Community Garden gets a big update

I’ve been a bit silent lately thinking about the direction of Community Garden. Getting a large scale persistent world working in VR was no easy task. While this was a first for VR and cool, it’s not very fun. Now that I have a platform to build on, my goal is to create a fun experience for players.

Survival Gameplay

In order to provide more gameplay elements to Community Garden, I’ve added survival gameplay. Players must eat to stay alive. You’re health will degrade over time. You will know how hungry you are by your field of view and the sound of your stomach. If you fail to eat, you will die and return to your apartment.

Food is scattered around the world but is found in greater density in certain places. 

New controls

You can now choose between blink teleport and instant teleport. This should improve some players immersion in the game. You can choose this by pressing the menu button on your controller and selecting the movement button.

Server

After some struggle, I’m now able to run Community Garden on a much larger server configuration. I’m hoping this means less timeouts for players.

World

I’ve expanded the world to about 12 sq miles or 31 sq kilometers.

Performance

I’ve made some tweaks to help with performance on lower end PC’s.

Check the game out on Steam.

The first month running a persistent virtual reality world on SpatialOS

Thank you to everyone that tried out Community Garden. My main goal with this release to Steam Early Access wasn’t to release a final product but to get something real in front of players right now. SpatialOS has not been easy to work so gathering real world data is important. The result, I felt was very positive. So many people have downloaded and tried out Community Garden. There has been some good discussion on the Steam Discussion Forums. I even had a chance to meet people in world and discuss the future of Community Garden. I was able to fix a number of bugs as well. The following is the top feedback I received.

Top Feedback

  • Add community goals for all players to work towards.
  • Fix physic lag issue when throwing items.
  • Make the world bigger.
  • Handle player bad behavior issues.

The lag issue when throwing is definitely an issue that will need to be addressed. It breaks immersion and can be frustrating. Bad player behavior also has a potential to be a big problem. Right now players can spam seed box creation and throw items outside the reach of other players. This will take some thought to fix but right now it’s not a priority because the world needs to grow and become more interesting before worrying about what players will do with it.

The next steps for Community Garden is to add community goals and to scale the world using procedural generation. This will give players more to do and keep them in world longer. I will post some more on this later.

Community Garden Alpha Release

Community Garden is getting an Alpha release. This is an early build of the game that you can sign up for by going to the Community Garden site and signing up. My goal is to get people in world testing both the social and simulation aspects of the game. I’m hoping that by getting people interested in a virtual reality game running on Improbable’s SpatialOS, Improbable will be interested in supporting VR once again.

Blog Post: https://www.communitygardenvr.com/blog/2017/9/3/cbrh8l5w2ggso2secl3p0uzbp5ntcy