EDIT (2017-12-28, 11:24 CET): We just posted a quick fix because in the original version, Time Dilation was on by default instead of being opt-in with Psychedelic Mode, and also, it didn't properly react to the main checkbox for switching it off (which was why it was on by default in first place). But that issue is fortunately fixed now - apologies for any confusion this may have caused.
Most of the time I work on fixing bugs and polishing existing features ... but sometimes, I need to take a little break and do something completely different. And since it's (still, kind of) Christmas, I want to make this new thing I just built a Christmas present for all of you:
For the full experience, you need to play the game - but here's a nice session with a song that fits this mode really well in my opinion:
https://gaming.youtube.com/watch?v=RRFe73Q7rCQ So, this is obviously "opt-in", so to activate this mode, enter the settings (either pause by pressing and holding the menu button for a second, or enter Game Settings through the Music Library), there "Style" and then you already see "Psychedelic Settings":
Be careful with the strobe effect ... that one can be very intense!
Full Release Notes
Psychedelic Mode: Added strobe lights and saturation / hue shift color effects, as well as Time Dilation based on gameplay (available in all environments)!
Streamlined Settings UI: We've had Gameplay, Themes and Avatars as buttons squeezed into the "Style Settings". Instead, we now have a "Style Menu" which has buttons for Guidance (previously "Style Settings"), Gameplay, Themes, Avatars ... and something new.
Avatar System: Loading the Avatars takes quite a little while, and most of the time, people are not using them, so that loading time really is wasted. Instead, we now have a "Load Avatars" buttons in the Avatar System screen, and the Avatars are only loaded when you click that button. Also, you can select for each Avatar whether you want to load it, or not.
Mixed Reality: Volumetric Fog in Retro Clubbing wasn't rendered correctly in Mixed Reality. This should be fixed now.
So here's a bigger Music Library update just before Christmas. In case this breaks anything for you - please let us know and know that you can always use the previous branch to access the previous version.
When using the full osu! library, this version should work much more reliably than the previous one, and we have a new difficulty metric that I'm hoping to get feedback on because over time, this will become a very important part of the game. For example, we will have a skill based leaderboard in addition to the "grind your way to the top" accumulated score leaderboard. The way I currently plan to do this is simply take the difficulty of the most difficult map that you have full-combo'd. So that will be a value between 0 and 10 and define your skill level.
Also, we'll have more abstract skill levels that will map to filter settings so that you can easily find maps and progress through maps that match your current capabilities.
Finally, we also lighted up Zero Distraction a little to make it look more like its original version.
As always, please let us know how this works for you and in case you run into any issues.
Full Release Notes
Music Library: Changed order in area Quick Access from "quick and simple" to "more involved", so Random is now first, then Favorites, then Recently Played, then Recently Added.
Music Library: Put proper instructions into "Music Library Info" that explain how the Music Library works.
Music Library: Redesigned how caching works. Previously, when multiple beatmaps were being cached, they would run in parallel, slowing each other down. Now, the most recently selected is always cached next (possibly after one that is currently in the process of being cached). That way, you'll usually have the beatmap you want to play cached much more quickly than before, especially when having browsed intensely before.
Avatar System: All Avatars were already start in the startup scene which caused the main startup to take very long. This has now been moved to the appropriate scene so that loading progress shows correctly which operation takes how long.
Music Library: Finally fixed bug that had the progress for loading song still open after the song was already played.
Music Library: Fixed issue with Unicode characters that made them have a mostly transparent rectangle around them when viewed from a distance. Also made the font atlas textures much smaller for quicker loading.
Music Library: Fixed a few issues and added additional criteria to calculate beatmap difficulties based on actual difficulty in Holodance.
Music Library: Improved progress while settings things up. Usually, you won't see this because it happens in the background on game start, before entering a Free Mode environment. But if you are quick enough, or your library is large enough, you may see this.
Music Library: Significantly improved caching of beatmaps. This is now much more reliable and faster than before.
Music Library: We now have two separate states for when Quick Access can be used (as soon as Favorites and Last Played have been loaded), and when Browse Music is available (when filtering has been completed). This should prevent trouble when clicking things wildly while filters are being refreshed.
Music Library: Added Tempo range filter. This lets you define a BPM-range in which the maps you want to see in Browse Music and Random must fall.
Music Library: Fixed issue that filters were not properly updated when changing the range sliders.
Music Library: Created a new metric for difficulty based on values relevant to the difficulty in VR. We may still need to balance this a little.
