Fantastic Contraption was originally a building game made way back in 2008. Millions of people played it obsessively and saved over 12 million contraptions. You can still play it for free. For years we loved the idea of a 3d Fantastic Contraption but couldn't figure out how it would work. Then we tried the Vive.
The new Fantastic Contraption has been designed from the ground up for room-scale VR. Imagine walking around a grassy island in the sky while you build a machine the size of a horse with your own hands. Press play and watch it trundle off to reach the goal on the other side of the island. With 40+ levels and infinite solutions, it's a VR experience you and your friends will play for hours.
This is the last update we originally planned for the game, making 1.6.0 the final cherry on the Contraption sundae.
But why “Anti-Oppenheimer”? Because:
“Now I am become Editor, the creator of worlds”
Now you too can defy – nay, define – physics as the creator of your own Fantastic Contraption levels using the new built-in Level Editor. To get started, first put on the helmet to enter dark world, then look for a mask above a statue of a two-toed sloth. Don the mask to enter:
The Level Editor
As Andy Moore says in the video above, we think the level editor is a key piece to the Contraption experience. The original 2008 Flash game had 47 official levels, and half a million user-generated ones. Not only did player-made levels give the game more content, they let people come up with whole new ways of playing that we hadn’t even considered.
To be honest, the level editor’s practically a game in itself. Move aside TiltBrush, it’s time for art class with Mrs. Fox:
Next we’ll recreates a cartoonish prison stereotype using dynamic blocks (aka “moon cheese”):
Ring the bell to summon the Sarahfox, your tutorial guide to the Level Editor (voiced and acted by yours truly!). She’ll introduce the basic controls: grabbing, stretching, copying, and using the precision movement flowers.
We recorded the Sarahfox’s movement using a system we wrote into the game, so she can interact with pre-scripted objects and give a demonstration right front of you. It’s remarkable how much life a character can have in VR using only 3 points of motion capture data.
Switch the Dog
You’ll meet Button the Dog’s cousin Switch when you first arrive in the Level Editor. Use him to toggle between Build Scale (where it’s easier to reach the whole level) and Test Scale (where it’s easier to playtest). There are no functional differences between the two modes, so you can edit level pieces and build contraptions in both and it’s a cinch to test on the fly:
Contraption pieces will be saved along with the level terrain, so make sure to delete them when you’re done testing, unless you want to include them as a challenge or example to people who play your level. It’s also possible to save levels that don’t have a goal or are missing a goal ball. We recommend testing before you save!
If you save a level you made to any shelf on the save table, it will be published online. To delete your saved level or contraption, throw it into the Trashcan Frog’s mouth.
Lippy the Mouthmoth Keyboard
Grab Lippy or double-tap the trigger to call him down to you in the dark world. Move him over to the maquette minimap to name your contraption or level (if no name is set, a random one will be chosen when you publish online).
You can also move Lippy to the save table to filter it by contraption or level name. For example searching for “mi” will find things named Steep Mitten or Miserly Devil.
We’ve seeded the user-made levels with some we designed that didn’t make the official cut, or that we’ve been inspired to create since trying out the new editor (which is much easier to use than our old system!). To check them out, enter the dark world and set the save table’s mode lever (the one on the right) to Levels, then use the left lever to select Levels by Rating or Levels by Date.
Don’t forget you can favorite user-made levels (or contraptions) by giving them a kiss. This feeds into the online ranking for the Levels by Rating shelf.
Zumi the Moon Mouse
Zumi Mouse didn’t live in a house, he wanted to live on the moon!
As the world cat passed by, he rode up to the sky,
And round his head put a balloon.
He munched and he chewed, ’till the cheese moon was hewed,
And Zumi had plenty of holes he’d accrued.
But what a mistake – such a bad bellyache,
Zumi’s home is his favorite food!
We don’t have any more major updates planned for Fantastic Contraption, though we’ll continue to maintain the game and support new hardware (the PS VR version is coming soon!). Radial Games and Northway Games will be moving on to new (and so far unannounced) things next.
New Level editor! To use it, first put on the helmet, then put on the creepy mask in the corner and ring the bell for a tutorial. User-made levels can be shared online and loaded via the save table just like contraptions.
New Mouthmoth keyboard lets you name contraptions and levels, and search by contraption / level name
Added interactive art elements to side of maquette and Kaiju scale
Autohide the companion desktop menu and limit desktop display framerate
Show purple building bounds if cheating detected during tutorial
Hide black sphere during startup
Improve look of pins on Neko’s head
Adjust some sky characters
Sky color variation
Sounds for items including non-spinning green wheels and eyeballs
Disable musical sounds if you’re holding an item
Tweaked throw force for Kaiju scales
Improved tutorial text font
Optimized first person companion view smoothing
Optimized avatar shadows
Optimized Twitch panel memory usage
Fixed some menus not updating when language changes
Fixed models disappearing after you drop them on a save table shelf
Fixed Button the Dog ghosting
Fixed disappearing Neko eyes and ghosting
Fixed obscure crash bug with some webcams
Fixed cat skin modding
Fixed sticky tutorial messages
Fixed laserpointer positioning for Twitch/camera menu
Fixed feedback form submission issues
Cheers and happy 2017 from the Fantastic Contraption team!
Our friend (and Rebuild 3 writer) Stephen Gray has joined Radial Games to work (among other things) on the PS VR version of Fantastic Contraption, due out in Spring 2017.
Kert Gartner used some wacky techniques to film this and our Oculus Rift trailer, and today he shared some of the cinema techniques he used to get shots you usually only see in movies or tailored cutscenes. He also filmed gameplay footage in 4k split screen so he could get 1st person and 3rd person shots with both the Oculus Touch and Playstation Move controllers all at the same time.
Yes Oculus players, the wait is finally over! Touch controllers are available starting December 6th, and with them Fantastic Contraption is coming to Oculus!
We’ve sometimes been caught comparing the Oculus and Vive hand controllers, but one thing we definitely agree on is that grabbing stuff with your hands in VR feels amazing, and we wouldn’t want Fantastic Contraption played any other way. So we’re glad we waited!
You may also notice some teasers in the above video for the Fantastic Contraption level editor. We’re putting the finishing touches on it right now so you can expect to see it in an update soon.
Colin Northway is doing programming and design for Fantastic Contraption. He made the original Fantastic Contraption, Incredipede and Deep Under the Sky. He and Sarah Northway spent the last 5 years traveling the world while working on their games.
Kimberly Voll is our resident VR expert - she’s spent her career so far studying player cognition and game design, and specializes in UX, AI and gameplay. She’s got a PhD in computer science, and an honours degree in cognitive science, and has worked on too many games to list, including ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS. (She blogs at zanytomato.tumblr.com.)
Lindsay Jorgensen is doing art and design for Fantastic Contraption. He’s worked at Bioware, Radical Entertainment, Big Fish Games and joined Radial Games in 2014.
Gordon McGladdery aka A Shell in the Pit is doing sound and music. He is a vocal binaural and VR audio enthusiast whose past projects include Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door Games), Invisible Inc. (Klei Entertainment) and is the composer for the Youtube Channel Smarter Every Day.
Sarah Northway is working on programming for Fantastic Contraption. She's best known for her popular Rebuild series which she wrote while traveling the world!
Andy Moore started his game development career doing Community Management and Design for the original Fantastic Contraption, and has since founded Radial Games -- responsible for ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS, Monster Loves You!, and SteamBirds. He's also a licensed commercial pilot and will talk your ear off about airplanes. (He blogs at captain-andy.com.)