Modbox, the physics sandbox title where you’re free to create whatever insane contraptions you like, alongside a friend, has expanded its scope. The team are to deliver a big update in June that expands ability for users to mod the title, with the first example a neat looking dungeon construction system.
We really liked the look of Modbox when we first covered the SteamVR / HTC Vive physics sandbox title last year. Later, Road to VR‘s Frank He was impressed both with Modbox’s intuitive, motion control driven creation tools, but even more impressed with the satisfying way you could quickly tear it all down again:
…the best fun I had in Modbox, was destroying everything I’d created. There is something intensely satisfying about seeing the physics of your virtual sword shattering fragile objects into a bajillion little pieces. I found out that you could do that to almost everything in the game, or at least the objects that you would expect to break. Now I just need multi-player so I can swing a wrecking ball at my friend’s house. You won’t get that in real life! Well, unless you’re a criminal, or an actual demolition man.
The Modbox team have now announced that they’re thinking bigger and bolder with their title, and have big plans for their forthcoming June update. They’ve been busy working away on adding mod support to Modbox and with this pivot, have realised a new focus for the excellent user creation toolset they came up with. Modbox creator Lee Vermeulen describes the direction succinctly, “The new direction we are taking for Modbox is making it into a more general world / game builder than just a physics sandbox.”
The first official mod to be released alongside the new update brings users the ability to create their own dungeon and the intuitiveness we found so appealing in the original title seems to have carried over well. In fact, it brought to mind a much more user accessible version of the new VR editor tools which are making their ways to both Unreal Engine and Unity.
Importantly though, Modbox will also add the ability to add functionality and game logic to your creations. To support the creation of these kinds of mods by users, the Modbox team is hard at work expanding the scope of their dedicated SDK. As an early example of the kinds of functionality you can expect, game developer Brian Lindenhof threw together a neat twitch chat integration system:
— Brian Lindenhof (@TheShadowBrain) May 10, 2016
A summary of the significant changes on their way next month are as follows:
- Haptic feedback! For when shooting / hitting stuff
- ‘Game mode’ system. The default game mode for creations is ‘Sandbox’, where there is no health / inventory, and you can spawn whatever while playing. We are adding additional game modes that you can choose for your creation to have to set it’s rules. Rules like allowing teleporting, default tools and options, and eventually additional systems like health / inventory. Eventually you should be able to join a server running the ‘deathmatch’ game mode with a score/health system, that uses a variety of mods for its level
- New ‘Main Menu’ – the current Modbox menu is the UI cube that comes up in edit mode. We decided we needed to make a simple ‘main menu’ for loading creations, going from edit to play mode, joining online games, and setting options, and the UI cube is now just the ‘edit menu’ for editing. This is part of the change in making it easier for people to consume content, without having to dive into the complexity of editing creations.
- New Mods: Target Practice (with scoreboard/highscores), and new ‘sports pack’ mod. We are hoping to get the Dungeon mod released for mid June, but we are still working on the actually game mode gameplay for it (along with working on what a ‘game mode’ is). Our goal for our own mods is to develop stuff thats fun to build levels for – so we are planning a Dungeon mod and a possible ‘Escape Room’ mod to develop internally
- Hopefully some tutorial videos on advanced building
The new update is expected in mid June, you can grab Modbox on steam right now here. If any intrepid developers are interested in trying on an early version of the SDK, they can fill out this form to get access now.