superbike-tt-for-oculus-rift), I was keen to get the latest info on best user practices on proper VR implementation directly from the folks at Oculus last week @ GDC. Having attended 2 different Oculus talks during the conference, I noticed that Oculus was directing developers to their “best practices” guide during their discussion of current facing issues of the recent hardware developments.
VR sickness and general user discomfort seemed to be on the forefront of everyones’ minds who were directly involved in VR development. Part of this issue is that the current Oculus development hardware, the DK1 does not implement position tracking on the user, an issue that has been addressed with the DK2.
Additional culprits for causing discomfort is latency, another issue partially solved in the DK2 by Michael Abrash and OLEDs. Another solution to latency relies firmly on developers, by maintaining at least a 75mhz refresh between frames. Another somewhat abstract suggestion appears to be more commonly used, to maintain a head-driven avatar which helps greatly to fully cement the state of VR presence.
Oculus Engineer Tom Forsyth suggested in his talk that developers utilize avatars with a “meat hook” type of control, allowing the head joint to act as a parent for the rest oxample being the PlayStation Project Morpheus Move wands being used (mostly with success) to control your VR presence with a GI Joe Kung Fu Grip. Even though I was encouraged by the Sony intern that was tasked with taking me through the Morpheus demo, I could not pick up anything that fell to the ground. I’m not sure if this was an issue of the mounting position of the IR camera, or what other technology gremlin was present, but there were still clearly issues to be worked out. Needless to say, most of the current day interfaces which exist are primitive and early drafts to the true wearable tech that the VR revolution will usher in.
Another somewhat bizarre suggestion from Oculus was to default the use experience to a “soft” mode, where the most extreme elements of the VR would be reduced, or all together removed for the sake of user comfort. After showing our demo at SXSW Gaming Expo, I was able to see firsthand what first-time rifters experience when trying a game dialed to 11. Using an adjustable setting system for effects and navigation in the VR simulation would solve this issue of turning off some players with unnatural movement or intense actions.
Only time will tell if Oculus becomes the next communication platform as facebook virtual chat or will remain the fetish of a niche group of tech hobbyists, but it’s rather easy to see why Oculus would prefer to make the experience as enjoyable for newcomers as possible.
The popular Mobile news site Animation Galaxy has released their coverage of Obama Fund Run!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Camille Osborne
December 19, 2013
Tiny Utopia Launches Two New Games On Mobile
Major Upgrades To Rally Racing Game
AUSTIN, TX – Tiny Utopia, LLC today announced the launch of its two newest mobile games, Obama Fund Run and Bear Pack, available for free on iTunes December 19th and 20th. It also announces a major update to their hit, World Rally Racing, also available for free download on December 20th.
Obama Fund Run is an endless runner game released just in time for the budget showdown going on in Washington this week. Players help the President pick up money to fund the government while avoiding pitfalls like the GOP, NSA spying, and government blockades. With fun graphics and easy controls Obama Fund Run represents a new venture into political satire. Whether players are Republican or Democrat they can cross the aisle and agree that this game is awesome.
Bear Pack is a spin-off from Tiny Utopia’s popular game, Soda Star. Players sort toy adorable teddy bears by color and pack them into crates. From switching levers to detonating bombs players must act fast to control increasing haywire toy factory. Great for kids and adults alike, Bear Pack lets the whole family in on the fun!
“We are very excited to release these two new games in time for the holiday season,” said Tiny Utopia Founder and CEO Neal Nellans. “2013 has been a great year for Tiny Utopia and these games are a reflection of the quality and diversity of options we are bringing to the mobile gaming community.”
In addition to two new games, Tiny Utopia has also overhauled its popular World Rally Racing app. The update includes a unique, new touch control system as well as un-lockable rally cars that players can modify. This allows players to customize their racing vehicles to best reflect their racing needs.
Tiny Utopia has released 6 mobile games this year.
