Welcome! We’ve spent a lot of time on the streaming tools for Fantastic Contraption. We were the first people to use these Mixed Reality techniques to show VR and we’d love for you to come join us in the game.
People are starting to pick that up and it’s very exciting! Fantastic Contraption also works with a hand held camera and in this post I’ll show you how to use it. To record hand-held video you do need a third controller though, which is going to be a big barrier for most people.
If you have a third controller and already have the stationary camera stream set up then hand-held setup is pretty simple:
get a third Vive controller (this is the hard part)
duck tape that controller to your camera and plug it into the USB on your computer
know where to put the camera/controller when you start hand-held mode
turn on mixed reality and then hand-held mode in Fantastic Contraption
align the cameras
1. Get a Third Controller
OK, yeah, this is pretty hard right now. Valve has said that they’re working on a way to get a third controller and also working on tracking devices that are designed to be added to real-world objects to make them trackable. At the moment the only way I know of to get a third controller is to borrow one from a second Vive. I have no other suggestions, sorry.
2. Duct Tape
The third controller tells the game where your camera is so the first thing you have to do is meld your controller to your camera. Make the coupling super solid so it doesn’t drift over time. Use duck tape, zap straps, putty, glue, whatever makes it nice and solid. Also make sure the sensors on the controller will be visible to the light houses.
Now plug the third controller into the USB of your computer. Third controllers can not be used wirelessly like the controllers that come with the Vive. It will only be recognised if you plug it into a USB port on your computer. You’re probably going to have to buy a USB extension cable.
3. Why is my Hand the Camera?
The game knows you have three controllers but it doesn’t know which one is tied to a camera. To work around this I assume that the camera controller is the one that is most “Vive East” when handheld mode is turned on. Vive East is the direction AWAY from the pink goal in-game. If you did room setup like Valve suggested then it is in the direction to the right of your monitor.
4. Turn on Hand Held
Go to the “Settings” menu and turn on “Handheld mode”. This will take the mixed-reality cameras and move them to where the third controller is.
5. Align the Cameras
You need to align the in-game and real-world cameras like in the previous guide. Use the wasdqe and arrow keys. Note that you can “roll” the camera with shift arrow.
It’s also very important to get the camera delay correct when filming hand-held or the whole world will be swimming around.
As we recently announced in update 1.0.8, we now display badges at the base of your save models to indicate if you beat the level in a special way. On some levels, getting a badge will earn you an achievement and matching jangly charm for your controller.
Colin and I have differing opinions on “cheevos” in games. For Incredipede, Colin used anti-achievements where you have to leave your computer, go outside and play with bugs (and people actually did it!). Colin argues that achievements cheapen games by giving you a reward for something that should be its own reward, and that they can encourage you to do things that aren’t even fun.
I argue that achievements give you a reason to try new things. Say you always play Rebuild 3 by killing every faction in the city. There’s an achievement for that, but also one for allying with every faction. So to get every cheevo you have to try different play styles and explore parts of the game that maybe you wouldn’t have otherwise. Achievements can also give uber players new and harder challenges.
Fantastic Contraption has a history of solution badges which we used for the achievements in the new game. You earn them by beating specific levels in some unusual way. The ones we’ve kept are:
Champion – goal ball stays in goal
Boomerang – ball returns to the build area
Clean – remove all parts from the level after winning
Green – win using no powered wheels
Brown/Gold – win using only rods
Lightning – win in a limited amount of time
Minimalist – use a limited number of pieces
Our Steam achievements include beating Fetch Island green (no powered wheels) and Step Island boomerang (return to the build area), and Log Rolling lightning (within 5 seconds). That last one is so hard that we’re still debating increasing it to 6 or 7 seconds, and it took hours for Colin to finally prove it was even possible.
I hope they encourage Contraption players to be creative and test out different ideas. We may add a few more cheevos as we add more levels… that is if we can fit any more charms on those controllers!
Our team t-shirts have been such a success that we’ve opened a store so you can get one of your very own at 0% markup. The uncensored version features a quote from Nathan Grayson by way of an early Kotaku Vive preview. I think “impressively intuitive and whimsical as fuck” sums up exactly what we were going for.
We’re working towards our next update, adding more stuff to track your progress and all the ways you can beat every level, and new tools to help show off contraptions on Twitch and Twitter. I’ve was looking through the shared solutions today and found some incredible ideas in there – we want to help share them with the world!
Today is the day! The HTC Vive is now shipping, and Fantastic Contraption is live on Steam. We’re so proud and lucky to be part of something so momentous – the first steps of the VR revolution. We’d like to congratulate all of the VR visionaries, brilliant hardware engineers, forward-thinking artists, game developers and enthusiasts who have inspired us and made this possible.
Valve’s new mixed-reality SteamVR trailer explains it perfectly: room scale VR is an immersive experience, a social experience. It’s weird and new and still rough around the edges, and it just might change your life the way it changed ours.