Modbox (2016), the multiuser VR physics sandbox from indie studio Alientrap, is getting an update next month in hopes of making the app more of a “Unity-like experience – only simplified,” says developer Lee Vermeulen. The update is said to include a desktop-based editor and visual scripting system.

Vermeulen released the news via a Steam forum post, saying that in addition to the ability for multiple players to script entities at the same time, the March update will allow a player to edit or script while viewing through a traditional monitor as another player is in VR. Vermeulen says the desktop scripting mode is better for tasks like entering in text, while VR is better for 3d creation and level design.

The upcoming update to Modbox represents an extra layer of complexity for users, but also allows for a more comprehensive division of labor when it comes to collaborative game creation and prototyping. You can check out a preview of the upcoming changes here.

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Unity launched its own VR editor back in December 2016, and while the editor itself is an intuitive interface for VR game creation, it also comes along with all the complexity of the Unity game development platform—something that may seem daunting to newcomers.

Modbox’s latest update, the result of 3 months of work, saw a complete rewrite of the majority of Modbox code for better online play, performance, and UI, the developer say.

Modbox is currently in Early Access on Steam, supporting HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

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  • Lucidfeuer

    Super interesting, but this has no future as a standalone tool rather than a UE4/Unity plugin focused on those VR interactions/physics.

    • Laurence Nairne

      That would depend on the roadmap and (most importantly) the eagerness of the community for it’s survival and growth.

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      • Lucidfeuer

        I don’t think the community is factor for any project. Anything has potential as long as it’s practical and well designed, but most importantly usefully implement which is a point that oddly enough most developers, engineers and brands stop at today.

        A shit product can not be saved by community, a great product can not be stopped by community.

        I’ll have to try Modbox for myself when I have time, but as far as I can see it would switch from nothing more than a bit of fun in it’s current implementation to an incredibly useful tool in UE4/Unity.

        • Laurence Nairne

          I partially disagree – the community does not save or destroy a product (shit or great), but they do influence those with the power to do so.

          A ‘shit’ product could be deemed so because of a whole variety of reasons. For example, the underlying tools and capabilities of said product could be amazing, but the UI could be terrible and clunky. Look at the likes of Autodesk Maya and many of the Adobe products that still exist, and cast your mind back to where they started. Hell, look at Blender now!

          It was only due to community favour that they survived – usually businesses stop flogging dead horses to put resources elsewhere. Modern software is iterative, so community feedback plays an important role in improving it over time.

          My point was that if the community demand for it as a standalone is there, and their roadmap is solid enough to iterate towards being a decent piece of software in it’s own right – concerning all areas on product you mentioned, then it will survive (given no unforeseen circumstances).

          That being said, I expect there’s only a matter of time before it at least plays nice with UE4 and U3D as they’re huge players in this space.

        • Laurence Nairne

          I’ve not played with it either, but will at some point. I use Unity every day so it will be interesting to see how it compares.