Music Library: Fixed minimum ranges for difficulty, tempi and duration. Difficulty can now be just a range of one (e.g. 3-4, or 3.5-4.5), and tempi can now be within a range of 30 (e.g. 60-90). Durations already had a minimum range of 30.
Music Library: Beatmap details now show the date of the first time you full combo'd this map.
Music Library: When you have caught 90% of a map, the map details now show an orange checkmark. If you have full combo'd a map, it shows a green checkmark.
Startup: Fixed a rather nasty bug during initial loading that caused the loading screen to be ended while the initialization was actually still taking place.
Music Library: Beatmaps now also show the full combo status in lists so that it's really easy to get an overview of where you are with which map.
Music Library: Added missing sections - Browse Music now also has Tempi and Durations and is only missing Beatmappers. Quick Access now has Recently Added.
Music Library: Added some new stats that may or may not always work, like best and current leaderboard rank.
So here's another fairly small, and yet fairly big release: We have just added support for Unicode in artist names and song titles. This version also makes using Unicode the default. But if you don't like that, you can change it in the Music Library settings (click the gear-symbol in the Music Library, and you'll see where this is done: Native Artist Names and Song Titles).
SteamVR introduced a few strange issues recently, at least with the beta, and this version fixes or works around some of those. Like, when you activate the SteamVR keyboard by "clicking" into the text search, currently in SteamVR beta, the resolution goes down quite a bit. I have noticed that my workaround may not be perfectly reliable, so you may have to exit and re-enter text editing to get the Music Library non-blurry in that state - but at least you can make it happen ;-)
One more fairly big change with this one: The order of items in the top level of the Music Library is now exactly inverse from before. This may take a little while to get used to but I feel this is much better now because we go from the quickest and most specific search (text based search) to "Quick Access", and then to "Browse Music" which is very broad and usually the slowest way to start playing. In the next release, we'll probably do something similar in Quick Access because really, "Random" is the fastest way, so it should be on top there.
Full List of Changes
Music Library: Changed order of main entry points - Free Search is now first, then Quick Access, then Browse Music. This order is based on the "easiness" of each step.
Music Library: Added a font texture with all characters of all artist names and song titles. Now, activating "Native Artist Names and Song Titles" should work well.
Music Library: Fixed issue where folding/unfolding Browse Music and Quick Access when entering text in the free search text field got confused when using the "Done" button on the keyboard. This now works reliably, regardless of how the keyboard is hidden.
Music Library: Fixed issue where pointing at a list while a song is being loaded, and keeping pointing at the list when the UI is hidden would cause the list to react to scrolling events even when no laser pointer was pointing at it, until the game was restarted.
Gameplay: Fixed issue where haptic feedback could happen for wrong controller while following a Slider.
Pause / SteamVR Dashboard: Fixed issues related to pausing the game and opening the SteamVR dashboard. Holodance now also goes back into grayscale mode when going into the SteamVR dashboard (we've had this effect in the early days but then removed it because grayscale made the UI look terrible, and using two cameras, one for UI, one for the rest to have both was terrible on performance). Part of this was also fixing the issue that going into the SteamVR Dashboard while playing would not let you pause again.
Worked around a bug in the current SteamVR beta, together with SteamVR Unity Plugin 1.2.2 (the current version) that caused the events on opening the SteamVR Dashboard to not be sent at all.
Worked around a nasty behavior of SteamVR (probably beta) where it changes reduces super-sampling when we open the keyboard, causing a really blurry image while browsing via the search.
This is both, a very minor and yet very major release: V0.8.7 was just a few days ago, so there wasn't even that much time to implement new things - but this release brings two major improvements to the Music Library and marks the first of several polishing releases that are coming to make the Music Library a really awesome browsing experience.
As you can see, we now have little preview images for songs and beatmaps, and also artists (for artists, we simply use the first image we find for that artist). Finally, you can browse more "visually".
What you cannot see in those animated gifs is that we also did some major work on how audio previews work: Instead of having to wait for a really long time in many cases, audio preview is now really fast, and also starts immediately when you select a song (instead of when you select a beatmap). One caveat: The only way to make it this fast was to use small and short audio snippets that are optimized for the previews - so you can't listen to the whole song in the preview anymore.
We've had filters all along - this is just to show you a nice little feature we have with the sliders: When you click on the button where the current value of the slider is shown, you get the slider right in front of you, which makes controlling them much easier. I also noticed a new bug while recording this: Changing the slider values should immediately update the results. Currently, it doesn't. I'll work on fixing that for the next release.
