What’s Happening: End of the Year

Hey everyone!ย Hope you’re all enjoying the festivities. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone for playing! It’s heartwarming that so many people like the game so much, even though it’s in such a raw state. And thanks again to the people who’ve purchased the game. While I certainly can’t make a living out of the earnings yet, it does let me purchaseย things likeย a license for a multiplayer networking package. Everything is being put right back into development.

Back in October I wanted to do a quiet release, just something to keep folks happy while I worked on a first ‘proper’ release. Of course, there’s no such thing as quiet on the internet, and the game got way more attention than planned.ย Rock Paper Shotgunย andย PC Gamer USย both picked up on it for example, and many people enthusiastically shared the game with their friends.

While this was all very flattering, it also caused some pressure. Everyone was trying to play, but without configurable controls and a boatload of performance problems the game left a lot of people wanting. I thought I’d get some essential features done in about a week, which turned out to be a preposterous assumption.

Read what’s been happening since October below the jump.

So Where Is Volo 0.03?

You will no doubt be aware that 0.03 is still not available. That’s frustrating, both for you and me. The reason for the delay is twofold, but it basically comes down to my own inexperience. Please bear with me while I figure out how to be a game developer, I’m diving into the deep end here and I don’t have much swimming experience.


I do freelance game programming besides making Volo, and this is how I currently earn my living. It’s a rewarding experience, and I’m learning a lot from it, but it also means I can’t work on Volo full time. To make things worse I underestimated the scope of two paid projects! They took way more time than I anticipated, and thus weren’t particularly lucrative. I’ve since learned this is a very common problem for many starting freelancers, but it goes to show how much I still have to learn.

Deceptively Small Features

Configurable controls? Sure, how hard can that be. Keyboard and mouse support? Surely just a matter of remapping your keys. Split screen play? Just put two players into the scene, with two cameras, and everything should work, right?

Except no, none of those features are that simple.

Configurable Inputs

Unity doesn’t offer any built-in way to rebind inputs once you’re in the game. But other than rebinding keys in-game, I also want you to be able to map buttons to things the game reads as an analog axis, and vice versa. So it turns out the input configuration system needed a big, non-trivial solution.

Split Screen Audio

Unity doesn’t support multiple listening perspectives in your game. If you add two cameras, only one of them can hear audio. Theoretically this doesn’t mean you can’t do split screen audio, it just means you need to write a complicated, messy system that merges the perspectives of multiple players into one. Again, a non-trivial thing to implement.

(It turns out many Unity users run into the above problems, so I’m turning the above two systems into products for the Unity Asset Store. If you’re a developer and you want to help test them, contact me.)

Keyboard and Mouse Controls

Keyboards and mice are vastly different devices. Some lend themselves well to a particular game, some don’t. There’s a reason you don’t often play flight simulators and racing games with a keyboard, and that’s because keyboards don’t offer you a whole lot of control over the way those vehicles move. Volo requires a lot of nuance in user input, so to make it playable by keyboard means redesigning the way you play the game. So much so that it turns into quite a different game altogether. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means it takes time and consideration.

Other Things I’ve Been Working On

I’ve been occupied with more than just the features for 0.03. Here’s some highlights.


I’ve been playing with several Unity networking packages. I’ve narrowed my selection down to two, and I’m in contact with the developers of both to figure out which would be the best fit for Volo.

Level Creation

Finding a balance between interesting level design, graphical fidelity, scale and spacing is an interesting challenge. The levels are huge, and you can see everything in them from up high. At the same time we desire lots of detail when you’re skimming the mountain sides. You can’t just keep every little bit of detail in memory, nor can you afford to spend a lot of time rendering a very detailed tree that takes up less than a pixel of screen space because it’s miles away. This is a problem many games have tackled before, but every game has it’s own unique solution. I still need to work out what is best for Volo.

Sound Design and Music

A while ago I was contacted by Michael Manning, a sound designer with experience working on such titles as Transformers and DayZ. He told me he really liked Volo, and offered to help create audio for the game! Coming from a sound technology background myself, we were able to communicate quite well. After some brainstorming we have some very interesting concepts lined out. Procedural audio, tightly linked ambient music and sound, some actual narrative… We’re looking to give everything a sense of place, something more than just some geometry you can fly close to. I can’t wait until I can focus more on these things.

Community: Blog Comments & Feedback

I have to apologize to all the people who have commented on previous blog posts and have not heard back from me. I thought I was getting email notifications for all new comments, but instead I only get them when someone new posts. I missed a heap of feedback this way, which is a terrible thing. I’ll read through everything today and get back to you! If you left a comment in the earlier posts you might find a reply there now. You can also ask any questions again in the comments below.

