Channel Surfing+: Our Q2 Postmortem
What’s up! I’m Josh Powlison, and I had the opportunity to become a producer on Channel Surfing+ last year to work with the executive producer (Nathan Blair) and an awesome team of highly skilled creatives. We’re nearing a big internal milestone (a demo our team can play internally), so it seems like a great time to share some of what we’ve been up to.
So, let’s go!
Channel Surfing+ is a VR game where you travel across many alternate dimensions that we call “Channels”. Each Channel has at least one unique core experience including starring in a cooking show, playing in a teddy bear arcade, and exploring a feast for giants. Many of their events are interwoven into a narrative where you as the player discover a plot that threatens the multiverse.
Channel Surfing+ will first release on the Oculus Quest. It will be available with other VR platforms later.
Here are some of our updates for Q2 2021:
Our artists have been developing further concepts, models, and animations for characters across the multiverse, including residents of the player’s hometown, their employers at the laboratory, and some happy little clouds:
One of our challenges has been how to animate our characters in a manageable way with a relatively small animation team. Our characters team has been exploring options, and have recently turned to the improvements in motion capture software even for basic webcams.
Our environments team has been hard at work building out the player’s hometown. We’ve been building new interiors to both explore and kick back in:
Currently, we are having conversations about improving the performance in the initial town and have adjusted the layout so that the player can enjoy the sights and get the sense of the town without as much risk of a framerate dip. By having the town be a giant square that you walk around along the outside, you don’t get to put the whole town into view at once, which would cause the dips.
We’ve also been creating new games for our teddy bear arcade channel. We recently held Game JAM For Love I: Pixel Arcade to gather more games and are working on plugging those in and continuing to build some new ones.
With the growth our games, we have welcomed several new programmers onto the team. As a part of these steps, our Project Manager has been helping us reorganize our task list so that we can divvy up the tasks more cleanly across the team.
One of our biggest struggles has been figuring out how to share our project across the team. We’ve looked into Unity Teams, GitHub, setting up a local Git host, and more. Since our team size fluctuates with school seasons and availability, we need to make sure that it’s practical to add people onto our team as well. It looks like we’re on the verge of our solution, and I look forward to sharing more about that with you in our next update!
A thank-you to everyone on the team for all you’ve been doing. It means a lot, and it’s exciting working with you!
We’ll share more next quarter. Our primary goals at the moment are to build out our task lists for upcoming builds and to get a playable demo ready to begin sharing with others. Take care, and have a great day!