This is another showcase for one of my favorite features in the new Music Library: By selecting random, you can let Holodance pick a beatmap for you. Together with the improved audio preview, you can now very quickly find one you like, and then play it.
Full Release Notes
Fixed issue where Avatar skin was transparent in Retro Clubbing environment.
Music Library: Added quick audio previews to all ranked osu! beatmaps in the Music Library. No more waiting for the beatmap to be cached!
Music Library: Added image previews for artists, songs and beatmaps.
Music Library: Starting audio preview now already when a song was selected.
Music Library: Moved mute audio preview button to navigation arrows because we now also have previews when a song is selected (and it may be that the beatmap UI is not even visible, yet)
Music Library: Moved the Play button to the center and made it much bigger.
Music Library: Artists that only have one song now skip a level, so you don't have to select the artist just to then select that one song. We currently don't have this for songs that only have one beatmap because that would break things.
Music Library: Moved paging buttons to center top/bottom of the lists. This gives the scrollbar a little more room and also made it possible to make these buttons a little larger and easier to reach.
General UI: Fixed an issue where disabling a fadein/out canvas too early would result in that thing still showing when being re-enabled.
Cleaned up project (a little), reduced build-size from 9.3GB to 8.9GB.
Fixed issue where dragon fist and high five hand would appear on feet, when Vive Trackers were attached to feet
So this release was primarily driven by an event we've had in Berlin about a week ago, at the Conrad Drone Champions League. We once again met a lot of great people, created a lot of video footage and showed the new song for upcoming Level 10 to the public for the very first time. The actual Level 10 from Story Mode currently isn't that great, so we've had players play it in Sci-Fi Tunnels which is also a really fitting environment for this dubstep-like track. Here's a video that also shows Mixed Reality mixed with our new Avatar System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttKEzy6hBhc Speaking of the new Avatar system: This version has one known issue when you use the Avatar system in the Retro Clubbing level. Skin might disappear. I'm hoping to have a fix for that in the next version. We have also added one more Avatar, called Azeroid, who does not show much skin ;-)
So, most of the changes we have in this release are related to Streamer Mode, Mixed Reality and Party Mode. One interesting thing to note about this: When you use Party Mode, we now have tight integration with OBS.
But, there are also two really important changes to the Music Library: First, we have a lot more songs in there now (almost 12K and almost 60K beatmaps), and we now also have the statistical data about the beatmaps stored in the meta-data. This is the foundation for a much improved difficulty ranking that will land in one of the next releases.
We also cleaned up the level selection area for Free Mode quite a bit, I hope this won't confuse anyone but I think once you got used to the new layout, you'll agree that this is much better than before.
If you want to review Holodance, talk to us ... we have just added a feature to this release that makes this a lot easier than it was before.
Music Library: Fixed issue with Refreshing / Rescanning library - this now works reliably.
Music Library: Added metadata of ranked osu! beatmaps from June to November 2017. Now we're at 5,519 artists, 11,814 songs, 59,042 beatmaps. Previous, we had 5,252 artists, 11,216 songs and 55,236 maps. So we're nearing 12K songs, 60K beatmaps.
Music Library: Added several new statistical values to our beatmap metadata and ran through the whole library to collect this data. Ran into several beatmap parsing errors (due to beatmaps having issues) that we now are robust against, so you can actually play a few more osu! beatmaps in Holodance that failed before.
Avatar System: Added Avatar "Azeroid", who should be kind of gender neutral and is our first space soldier. Could be a human, could be an android. You can never know with these things.
Free Mode: Re-arranged the environments to make more sense, also fixed some of the score thresholds to have a more sensible progression.
Level Selection Area: Fixed bug that prevented settings from showing up properly, which is bad because this explains some things.
Level Selection Area: Added more instructions to the "settings" screen.
Fixed Skybox in initial loading screen (there was flickering when you looked back).
Fixed Initial Loading screen that always showed "Virtual Clubbing", while this was actually the main Holodance scene.
Streamer Mode: Re-Arranged UI Layout to be consume less space, and changed 2D GUI button to almost completely disappear when switched off.
Streamer Mode: Removed "Take Screenshots" for now. This was not really meant to be used by people.
Mixed Reality: Made parsing externalcamera.cfg a little more robust.
Mixed Reality: Now handling camera "stuff" related to quadrant view in Mixed Reality using the CameraManager instead of trying to find all cameras.
