It’s 1762, and Mike arrives at the studio wearing a lacey bonnet. The team gathers and sits together in a shape sharing some semblance to a circle, the soft grass tickling our unshaven legs, and we begin to churn. We churn, and we churn, until a thick embryo of fat separates from the cream. If it’s too milky, Div changes a variable. If we don’t churn fast enough, Dan starts to remove his clothes. I’m in the back, beginning to develop heatstroke.
Prototyping is laborious, and we’ve been churning out designs for Episode 2 day in and day out. Last month was the hottest on record for Vancouver Island (as it was for most places), and when the studio thermostat is reading temps almost as high as an R9 290, it really puts things into perspective.
Alright, not that hot—but still.
Our summer has been spread thin between supporting Episode 1 with a massive performance update, plotting the 1.5 content update, porting Episode 1 to the Oculus Touch, designing Episode 2 with a suite of new knowledge and ideas, and working on a few other secrets. Just as our fathers before us, and our fathers’ mothers before them, we continue to churn.
Call of the Starseed
In case you missed it, Call of the Starseed is now included with every HTC Vive purchase, along with Tilt Brush and Zombie Training Simulator. That means that everyone who buys a new Vive will get Call of the Starseed bundled for free, and our adventure will be many players’ first step into virtual reality.
Needless to say, this is an incredible honour. This dream of Virtual Reality has consumed our lives for the better half of five years, and now here we are, the proverbial Duck Hunt of VR. This is an enormous milestone for our team, essentially guaranteeing that every future Vive owner (while supplies last™) will get to play the game that we’ve poured our hearts and lives into.
It means that our head-first dive into the murky waters of an unknown tech has found fruition. There’s no bigger validation than knowing that the remarkable people at HTC, Vive, and Valve—the developers and innovators who have shaped our passions and our careers—want to show us off. And to be included with the wonderful people at Acceleroto and Google is simply humbling.
As new players continue to join our adventure, we will continue to support Episode 1 with a new 1.5 content update which we’re aiming to release shortly before…
The Oculus version of The Gallery: Call of the Starseed will be released through Oculus Home at the launch of the Touch later this year, and will require the Touch to play. Just like the Vive version, interaction is an imperative part of our experience; you’ll need those high-fidelity Touch motion controllers so that you can become immersed first-hand (pun intended).
Because Oculus does not yet natively support room-scale, the Oculus port is not an OpenVR remap of the version out today on the Steam store. Interactions and locomotion will need to support a 180° standing mode, so we’ve reconsidered how many of these systems will work, and will talk more about our new solutions closer to launch.
For Oculus players who do set up their Touch to work in room-scale, we will be offering room-scale support on our end. This means that if you choose to set your Touch up that way, you will be able to play The Gallery with the Oculus Touch in room-scale, just as you would on the Vive. Room-scale continues to be an important element of VR to us, and we’re happy to be able to support this feature and bring a closer parity between the Vive and Touch experiences of The Gallery.
Heart of the Emberstone
The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone is currently deep in production. For the development of Emberstone, and all subsequent episodes, we’re treating them as mini sequels. That means new areas to explore, new characters, new puzzles, new mechanics, and new iterations to all existing mechanics.
Where Starseed was a great introduction to VR, Emberstone will take everything we learned during development and take it one step further. We’re taking the gloves off, so to speak. We’re also taking the socks off. And, yes, we’re taking the toques off.
Our inclusion in the new content bundle and the upcoming release of Episode 1 for Oculus Touch means that more and more new players will continue to experience The Gallery throughout the year. This means we’ll have a huge new audience to impress with Episode 2, and we’re excited to deliver the best possible experience to all of our fans. We’re not ready to share a release date yet, so for now it’s When It’s Ready™.
A few other secrets
We’ve got some more stuff we’re excited to start sharing next month, including some new faces to Cloudhead, and the first in a new developer video series. For now, we just wanted to tell you as much as we can about what we’re working on before going back to the churning.
If you like to keep a close eye on what we’re doing, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. You can also check out our Instagram where we post photos and videos from inside the studio—we’ll do a code giveaway to followers once we break 500, so hit us up if you’re into free games.