Mana Storm: Champions of G’nar (HTC VIVE)

January Update:

We Are Live

Please purchase our game on Steam here:

Please check back on this blog for futher development updates!

December Update:

Latest trailer as we are about ready to go live in Steam Early Access A lot has changed since October 23rd and more to come!

Where do I even begin with this update? I’m amazed at the crazy amount of work that I was able to get done in just a few weeks in order to make the deadline for the MSI VR Jam.

Above all else, I’d mention the animated cards. Each card has an image of the spell or minion it will summon. When you pick up the cards they begin to animate showing what the spell or minion does. I’m using OGV video played on movie textures to accompish this. Having all videos play at once (every card on the table) has a negative performance impact so I wrote a script to only play the video when the card is in your hand. When the card is on the table it shows a paused first frame of the video. It seems to work really well and was a lofty strech goal that I didn’t think I’d have time for. I think it’s a cool touch to the game.

Secondly all of the hero powers work. This was another stretch goal. They will receive attention and improvements in future builds, especially the shield, but once again I didn’t think I would get these to work well in the amount of time given. You can cast energy beams from your controller to deal damage, use the bow and flaming arrows to deal fire damage and use the animated shield to protect yourself from attacks. I have a handful of other spells like the energy beam that I will be bringing into the game.

The system for using the controller to select minions and have them attack, as well as the over all system for doing minion attack sequences and enemy AI was a scary thought. It was tough to get it to work well and to feel proper. I feel like I was able to get something to work well and can be tweaked in future builds. The same is true for the HUD / stats display. It’s a good foundation that can get better with time.

Lastly another scary thought was game balance. In early builds of the game it was far to easy to win or far to easy to lose. It had some serious flaws. I believe that now I have the core game rules locked down which favours an even chance of winning or losing, leaving it up to the players instinct and strategy to be able to win. Going forward it makes it easier to massage the balance by changing card properties (cost, health, attack, buffs). I think it’s a good first stab at having it play how a card game should.

November Update:

Teaser 1

Mana Storm is virtual reality, player vs player, spell casting game. It uses familiar game mechanics seen in magic card games and table top rpg games. Including cards, dice, sand timers, etc.

The player can spawn minions, cast spells to add buffs such as taunt, shield, charge etc. The player can also cast spells to use hero powers such a fire and ice beams.

As an alchemist the player exists in a room scale laboratory / battle station. The player will have to walk around between different crafting and playing tables, pick up and combine materials to create different enchantments and spells.

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Week 4 update

Almost too much to list, getting excited:

  • Full battle sequence working and ability to win game
  • Enemy UI
  • Basic End Turn switch on the table that the player can press
  • new minions and animation
  • hero powers, archer bow, warrior shield, mage fire ball
  • Sound effects
  • tutorial and key mappings
  • stats ui for minion and player health
  • global game manager queue to orchestrate game play
  • much more

Week 2.5 update

  • Mana system worksididit

Week 2 update

Great progress so far.

  • Full vive controller and head set support.
  • Reading cards from a database.
  • Dynamically loading card images and spell or minion game objects.
  • Animations for spawn, idle and attack sequences
  • Beginning enemy AI


What you are seeing in this post was created in two days. We expect much more to come in the following weeks.

As a team we met up at 6pm on a Friday night. We hashed out the game mechanics on a white board, sat down and produced this after about an hour.

In non-chronological order, this is the further progression of the game that night, and part of the following day. (these are all GIFs)

At this point the player can interact with many objects in the game, we have a very basic test battle field. The player can draw cards, pick them up, cast them and see minions spawn. Minions with charge demonstrate their attack.

As of writing this the plan of attack tomorrow is to wire up a more sophisticated card management system that was written over the weekend, and integrate the Vive SDK. This should be minimal effort based on past experience but some time will have to be invested into scaling all of the in world game objects properly.

(these are static images)





We created a ‘photobooth’ scene to take images of our minions/spells to then be placed on the cards.












I finally don’t hate my VR development workflow

The short story is, I created a tripod adapter for my VR headsets.

This improves my development flow. I talk about it at length in my youtube videos below. Basically when you’re designing levels and scaling objects in that level you’re constantly dipping in and out of VR and it’s a brutal work flow. Most of the time when doing this you don’t care about head tracking, and you actually want to keep the headset fixed on a position in the world that you’re working on.