Streamer Mode: You can now fully disable Mixed Reality, regardless of technology used (standard quadrant view based on SteamVR Unity plugin, LIV Client, MixCast) by checking a checkbox. This can be useful if you mix parts where you use Mixed Reality, and parts where you only use in-game footage (no Mixed Reality).
Streamer Mode: Added a camera that is based on the MR-camera, so when you have a tracker, you can now simulate an in-game camera with that tracker, just like you would with Mixed Reality - except you don't need a greenscreen setup (this works best when using the Avatar System for representing the player).
Streamer Mode: Mixed Reality can now also be part of the sequence used by "Switch Cams in the Rhythm".
Streamer Mode: Fixed issue that when using "Switch Cams in the Rhythm", you'd get a "weird camera" after "Dragon Perspective", regardless of which camera were taking part in this.
Streamer Mode: Holodance can now talk to OBS and activate different scenes, depending on whether we're entering new player data in party mode (will show a waiting scene), or we are in Mixed Reality (e.g. taking LIV client output), or in regular "Streamer Mode". Also, recordings are now automatically started when in Party Mode.
Mixed Reality: Added parameter "disableQuadrantView" to externalcamera.config. If you set this to True, the quadrant view will be completely disabled. This is useful if you use LIV Client or MixCast and don't want the quadrant view to pop up before you have activated either of the other solutions.
Mixed Reality: Much improved integration of MixCast that now properly supports configuration via externalcamera.cfg (but currently no longer the setup via MixCast Studio which unfortunately doesn't seem to use externalcamera.cfg or support writing it). We can now switch quickly between MixCast and our new MR Tracked Cam to switch quickly between the real person or an Avatar.
Shader Prewarming is now disabled by default and you have to explicitly enable it (This is on the flatscreen UI, click button "Show Extra Settings", then it's the first checkbox, top right of the screen, called "No Shader Prewarming". Default is now checked, so usually shader prewarming is disabled. Eventually, this will disappear - unless we find a good reason to keep it.
Removed VRTK from project. We never really used it much and will eventually use the SteamVR Interaction system which seems to be a much better approach to what we need.
Added a feature that I'd rather not talk about publicly. This is for people doing reviews. If you want to do a review, ask me, and I'll let you know about it. It's not totally hidden, so, if you look for it, you'll find it, and you'll know why I'm not putting it into the release notes.
We updated some of those bugs silently during the last few days, working with some of you to find and fix issues - thanks again to everyone who sent emails, posted to the forums or asked on Discord.
If you run into levels not loading (some players could not get into level 3, in particular), please try the new option to disable warming up shaders: This is on the flatscreen UI, click button "Show Extra Settings", then it's the first checkbox, top right of the screen, called "No Shader Prewarming". Default is unchecked, so usually shader prewarming is enabled.
Apparently, under certain circumstances the loading process gets stuck there (after otherwise successfully loading the level, and no obvious error). The worst side-effect you might encounter by enabling this option (and disabling prewarming that way) are a few framedrops right after loading the level, which is obviously not great but by far not as bad an issue as the game getting stuck during loading.
Another issue that was encountered that was actually outside of Holodance to be fixed is that apparently, some super-eager Virus-scanners move parts of games downloaded through Steam into a separate folder. The symptom: You start the game, Steam tells you its loading but stops without ever starting the game after about a minute.
Then ... I did this 20 minute session playing with all the configuration options and settings, which can also be used as a tutorial (if you watch this directly on Vimeo or YouTube, you'll find a table of contents with links that let you jump directly to all the different sections). One thing I noticed is that we have an amazing amount of configuration options which let you do some pretty crazy things. I also saw some bugs. Those are now all fixed.
Level Loading: Added option to disable shader prewarming as this apparently sometime causes level 3 to not be properly loaded. This is on the flatscreen UI, click button "Show Extra Settings", then it's the first checkbox, top right of the screen, called "No Shader Prewarming". Default is unchecked, so usually shader prewarming is enabled.
Level Loading: Now has more timeouts, and longer timeouts, so that loading levels should be a little more robust and hopefully no longer hang under certain circumstances.
Level Loading: Activated verbose logging to find hang/crash issue easier if it still occurs.
Music Library: No longer caching beatmap files because this could cause changes in settings (e.g. disable sliders / spinners) to only have an effect after changing the beatmap / song.
Avatar System: We had an issue with skin coming through clothes. That's fixed now.
Zen Mode: Removed most, if not all the message popups when in Zen-Mode. One notable exception: Unlocking a new track or level in Story Mode still gives you a message popup because that is very important information for anyone.
