Contraption Modding

We currently have two types of mod: Neko Skins (skin the cat!) and Languages (Habla Contrapcionez?)

Change Neko's appearance, or translate the game into another language.
Use mods to change Neko’s appearance, or translate the game into your native language.

Contraption mods menu

How to install a mod

  1. Subscribe to a mod you like on the Steam Workshop
  2. Restart the game or click Reload in the Settings > Mods menu on your monitor
  3. Current language can be changed from the top of the Settings menu

You can also install mods directly by unpacking them into the Mods Folder at C:\Users\[YOUR_USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\FC-VR\Mods\[MOD_NAME]\

How to create a Fantastic Contraption mod

Short answer: install and modify the Neko mod example or Language mod example.

Long answer (for Neko mod):

  1. Open the Settings menu on your desktop monitor
  2. Click Mods
  3. Click Mods Folder to open C:\Users\[YOUR_USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\FC-VR\Mods\
  4. Download the Neko example mod
  5. Unpack it to the Mods folder
  6. Click Reload on the Mods menu (eg ~\FC-VR\Mods\NekoMod_Neelie)
  7. In the HMD, look at Neko – he should now be black and white
  8. Edit NekoBody.png (1024×1024) and NekoHead.png (512×512) to change Neko’s appearance
  9. Edit Details.json to change the mod title and description
  10. Replace Capsule.png (638×358) with your own Steam Workshop preview image
  11. Click Reload on the Mods menu to see your changes (or restart the game)
  12. Click Publish beside your mod to upload it to the Steam Workshop
  13. Click Update to send a new version to the Steam Workshop
  14. Click X to delete the mod locally and unsubscribe.
  15. Published mods can only be removed from the workshop from the Steam Workshop website

Long answer (for Language mod):

  1. Open the Settings menu on your desktop monitor
  2. Click Mods
  3. Click Mods Folder to open C:\Users\[YOUR_USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\FC-VR\Mods\
  4. Download the Language example mod
  5. Unpack it to the Mods folder
  6. Click Reload on the Mods menu (eg ~\FC-VR\Mods\LanguageMod_French)
  7. In the game, everything should now be in French
  8. Edit strings.csv and change text to your language
  9. Edit Details.json to change the mod title and description
  10. Replace Capsule.png (638×358) with your own Steam Workshop preview image
  11. Click Reload on the Mods menu to see your changes (or restart the game)
  12. Click Publish beside your mod to upload it to the Steam Workshop
  13. Click Update to send a new version to the Steam Workshop
  14. Click X to delete the mod locally and unsubscribe.
  15. Published mods can only be removed from the workshop from the Steam Workshop website

A full level editor is also coming soon. If making mods and custom content is something that interests you and you’d like to see more of that in Fantastic Contraption, please let us know!

Tokyo Game Show 2016

We got a last-minute invite to show Fantastic Contraption in the indie area of the Tokyo Game Show this year. You didn’t need to twist our arms about it; within an hour me, Colin, Lindsay, and Gord were checking flights and blocking off dates in our calendars.

It wasn’t the show that excited us so much, it was just a good excuse to spend time in one of our favorite cities. I didn’t have a lot of hope that the conference would be a useful experience. When we last attended TGS in 2011, there were hardly any indie games there at all except maybe Behemoth showing Battle Block Theater. It seemed like nobody there would want to play our games.

I’d heard from various indie devs that the independent games presence was growing at TGS, but that it was sidelined to a separate building that didn’t get as much traffic or press as the main AAA area. While this was true, the show turned out (to my surprise & delight) to be a big success for us.

Fantastic Contraption booth

Gord, me and Lindsay goofing by our double-sized VR booth

Our booth was at the very back of the indie area, which housed over 100 games. Most of the booths were little 1x1m kiosks with just enough space for one monitor and a little poster, but people were creative with their decorations and gave the place a good dose of character. We splurged $250 extra for a tv from the conference and convinced the union we could be trusted to plug it in ourselves (at least I think that’s what we were talking about – the language barrier was not bad but some procedures in Japan still mystify me).