Tiny Utopia is an independent development company that strives to bring quality, original artwork and fresh exciting experiences to mobile game players. Founders include Academy Award winning artists and a team of AAA game developers. Tiny Utopia develops and produces in-house original titles, such as Epic Mech Wars and Soda Star, as well as works with third party publishers and marketing teams to extend their existing brands into new interactive IPs. Located in Austin, Texas, Tiny Utopia’s staff focus on making great games, breakfast tacos and keeping it weird. www.tinyutopia.com.
Tiny Utopia LLC launched Soda Star Lite, a free to play version of it’s hit game Soda Star, exclusively on the iTunes App Store. Soda Star Lite allows players to demo nine levels of a soda factory gone haywire. Players have to sort bottles by color, avoid pitfalls and unlock surprises in order to master increasingly difficult levels and manage the factory. Targeted to audiences ages eight to adult, players can continue to more difficult levels by purchasing additional content.
Tiny Utopia, LLC released a free to play version of it’s hit game Soda Star exclusively on the iTunes App Store today. Soda Star, a fast-paced sorting puzzle game for ages eight to adult, was first launched in May to rave reviews. Soda Star Lite demo gives players a chance to preview a bottling plant gone haywire.
In Soda Star and Soda Star Lite, players sort bottles and pack them into similarly colored crates by switching levers to ensure bottles get on the right conveyer belt. Soda Star Lite gives audiences a chance to play nine increasingly challenging levels then continue by purchasing additional content for $.99.
“We’re excited to reach an even larger audience with Soda Star Lite,” said Tiny Utopia Founder and Lead Developer Neal Nellans. “Players will now get a chance to experience a demo version of this year’s hit game for free and hopefully want to play more.”
The full version of Soda Star is available for $1.99 through the iTunes App Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store.
* iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5, iPod touch (3rd/4th/5th generation), and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* Universal app optimized for display on all iOS devices
* 33.1 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Soda Star Lite is free to play and available worldwide through the iTunes App Store in the Games category. Soda Star is also available as a full paid version from Google Play and the Amazon App Store for $1.99.
Soda Star entices players with the promise of soft drink success before crushing them underneath the heel of industry. After all, what business represents conspicuous consumption better than soda? Like a true opiate of the masses though, this game is just too fun to notice how taxing it can get.
About a year ago, when Neal Nellans was looking for a new location for his video game studio, he was considering San Francisco or Austin.
But San Francisco, he said, was dominated by venture capital firms — while Austin had a much more robust independent gaming scene.
“I decided that Austin was more interesting because as far as independent (development), it seemed like there was more stuff going on to support (developers) — while San Francisco was more geared toward big venture capital firms.”
Specifically, Nellans pointed to an abundance of local meetups and conferences targeted toward helping developers like him.
And so he moved his company, Tiny Utopia, to town. It’s the kind of story those in the Austin video game scene would like to see more of — small employers like Nellans who create a web of independent studios to provide a buffer when large studios downsize.
As its name suggests, Tiny Utopia is a small developer that has released a handful of mobile games – most recently the all-ages game “Soda Star.”
The development team fluctuates, Nellans said, from six contractors at most, to just him doing programming solo.
Nellans has a 14-year career of making games, including stints for Dreamworks and Electronic Arts working on the “Medal of Honor” franchise.
Tiny Utopia’s goal, Nellans said, is to create “epic big screen arcade experiences” in the mobile games market.
And “Soda Star” has been welcomed by parents looking for more child-friendly fare. Nellans recalled showing off the game at a gaming event and hearing from grateful parents.
“A lot of the parents that came up to us were asking us, ‘Where’s the kids section?’” he said. “That’s when I realized that there was a huge need for more kid-centric based entertainment for video games.”
Reception has been positive for the game that requires players to handle soda bottles on a conveyor belt.
“All you have to do is ensure that the (bottles) end up in right box,” wrote reviewer Dinker Charak on the gaming site Gungroo. “With that simple premise but wonderful graphics and control switches, the game turns into an addictive experience”
Nellans’ goal is to release five or six games this year and continue scaling up the company as its games find traction in the marketplace. The studio is working on two more games currently, a racing and a golf title.
And a little more than a year into his Austin stay, Nellans said he plans on staying.
