March 2, 2023
We are finally kicking it off to take you along on our journey as we release Virtex Stadium to the public. We’re aiming to publish a new article at the beginning of every month collecting the most exciting stuff in the works, starting with these!
We have been working on an Inventory System for quite a long time and it’s finally here! This system is divided into two main parts: Item Management and Grabbing Management.
When it comes to Item Management, we have implemented a UI design where users can equip items to their designated "Inventory Slots" from the Watch UI (the watch equipped on your character’s wrist) and quickly access them in VR to spawn items or emotes. All you have to do is hold down a button, give your hand a little move, and let go! (HL:Alyx, wink wink) At the moment, users can only spawn one item at a time due to performance limitations, but we are continuously exploring ways to improve the system and may increase this limit in the future.
After spawning an item, Grabbing Management takes over and replicates the item's transform and grabbing states to everyone. We optimised the replication process as much as possible while still ensuring smoothness. This process took up most of our time to make it work with 200 players on a server.
Additionally, we have designed the system to allow players to interact with items in various ways. For example, you will be able to grab items using either one or two hands, depending on the object's size and weight. Furthermore, players can perform specific actions with the item once it is grabbed, such as pressing an airhorn button to make a sound. Certain items can even be attached to specific places in the level, adding a new layer of interactivity to the gameplay.
We wanted to share a little about audio within Virtex and how our music system works. Leveraging Middleware and Unreal Engine tools, we have created a "radio" system for our music. But what does this mean?
Effectively we have "Send" and "Receiver" audio channels. You can imagine the "send" is one radio station playing a pool of music curated by our Audio Director. The receivers are all the individual speakers listening to that specific radio station. This system helps us in many ways, such as making sure that when you move from one speaker to another (in the same music zone) all the music will be in sync, giving you a seamless audio experience as you walk around Virtex.
Using this method we can keep music in sync and create unique music experiences for each area of Virtex. For example, different music genres are happening between the Lobby Plaza area and the Beta Bar. It helps a lot because if we decide to play different music, all we have to change is the content of the "radio" station. This system will be linked to the Jukebox system (more about this below!), where players will be able to play specific tracks over the speakers at runtime.
We all love a bit of music to get us pumped up! What better way to do this than to add our very own Jukebox! They will be situated around the stadium, so look out for the beaming holographic “Jukebox” sign and play your favourite songs whilst having fun with your friends. When designing the Jukebox, we wanted to keep the sci-fi design to match the lobby’s atmosphere. We also kept it simple with play and rewind/forward buttons that users can press to flip through songs. The blue emissive lights help the Jukebox standout in the environment to allow users to navigate towards it. (We also hope you don’t mind us Rickrolling you here but we couldn’t help ourselves 😂)
The vending machine is an asset we've been working on that will appear throughout Virtex Stadium as a means of purchasing consumable items. When designing this prop, we wanted it to be recognisable as an actual vending machine, while also maintaining Virtex Stadium’s sci-fi design language with some interesting features such as interactive screens and holographic signs.
If you have feedback or if there is anything you would like to inquire about, feel free to drop a message in our discord (general channel is always good for this) so our devs/artists can respond to your questions!