We’ve shown Vive roomscale at previous conferences, but it needs at least 3x3m of boothspace (1.5x2m play area plus PC/monitor plus a half meter safety border). Our posh VR booth at TGS was 2x2m, just enough room to show our upcoming “Kaiju scale”, where you stand in place and play as a giant towering over a tiny Contraption world.

We chose the Oculus Touch this time to avoid issues with IR interference, and were lucky we did because a nearby Vive demo had its lighthouses aimed right at us.

Cosplay line

The cosplay change rooms were right behind our booth

Sharing the building with us indies were cosplay, merch, and VR. Virtual Reality turned out to be a big crowd bringer, with HTC and PD Tokyo’s mixed reality booths, Futuretown’s ride-on arcade rigs, and in the AAA building as well with everything from dating sims to Resident Evil 7 in VR. Given the typically small apartments and lower disposable income in Japan, I’d wondered if people there would be excited about VR. The answer is yes: a thousand times yes.

We saw some weird shit, like a haptic armband that moves your fingers, an idol singer game you play with air traffic control rods, a surreal bathing simulator and a game where you grope a mannequin. In TGS’s defense I heard they banned that last one, but I took all this as a sign that Japan is excited and willing to innovate in VR.

Public day

Yep it did get busy… and quite humid

Back at our booth we had someone playing Contraption from the moment the doors opened until they cut the AC and threw everyone out at 5pm. The two business days were quiet but not empty, and the public weekend days were hot and crowded but not chaotic. Our line was never longer than an hour (Thumper for PSVR, beside us, was another story) and everyone was orderly and calm. Japan is awesome.

Lindsay had localized the game to Japanese for an arcade at July’s BitSummit conference, which was a life saver. It’s awkward enough to help people through a demo in VR when you speak the same language, though luckily Lindsay speaks Japanese and we had extra help on the busy public days from our Tokyo friend Paul. One thing we’d do differently next time would be to put Japanese text into our sign as well. Most people in Japan speak a little English, but not all confidently enough to figure out an English tutorial with a crowd watching them.

We put players through a new 5 minute demo loop we were beta testing for arcades, which throws you into a level with a ton of stuff to mess with and look at, and a condensed version of our (normally 10 minute) tutorial that fades to black when the timer is up. We ironed some kinks out of the demo and made some tweaks to it during the first couple business days (a terrible idea, but we like to live dangerously).

Overall it turned out great. We did some excellent playtesting on the new demo level, Kaiju scale, and the Oculus Touch controls. We got great feedback, met a bunch of VR business folks, and connected with quite a few indie developers who don’t usually make it out to GDC or PAX.

Cheezu!

Hi Paul!

Fantastic Contraption was also nominated for Sense of Wonder Night, aka the TGS indie game awards. It’s since Colin showed an early version of Incredipede there in 2011 to about 30 people. This time Lindsay and I got up onstage to bright lights and a formal judging panel. He spoke while I played the game, and we proudly came away with an award for Best Technological Game.

Also notable was Robin Baumgarten‘s game Line Wobbler, which won not just one but three awards, including the audience “make some noise” face off where it was pitted against Contraption to see who could generate the most wakka-wakkas from the audience’s toy hammers.

just_shake_it

A SOWN tradition – applaud by shaking a toy “piko piko” hammer when you feel a sense of wonder

After the show we took a couple weeks off to explore Tokyo and the surrounding countryside with our teammates and friends. And I have to say, though the show was just an excuse to get us over to Japan, it really was both fun and useful for us and the indie component has improved immeasurably since 2011. We’re very grateful to the organizers for making this happen!

Check out our Flickr album for more of our trip.

Tea garden

Choo choo

Inari shrine

Contraption Scale modes

Fantastic Contraption will be a launch title with the Oculus Touch motion controllers (no official date yet). We have the hardware all hooked up and running nicely, and are working on making smaller scale play spaces feel good.

The scaling feature will also come out on the Vive version so you’ll be able to play at your desk or standing in a small space. Right now you eat mushrooms to change your size ala Alice in Wonderland: some make you bigger (and thus the world looks smaller), and some have the opposite effect.

Do those mushrooms have... tongues?
Do those mushrooms have… tongues?

I know this feature’s going to be great, because I use it every day while working on the game. I have my space set up so I can swivel my chair to the right and play a miniature version of Contraption in the air there, complete with a miniature little Neko.

