Intro

First of all, feel free to drag around on the image above. Explore a little. Have some fun.

Santa's Christmas Chimney is all about the spirity of Christmas.

It's the time of year where family gets together and celebrates something special.

So this game reflects that feeling we have. It's full of music, snow, joyful colours, presents and falling down a chimney.

Oh, didn't you ever wonder how Santa came down your chimney? He hasn't got one of those rope ladders you see in special ops movies. He doesn't simply gracefully flutter down like an angel, or teleport himself from the roof to the fireplace. And he's a big guy. No. He dives head first. It's a risky business. But Christmas, after all, is risky. Come on, the entire family together for a few days? Sounds risky.

By the way, check out how we made it awesome work.

Development

Day 1 - The idea machine

It all started at one of our weekly game-brainstorm meetings. This is where we sit down, eat pizza and come up with about 30 game ideas. There are no rules, any idea is a good idea. We were actually working on a different game before settling on this one. The other game involved holidays, cake and zero gravity. Nothing interesting there.

So we wanted to add a little to the joy of Christmas for our VR friends, fanatics and professionals. But we wanted to make something we haden't seen yet. We were keen to find some mechanics, or a way to look at a game in VR that hasn't really been used yet. So we settle on this idea, that you are Santa Claus coming down a chimney.

Day 13 - Assets!

What comes first, the chimney or the house? The chimney of course. Surprisingly enough, we made the chimney assets first. It went through a fair amount of interactions, from size to texture. The concept of having an actual view of a house before entering the chimney came from a need we had to show the user what he was actually doing, making it clear. So our CG artist designed a small village, with some nice trees and a glowing moon. Keeping in mind that this all had to run on a phone in VR. This is one of the main challenges when making VR games, making sure all the assets are optimised and are as efficient in poly’s and in textures as much possible.

There’s something about creating assets for VR that’s thought provoking. Because you come up with an idea, you create it and once it’s in the environment you can go and experience it in an intimate way. Which means that you will see it very differently that on your desktop screen. It will make you think, it will make you redesign in certain ways, and better the way virtual environment need to be made and experienced. What I’m saying is we made a lot of versions of everything, and our artists never want to see the inside of a chimney again.

Day 24 - What the code

Behind every game, is a lot of code. And like the assets, the code went through a lot of iterations. There are many ways to code any concept, and it’s all about finding the best way for the project. There was a lot of effort put into keeping the code as efficient as possible, so that it runs smoothly all the time. Which means that all variables are only called when they are needed for example, and even each script in the inspector in Unity is carefully laid out to allow for easy testing and switching of all assets.

Day 30 - Audio galore

Amusingly, we added the VO for Santa towards the end. We didn’t plan this from the start, but we were in search of a final touch to make this game that much more amusing the play. Adding a bit of character to the entire concept. So the Santa voice was born. It was actually our CG artist who did the voice, he’s also a voice actor. How practical! So we had a sit down and discussed all the sentences he could possibly say while falling down a chimney. Now, you would probably think we would be screaming the entire way down. But come on, it’s Santa. He knows what he’s doing, he’s done this before.

In terms of the other audio, we composed a small jingle for the start (let’s see if anyone gets fed up of it after the 10th play) and then added some nice wind, whooshes and pops to add to the general feel and environment.

Day 34 - Branding

Before going live, we had to create a brand image. We wanted something amusing and jolly. But that naturally made sense for the game. Just showing the inside of the chimney didn’t make much sense, it doesn’t really mean much until you start to play. But this view, from an external point of view, of Santa in the process of going down a Chimney is what we went for.

About Us

Who are we? We’re VR loving, game playing, creative thinking, environment making, sound designing, movie watching people. We are overly enthusiastic about VR and it’s capabilities, and want to share that with all the other VR enthusiasts. To share games and concepts with the community, who are very active and hungry for a future where VR feels natural. Of course we all still have a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere.

The first VR headset we got was a DK1, day 1 from Kickstarter. It was to play games with, which happened. But after a few weeks we saw lots of potential for the future (much like everyone else) and decided to stop playing games (okay maybe just a little bit) and start making games. So we created a few games here and there, experiences, films etc… And over time we have come up with ways to push VR in the right direction, in the way that we believe is good.

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