Party Mode: The Story Mode parts of party mode were still wired to the old versions of levels 1, 2 and 3, and we had some references to the old song browser in there, too. All fixed.
Party Mode: Added a way to immediately skip to a specific step in the demo, including an automatic counter for the current step, so that when one session is cancelled, it is easy to continue the next where the current one started.
Party Mode: We have some steps in Party Mode, where players just enter a level for a few seconds and then move out of the level. We use this, for example, to show the submarine in level 7. When skipping over such a level, the timer then kept on going and skipped the next level which could be really confusing to everyone. This no longer happens.
Settings: Disabling the Target Grid worked - but re-enabling it didn't, neither in the preview, nor for actual gameplay. You had to leave and re-enter the level for this to work again. That issue is now fixed and both, disabling and enabling the grid now both work properly.
LIV SDK: No longer spamming log with errors when LIV Client is not installed.
We're moving fast with the Holodance Avatar System: Meet Mary and Michael, Kathryn and Barry, as well as Jane and Jessy (preferably in the desert). Together with Aika and our nameless soldier, we're at 8 avatars to choose from now. And the best news: With this release, you can now also use the Avatar system pretty well with just two controllers.
Of course, it's still best with as many Vive Trackers as you can get. Here's a little teaser video: https://vimeo.com/244075148 If you want to see the system with just two controllers, and how Streamer Mode works, here is an (almost) completely unedited video of Jashan trying to beat Eslar's challenge on Rameses B 'Neon Rainbow (ft. Anna Yvette)' [Spectrum] 8.50. Hrishi was our Streamer Mode operator on this one. Spoiler: Jashan failed, while Eslar meanwhile full-combo'd that track ... poor developers!!! But Jashan will keep on practicing that one.
Here you go: https://vimeo.com/244211275 We also did do some polishing on the Music Library, and added a first version of LIV SDK (we still need to polish that integration a bit, as well). First weekend of December (2./3.), we're in Berlin, with HTC, doing Mixed Reality and full-body motion capture with our Avatar system at Conrad Drone Champions League 2017 ... so, we're also busy preparing that demo (that's why the Avatar System gets so much love at the moment ... but also ... because it's so much fun!)
Full Change List
Music Library: Fixed issue that caused first detail level of "Browse Music" to disappear when going back and forth in the levels.
Music Library: Renamed "Take Shortcuts" to "Quick Access". We'll also move the order of the buttons / searchbox so that the searchbox is first, then Quick Access, and Browser Music last.
Level Selection Area: The "back circles" we previously used were still from a very old version and no longer consistent with our current UI, which could be confusing especially because we use a different approach for navigating in the settings and Song Browser. "Back" in the level selection area now works the same way as in the settings / pause menu: There is a back button to the right of the title of the area. While working on this, we also made the titles more consistent with the general UI-style throughout the game.
Level Selection Area: Fixed bug that could cause the laser pointer to break when exiting an area (Free Mode, Story Mode) while an environment / level was selected.
Titles Style: This was mostly due to the change with the back-button, instead of having the titles with a bright turquoise on the inside, like we have it with the Holodance logo, we're now using a dark blue for the inside, which makes the outline stand out much more. The effects a lot of areas in the game, like also the modern ScoreHUD (used in Zero Distraction, Retro Clubbing, Mutant Club, Sci Fi Tunnels and Trippy Tunnels).
Mixed Reality: Added current (= early pre-release) version of LIV SDK.
Streamer Mode: Floor fog in Retro Clubbing still didn't work for most of the cameras. Now it does.
Streamer Mode: Added checkbox "Switch Avatars on Rhythm", which currently switches between Avatars each bar (each 4 beats), using all Avatars that have been calibrated.
Story Mode: Increased base volume for songs in levels 1-3 because it was a little low.
Mutant Club: Fixed issue with audio playing that should not really play.
Tracking: Fixed issue with old Vive DK1 controller model showing up for Vive Trackers that were recognized as feet.
Avatar System: Fixed issue that Avatars did not turn with world for setup, so the were always forward facing according to the room setup. Now, you can calibrate them in whichever direction you have previously set up the world. You can still rotate the mirror arbitrarily by rotating the UI (so it's possible to have the mirror to your left for calibration, if you want that, for some reason).
Avatar System: For setting things up and playing around a little, it's useful to be able to keep the lighting we enable for calibration on even after calibration, so that's now an option you have.
Avatar System: When no feet trackers are assigned (e.g. only HMD and two controllers, or only HMD, two controllers and one tracker for the waist), locomotion is now activated.
