Rediscover gravity and explore an Escher-esque world of impossible architecture. Witness infinity in first-person, and master its rules to solve physics-defying puzzles. Cultivate a garden to open new paths forward, where an eternal expanse awaits.
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Recent updates View all (11)

February 27

Performance Improvements and Music System Deep Dive

Another development update.

For the most part the game is running at 60FPS on PC. We've optimized meshes significantly (in some places reducing the size by 40%) and have smoothed out a lot of the major bumps in the game.

Where we are seeing issues is in large levels with highly detailed geometry adjacent to other similarly sized levels. To tackle this we've written several tools to track the memory usage and performance of each level in the game. This has allowed us to evaluate our effectiveness and pinpoint which areas are problematic. It's a slow and tedious process but we're making steady progress.

Ending Refinement
Getting the game playable from start to finish was a huge milestone for us, but there were still a few areas that were quite rough. Based on feedback from testers the first draft of the ending didn't feel very focused. I've been redesigning the ending using this feedback as well as lessons learned from making the first ending.

Music System

If you're interested in how the music system in Manifold Garden works, I did a deep dive video recently. It's much longer than the typical development update videos, but I go into great depth explaining the architecture, showcasing the debug tools that we made, and how it’s all implemented in the game.

That's it for this time. I can't announce a ship date yet but we do have a window in mind. Hopefully we will be able to share it with you all soon.

Don't forget to wishlist the game! Here are several other options for staying up to date:

Mailing List

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February 11

Graphics Improvements, New Music System, and Dev Update Video #16

The latest development update video is now up:

In this one, I cover new graphics improvements, the new music system, and address some concerns about design that people have expressed to me.

Visual Improvements

Last month, we updated the graphics system to address some ongoing issues with shadows. However, it was a pretty significant update and initially broke several other visual effects. It took a while to track down all the issues, but the good news is we’ve fixed them now and the current system is overall better than it was before.

Black Hole Particle Improvements

Besides shadows, another element we improved is the look of these black hole boxes. In the game, they represent a kind of corruption. However, they were breaking the world wrapping illusion:

To achieve the world wrapping effect in Manifold Garden, we place duplicate versions of the world around the main one.
The play area is defined as a box. When the player reaches one face of the box, we teleport them to the other side. It’s simple in theory, but the key is you have to make it look seamless.

The reason for the black holes popping in visually was that they did not have fog applied, so they didn't transition smoothly like everything else. We added fog, but the problem here is that material colors fade out before the edges do. While the fog applies to the material, it does not apply to the edges.

The problem with this, however, is that having the black hole boxes fade out early looks weird. They’re supposed to represent corruption. It’s supposed to be the darkest material in the world, but they don’t look that way.

Arthur, who’s been the main architect for the graphics system, ended up applying a different fade to the black hole material. Now it actually fades out even slower then the lines. It’s very subtle, but in the distance, they appear slightly darker than the edges. It’s as if they’re darker than black.

Music System

The new music system is better explained in the video, as you can hear what we're working on.

We recently redid the music system in Manifold Garden to make it more flexible and modular. The old system was very limited in functionality and the code was quite messy, which made it difficult to make changes and add new music. Customization used to take hours, whereas now it takes minutes.

The new system has each area’s behaviour separated into their own managers, which makes everything a lot more organized. All of these managers extend from a single base class called “MusicTrackerGroup”. This class is a group of music trackers. Each MusicTracker is responsible for managing a single FMOD sound event for the music, and how fade in and out that sound, how to manage FMOD parameters, and saving or loading data from the save file as needed.

We have a default behaviour for music that we can use if a level doesn’t need any customization. If a piece of music is assigned to a level and uses the default behaviour, then when the player enters the scene, it fades out the last music and starts to fade in the new one, with a bit of overlap. It works fine, but we actually try not to use this default behaviour too much. The reason is that while the game space is broken down into scenes (for management purposes), we to want the players to experience the world as being seamless. The spaces connect to each other, so it wouldn’t make sense if every time you were in another room, a different music played.

Internally, we have this idea of "music sentences", where a piece of music might begin in one scene, and then continue throughout others, creating and enforcing a sense of connection between the spaces.


Anyway, lots of places to stay up to date. You can wishlist the game, join our discord, or stop by one of my development streams.

Mailing List: {LINK REMOVED}
Game Website:
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“There's something undeniably artistic about its colors and architectural displays.”

“It’s just this absolutely beautiful strange thing that gives me a little pleasure spike every time I see it”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“It’s got mind-obliterating puzzles for days.”

About This Game

Manifold Garden is a game that reimagines the laws of physics.

Rediscover gravity and explore an Escher-esque world of impossible architecture. Witness infinity in first-person, and master its rules to solve physics-defying puzzles. Cultivate a garden to open new paths forward, where an eternal expanse awaits.

In November 2012, William Chyr began working on Manifold Garden. Initially the project was called Relativity, and it drew inspiration from various physics thought experiments. In early 2015, Manifold Garden was backed by Indie Fund. Over the course of its development, the game has been shown in over 20 game conventions and festivals, including E3, Tokyo Game Show, Gamercamp, and Indiecade East.

Key Features

  • A unique gravity-manipulation mechanic that allows players to walk on any visible surface.
  • An expansive and beautiful world filled with secrets for players to explore.
  • Mind boggling Escher-esque architecture.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GTX 780

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