This is also a clear indicator that we need better community tools, so I’m looking into forum, issue tracking and feedback solutions.

New Year’s Resolutions

I need to get into the habit of weekly updates. Both in the form of keeping you up to date on what’s happening, and producing actual releases of the game. I have to learn to chunk development up into manageable pieces, otherwise I get bogged down in details. I need toย Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Expect frequent updates. Demand frequent updates.

A Note On Crowdfunding

I’ve been asked repeatedly to do a kickstarter for Volo. While I like the idea, there’s several reasons why I feel I can’t.

If I do a kickstarterโ€ฆ

  • I have to know exactly what the game will look like when itโ€™s finished, and when that would be. I donโ€™t know either, nor do I want to. I need room to experiment.
  • I will suddenly have thousands of customers whom all have their desires and wishes. Having payed me, those customers will have bought considerable influence over the direction the game takes, and the direction of my attention. With the current way of thing I have a small group of enthusiasts providing me with valuable feedback, and thatโ€™s enough for the moment.
  • Managing a kickstarter campaign would consume a lot of my time. All of my time. That works okay for teams, but not for me.
  • Volo will take on the shape of a fixed product, meaning I work on it for a while, and then itโ€™s done. Instead, I favor a fluid approach like Minecraft, where the game is ever changing, adapting. I like the idea of continuous, organic growth.
  • It might not meet its target, and that has itโ€™s risks! With the current way of funding I know exactly how much the game is worth to people, and exactly where to put my efforts.
  • I would need to be quite proficient at scoping and planning. And as I’ve demonstrated time and again, I’m just far too inexperienced for that.

So maybe later. When the game has crystalized a bit more, and when I can be more confident in my estimations.

Thanks again for everything, you are all wonderful people. Blue skies!

  • tome

    Keep on keepin’ on! It’s already ace, and it’s got such a huge potential. Thanks for making it!

    • admin

      Thanks for sticking around, Tom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sheep

    This is incredible! I’m glad I recently bought an xbox controller ๐Ÿ™‚
    Do you plan on adding support for the Oculus Rift?

    • admin


      I plan on supporting the Oculus Rift, yes. I put my money in for a dev-kit in the first few minutes the kickstarter went up, so I’ll get one early next year. Oculus are working with Unity to have full API support ready on launch, so with luck it’s be quite easy to get working. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Sheep

        Great news! I ordered a dev-kit as well, can’t wait to try it out.

        • admin

          Ooh, can I ask what you’re working on? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Simon

    This post is a big christmas present for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Saeblundr

    Right, NOW i remember why i wanted to rewire my old xbox controller to USB. Will get on it tonight. I cant believe i forgot to try it out sooner, I have been sooooo keen on this project for what feels like forever!

    • admin

      Let me know what you think after you’ve played for a bit!

  • Ant

    It’s great to hear that you’re still hard at work on this. The result will be truly great. Keep it up!

  • Wvision

    Running a Logitech 310 Game Pad and it works great. Did wish I could map leg and arms open and closed to my right analog instead of camera movements. Wanted to get a little more control of my flights that way.
    Thanks for the test release and all your hard work! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • admin

      In the next version you’ll be able to remap all the controls in whatever configuration you want. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Wvision

        Sounds great! Thanks ๐Ÿ˜€

  • zachery j.

    WOW. After hours finally have the controls figured out. And might i say this is one of the most thrilling and realistic games i have ever played. Keep up the work. This thing is going far. And thank you!

    • admin

      Thanks so much for playing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Marc

    yeah for sure bud take your time and this will be what am i saying is a great game as is cant wait to c the future ! =) probly more and more epic vids hehe!

  • irratio

    finally some updates =) after searching other titles like this i found 2 other games made from students. and after playing them all i can say that the volo physics are the most accurate and best so far.

    but i think what is laking the most in volo is a goal. something to do. like rings to fly through or balloons to pop and fly trough. just small things would do an easy job and provide loads of fun.

    and finally i am wondering if im only too stupid to do back and frontflips or they dont exist! thats a huge lack ! we need body flips !!!

    greets and keep it on!

    • Thanks! Yeah, once I’ve made sure everyone can actually run and control the game as intended I’ll put in some basic objectives for you to play with, though freeform flight will always be an option.

      Flips are only possible in a limited form currently. I *think* you can only do them right when you spawn, but I’m not sure. When I get back to actually coding character motion I’ll enable you to curl up into a ball and do proper flips.