Avatar System: We usually set up the Avatar system in pause mode ... but IK-solving was based on deltaTime instead of unscaledDeltaTime ... fixed. Now locomotion also works properly while setting things up, even in pause.
Avatar System: Added four new avatars, Michael, Mary, Kathryn and Barry.
Avatar System: Added arms length slider for Avatars that support changing the length of the arms.
Avatar System: Added two more avatars: Jane and Jessy.
Ok, so after hours and hours of global team discussions, we finally realized that showing mixer values in decibels really isn't the professional way to do this. Professional audio people know that to make it really loud, you need an amp that goes to 11. See, 10, that's just too limiting. We need to be able to take this 1up. Because .... when you really want to turn it up, you know!?, when you need that extra push over the cliff, right!?, you need to go to 11! Don't believe us? Here's the proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xgx4k83zzc ... this guy knows how this all works. And now we do, too. Finally, you can push Holodance to 11. Show us!
On a more serious note: This version finally fixes the issue that the very first time you started Holodance (after installation), Free Mode didn't show up. This was a really nasty one and hope this never shows up ever again. Here's the forum thread we had for reporting the issue: Is the Music Library still showing up empty for anyone?
Thanks to everyone letting us know about the issue, also via Discord and Reddit.
This release also has a few cosmetic fixes for the Music Library - but this is just the beginning: Major Music Library improvements / bugfixes / polishing are coming next week.
Full Release Notes for V0.8.4
Audio Settings: Added a "Restore" button to restore the mixer settings to the default mix.
Audio Settings: We previously used a scale from -70db to +5db in the audio mixer, which probably didn't say much to most people. Now each slider goes from 0 to 10 ... no ... to 11. So you can give it that extra push over the cliff!
Streamer Mode: Fixed clip planes for 3rd person cameras.
Story Mode, Level 3: Removed additional hihats and snare that muddied the actual gameplay.
Music Library: Removed all instances of "SongBrowser" throughout the project - this is now all called "Music Library" or "MusicLibrary", consistently.
Fixed issue that could cause controllers to not show up upon startup (workaround was to switch controllers off and on again, this occurred only in a test-build; I had only seen this before when doing the restart of the game when resetting all base values).
Free Mode: Renamed "Virtual Clubbing" to "Retro Clubbing", because really, that's what that environment looks like. Oh, and by the way: No one told me that the lighting effects in the level are broken! This is a bit of a nasty bug because it does work well in the Unity Editor but not on builds. I'm investigating this and trying to find a fix ... but ... if something doesn't work, please let us know!
General UI: UI elements are now disabled during animations to prevent accidental interactions during those animations.
Music Library: Fixed a really strange issue with the second text-line sometimes changing its color. Turned out the red-value (1.0) was missing in one of the animations.
Music Library: We are now disabling the UI during animations to prevent accidental clicks during those animations. The problem with this is that in the Music Library, this made the switch to the disabled state rather jarring. So we now have a much more subtle disabled state.
Music Library: Navigating back (and a few other things) caused both the "Browse Music" and "Take Shortcuts" items to appear. Not anymore.
Music Library: Fixed issue that the Music Library came up empty the first time you started the game (ever).
This is kind of tiny release (after the huge Holodance 0.8 release just recently), and yet, it's a pretty big milestone: A while back, I had already done some major work on the Avatar system - but then, given that this is most useful really only for players that already have Vive Trackers and that use Holodance to create videos, other items had higher priorities (Music Library! Music Library! Music Library!)
It was kind of funny then, to realize yesterday, that we were just a day away from having this ready to be played with. In fact, I had it running with some tricks in the Unity Editor after just about an hour or two of work and created a first video before lunch ... to be honest, the worst thing about that video was that I forgot to tick the "Switch Cams in the Rhythm" checkbox, so it was all shot from one single camera angle. BORING!
When the work was done, I created a better one: https://vimeo.com/242714666 The most important limitation of this version is that it doesn't properly work when only using Controllers and headset (your feet will just be dragged after you). You should at least have two Vive Trackers for your feet. It's better when you have three, so you can use one for your waist. Two more for your elbows should help, and finally, two more for your knees and you'll have perfect tracking (and spent a little fortune on Vive Trackers - but more power to you, these things do rock!)
So, what we'll be doing on this over the next few weeks: Make it work as good as possible with only controllers, add two more Avatars to choose from, maybe more. Listen to player feedback and polish things.