Using a tripod mount you can fix the view to a specific area, and you can set the headset at a comfortable hands-free position. You can see your computer monitor and VR view at the same time if you remove the shroud. It also makes it easier to move the headset smoothly in VR space, while debugging on your computer monitor, without having the view go all jittery as it does when you just hold it in your hand.


I now have a working design for the HTC Vive and I love it. I’m considering doing a manufacturing run if enough people want one. For now if you want to order a 3D printed one, with foam padding and a tripod compatible nut, send me a message. @daggasoft.

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Maker Expo 2016

Today we did our first public convention, Maker Expo KW 2016. It was a local event taking place in Kitchener – Waterloo, at city hall. There were robots, 3d printers, and LEDs everywhere. It was very cool. There was an estimated 10,000 attendees.

I was a little worried at first since I didn’t know what to expect. Would people play our games or would that just glance and walk by? Would they play them and not like them? After all, this was our debut in the sense of getting real time feedback in person. Uncharted territory.

All of my worries washed away when person after person sat down, began to play, and actually played for a considerable amount of time. We demonstrated two games. Super Markup World and Peripheral. Both were prize winning games at global game jams this year. Peripheral winning 1st place and Super Markup World getting 4th.

So all in all, a great time. I do wish that more adults sat down to try the games. I also wish that more people followed us on twitter afterwards. We will have to figure out how to do a “call to action” better next time.

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Peripheral Graphics Experiments

We won a hackathon for our game. The publishers who hosted the hackathon really like the game concept. But the harsh reality is that our primitive graphics are just not good enough for prime time. In fact they are so primitive that that the OSVR fund won’t give us any money so that we can then hire an artist.

So what does one do with zero budget, no funding and no artistic talent? You experiment.

Here is what peripheral originally looked like compared to 3 very simple experiments with edge detection, colour correction and grayscale.

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Here is a shot with edge detection and bloom
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This one is pretty boring


Here were are after adding some simple textures, with normal maps for a bit of depth on the lines. We like this a lot, keeps it simple but adds some much needed polish.



Here we are after further refinement with Bloom, Edge Detection, Color Correction, and a few others. Personally I’m a fan of the bright, loud colours. However I think the combination of that along with the bloom is washing the scene out too much.



And here we are after experimenting with some wireframe shaders. We think we will use this shader for tutorial objects.

All in I think it’s safe to say that the graphics still need some work but it’s pretty impressive how much polish you can add to a game with some free and built in effects and textures. And without changing the existing models.


It’s been a while I know. We’ve been full steam getting ready to launch our other game, Manastorm on Steam. But what I’ve neglected to post in the mean time is the complete graphics overhaul and that we are also launching this game on Steam soon.



Check out Archiacts Blog Post announcing the winners HERE

Here’s our submission on Devpost



The grand prize was 3 HTC Vives, a Gear VR, and a booth at the Consumer VR conference in 2017!



The Mars Endeavour – Lava Tubes

Play it right now!
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awardWinner of the Toronto Space Apps 

Winner of the Kennedy Space Center “Mars Lava Tubes” Challenge

Top 5 finalist for the Global Space Apps – Best Mission Concept category


Well the NASA International Space Apps Challenge is back for 2015 and this time we headed up to Toronto. And guess what kids, we took home the global nomination again for another video game, The Mars Endeavour. It was a built from scratch project that we did from Friday night til Sunday afternoon. This time we decided to do something with an RTS style to it, something I’ve never done before.

The challenge posed by NASA is about Mars Lava Tubes, which I won’t get into, but you can read all about the challenge proposal here,

Pics from the Toronto Space Apps regional nomination 



Our game is up and running either in your browser or downloadable for cross platform at

You can also check out our Space Apps project page for more details:

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The game revolves around sustaining a mars colony on the surface and navigating miner robots both above and below ground. You basically collect and expel resources while you survive and defend/repair from perils (Dust storms, meteorite showers, solar flares). The game also has a pseudo-radom arrangement of lava tube configuration and location.

It’s a pretty good start but still needs massive testing and input into it’s resources and economy system. The ground work is there for consumption, accumulation, refining, upgrading, achievements, hazards, etc. But rules have to be better defined, which will take some considerable testing I’m coming to find.

We hope to expand on the feature set as well. Part of the challenge’s proposal was underground colonies, which we didn’t do at all. The feature set for a hackathon game is pretty decent and although our ambitions were grand, we were instead able to put out a great game by sticking with realistic goals.