‘Boneworks’ Update Adds New Weapon, Sandbox Maps, & “significant improvements” to Player Physics


A new Boneworks patch, Update 1.4, has been released with a handful of additions and tweaks.

Update (April 10th, 2020): The Boneworks update 1.4 is available now. Developer Stress Level Zero has detailed the new update in an official post.

Those who struggled with the game’s physics-based climbing and melee will be happy to hear that the studio says it has “greatly improved hand physics.”

Significant improvements have been made to the hand’s physical forces solve. By more efficiently using the allocated forces for accelerating and breaking we’ve improved stability (good) without simply making the player stronger (cheating). Stopping distance is now solved in 2D instead of one, one parallel to gravity and the other perpendicular. Also, the systems sensors have been improved to better know if you’re lifting your body weight improving climbing greatly. Attention was given to wrist torque implementing a system that simulates stabilizing muscle groups providing tighter handling of items and more satisfying punching/melee.

That’s in addition to three new scenes for the game’s Sandbox mode:

NEW SANDBOX – [REDACTED] Chamber – Originally Test Chamber 04, this was an early experimental physics testing environment for BONEWORKS prototyping. You may be familiar with this environment from videos early on in development.

NEW SANDBOX – HandgunBox – This new environment was built to showcase the new handgun balance features. You can find a CQB time trial course hidden in the depths of this dank MythOS chemical basement.

NEW SANDBOX – Tuscany – Return to Tuscany Italy! A nostalgia trip for early VR enthusiasts, this environment pays tribute to the very first Oculus DK1 VR environment. Relax and enjoy the air, or spawn in sandbox objects and create chaos.

The HandgunBox scene offers a time-trial shooting range where the studio hopes players will get creative as they aim to complete the course as fast as possible. The studio published a new video giving an inside look at the time-trial course.

Stress Level Zero notes that to access the new content, players should look for the [Redacted] level module in the Museum at the Reclamation Bin, though players who have already opened unlocked the Sandbox mode will already have that module plugged in at the game’s lobby.

Update (April 3rd, 2020 – 4:47PM ET): Boneworks creator Brandon Laatsch published a video today showing off and explaining the story behind one of the new Sandbox maps that’s coming in Update 1.4 next week. We’ve added the video below.

Original Article (April 3rd, 2020): Launching next week on April 9th, Boneworks update 1.4 will bring three new maps to the game’s Sandbox mode, a new weapon (the P350 handgun), and changes to the game’s hand physics. This is according to Boneworks creator Brandon Laatsch who teased the update this week.

Launched in late 2019, Boneworks is a VR shooter with campaign, sandbox, and challenge modes. Even after the launch of the stunning Half-Life: Alyx last week, Boneworks is still praised for its ambitious effort to make nearly everything in the game physically simulated. That concept proved alluring to many VR players and the game impressively outpaced Beat Saber to 100K units sold.

'Boneworks' Review – A Rich Sandbox with a Side of Game Design

While the studio behind the game, Stress Level Zero, has already confirmed it’s working on its next project, it plans to simultaneously continue to improve Boneworks over time. Creator Brandon Laatsch has teased a modding system for the game, something which felt missing at launch.

Though mods aren’t here just yet, in February Update 1.3 to Boneworks added a much requested mid-level checkpoint system, a new Arena mode, more Sandbox mode content, and made improvements to the game’s core physics systems including making climbing less springy.

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  • impurekind

    You know what I’d love them to do: Make all the melee weapons feel much less wobbly and laggy. The way it is right now is not “realistic” at all, or indeed fun.

    • RandomThrowaway

      I mean, realistically you can’t swing a gigantic sword with one hand.

      • impurekind

        Then they could make us use two hands, but don’t make it lag behind all wobbly style. Or, better yet imo, just let us swing it as though we were actually strong enough to do so, without the silly wobbly lag that is just not satisfying and causes all kinds of weird interactions with the object getting stuck on the scenery and player and so on, and then design some better feedback to indicate how forceful and hard-hitting it is upon impact. It can be done.

        • Stephen Irvine

          I think your missing the point. the idea is to make a fully physics game like half life did for fps boneworks aims to take that to the next level, adding artificial feedback kind of defeats the purpose and I think the weight could be solved by doing something like blade and sorcery where if you cannot realistically lift something then your hands do not lift it but in boneworks they lift it anyway but it’s wobbly which is a problem as it makes combat quite annoying with heavy weapons another good example of weight in VR is The Walking Dead : Saints and Sinners where the guns lag slightly behind but don’t wobble. No hate or anything just thought you misunderstood.

          • impurekind

            It might be technically a step forwards with all the physics interactions, but it’s a step backwards in terms of fun control, gameplay and interaction because of this imo. Clunk is not fun as far as I’m concerned. So, I’d take a bit less “realistic” physics for something that was actually more intuitive, responsive and fun to control any day of the week.

          • Baldrickk

            You just need to lean into miming it more.
            You’re meant to pretend you’re shifting that weight and match it. Once you do, it all feels a lot smoother.
            If you’re waving your hands around, it’s not going to feel right.

  • Bumpy

    Many people wish Alyx had this games level of input immersion.
    I’ll be buying this once this patch drops.
    It should be plenty ready for prime time by now after all the many patches.

    • NooYawker

      No we don’t. What a silly comment. Alyx is an actually game. BW is for messing around.

    • Trenix

      Alyx is way better and more immersive, I’m surprised Boneworks even exists after Alyx’s release.

    • Baldrickk

      You’re right on the interactivity.
      Things in Alyx feel weightless in comparison, and you don’t have the freedom to move around so much in Alyx.

