Next up for Archean

This post is about my VR worldbuilding project, Archean.  It’s on my personal blog because I’m not quite ready to make this super-official, as I’m still gathering feedback (let me know what you think!), and looking forward to discussing it with other devs at Vision Summit next week.  But, a number of friends have reached out (thank you!) asking for my reactions to the Unreal VR editor news and what it means for Archean, so I wanted to put something up… and here we are!

On Unreal VR, and Kickstarter

In short, while it was great to see it, Unreal’s VR editor wasn’t a surprise: they and Unity have talked openly about native VR editor support for a while.  Its reveal hasn’t changed where I’m going with the project, and I’ll lay out the next steps for Archean in a bit.  

What the Unreal announcement has changed is my optimism about doing a Kickstarter right now.  If you know this project and/or me, you probably know that I’ve been talking about doing a Kickstarter for ages.  Long story short, I very much wish I had gotten it wrapped up and out the door late last year, but at this point feel that the timing is wrong, and that Archean in its current form is too much like Unreal and Unity’s VR editors to get potential backers really excited.  I may yet do a crowdfunding campaign in the future, to build a team and deliver a large-scale, super-polished “Archean v2”, but this isn’t the moment for that.  So of course I’ve been feeling pretty down, as I’ve put a lot of time and energy into a number of iterations of the Kickstarter, but I’m keeping optimistic, moving forward, and am extremely excited to put all that time and energy into what comes next for Archean!

With those out of the way… my favorite subject: The Future!

With the recent work I’ve been doing on the logic-building tools (which I was going to put out an update on, the day Unreal showed their editor), I’ve been preparing to launch into a new chapter for the project, which I’m super excited about: actually dogfooding Archean, by building a series of small games on top of and using Archean!

For the next couple months, I plan to release a new VR mini-game, built with Archean, each week.  Each will either feature Archean’s worldbuilding tools as the game’s level editor, or worldbuilding as an actual gameplay mechanic.  The plan is that each of these games can both stand on their own, and will also improve and refine Archean as a whole.  

Another aim of these games is further cross-platform support: each game will focus on a different platform.  One week will be a game designed for Gear VR, the next, a Vive game, etc.

Each of these will be released as standalone games (again, each containing the Archean toolset as its level editor, or as part of the gameplay), and Archean itself will also be released as a standalone creation app, for the Vive, Rift, Gear, Cardboard, Tango, and non-VR mobile & PC.  

I’ll be at the Vision Summit next week, and sticking around LA for the week visiting family, but will hit the ground running on this plan when I return in the middle of February.  

As I mentioned at first, this thought process is in-progress, and not yet official.  Please let me know what you think!

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