A New Hero Arrives | State of Matterless #43
A new warlock joins our order, we build audio and visual feedback systems for our hand tracker, and upgrades are afoot in Floorcraft: Arena.
A New Hero Arrives
Please give a big welcome to Marko Tatalovic , our new technical artist! Hailing from Serbia, Marko is tasked with establishing and maintaining production pipelines and workflows so our artists can produce high-quality 2D and 3D art and visual effects. In his own words:
Making games always seemed like a far-fetched fantasy, and for the longest time, I never tried pursuing that dream. That changed about 10 years ago when I discovered Blender and learned to model in 3D. Working as a freelancer and in startups, there was always some kind of work no one knew how or wanted to do. Being a curious person, I followed the road least taken, and that led me to the technical side of art, where I learned about graphics programming.
Driving Floorcraft Forward
Left: current version of Floorcraft: Arena. Right: Updated with larger hovercar and replaced Brake button with Add Obstacle.
The team has been driving forward with a multitude of updates to Floorcraft: Arena. Our Principal Unity Engineer Andreas, who has taken the reigns of our AR toy car app, reports:
After launching Floorcraft: Arena, we focused on moving our codebase to a scalable production-ready codebase. Simultaneously, we spent more time doing QA and regression testing to identify and squash bugs.
We also made gameplay improvements following feedback from our users and our internal testing. These include:
- Increasing the hovercars’ size so that they’re easier to see when racing on the ground
- Adjusting their maximum speed
-Replacing the brake button, which offered no gameplay value, with one that adds obstacles
Also, check out the new background music and sound effects our sound guru Dusko added to the splash screen; a small but significant inclusion to get you in the mood to race and crash!
These changes will be included in an upcoming update. Following that, the team will be updating the app’s networking solution to the ConjureKit’s Entity Component System (ECS), which will improve the stability and scalability of the multiplayer experience, before implementing the UI and UX changes we covered in our previous update.
Making AR Interactive
Our hand reconstruction technology is one of the major linchpins that makes a Matterless augmented reality experience uniquely interactive. Following the release of hand interaction for Incos last summer, the team has been busy augmenting this feature (pun intended :) with various effects that will add aural and visual feedback. In particular, Unity engineer Darko has been developing object proximity and depth recognition systems for the hand tracker.
There are three components to this system that have a unique role in perfecting the feature: Audio attenuation, visual proximity, and haptic feedback.
Above is a look at audio attenuation. There are two layers to this — the first is a linear audio effect that increases in intensity as you get closer to the pet. The second layer triggers when you touch an AR object. For Incos, Darko built an algorithm designed to replicate the sound of a hand petting a creature.
For the visual proximity component, Darko added depth visual effects that get larger as you approach the pet. When a hand makes contact with the Inco, it activates a glowing wireframe effect that follows said hand as it moves around. We’re in the process of calibrating this effect to get the right amount of reactivity without making it seem too much like your hand is a mobile X-ray machine!
Visit our Discord to learn more about our AR magic and share your thoughts, and for those of you in the States, have a happy Thanksgiving!
— Kerwin, community manager