  • Marc

    Awesome news!
    I thought of this today while playing, similar to what irratio was saying about having a goal: Rock climbing gyms have just one layout (think map for volo) but they alter routes frequently to always give the climber something new and a new challenge. That could be an interesting concept for volo. Using rings, or maybe just colored path markers on the ground.

  • Trav

    Thanks so much for making this game!
    I figured the controls out in about 10 minutes. After that I started learning how to get close to the mountains and not crash. Up to now I’ve had around 2 hours of playing time non stop and I’m loving it!
    Thanks again for making this game.

    P.S. May I please have permission to post a video of Volo? I will put your websites like in the description if so.


    • Glad you like it! I would love it if you could upload a video, and you certainly don’t need my permission to do so. Lots of people have posted gameplay videos on Youtube already, in fact. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Trav

        Done the video. In fact, you even watched it. The channel was 164raptor

  • Tom

    I just wanted to send some thanks your way for this amazing game.

    It’s not something I play all the time, but I do have one specific Xbox controller I keep by my PC so I can start up Volo whenever I want. This game is such an awesome “chill-out” kind of feel. I play it before I go to bed, and I’m in the process of figuring out how to work out each button perfectly. As of yet, I’ve almost mastered the left joystick haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am having such a great time doing this, and I would love to help contribute in any way possible! I have a digital sketchpad, novice knowledge of Photoshop, and some art skills. I can whip up adverts, little logos, help with textures ingame, or anything you would possibly want. If I’m not needed, that’s cool too. Whatever keeps you working on this game ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s incredibly fun, provides a challenging interface that can be used in a *really* cool way when mastered, and IS JUST SO AWESOME. The sound effects are a lot of it, and just the way everything is! I still can’t believe how amazing Volo airsport is.

    Thank you for this game. It’s amazing


    • Heya Tom! Yeah, the game can be both thrill-inducing and very relaxing. I’m really happy it’s turning out that way.

      Is there anywhere I can check out your work online? I’m always curious to see what people make. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for playing, it’s much appreciated!

  • Wvision

    Has become a great casual game to throw on in between my projects. Here’s a few more lines I worked on today. Now I end up editing Volo Videos too ๐Ÿ˜‰ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDEr0LNPmw4

    Trying to run a line and rotate the camera is fun ๐Ÿ˜› took a few takes. Lots of Gravel Rash.
    Looking forward to next version and beyond.

  • Wvision

    Maybe have a few modes:

    Free Flight where no marks are on the map just pure pick your own line with a clean map

    Challenge mode with rings. Select your line on a map. Different Difficulties like Ski Runs.

    Ghost Mode. Basically Beat your last run.

    Chase mode where you set up some lines via AI or recorded data from other players and follow their smoke trail. The color of the smoke would change from Green where your on their tail, Orange or Red if your too far away then you have to start over if a timer runs out while your in the red. Kind of similar to cop chase games. They had this style in Mirror’s Edge too if I recall less the smoke.

    • Game modes will be added once I’ve got some more essential things done. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Trav

    One thing I think you should add on to this game is a parachute. I mean like, you’ve got the bag but it has no uses. You could bind the deploy key to something like left stick press or something?

    • Parachutes will make it into the game, but I want to give them the same amount of care that I’ve given the wingsuit so it will likely take a while.

  • randomname

    Nice to hear some progress.
    In case you’re interested I was able to play Volo pretty well with my mouse using a joystick emulator called “PPJoy” mapped to the x and y axis of my mouse movement, this reads in absolute values so you don’t have to constantly drag the mouse for input. The control config recognized it right away. An advantage of this is that you can always apply max input for both pitch and roll independently, Which you can’t on a controller (unless you split pitch and roll to separate thumb sticks) since the thumb stick is restricted to circular movement. This also works pretty well built into the “Project 64” emulator and “Live for speed” where you can simply map a mouse axis to a control.

    Also you absolutely positively need to try and add some form of propulsion option so we can go Yves Rossy-style. Even if it’s something as simple as pressing “A” to apply/extert a force to/from a point on the current wing suit model

    • I’m doing something similar for in-game mouse/keyboard support. It currently looks like this:

      – Mouse movement (without mouse button pressed): move using relative values
      – Mouse movement (with mouse button pressed): move using absolute values
      – WASD (close individual wings)

      Seems to work pretty well. I tried using the keyboard for main flight control since so many people requested it, but it’s just not going to work.

