With this update, I am feeling very comfortable taking the title out of Early Access!
- Added Tour Guide presentations for Neptune & Pluto (with subtitles), bringing the total Tour Guide content to 110+ minutes.
- Re-recorded Tour Guide presentations for the 3rd Earth stop & Jupiter.
- Music can now be easily toggled on and off via a new button on the dashboard.
- Users going through the tour a second time will have the option to fast-forward to the next tour stop.
- Improved visual appearance for Jupiter.
- Improved visual appearance for Neptune.
- Improved visual appearance for Pluto.
- Improved visual appearance for the Sun and all the large stars.
- In Side-by-Side mode, users can now only compare bodies they have already seen before in the tour.
- Fixed 36 issues.
- English language font updated.
- New loading screen, quicker loading.
- Users can now view a miniature close-up of the Moon along with the Earth.
- Side-by-Side Comparison mode can now be used at the Pluto tour stop.
- In Side-by-Side mode, users can now physically interact with buttons.
- Controller labels fade in and out to avoid visual distraction, and to feel less like physical objects sticking out of the controllers.
- Desktop mode now includes bloom, and ability to zoom onto the Tour Guide character.
- Improved visual appearance for the vortex at the end of the tour.
- And lots more.
[h2]For those running in OculusVR Mode[/h2]
- Users may now use either a trigger or button A/X to interact with buttons, whichever feels most natural.
- Updated to OVR Plugin 1.40.0
- Oculus Dash support.
- ASW 2.0 support.
[h3]Let's review my initial Early Access goals and their end results[/h3]
Goal #1: Leave Early Access in 6 months.
- Result: I believe it's been over three years now? I can't even... So, I mentioned this before, but I'm _really _sorry for taking so long. As you might have guessed, my confidence in my own ability to estimate how long things will take is now utterly shattered. ːsteamfacepalmː
Goal #2: "Coaster Mode" - meant to be a literal roller coaster set among the planets.
- Result: After reviewing all the feedback I got and implementing a proper comfort mode, I realized that the non-Sensitive-to-Motion mode was already basically a roller coaster for many players and decided not to remake a whole new mode for this.
Goal #3: "Alternate View" - meant to be a way to see a different version of planets and moons.
- Result: Implemented as the "Change Planet Maps" feature available.
Goal #4: "Free Flight" - meant to be a new mode that turns your cockpit into a literal spaceship that you must pilot.
- Result: Implemented Zero-Gravity EVA mode, inspired by Echo VR and shaped by the need to keep the planets the same size. Plus, other titles were doing the spaceship thing already and it's good to differentiate. Original music composed by Karim Elmahmoudi.
Goal #5: "Overview" - meant to be an orrery, a solar system small enough to walk around in.
- Result: After traveling past Pluto to the vantage point overlooking the whole Solar System, space is shrunk, and the user has an opportunity to use the Zero-Gravity EVA mode to get out of the cockpit and float around in the shrunken Sun and its planets.
Goal #6: "Side by Side Comparisons" - partially implemented with the initial Early Access release, this was meant to be finished up at some point.
- Result: Buttons are now more fun to interact with, no more spoilers for new users as this mode will now only allow comparisons between bodies that the user has already seen in the tour, filled in some missing planets like Pluto, and cleaned up other issues.
Goal #7: "Gravity Probe" and "Real Distance View" - both partially implemented with the initial Early Access release, these were meant to be expanded upon at some point.
- Result: These two features were not a good fit for the Oculus Quest version and they were not popular features anyway, so I ended up leaving these relatively untouched save for some minor improvements and clean-up.
Goal #8: "Companion" - meant to be a robotic character attached to your cockpit that would ride along with you on your tour, would "ooh" and "ahh" at the various sights, and help the user with a tutorial on all the dashboard features.
- Result: Tour Guide character aka 'Flying Professor Alien', a mocapped, voice-acted character using the same Zero-Gravity EVA locomotion system that could fly up to a body and point out specific features while talking about them. And it turns out I had so much to share about every planet that this turned into more of a lecture format rather than someone that reacts to the tour along the user.
And of course there's been a ton of quality-of-life improvements, friction-reduction, and generally attacking the worst/most-amateur parts of the experience one by one until I could say I feel good about the whole thing.
So, that's it! I sincerely hope you all enjoy how Titans of Space PLUS has turned out. It's been a long journey from its humble beginnings on the Rift DK1 to trying to keep up with the modern VR industry revolutionizing itself every year or two, increasing consumer expectations, and so on.