State of Matterless #27
A new sprint has started! As we march onward to build 0.6, here’s a look at how our developers are crafting matterless magic.
Shady Shiba Shaders
Improving the shared experience of the Incos app is a top priority because, after all, augmented reality that isn’t shareable is not any kind of reality but a hallucination. Think about it — if an AR creature is only something you can see, then it feels weird to try to explain it and show it to someone else. If you give away your phone so they can see it, you're left there standing next to nothing like a crazy person.
Reality can only be experienced if shared.
One aspect that greatly enhances a sense of digital being real is being able to distinguish your Inco from other users. Recently, our 3D artist Merlin has been experimenting with procedural shaders on our Shiba model.
Utilizing custom color ID maps to mask off sections of the model through RGBA channels, we can customize it with unique fur patterns and color options for the eyes, chest, back, and more. We will use data from a user’s unique ID to derive a unique combination of fur patterns and color combinations, resulting in a bespoke matterless Shiba that is distinct for each account. We believe this instills a stronger sense of ownership within each user! Custom Shiba colors will be in build 0.6, so support our Patreon to access our closed beta and own your unique digi-doggo.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Ensuring that the key features of our apps, such as instant calibration, positional accuracy, and hand reconstruction, meet our design requirements and function as intended is a complex task. This is the domain of QA tester and expert bug squasher, Thomas! With the recent release of our Incos app’s hand interaction feature, you can imagine Thomas spending a good amount of time in the prior weeks petting his AR Shiba in a variety of circumstances. Then, he relayed his findings to the team to improve the hand tracking precision. Other challenges for the QA department include adjusting our code after switching to the new Auki SDK, and resolving issues with game audio fading in and out, as well as re-scanning another player’s QR code.
In addition to manual tests like this, others are simpler and more repetitive; testing the communication between the Incos app and the server is a time-consuming but critical process. To cut the time and cost of backend tests Thomas is developing a framework that can automate them. He continues to prove invaluable at keeping our development progress on target. Some heroes don't wear capes.
Sounding Off on Dogs and Cars
Let's dive into aural design. Dusko has been developing effects for both Incos and Floor It (the name of our hovercar app). With the former, he’s crafted sound effects for the Inco spawning into the world by keyframing the spawning animation to the effect of evoking a magical feel better when the Inco appears. Another effect he incorporated is touch-response signaling when the app has registered an interaction with your hand. That means you will get one more sense in congruence the moment you try petting a digital creature. You can both see and hear the moment you are close to the space a digital being is in. We’re experimenting with different concepts for this sound, so let’s see what the team settles on by the time the next build rolls in!
For Floor It, Dusko studied different types of propulsion and thrusters to figure out what our hovercars should sound like as they speed across the ground. He then programmed an array of synthesizers to generate vehicular sounds simulating different kinds of propulsion. The main types of sounds include internal combustion engines and electromagnetic crackles. The next step is to create a modular sound library. Then we can mix these different engine sounds and create something that Dusko and the rest of the team agree would suit a hovercar best.
So much more is happening on our Discord, so join and have a chat with us.
— Kerwin, social media manager