High in the clouds, a storm is brewing. Join the mayhem with up to 4 players in this tactical VR action game. Obliterate your foes with futuristic weapons and bring their base down around them with old fashioned artillery!
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Mar 2019
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Notice: Requires a virtual reality headset. See the VR Support section for more info.

Available: March 2019

 

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February 12

Thunderballs VR - Dev Blog #2 - Friends and Physics

What kind of VR game do we want to make? It was now late 2017, and this was the first question the three of us asked ourselves as we kicked off developing the game that would eventually become Thunderballs. Would this be a narrative-heavy adventure? A sensory-overload acid-trip world to explore? A brainy puzzle challenge in line with our past projects like Midnight Madness and Endgame?

Since all three of us were still pretty new to VR, we spent a week (OK, a few weeks :) playing a ton of games to get a sense of what was out there. What games seemed to make the best use of VR as a unique, immersive, interactive, multi-sensory medium? Some games wowed us initially with killer graphics, rich environments, or clever mechanics, but we found that we didn’t always want to go back and play those games again a second time.

For the first and perhaps only time in Megafauna history, all three of us agreed: the coolest elements of the VR games we played were friends and physics. Friends because playing a collaborative game together, like a Rec Room quest or Star Trek, was always more fun than going into a single-player experience.

And physics because of how intense and satisfying it is in VR to have objects whizzing by your head, exploding all around you, and launching away from you. We decided early on that, kind of like how everything in Willy Wonka’s lab was edible, we wanted everything around you to be destructible. Walls, floors, obstacles, and of course, the other players.


[The drill weapon chunking up a wall in a recent version of the game]

So, friends and physics would be the core elements of our game. We would only learn later that making a multiplayer, lag-sensitive, physics-based VR game with tens of thousands of destructible objects was maybe the hardest thing we possibly could have chosen as our first project, but hey...hindsight is always 20/20.

With our fresh Unity subscriptions in place, we started prototyping and playtesting extremely simple multiplayer games. The one we liked the best was just two players on floating platforms firing white marshmallow projectiles at one another. Beat your opponent by destroying their platform before they destroy yours. That super simple concept was enough fun that we decided to make it the foundation of the game.

The first thing we realized is that we needed some mechanics other than just shooting a handheld gun, as fun as that may be. We did rough prototypes of two additional "fixed" weapons. First, a cannon, that could do more damage than the handheld. We tried putting a chair on the cannon so you actually move with the barrel as you aim. This made absolutely no sense, but it was fun, so we kept it. (Although we quickly learned that having the VR player rotate with the barrel made you sick, but moving the player position only did not). Having the chair also let the player feel the recoil as the cannon barrel kicks back on fire - subtle, but cool.


[The final cannon design]

We then added a third weapon, a catapult, that would later become the mortar. The catapult would be the hardest to aim, but also do the most damage of the three weapons. We quickly realized that the fun of the catapult was really limited by not being able to see the impact. So we added a floating monitor and tracking camera that follows the projectile. Again, this made absolutely no sense if we were trying to be realistic, but it was so fun that we agreed we had to keep it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOcCri3NVv0
[The demo video of the early weapon prototypes]

We also liked the options we now had between the handgun, cannon, and catapult and their different balances of damage vs. accuracy vs. mobility. With these three weapons prototyped, and a few stock sound effects thrown in, we were already hooked on the concept. Thunderballs was on its way....
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February 4

Thunderballs VR - Dev blog #1 - In the Beginning


Who is Megafauna and how did we end up making a VR game called Thunderballs? I’m so glad you asked! We are oh-so-close to finishing it and as we do, we’ll post a retrospective developer blog to chronicle the process we've gone through creating it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn7Yfx7JDUA

But first, we are super pumped to announce that we are now recruiting for the Thunderballs first access. If you have a Rift, Vive, or WMR headset and are ready to bring the thunder, head over to our new Discord server and DM me or the other devs to sign up. Getting feedback from players like you is critical during this final phase of development. Or, if testing isn’t your thing, you can still wishlist us on Steam to make sure you get all future announcements and blog posts.


