Devlog: Today is The Day
Apr 17 2023
Upgraded audio and graphics
We're excited to announce that our latest development update includes a more-realistic environment with lighting, shadows and soundtracks enabled. We believe video and audio effects are essential for players to truly immerse themselves. Checkout the the updated Stress Relief Stronghold below and in the video to take a look at these enhancements -- sunshine, plants, and randomized SFX.
Due to performance liminations (shadow runs at 25 fps on RTX 3070 Ti and is effectively unplayable on older machines), shadow is only partially enabled in the home world, but the lighting of home world has also been fine-tuned and rebaked, including adjustments to light sources, scene objects, and terrain. We will work
To make our product even more accessible to those in need, we have decided to make the graphics upgrade mentioned above free to play. The free and premium versions of the game now share the same graphics effects. For Premium Access holders, we added an extra benefit: they now get exclusive in-game soundtracks.
Minigame locations on map
All minigame locations have been added to the in-game map, as a supplement to the signpost approach we previously used (too many of them!). This helps players to reach the designed destination but also leaves them some freedom to explore, instead of following the fixed pathways.
Minigame: Memory Palace
The Memory Palace is now fully launched. The tranquil study room in this virtual palace features 7 objects attached to pieces of furniture, arranged in clockwised order. Users are encouraged to explore the room, become familiar with the objects and remember them in the exact same sequence each time they revisit the palace. Spatial association helps players enhance memory retention, and a tutorial is also included to guide users around.
Minigame: Mindfulness Mansion
As an easter egg, we added a lightweight minigame to our collection. Serving as a meditation space as well as a place to focus in on your senses of sight and sound, it offers a unique experience compared to that of the other mental health castles.
"Is this a music box?" Yes, it is, but it's also not too bad to have a music box!
First and foremost, thank you for coming along on this journey with us. Much like mental health, it has had its ups and its downs, but we have all become better for it. We plan to make further improvements on game contents and graphics effects, especially to fully enable shadows in home world. Once again, thanks for your continued interest!
Devlog: Ready, Steady, Go
Apr 10 2023
Minigame: Stress Relief Stronghold
This new level has (finally) been released. Based on playtesting feedback, we added breakable items of various shapes as well as a new mechanism to provide ultmost satisfaction. Players can now grab the magical hammer and break almost everthing they see by hand, or ... use some help of the gigantic crystal accelerator!
The crystal accelerator functions similarly to a railgun: players can aim by raycasting with their right controller and pull the right trigger to launch a hammer. By adding the aim & shoot mechanism, we aim to help players focus their mind on the gameplay experience, which is beneficial to temporarily forget the stressful outside world.
Minigame: Phobia's Palisade
Phobia's Palisade is not new, but we are still adding more content to the game. To provide a even more smooth approach to overcome acrophobia, we divided the skybridge routes into two groups, marked in green and blue. Players who are fearful of height can start with the easier ones and switch to more challenging routes later.
We also added a speed variation mechanism according to playtest feedback. Players can accelerate using the selection dashboard to fast forward.
In addition, we added dynamic sound effects based on current height and speed. Also, as a general update, VR controllers are now equiped with gloves to provide a more realistic experience.
Minigame: Memory Palace
We've finished scene-building of the Memory Palace. This minigame assists players memorizing abstract contents (the number Pi, periodic table, etc) by associating abstract patterns with concrete items. While interactions are still work in progress, for now, we can take a look at the graphics and rendering effects we have been experimenting with -- which will be included as a part of the Premium Access pass, as detailed below.
We've added a pricing page to this website. The base version of the game will be free-to-play, with an optional Premium Access pass (subscribe for $2.79/mo or purchase for $39) which gives the following benefits, including additional contents and graphics upgrades:
|1 open world to explore
|4 minigames included
|No guaranteed updates
|Monthly content updates
Institutional discounts of up to 75% are also available for volume purchases. Such deals are evluated on a case-by-case basis.