We have also fixed one small but very significant issue in the Music Library, and smoothed out the current gameplay trailer.
And now, back to the Music Library ;-)
Full Release Notes
Avatar System: We actually had this almost ready for a little while with just a few things missing. Those were now added and if you have Vive Trackers, you can already play with the first version. We currently have two Avatars available: A Soldier and Aika, an Animé-girl. We'll shortly add a few more to play with, and polish the whole thing up quite a bit. Like, the Avatar system will also work with only headset and two controllers (obviously, it won't work as well - but it will work much better than right now, where the feet are just dragged behind - ooops :wink: ). In VR, seeing this "other body" of yourself actually is a little weird, so you can switch it off. The primary purpose of this system is to easily be able to create awesome videos, do Streaming, and it's also a preparation for the upcoming multiplayer and "show" mode.
Music Library: Fixed default values for duration filter. By default, this filter should not filter any songs, so the minimum needs to be 30 seconds (which will ignore the lower limit altogether), and the maximum 320 seconds (which will ignore the upper limit altogether).
Updated the trailer - the previous version had way to many, and way too chaotic cuts. The new version is still intense, but compared to the previous version, it's much calmer.
This is one more release focused on Story Mode before we continue work on the Music Library / Free Mode.
Recent Major Release: V0.8
Just two weeks ago, we released Holodance V0.8, which brought a lot of polishing but most importantly, added a new approach to how Free Mode is accessed: Instead of having to download osu!, get osu! beatmaps, make sure osu! recognizes those beatmaps and then finally get them in Holodance, you can now immediately get started with Free Mode - browsing a library of around 12,000 songs and 55,000 beatmaps and including text-based search.
Work on the Music Library is not quite complete, yet. For example, the new UI design has a place for song / beatmap images but those are not loaded, yet. Also, the audio preview currently only works for beatmaps (instead of songs), and even there, it doesn't work properly with the full osu! library (for which it is most important). Those issues will be addressed shortly.
Having a really well organized, easily accessibly Music Library that lets you quickly find the songs you like, with the gameplay you enjoy, is a key feature for any rhythm game, so we will continue polishing this area - a lot. Part of this is giving you our in-VR beatmap editor, YouTube access, local MP3 access and community features that help you play the most relevant songs and beatmaps.
We also have improved Vive Tracker support and an Avatar system coming very soon, so development is definitely not getting boring any time soon.
Current Story Mode Updates
The last release (V0.8.1) and this current release V0.8.2 are all about story mode. The most important change in this release are remixes for the songs for levels 2 and 3 (V0.8 brought a completely new song for level 1). So now, Level 1 has three songs you can choose from, and levels 2 and 3 let you choose between the remixes and the original versions. Gameplay has not changed - but we have worked on the color schemes to make the orbs more visible.
And ... we have fixed plenty of issues. It may not be immediately obvious due to the strong focus on Free Mode in the recent year - but the polishing that came to Story Mode in V0.8.1 is a year worth of work by animators (even though not quite full time), and some major refactoring of old systems that turned out to not quite give us the intended experience. Now, the dragons are actually dancing and the foundation has been laid out to complete Story Mode (currently, levels 1 to 3 are very close to final, level 5 has a story preview but uses the song of level 3, levels 6, 10 and 11 have their songs and prototype gameplay but currently, the real fun really is in Free Mode).
Especially with levels 2 and 3, we really hope for feedback because right now, there is a lot of movement, and while advanced players may appreciate the challenge, it may be a little too much for newer players. So, let us know what you think in the forums.
Some people may have not followed recent progress, so here's the full list of changes that came with 0.8 (summarized), 0.8.1 and 0.8.2:
Holodance V0.8 - Summary
Music Library: Browse and play a library of more than 55,000 high quality osu! beatmaps for more than 12,000 different songs, directly from within the game.
New Environments: Sci-Fi Tunnels, Trippy Tunnels and Mutant Club, a creation by Virtual Reality artist Miguelangelo Rosario. Holodance now has a total of 12 environments from Story Mode (also available in Free Mode), 5 official bonus environments as well as several special purpose environments. This makes a total of almost 20 environments, ranging from a tropical beach or underwater environment with dolphins and whales, to trippy abstract tunnels or asteroid fields. Screenshots are available in our press kit.
Progress in Story Mode: New song for Level 1 by Billy Maestro from Brazil, remixed by Sheipz, improved animations for Level 2, Preview of Level 5.
Vive Tracker Support: Players can catch those orbs not only with their hands and head - but if they have two Vive Trackers, also with their feet - Kung Fu Style!