      They’re both different games with different aims. I’d recommend both.
      I hope you enjoy Boneworks Bumpy.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Alyxs physics implementation is really nice, easily the best there is it’s just not everywhere like it is in boneworks.

      • david vincent

        No holstering is a big let down for me.
        A virtual body would have be nice too…

        • Bob Smith

          One of the developers said in an interview that they went the hands-only route after testing full body gameplay, because their play-testers were unhappy that they couldn’t “see through own their arms.”

          Which essentially means they hired idiots to be their playstesters. See through their own arms? WTF?

          Boneworks among other VR games have demonstrated that full-body VR is not only doable, it can really ramp up a sense of immersion. Even having visible arms only–the way Walking Dead did–is so much better than the old “magic floating gloves” approach, which belongs in the teleport-only days. VR has evolved past that point.

  • Tuscany <3

  • Adrian Meredith

    Fantastic, sounds like this addresses one of my biggest gripes with the game

  • Zpfunk

    I have close to 1500hrs Just in steam vr playtime, not to mention hours of mobile, Oculus and WMR playtime. I always use free locomotion whenever possible and never usually have problems. However… every time I attempt to play Boneworks I find myself getting sudden and severe motion sickness, to the point where I actually had to take ginger tablets (Natural Dramamine) yesterday after reading this review about “Physics Updates” and attempting to play for a little while, then I spent hours trying to recover. I’ve never “had to take something” after VR.

    I also fly FPV Drones on an almost daily basis doing flips and rolls, no problems with motion sickness.
    My PC Specs:
    ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 ti
    16gb Ripjaw
    OS and Game files are on SSD’s
    i7 4770k (not overclocked)

    So framerates are not an issue.

    Any suggestions on how to curb motion sickness would be greatly appreciated. As I can’t even finish this game.

    Am I the only one having this experience?

    • NooYawker

      You are not alone, it’s a major complaint. It has weird and janky movement. It’s very unpolished, they put a warning that it’s for VR veterans but that has nothing to do with it.

      • Zpfunk

        Wow, Im going to look into that. Yeah, the warning is more of a guarantee for me. HL:A was pretty much fine, aside from this thumbstick drift I got from my failed index controller. I was able to play through the whole game without having my stomach turn.

    • david vincent

      Even if the framerate is good, maybe there are micro-stuttering ? Subnautica has this problem and makes people more uncomfortable/sick than the usual…

    • PJ

      Your certainly not alone, I feel ‘slightly off’ but nothing that can stop me playing, however my friend gets massively sick, to the point where he has uninstalled it and swears never to touch it again.
      We spent a full night at large discussing Boneworks, and we both feel the reason why it hit us (both have over 4 years of VR gaming under our belts and play daily btw) like no other game does, is because in Boneworks your torso, arms and legs which you have no control over, are physical objects in the world, they have colliders, and this throws off objects in the game, if you walk overs something in the game your character will judder and bobble up and down, jumping over objects is also an issue, your physical body, feet and legs will very likely catch another object with physics, this causes your character to move in a way you didn’t anticipate.

      Maybe our theory is wrong, but that’s the best we’ve come up with, makes sense, right?

  • JesuSaveSouls

    It is probably the most original and interesting Vr experience second to alyx.

  • Baldrickk

    I liked Alyx, but for different reasons than Boneworks. I do recommend you finish it.

    • Immersive Computing

      I spent 10 hours getting to Arms Race on hard difficulty, tried to like it, it just wasn’t for me. Hard to muster any reason to try again….

      • Baldrickk

        10 hours is quite a while, but without spoilers, the latter chapters are very good.

        I’d consider dropping out of Hard, if you are finding that combat drags – all it does is make enemies bullet sponges… there isn’t a change to how the AI works that makes it an actual challenge

        • Immersive Computing

          I deleted it already, spare time is always too short to be playing something you’re not enjoying? Perhaps I can revisit it in the future once fans have worked their modding magic.

          Perhaps best played using Vive Pro wireless and big 5 x 5 metre playspace, it seemed built with teleporting for distance movement, roomscale for combat or puzzle interactions.

        • Bob Smith

          I’d consider dropping out of Hard, if you are finding that combat drags – all it does is make enemies bullet sponges… there isn’t a change to how the AI works that makes it an actual challenge

          Thanks for the heads up, but that’s a bummer. I always default to “hard” with a new game, but bullet sponging is the dumbest way to increase difficulty. Enemy AI was one of the many great things about the original Half-Life: sad they didn’t bump it up a notch for the harder difficulty levels.

          I have the game installed but haven’t yet had a chance to play it. Bullet sponging plus no melee(!) plus the old “magic disembodied hands” is starting to make me wonder if this might be one of those games all the critics rave about despite what I would consider very serious flaws …

  • A modest game gets a modest content boost. The sales of this game weren’t due to it’s quality, which was just ok, but it’s ABSURD HYPE. I’d hope by now the hype train Node has been exploiting via their blogger connections would have faded with some measure of reality. We just got a major dose of AAA gaming with Alyx that should help remind people of what Boneworks was pretending to be.

  • TheOrangeMatty

    Boneworks has more immersive gameplay in my opinion but the story is basically non existent which sucks because the world is so detailed and interesting but there is no story to really explain what is going on… Half Life: Alyx on the other hand has a really good story and is way easier to get into as it has more movement options and is easier to play and it also was the first game where smooth locomotion didn’t make me feel ill at all… tbh it actually helped me build up tolerance to other games like Boneworks which used to make me feel really sick which is a problem a lot of people have with it in the first place…