Devlog: Into the Minigames
Apr 3 2023
Map: One of the largest problems we found in playtesting was that, without guidance, players get lost easily in the game. In response, we added a map which clearly displays paved pathways and destinations.
Level switching: Minigames are now built into separate levels and players can travel between worlds, each featuring a unique theme. This also benefits further development as it allows developers to work in parallel, with no need to worrying about conflicts.
In order to win first-time VR users, we redesigned the scene and terrain to provide less choices in the early stage of the game. We have also added tutorials on methods of interactions near the spawn point. The guided walk-through makes it easier for players to acquire the game, which also helps the growth.
Stress Relief Stronghold: Players can now break things with a hammer in a safe and enclosed environment. From smashing vases to breaking barrels, this minigame provides an immersive and satisfying way to relieve stress and tension. With this feature, we aim to provide players with a healthy outlet to let off steam and feel refreshed.
Phobia's Palisade: We're excited to announce a new addition to Make a Mind™ that helps players overcome their fear of heights. The mini-game lets players stand on a transparent platform and slide between castles in a skybridge-like mechanism. However, with the help of VR technology, players do not have to move by themselves -- all they need to do is standing still. By providing a gradual approach to confronting acrophobia, we aim to help players overcome their fears in a safe and controlled environment.
The other two minigames have also been prototyped and are under rapid development.
We expect to finalize the main content of 4 free minigames over the next iteration. Beyond that, we will start exploring extra contents as an addition to the free version of the game.
Devlog: A Brave New World
Mar 26 2023
This week we kicked off our project, a brave new world of VR + mental care! Initial features include:
- An open world environment that includes varied terrain as the game's home scene.
- An interactive stress relief mini-game where players can grab a hammer and break objects, with satisfying visual and sound effects.
- A castle building and teleportable road signs to host future mini games.
Entering Michigan as a Freshman could be one of the most stressfull times in a persons life, and many of us come ill equiped. Serviced through CAPS, and financed by the University, we hope to make our program a staple of incoming freshman orientation. Each Minigame is intended to combat a common problem for incoming freshman. Our Phobia Palisade will help students adjust to the small dorm rooms, or having to work campus alone at night. Our Mindfullness Mansion, will help students combat both stress and every day level of anxieties by practicing keeping a calm mind. Our Make a Mind Palace, will inspire students to study more and be more willing to ask questions in lab and office hours. And our Stress Relief Stronghold will get rid of all those excited nervous energy that comes with a brand new adventure.
Phobia's Palisade: Face your fears, whether they be heights or dogs, and take control of the situation. In this minigame, you will be tasked with stepping across the length of two castles across a small bridge. For each step you take, your score goes up. For every 50 steps, a special prize is unlocked. You can quit at anytime with no punishment. This utilizes CBT, cause at each stage you feel better the further you go. We are cognitively connecting the feeling of awards with facing your fears in real time.
Mindfullness Mansion: A chance to practice mindfullness, in the most stressfull of situations. You have a monster chasing you, and if he catches you, you lose all your points. You can't fight back, you can't run, you need to take deep breaths and focus. First, you must find the four rubber ducks within the samll room you are in. Next, you must push the buttons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in order. Finally, you must walk over to the door and push the release button. These normally simple tasks, are made difficult by the stressful environment you are in, but provide a chance to practice being mindful of your sorroundings in such a tense situation.
Make a Mind Palace: Create your own mind palace within the familiar confines of BB Lab. For each question you ask, for each product you complete, you will be rewarded, not just monetarily but also with feedback from the teachers. You can even find a list of EECS classes on the computers within the lab. All of this to make you more comfortable at Michigan.
Stress Relief Stronghold: Smash pots like you are Link! Throw Hammers like you are Thor! Jump 100 feet into the air and land in your favorite pose! We all need to destress sometimes, and since it is unhealthy to take that stress out on the real world, we'll let you take it out on ours.
The game will be available free-to-play, with additional downloadable contents released seasonally.