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Bionic Buzz Interview with Rank17 CEO at VRLA 2017

03 May 17
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Steve Iverson, our illustrious CEO, was interviewed by Bionic Buzz at VRLA 2017. It was a great event, and we loved meeting everyone that came by!

VRLA-interview with Ossic

Rank17 at VRLA

28 Apr 17
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Our friends at Ossic visited us at our booth during VRLA where we showed them Mighty Monster Mayhem! We had a chance to talk with them about the game and what is in store for you when you play it! Check out the video below.

MMM developer story Part 2

Destroying Buildings in Mighty Monster Mayhem

07 Mar 17
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When we first started building MMM, we knew the most exciting part of the game was going to be building destruction.  You’d climb, jump, throw, and eat things, but the #1 thing you’d do is destroy!

To make destruction feel how we wanted, you needed to be able to punch, crush, and tear apart every bit of every building..

Building Interiors - Old BuildingThe Prototype

Making that happen required a bit of work.  I want to note that this work was NOT done by me, but by one of our great programmers Kyle.  He started with a fracturing and destruction plugin from the asset store, then heavily modified it, built some wrappers, and made it work for our game.

Since MMM is a multiplayer game stuff gets more complicated.  Each of these destroyed chunks needed to be tracked over the network along with the state of the building.

So we prototyped it out, and it was FUN.

But there was a big issue.  If you destroyed too much of the building, you couldn’t climb up it anymore.  On top of that, when a chunk of the building came out, it was a huge solid chunk, which felt and looked strange…

Fixing the problems – The interior..

It was time to brainstorm and come up with solutions….

We spent some time coming up with ideas.  Some were good, some weren’t really feasible, and some didn’t solve the problem.

Our placeholder to test the interiors idea

Our placeholder to test the interiors idea

What we needed was a way for the player to be able to continue climbing, have a place where we could put yummy civilians for monsters to eat, and make it look cool at the same time.

The decision was made to create our buildings in a more modular way. The interior and exterior were now going to be separate objects.

The exterior would be a hollow shell placed over the interior. The interior would be an under construction or damaged building frame.  To test out the idea, we started with a placeholder building structure from the Asset Store.

We got this working quickly and it was awesome. The ‘feel’ of destroying the building was great, and you could still climb around, hold on to the inside, and crush the walls.  You could even swing yourself through the inside of the building like a real monster would…

Building Interiors - Going inside the hollow building exteriorMaking it ours

But it still didn’t really look right.  Mostly because the art was a freebie from the store that didn’t match our theme.  It was a building that was totally destroyed on the inside, which seemed out of place in a thriving cartoon city.

It was time to build our own interiors. Our art team got to work and pumped out some fancy living spaces that we could stack up and turn into a full interior structure.

Once the new interior was completed, we put everything together and the improvement was astonishing.  It finally started looking like a ‘real’ building that had been torn apart by giant monsters.

What’s Next?

Right now, we really like the building setup, and the way everything feels.  But there’s still room for improvement. You may have noticed one of the biggest outstanding issues..  The interiors are very repetitive.  Our art team is already working on some variety there both in the look by adding offices, labs, and more, but also making the inside look a bit less pristine.

As development progresses, expect to see some really amazing looking interiors, full of people and powerups to eat… and a couple surprises.

Building Interiors - Building Falling

Dev Story - Mighty Monster Mayhem

Mighty Monster Mayhem – Developer Notes

28 Feb 17
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Part 1 – The Method Behind our Mayhem

We invite you to peel back the curtains, and meet the method behind our madness. The creation of Mighty Monster Mayhem has been a fun, exciting experience for us. Full of surprises, tears and yes… mayhem. Throughout the remaining weeks of our development cycle, come and see what has driven us, what we are accomplishing, and how we maneuver our game around hurdles. Whether you’re an aspiring VR developer seeking technical insight, or simply looking to get the latest news, we’ve got you covered. Join us and help shape the future of Mighty Monster Mayhem.

The Concept

Before we dive into some of the more technical aspects of the development of Mighty Monster Mayhem, I want to share with the community the journey we took to get where we are today, where we plan to be upon release, and how different that is from where we started.

MMM Interest Poll ResultsAround mid October we were brainstorming ideas for our next major effort. We thought about some of the old tried and true classics that left meaningful impressions on us as gamers, and the idea of taking on the role of a monster as you tear a city to shreds quickly rose to the top of the list. The thought of actually becoming the monster and physically climbing, throwing, punching and eating in virtual space excited everyone internally. When we sent out a public survey for feedback on several ideas, this concept had more support than all the other ideas combined. This was enough for us to get the ball rolling.

The Prototype

Within 1-2 weeks we had a prototype of a playable monster with spheres for hands, and the ability to climb and punch a single building to pieces, complete with hazards and military threats. Even without the art the mechanics were proving to be a blast within the team. Our original concept was to make a single player campaign where each level was a single building, and various objectives for completion. Race to the top, destroy x% of the building, eliminate a certain number of military threats, etc. After a few weeks down this path we took a step back and said “this is good, but what would make it great?”  Getting the prototype completed allowed us to really understand and visualize the potential for this concept, and this set us on a path of discovery of what we could accomplish with our design.