Who is Megafauna and how did we get here?

First, there is Mat, our lead developer. Mat earned his Ph.D from the multidisciplinary MIT Media Lab and is a builder of all things physical and digital. Mat created Midnight Madness, the now legendary series of all-night New York City puzzle hunts that has spawned a surge of similar events around the world. Midnight Madness started as a zero-budget underground event and evolved into a charity powerhouse, generating over $10 million dollars towards youth causes.


Along the way, Mat teamed with Adam after Adam captained the winning Midnight Madness team in 2004. Adam has worked in digital media since the internet was still in diapers. He is a lifelong gamer and got hooked on creating interactive worlds when the 2nd Edition DM’s Guide had just hit the shelves.

Following years of collaboration on Midnight Madness, along came Endgame, the one-of-a-kind puzzle series embedded into a book trilogy that challenged readers to try and win, literally, a half a million dollars in gold.


And then there is me - Dan. I got into all of this to escape my career in finance, to get back to some of the coding and creating that I did in my younger days, and to make something that my 7-year-old kids would think was super cool. (Bonus facts: Adam and I have been friends since preschool. We also wrote a feature film script together about the mysterious death of his great uncle.)

Together, the three of us formed Megafauna, with the goal of creating amazing, immersive entertainment with emerging technologies. In early 2016, while Mat and Adam were still working on Endgame and I was still in finance, the three of us started brainstorming on what we could make together as a first collaboration.

We did not start initially with VR. First, we spent a few months with the idea of a location-specific game on Governor’s Island in NYC, which we called Ghosts of Governor’s Island. Then, Pokemon Go arrived, and we shifted focus to a bigger, less site-specific location based concept. Our working title back then was Wormholes, which could loosely be described as a globally-collaborative geocaching game. We eventually decided that as an indie team, designing a game that needed a huge global player base to be successful just wasn’t feasible.

We briefly thought about making a mobile game after playing Monument Valley, but we were turned off by the trends in monetization and the hyper-competitive market for mobile. Plus, after Midnight Madness and Endgame, we wanted to design an experience that surrounded you, not something you had to squint at a tiny screen to play.

VR was the answer for three reasons. One, as a fully immersive medium it fit better with our interests and experience. Two, VR was a relatively new market where we thought we had a more realistic chance to do something unique as a small indie team. Three, there was plenty of cash for developers sloshing around, or so we had heard. Oh well...like Meat Loaf said, two out of three ain’t bad!

By the fall of 2017, we were setting up our Rifts, watching a ton of GDC Vault videos about game development, and tinkering with our fresh Unity installs. We were officially on the road to Thunderballs. Boom!




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About This Game

⚡️Join our Discord! https://discord.gg/hyQRe6v⚡️

Welcome to the eye of the storm. Engage with up to 4 players in this maelstrom of VR mayhem. Thrill in physics-based destruction as your send the enemy keep crashing to the ground far below.

Select your Thunderballer, take aim and prepare to bring the thunder!

Features:


  • Multiplayer monsoon - battle with up to 4 Players online in team-based clashes. Quick matches and pickup-and-play gameplay throw you straight into the maelstrom.

  • VR vortex - Immerse yourself in the tempest! Play across platforms on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Windows Mixed Reality.

  • Tactical variety - Perforate your opponents with strange, futuristic technology or bring down the house with devastating artillery. Degrade the enemy’s options by destroying their lightning harnessing energy pylons.

  • Eye of the storm - Clear a path to the heart of the enemy base and make your way inside to deliver a crippling blow right where it hurts the most!

  • Weaponry whirlwind - Experiment with unfamiliar ordnance to unlock devastating effects...like the Particle Drill, a slow moving, but unstoppable cyclone of destruction!

  • Strategy options - Pound the pylons or cripple the cannons? Invade the base or draw the enemy out? Lay down cover fire for your teammate or divide and conquer? Find you own path to victory!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • Processor: Intel i5-4590, AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or better
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 10 GB available space
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