“I didn’t really want to be part of a company that already existed,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of something new and try to build a team in Austin of guys that were local here.”
This story continues on the Austin Statesman Website Here:
The conveyor belt is bringing in Soda bottles. All you have to do is ensure that the bottle end up in right box. With that simple premise but wonderful graphics and control switches, the game turns into an addictive experience.
Read the full review here:
Our newest game, Soda Star featured by the website The Indie Developer
While the audience might be new, Tiny Utopia’s seamless design and dazzling visual art remains. Every bottle and factory is rendered in beautiful 3D graphics by the powerful Unity 3D game engine. The game features stunning cartoon-like special effects and an original stereo soundtrack with real cartoon recordings.
Read the Full Article Here:
Tiny Utopia, indie developer of premium mobile applications and games, is pleased to announce the demo launch of Soda Star this weekend at SXSW gaming; a fast paced, action puzzle game due out next month for iOS and Android. Soda Starlets players control a out of control soda factory as they race to match various soda bottles in their packing crates before they are dropped or destroyed.
Read the Full Release on Gamasutra:
Head: Fast-Paced Action Puzzler Bottle Sorting App Announced for iOS & Android at SXSW Gaming
Sub: Soda Star by Tiny Utopia redefines the action puzzle category with next gen graphics, fast paced touch design, and deep gameplay.
Tiny Utopia, indie developer of premium mobile applications and games, is pleased to announce the demo launch of Soda Star this weekend at SXSW gaming Conference in Austin,Texas; a fast paced, action puzzle game due out next month for iOS and Android. Soda Star lets players control a out of control soda factory as they race to match various soda bottles in their packing crates before they are dropped or destroyed .
Soda Star is a competitive, single player puzzle experience where players square off for the best scores and flawless sorting by controlling multiple switch controls. Tiny Utopia will be featuring Soda Star as a playable on floor demo at the Austin IGDA booth during SXSW gaming at the Palmer Events Center this Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10. The game features stunning hand drawn animation special effects and original cartoon inspired 3D puzzle designs. Levels are navigated by a simple one-touch switch system, allowing players to act as the conductor for multiple interwinding tracks, diffuse destructive bombs, and open special gifts for secret items such as fruit, time-slowing cups of coffee and the legendary magic cola. As difficult progressed and new soda brands are added, the player faces increasingly more challenging micro managing to keep ever bottle in it’s correct crate. Each increasing challenge take place in 9 different progressive Soda levels.
You can watch the Soda Star Announcement Trailer Live here:
Neal Nellans, founder of Tiny Utopia and creator of Soda Star, has over 14 years of professional game making experience. After being awarded the Gold Medal for animation in the 25th annual Student Academy Awards, Nellans began work alongside Steven Spielberg first at DreamWorks SKG, then at Electronics Arts on the critically acclaimed WWII original, Medal of Honor. He would continue to work with the Medal of Honor series for the next 2 titles until he left to pursue other avenues. In 2010 he founded Tiny Utopia to create epic big screen arcade experiences in the tiny screen casual games market. Beyond Soda Star, mobile game titles that Tiny Utopia has released include Epic Mech Wars, Assassins, Formula Racing, and Stock Racing,
About Tiny Utopia:
Established in 2010 by a team of AAA game developers, with resumes that include work with Electronic Arts, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain, and Rhythm and Hues Studio, Tiny Utopia strives to bring quality original artwork and design to their clients while bringing fresh exciting experiences to players. Tiny Utopia develops and produces in-house original titles, such as Epic Mech Wars and Soda Star, as well as work with third party publishers and marketing teams to extend their existing brands into new interactive IPs.
Robot-on-robot violence with a fairly significant caveat.
“Most people like gladiatorial combat. It’s been a significant part of human society for centuries. Roman gladiators, arm wrestling, boxers, “professional” wrestlers, MMA fighters, about 50% of Jean Claude Van Damme movies, there’s just something about it that pleases a great deal of folks. Naturally the next step is to use robots to cut back on medical expenses, however this particular robot brawler has a very significant drawback.”
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