Steam Trading Cards: Holodance now has 9 trading cards, themed with environments from both Story Mode and Free Mode. When players have completed a set and crafted a badge, they can get one of 5 profile backgrounds and one of 8 alphabet-based emoticons. These letter-based emoticons spell out HOLODANCE. Which also lets players write words like HELLO, DANCE, or DOODLE. The badges themselves are themed in the five elements, so that's based on Story Mode.
Major improvements in the look and feel: A completely new UI, much improved look of Orbs and Sliders - with outlines for better visibility against various environments, new Orb Score Bubbles, that can be customized, and a completely new Sci-Fi based HUD used in several environments; also completely redesigned achievements icons. The Catch Area grid that helps players know where to best catch the orbs now has five styles, from just an outline to various graphical designs.
Mixed Reality: Plenty of fixes in our default SteamVR-based implementation, including Vive Tracker support, cooperation with LIV, built-in MixCast Support
Major improvements in Streamer Mode: Players that use Holodance to produce content for YouTube or Twitch can now set the timing in musical bars for when each camera switches to the next. Also, the 3rd person cameras in Streamer Mode have been significantly polished for much better footage. Eventually, Streamer Mode will let players produce complete videos by playing a single session, with little need for post-production.
Ruirized Achievement: For catching orbs in difficult osu! beatmaps only with your head
Major performance improvements, environment specific performance settings
Heavy project cleanup, countless bugfixes and polishing, resulting, among other things, in much improved loading times
Improvements on how Scoring is handled, detailed statistics on how scores are calculated are now available to players after each session
Not all players enjoy Sliders and Spinners, so those gameplay elements can now be converted to regular Orbs with an option in the settings.
Holodance V0.8.1 - Full List of Changes
Level 3: Integrated new animations with voice-acting and proper dancing animations
Fixed skipping issues in levels 2 and 3 - skipping should now work properly in all states in those two levels.
Level 2: Fixed one audio track missing from the song.
Level 5: Added new, significantly more polished dancing animations.
Level 5: High five sequence now works. We will still streamline this one a little.
Level 1: Added new animations with lip-sync and significantly improved dancing animations.
Applied a fix for Level 2 (Vayusah didn't show up), and also improved robustness of Music Library, right after the release (and did a hot fix for that).
Holodance V0.8.2 (Current Release) - Full List of Changes
Story Mode, Level 1: Improved first voice acting animation to make it more lively.
Internal refactoring: Put all new story mode into their appropriate locations because those are no longer experimental (but were in the "experimental" area internally).
Story Mode: Fixed issue where resetting player state (this is available through the old settings menu) would cause a restart of the game, which would result in the controllers disappearing. That restart is not necessary anymore, so we no longer do it.
Improved how loading of audio is handled. This should prevent long delays with voice acting and built in songs.
Fixed several in issues in how levels / environments are being loaded, which could cause glitches like the dragon animations starting before you could actually even see them.
Story Mode, Level 1: Fixed all known glitches in the animations.
Pritvitej can now be stroked / tickled as often as you like, instead of only once.
Story Mode, Level 1: Fixed voice-acting animation for "Gimme Five and we will dance again". Also, this should now only be played when the player did not previously complete the tutorial (in this session; in other words, the "very well done" voice-act and animation will always be played when the player has just completed the tutorial; it will also not be played when the player skipped the tutorial).
Story Mode: We previously had the dragons at a larger distance and therefore needed to have the orb first approach quicker and then slow down a little bit. With the new animations, the dragons are at a more appropriate distance, so this hack is no longer needed. In fact, this caused the orbs to be too slow where you'd catch them in previous versions, resulting in much more difficult gameplay (because you needed to be much more precise). Fixed.
Fixed Story Mode ScoreHUD: The current score was fairly glitchy, sometimes curved, sometimes not, sometimes going back and forth. This now works properly.
Fixed several audio issues in Level 3.
Fixed orb colors in Level 2 and Level 3.
Fixed issue in Level 3 where Apastarrr overshoots at the end of the song, resulting in a jump when he starts swimming towards player.
Story Mode, Level 2: Fixed ScoreHUD appearing behind Vayusah, instead of above Vayusah.
Story Mode, Level 1: Fixed issue that dragon audio from intro was playing even when entering the level without the tutorial.
Improved quality of loading-screen skybox
OrbScoreHUD for head orbs: Moved up a little bit so this is no longer right in front of your face, which can be fairly annoying.