      And yes, powered flight (mounted jets) are going in at some point. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wvision

    They just released there new video and it showed some fantastic lines through deep eroded mountains ravines. Phoenix-Fly – The Need 4 Speed – Mountain Trails

    I think I got the same feel as in the video from your version .01 that had the deeper ravines over version .02 that seems to be more smoothed out. But I tell you what the controls are so much better in version .02

    I’m curious how many trees can be put in the engine without it slowing? Will you be able to put in forested areas or is it to intense?

    Keep Up the good work. Looking forward to your next revision.

    • Yeah, big fan of the Need 4 Speed videos; this is another great one!

      I currently can’t put too many trees on the terrain, as indeed things start to slow down. There’s several options for optimizing performance for lots of trees, but I currently don’t have time to focus on that. I certainly want to put in patches of heavy forestation, but it will be a while before I get to it.

  • El_leprechauno

    I really love the game. I love almost everything about it. Like how it’s simple, I don’t have to dedicate too much time so I can pick it up do a few jumps and do something important. I also love the way it looks. I was a bit sad to hear in another blog post that you where going for more of a non realistic art style. While I understand why, I just really like the feel a realistic art style gives the game, even if it’s not great graphics. That’s just my opinion though, I wish you the best of luck, and after the holiday season I plan and buying your games.

    • I think the terrain will roughly keep looking the way it does now. As far as the stylized look goes, it’s not going to look like Zelda: Wind Waker, Jet Set Radio or Okami. But I am taking cues from their approaches! Whereas ‘realistic’ looking games start looking old really fast, those games still look good today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yay yay yay yay yay yay :D:D:D:D:D:D so glad you’r back ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Dean

    Hey there, I’ve found out about your game after drooling for hours over wingsuit videos…
    I came here downloaded the thing, and I must say, damn good job sir.
    I believe the non realistic art style is an excellent choice.
    As long as you keep the gameplay the main focus of this game, you’ve eared yet another player.

    Looking forward for the next update!

    • Thanks! Gameplay will always be at the forefront of my mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dean

    Dear god I can’t stop playing this game, damn you dev!
    I think it’s the WHEEEEE!!! sensation.
    You got that spot on.

    • Sorry about that, can’t help it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Simon

    Hey ! The game looks great but unfortunately I can’t play it. I am trying to use a wingman rumblepad from logitech but it just doesn’t want to cooperate. Is it just me sucking or is the game not working with that controller ? Good luck in your futur success,

  • Brian B

    one thing the game definately needs eventually is a way to chooseca point on the map go to it an do a realistic base exit off of a cliff. But anyways the games amazing and ive spent countless hours on it. donating once i get my new bank account set up. Thanks bro.

    • Hey Brian. Eventually you’ll be able to walk around the whole level and choose your own exit points. Thanks for playing!

  • Simon

    Hey where is our weekly update ?! Na juste kidding .. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Hi Simon, thanks for asking for an update. There’s a new post up now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Simon

    Thanks looks really great ! I have watch the split-screen video you post on your youtube channel and it looks fantastic ! Also, the trailer show of some rings that looks really interresant.
    Keep it up,

  • Tau

    Great Alpha! It is almost already a game!! Even the dolls “nakedness” does not bother me. Keeeeep up the good work. Thank you!

    • Hah, you’re the first person to notice that but for his parachute container wingman is completely nude. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Trav

    I’m posting a comment because the forums seem very inactive.
    But may I ask, where are the weekly updates?


    • admin

      Well, the update for this week is that I’m still working on the split-screen audio plugin. But yes, I should do a blog post. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Trav

        Lol ๐Ÿ˜›
        Thanks for the update though ๐Ÿ™‚

        • admin

          Thanks for asking for one!

  • Curtis

    I just started this for anyone who wanted a easy place to chat / post videos.

  • Trav

    Update please?

  • Trav

    Oh yeah, by the way…
    If/when you come to doing game modes. I think I have an idea for one.
    You should start the spawn area just as you’re about to crash and then it’s up to the player that once the body has hit the mountain, to get the body to safety or just carry out smooth run down to the bottom of the mountain. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Brian B

    So much for frequent updates if you could just release an update with some new maps it would be awesome. The game is so fun but it gets boring flying the same area for 3 months. Or maybe just the ability to chose where you start to tide us over while you work on technical stuff.

  • Trav

    Man where are the updates? I’m hungry for them

  • LemonHeroman

    I Have and Idea!!!! Keyboard Keys: Left Roll = q Right Roll = e Down = w Up = s

    Wing Surface Front Limbs = In = i Out = o Left = In = k Out = 8 Right = In = L Out = 9