Monthly Archives: March 2013

News & Updates


The Aurora Wager (and Volo) got features on Rock Paper Shotgun by Craig Pearson, check it out!

I got contacted by Alan of Oculus Hut. He inquired about my plans for supporting the Oculus Rift head mounted display, and whether I had experimented with the Razer Hydra motion controller. I totally do, and I totally did! (See our Armed & Dangerous prototype)

I ordered the Rift on the first day the Kickstarter launched, so I should be getting my development kit real soon. I’m really excited to bring it into Volo and Aurora and see what happens.

Alan kindly offered to list The Aurora Wager on his website, take a look!


I’ve pretty much finished the split screen audio and input configuration plugins. Finally! I’m bringing them into Aurora for a trial by fire, and Volo follows immediately after that. Once that’s done it’s back to making features. Sweet, sweet features.

I’ve also started experimenting with procedural terrain generation, and am really excited about the prospects. I had already have a ‘huge-world’ streaming system for Aurora, but with only a small selection of islands it gets kind repetitive after a while. Doing terrain procedurally will hopefully allow much more variation while keeping download sizes small.

7DRL – The Aurora Wager

The Aurora Wager is a game created for the 7 Day Rogue Like event.

The Aurora Wager

The game is about you (Jebe) and your buddy (Frits), your arch nemesis (Frederik), and your wager to make it to the North Pole first. By hot air balloon, naturally!

We had to cut a boatload of features to get the download up in time, but we think this is the most minimal version of the game that’s fun to play.

We were inspired by lots of things! The biggest and most direct influences are:

– Roguelikes!
– Proteus
– Kerbal Space Program
– Dear Esther
– Last Exile
– Steamboy
– Minecraft
– Music we played (Kettel, Emeralds, Ochre, Biosphere, Deru, more)

Download the Game & Soundtrack

Please consider purchasing and or donating to Volo Airsport (our other game) to support development of both titles. Thanks, and enjoy!


Use: Left Mouse Button
Pick up: Right Mouse Button
Jump: Space
Sprint: Left Shift
Cancel: Right Mouse Button

Grappling hook can reel in items (or the ship) by pressing the pickup button once latched.

(We know the controls are a bit confusing at the moment (when to press use or pickup) and are working on it. Also, we’re adding a sprint button.)


Robin Vink: Design, 3D Modeling, Texturing
Martijn Zandvliet: Design, Programming, Terrain Creation
Michael Manning: Sound Design, Music

Enjoy! And let us know what you think. 🙂

Still working on dull but important things

So yeah, I’m still slogging through the implementation of the Split Screen Audio system I detailed last post. It’s boring, it’s a total bitch to get right, and once done it will merely enable functionality that you would consider standard in any other context; but it’s important and like me many developers have use for it.

Unity has been a right pain all the way through, too. (What happened Unity, I thought we were friends?)

“Did you know I actually wasn’t serializing your Dictionary.”
“Err, no you can’t extend GameObject. Why would you want to?”
“I’ve secretly overridden the Equals operator so your null-checks are bogus.”
“No, you can’t control order of instantiation, and no, I will not tell you when it happens.”
“This field value only exists in unmanaged code, good luck if you want to manipulate it!”

It’s not so much extending Unity’s functionality, it’s fighting against its functionality.

I chose Unity so I wouldn’t have to develop my own game engine and could immediately start building my game. It turns out that for anything other than a mini-game or a tech-demo you still need to do lots of non-trivial ground work. This seems logical to me now, but I didn’t realize this when I started.

Anyway, I keep telling myself that Volo will need a strong foundation, and that these features need to be in place before I can start creating the game properly. Whether that’s correct I don’t know, but it’s a way to get there, I suppose. Actually, you could argue that I should work these big frameworks into the game gradually, and you would be right. But at the same time I want to finish up these frameworks, start selling them to other developers, and actually earn some money off the work I put in the game.

I know you are anxious to play new, better Volo. Heck, you might be someone who pre-ordered (thanks!), in which case you’re definitely expecting more bang for your buck. I’m committed to making Volo Airsport into all that it can be. To you I say: I’m not going anywhere! I’ve refused jobs in the triple-A industry and stuck to freelancing specifically so I can do this, and while I may dabble with other game concepts from time to time (game jams) I never intend to work on those for more than just study. That said, Volo Airsport is a multi-year project and there’s no way around that. 🙂

You’ll have noticed: I suffer from a character flaw: I hate to disappoint other people, so when I inevitable get myself in a situation where that can’t be avoided, I tend to stop communicating. When I asked you to demand frequent updates at the start of this year it was precisely with regards to that. Thank you for demanding!

Ok, any more of this and this website will be more LiveJournal than development blog. I’ll finish these damn input and audio frameworks and get to the real meat of the game. Then we can have fun times!