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Here’s more photos of our favorite Yosemite summit, El Capitán.

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And here’s the Millennium Falcon flying over it.

In real fake life, the Falcon would be much smaller in proportion to the Yosemite Valley (34.37 m long compared to 13,000 m long), but we’re not too concerned about things making sense here.

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Onto news of small things:

Here is a tiny thing next to an even tinier thing. This is an AllFlex circuit and an accelerator (the object in the photo that most closely resembles a dot, or a freckle, or a speck of dust).

There’s a ruler and a penny in there as double proof of how amazingly small these things are.

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On the topic of perfectly sized things, we also may have discovered that this tool chest works surprisingly well as a cocoon for Danny.

Giant canyons, tiny accelerators, and sitting in things we probably shouldn’t ship people in.

So we have this 3D model of the entire Yosemite Valley:

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And we can’t get enough of canyons, so we’re making more.

Next up: the Grand Canyon, maybe the Grand Teton range.

CANYONS and VALLEYS will be the inspiration for this game!

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The 3D models we’re printing are great because they help us visualize what we’re doing. It’s relatively simple to print one of these out but it’s still a challenge figuring out how to build and render the terrain in the game in a way that is visually appealing.

Faces made out of the things we keep lying around our workspace.

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We’re not using our phone case idea anymore, but they make great eyes. The white squiggle at the bottom is a failed experiment with our 3D printer. You could also call it a turd.

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Why not a winky face? Thanks Adafruit for providing roundness. Thanks All Flex, for your superior wink-making characteristics.

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Winks can be kisses. Double duty!

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We’re going to end on a “meh” face because we ran out of faces. Thanks LightBlue Bean, for giving us great face.

We can’t promise that this won’t happen again, but we’ll definitely try to include a jet or two next time.

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Behold! This is El Capitán, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite and printed in miniature from our trusty Ultimaker.

We’re working on making a never-ending canyon for JetRecon, and we’re making it 3D. The game will have you soar through the canyon and it will be awesome.

We’ve scrapped the idea of a phone case working as a controller, and we’re working with 2 different controller options instead: a jet controller that we’ll build for the Apple TV and the iPhone itself as the second controller.

To accomplish this, we’ve assembled a maker’s toolkit.

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We’re really excited about all of our gadgets. We’ve got Adafruit’s FLORA microcontroller, All Flex flexible circuits, the Bean by Punch Through and lots of other goodies at our fingertips. It makes it so much easier to prototype on the fly when you have the right tools from the start.

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This is the almighty and perfectly circular Adafruit FLORA

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Punch Through Design’s tiny LightBlue Bean

We’ve got a camera trained on our Ultimaker and we’re trying to capture that elusive angle that’ll make for the perfect time-lapse.

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Much prototyping awaits…

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There are some great, beautiful, and affordable assets out there. Like Better Rocks and Cliffs, which looks stunning and costs just $25:

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And this Alpine Mesh Terrain, which creates landscapes that look like wonderful spots for a scenic summer vacation home:

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While searching for assets for our game, however, we’ve also stumbled upon some virtual rocks that seem better off unturned.

It’s as if we as a human species can’t rest with the notion that we might just get away with not experiencing an apocalypse in our lifetimes — or maybe we just like horrifying things, because we keep creating them virtually for fun. You know, as a treat.

Take this Abandoned Hospital Pack, for example.

Filthy, dingy, spooky hospital interiors covered in sludge and zombie grime? Yes please. Let’s not think about the hospital food that comes out of this place.

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To complete the scene, we point your attention to this pre-made undead nurse:

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Maybe you’re trying to go for something a bit more child-friendly?

Then Nugget the Duck Thing might be just the thing you need: a lovable creature with no arms but plenty of “duck-like charisma.” Perfect.

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Or take the plunge into sci-fi and populate your world with terrifying alien bugs, because you only live once!

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After you’ve got successfully filled your world with undead things, you might be looking for props — and you won’t be disappointed there, either.

The Unity Asset Store provides… pineapple chunks, that is.

Behold the Survivalist Gourmet Food Pack! Cover all the bases of your processed-and-packaged-foods pyramid.

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And don’t forget to equip yourself. You can go positively medieval:

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Or spring for a classic apocalypse survivor’s kit:

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Still trying to keep it kid-friendly?

Try this adorable teddy bear grenade:

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It’s scary out there in the fringes of the Unity Asset Store. We’re amazed at the talent and creativity of so many folks out there, even as their creations horrify us.

Thanks for getting lost with us.

Now to find our way back to something hopefully a little closer to the real world…

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We finally got the team together today and talked JetRecon – we need a better name – for a bit. This game has been slow-cooking for months, absorbing some good Unity sauce, and we’re excited that it’s now time to be taking a concrete step forward together as a team.

We asked ourselves, “What are we trying to do with this game?” We talked about some early feedback we’ve had that has had an impact on us — family and friends who tried out the game in its early stages were all about how cool it was to use the controller.

There’s something really magical about moving the controller and having the on-screen jet respond so naturally and so quickly. The fact that shifting your controller left turns you left in the game, and tilting forward and backward gets you immediately accelerating and decelerating, makes for gameplay that’s intuitive, immersive, and fun. Those moments of — this feels like magic — are exactly what we’re going for.

So far we’ve been envisioning JetRecon as a 2D game, but now we’re exploring the possibilities that 3D might open up, too; luckily, we’re early enough in the game planning stages that we can play with visuals and how they might affect the direction of the game.

Tomorrow, we lunch and chat about what each of us envisions as a level in the game. What do we want to see? What would we be excited to play? In our imagination, is the jet skimming across the Grand Canyon? Is it flying over tundras, through snow? Is it in space, and we’re playing in speed mode to get to the end of time?

We’re feeling good about making a bit of progress. Making a game is never easy, but we’re doing it together.

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We’re making another game…

A very smart dude by the name of Justin sent us an idea about a year ago and we sat on it until now…

In JetRecon – we need a better name, your mission is to… well, we don’t know yet.  We’ll figure it out soon but for now the plan is to fly through cool landscapes with multiple players.  And we want to do it with tons of different controllers, maybe AppleTV remotes, maybe arduinos, maybe iphone, who knows.

Here is the proof of concept:

Our game is unique in two ways:
1. The game controller is powered by the Bean, an Arduino Bluetooth micro-controller, and maybe it’ll pop out of a phone case.
2. We haven’t thought of that yet.  But we will.
We’re using this game as an opportunity to solve problems that we haven’t solved before. A couple challenges we’re tackling are figuring out the mechanics of the Bluetooth controller/case, and allowing a large group of players to play together in one game.
The thought is to create a controller that you can pop out of the phone case and use to jump in on a game that you’re playing with friends. To that effect, we’re 3D-printing prototypes for the case, and we’re embedding Beans in the jet controllers. We’re thinking this game will be available on mobile devices to start, both iOS and Android.

 

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Initial model for 3D prototype of phone case and controller 

In the weeks coming, we’ll give you a heads up on what is going on — all the prototyping, game designing, mechanics and breaking of things in the laboratory.

Back to the printer!
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