You can even shrink down smaller than original roomscale to be like a mouse in a world of giant contraptions. Facing a giant angry Neko can be pretty intimidating.

Good kitty! I promise I'll never cheat again!
Good kitty! I promise I’ll never cheat again!

Why is that Neko black and white? That’s another feature we’re working on: workshop mods to change the cat’s appearance. We’re also working on naming contraptions, localization to other languages, attachable pins and more. Stay tuned to our Twitch stream and to the experimental Steam branch to get updates before anyone else.

Upcoming Events

We won’t have a booth at PAX Prime this year, but you may still bump into us there (you’ll recognize us by our sweet Contraption shirts).

We will be showing Fantastic Contraption at the Tokyo Game Show in their indie hall.

We’ll also be at VRDC in November and a couple local events here in Vancouver Canada. Busy times!

Contraption Price Drop

Our limited-offer free bundle with the HTC Vive has ended, and they’re now bundling two new games as well as the irreplaceable Tilt Brush. This means we’re now actually selling Contraption for the first time!

Price change to $30

So, it was finally time to discuss the fact that at $40 usd Contraption was one of the most expensive VR games available for the Vive. I do think it’s one of the better VR titles available, but judging by our reviews $40 was more than many players are willing to pay for it. We agreed it was too high, so we’ve lowered it to $30 usd.

The reason VR games generally cost more than traditional “flat” games is simple: right now there are way fewer VR gamers than PC gamers, which means fewer purchases, which means you need higher prices to make the same amount of money and cover your development costs. VR games will get cheaper as more people own the hardware, but this year companies are taking a risk by making games for Vive and Oculus. We want to support them.

Up next: the Level Editor

We’ve been showing off (and occasionally breaking) the upcoming level editor live on our Thursday afternoon Twitch stream. It’s almost another game in itself, building miniature islands in the sky and devising challenges for other players.

We still have a few things to sort out but you can expect to see it on the experimental Steam branch soon!

Contraption Social Update 1.1.0

Fantastic Contraption: The Social Update (v1.1) has been released on Steam!

social_update_550

We’ve always said that VR is quite the social experience, and since our launch in April we’ve been experimenting with new features that help make things easier to share with your friends.

(Text not your thing? We have a quick video demonstration of some of the new features.)

Twitch Chat Integration

Having to take off your VR headset to check in with your Twitch audience – or just to hang out with your friends in your favourite channel – is a hassle. Well, hassle-be-gone! You can now connect to any Twitch channel’s chat box and view it within VR! This feature (found in the new Social menu) comes complete with emoji support and a resizable VR interface that you can place anywhere in your world. We’ll even show a fancy popup if you happen to get a new subscriber or follower!

Director Mode

Whether you are streaming on Twitch or just showing the game off to family at home, you often want to show the action from a different angle — without that VR sense of depth, your audience might not understand what’s going on. You can now enable Director Mode (in Settings) to unlock a bunch of cameras that you can place in your play space, or fly around with your keyboard to set up long distance shots. You can easily cycle between cameras with a set of buttons in VR and show the world just how epic things are from your point of view!

When being viewed externally, you’ll show up as a cute animal avatar – we have a unicorn, frog, sheep, and more! Don’t forget to put on a hat!

Mixed Reality

If you’re already in Director mode, why not replace your digital avatar with a real, live human? You can capture your humanoid-emotions easily with a quick trip to a mixed-reality dropdown box in the Settings menu. We let you choose between automatically integrating a webcam into the game, or you can compose your own scene (eg, using OBS layering) if you want to integrate fancy capture cards. If you chroma-key out a green-screen you can see yourself walking around in the game world!

We find that Mixed Reality is one of the most engaging and best ways to demonstrate the game, be it at conventions, streamed online, making trailers, or showing things off at home. To do it right you will need some equipment (green screens, a nice camera, beefier computer hardware) – but if you can pull it off it’ll look amazing.

Tweet that GIF!

Our old friend the eye-bug is back! Let it keep watch over you as a portable GIF capturing creature — grab onto it as it floats through your space and tap your Go button to start filming. The GIFs will save to your hard drive (in a folder easily accessible from the Settings menu).