The Reassessment

Part of our development strategy involves continual assessment of the VR ecosystem, and sometimes that involves changing direction midway through a project.  If we were going to make the greatest VR city destruction game we had to expand our scope. We brainstormed for another few days and just wrote down anything, no matter how difficult, as a possible improvement to the game. Levels quickly switched from a single building to an entire section of a city. Single player got expanded into a storied campaign. Multiplayer was added. One monster? How about five. VR content was clearly trending at this time towards both higher quality and increased content. If we wanted to achieve something meaningful for our consumers we had to raise the bar, so we did.

The Demo

With our new goal in mind we then set out to create a free demo preview experience of a portion of one level. We are currently nearing the tail end of development on this, which will let people briefly jump into a mini-level as one of the monsters and starting honing their destruction skills. Leap from building to building, rip apart and throw anything you come across, eat anyone in your way, eliminate threats, and reduce the city to rubble. Our hope is to have this available to the public for free via Steam in early to mid March. Beta testers will get their hands on it a little bit earlier than that, so if you want a sneak peek don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Moster Destruction!

The Release

With the demo dropping shortly, we will soon be marching towards our full release. While there’s still a bit of work left, we are confident we’ll be able to hit our target of mid-April. The release will bring our full vision to the players. Enter our world and compete with friends, play through the single player campaign, replay the levels to achieve 100% objective completion, unlock new monsters and skins, prove your skill with global leaderboards, and simply have a blast leaping through a city and destroying everything in your path. We’re excited to take you into the world of Mighty Monster Mayhem. For those interested in helping shape the game, get signed up for beta access so we can incorporate your feedback. Until then, stay tuned for more development blogs, information releases, giveaways, and gameplay videos.

The Monsters!

Mighty Monster Mayhem – Tease!

13 Feb 17
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Mighty Monster Mayhem logo

Mighty Monster Mayhem is Rank17’s foray into releasing your frustrations on a poor little city that has done nothing wrong.  And you, you are a monster. An utterly disgusting, revolting, menacing, incredibly cool, super strong MONSTER! Oh yeah. Wait, what’s that? You want to destroy cities with your friends! Okay! Multi-player is a go!

Stay in touch for more information and sign up for our beta testing list! We are always looking for people to throw into our little experiments!


Fox News - BladeShield

BladeShield in the news!

27 Jan 17
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A local VR arcade was recently on the news, and bless their souls, they are playing BladeShield! We love their reactions while playing our game.


“X” in VR: Going Beyond

06 Jan 17
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As a developer we are continually tracking trends in the VR ecosystem, and one of the trends we keep our eye on is something I like to call “X” in VR.  This is taking a simple concept or mechanic from traditional gaming or real life and slapping into the Virtual Reality space.

Why This Used To Work

Virtual Reality in 2016 finally broke through the technical barriers to offer incredibly immersive experiences to a widespread audience.  Early adopters spent a small fortune on high powered rigs and high powered headsets.  When these headsets launched the excitement was at a fever pitch with the ability to shoot zombies, smack baseballs, throw darts, swing swords, and engage in a host of other simple, but immersive experiences in this new medium.  It’s new, it’s exciting, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever done before.  Very simple games brought in a huge amount of sales and positivity because they were the first to offer the ability to do “X” in VR.

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HTC Vive controllers

A Case for Simplicity in VR

04 Jan 17
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or why we don’t want to RTFM

One of the often overlooked challenges in creating immersive experiences in Virtual Reality is effective use of the controllers and how to convey sometimes complicated instructional information in a way that the user can actually process.  Keyboards and console controllers have been ingrained in us for decades, but we’re all learning together how to best interact with a completely new type of controller within an immersive virtual space.

A few weeks ago I spent a good portion of my afternoon in a local VR arcade where I just sat and observed players putting on a headset and finding their way around VR space for the first time.  These observations were critical in identifying sore points with both the controller and information delivery.  Below I’ll be diving into why developers should focus on simplicity and think carefully about their functionality choices, menu interactions, and overall methods of sharing information with the player.

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BladeShield - the VR Game

BladeShield – You are the last stand

16 Dec 16
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You are last hope to save the crew of the spaceship Titan-X, transferring cargo to the Phenos system.  The ships A.I. has become sentient, and has a real distaste for humankind. Their first goal is to take over the ship. You goal, is to hold them off as the crew evacuates. The longer you can hold them off the more crew you save.

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Boo Breakers

Boo Breakers: The Ghostening Launch!

24 Oct 16
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Whoo Hoo! Boo Breakers is now live on the Steam store.

Our exciting foray into the mystical adventures of a curse breaking mage has been realized and now everyone can play as the mysterious Boo Breaker! With dual wands, powerful magic and dangerous ghosts, your journey may not be easy, but it is going to be FUN!

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