And if you set up your credentials in the new Social menu, posting that gif to Twitter is as easy as tapping a controller button. Share your beauties!

Undo / Redo

We’ve all been there – you accidentally throw your whole contraption off the edge. You have to rebuild from scratch. You’re devastated. Well, “heroes never die!”

Those little menu buttons at the top of your Vive controllers are now Undo (left hand) and Redo (right hand). Experiment with the assurance that your mistakes are reversible!

… And tons more!

Though we mainly focused on the sharing features in this update, we have a whole ton of bug fixes, minor features, and [fully legal] performance enhancements in this update. Check it out!

In our next update we’ll be focusing on some new gameplay features and other exciting things we’re still keeping secret, but if you have any desires or find any bugs, be sure to let us know in the in-game suggestion box!

Here’s the full changelog:

  • Twitch Chat: Show emotes, number of viewers. Alert for followers and subs. Two-hands resizable. Throw to reset.
  • GIF Bug: A happy, bumbly, fly that wanders around your play-space and the level. Grab it to record 8 second gifs and, if you want, upload them to Twitter. GIFs are saved to the autosave directory, max 10 at a time named with incrementing numbers. After grabbing the bug it will stay in place. Throw it to return it to “roaming” mode.
  • Undo/Redo: Small buttons on controller now access undo/redo. Undo is batched for similar actions happening in quick succession.
  • In game camera controls: added buttons to change cameras in-game (activated when Director mode is turned on)
  • Integrated webcam mode: webcams will be recognised by the game and composited between foreground/background automatically to make mixed-reality videos simpler to make.
  • Camera Delay option for streamers in Director Controls. The Slider will delay the game rendering so you can match the delay of your camera. Greatly improves mixed-reality streaming.
  • Hand-held camera offset now settable with arrow/wasd. Also shift-arrow now “rolls”
  • All cameras are now represented by little flying bugs. Can grab them to move and rotate, will show preview of what they see until thrown.
  • Added hats to in-game avatar. ~f to toggle between hats. Also works in mixed reality.
  • Menus: Fix bug applying settings on startup. Add menus for integrated webcam settings, improve streaming menu generally. Add twitch setup to menus including a button to go to oauth key generator. Sign in to Twitter menu (for the GIF bug). Reduce arrow-key moving interfering with menu options.
  • New Sounds: New sound effects for berries, dice, twitch follows/sub, throwing rod, berry bounce, save tables
  • Music: You can now create flat notes by attaching sticky-balls to rods
  • Grab your eyes out of your head and put them on a contraption. Also eye’s rotation matches parent when moving parent object in both editing and play mode.
  • Save Tables: Faster loading from server. No longer show friends first in non-friend results. Show empty friends table if you have no friends. Improved table flipping. Small server improvements and admin tools. Minor fixes.
  • New colouring of wheels that are out of bounds
  • Warning messages now pop up on the companion window when no hands are present or twitch credentials are not set while using twitch window
  • Adjustments made to the Vive controller models.
  • Optimisation: Batching of maquette and static level geometry. Fixed some memory leaks. Skip rendering of some off-screen effects. Objects cache some internal data instead of recalculating it. Loading level is now faster and less likely to cause hitching.
  • Change some graphical settings while streaming for performance reasons
  • Fix horrible bug that makes the game unplayable if you attach a sticky ball to a glow-berry.
  • Possible fix for missing shared replays bug. Server side improvements. Add extra logging to track down missing replays bug.
  • Grab models off the dark-world maquette more easily
  • Better data sanity-checking on contraption load.
  • Reduce hitching when a replay transitions back to playing live
  • Small improvements to feedback form
  • Minor tutorial fixes
  • SteamVR Update
  • Fix for things getting stuck in the ground causing joints to disconnect
  • Fix light-world maquette interfering with dark-world save tables
  • Handle Oculus headsets better (still not officially supported yet)
  • Fix to physics glitches when pausing game with steam button
  • Better sanity checking around settings loading
  • Setting companion camera smoothing to zero will now improve performance
  • Physics stability improvements (changed wheel-on-wheel behaviours)
  • Fix for building pieces/outline not appearing properly in the Goal tutorial level