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A member registered Feb 24, 2015 · View creator page →

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... ...

A month ago I created the draft/placeholder for the June update. It only consisted of the line above. three dots, a comma, three dots. 

"That's a strange looking comma between those dots..."

I place my cursor next to it - I use shift + left arrow key to highlight it.


On closer inspection it turns out to be just a speck

Welcome to my insanity.


Early July I attended Critical Northwest, a local gathering of Burning Man community. To say it changed my life seems cliche. I leveled up. Zero to One. 

I'll be releasing Synthetic Dreams on Steam next week. 

In the "About this game" section of the store page I tell people not to buy it. I priced it high. I tell them to seek out these monthly updates. 

If that quest led you to these words - Welcome.

I'd like to offer you a steam-key. Would you like to chat?


My vision of Synthetic Dreams is something unique. A new genre for a new medium? I dont know. 

Just searching for my niche.

May Update:


From 2016 June Update:

"So, I ask myself WHY

1 To create a universe (to express myself through my writing (characters / monologues))

2. To further my knowledge and mastery of Unreal Engine / VR techniques

3. To create a timeless work of art (My Walden)"

I've got my head wrapped around the first two. But - Recently had the thought that: To make timeless art, you must create it in a space without time.

As in: A space where you don't have to think about getting to work at a certain time. Where you eat when you feel hungry, and sleep when you are tired. 

A space where the day of the week is unknown and irrelevant to you as it is to the trees.


My current plan is to put Synthetic Dreams on Steam. Then- create "Dev-vlog" type videos to generate visibility/interest. Regular (weekly? monthly?) patches/updates. Generally just spend more time working on SD and talking to people about it.

There's that word "time" again. Spending it like dollars. 

A new chapter begins.

(Edited 3 times)

April Update:

I found a room. Windows facing to the south and west. Both views are filled with leaves and trees and moss. With a window open I can hear the sound of a rushing creek at the end of the backyard.

I made it to Seattle in time for a VR Hackathon. Met a Couple and made a game about creating electronic circuits https://twitter.com/SeaVRHackathons/status/8563091... (300$ prize for best interaction design)

Download for Vive or Rift: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dzye9bcl64hdlot/CircuitS...

"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct" - Dune

March Update:

I return from my travels. The path forward is still filled with uncertainty. Tomorrow will mark my final week at NOHL.

I set my lighthouses up outside http://imgur.com/a/wCSTo the massive AC unit cut into the playspace, the large windows behind it screwed with tracking.

Moving to Seattle is the first time in my life that I've chosen where to live. Whereas North Carolina was dictated by my Fathers profession, and Southern California dictated by my friends occupation. (I moved out here with him)

My hope is to find an environment conducive to growth and creation.

It's time to level up.

February Update:

A new chapter is on the horizon. I write a check for March's rent, this will be my last month here.

I've been thinking more about minimalism. Did a little experiment and posted it on this new forum.


I've been a fan of Jason Rohrer since I stumbled across this article years ago


Improvements to SD: The name of the level/experience appears when you gaze at it, UV maps on Monitor and Painting are fixed, and I've begun work on the patio area. Sneak peek: http://imgur.com/a/Qppke

My PC is right next to a sliding door that leads outside. Before leaving, I intend to set up my Vive Lighthouses on the patio and attempt some "Outdoor computing". Cramped in this tiny space I'm always wishing for more room. I envision a future where I take a portable PC to a field, set up some tracking devices, and create a massive tracking volume.

Heading up to GDC tomorrow. I also got my ticket for SVVR. Additionally, I will be traveling to Portland, Oregon mid-March.

The path away from this place is cloudy, perhaps in my travels, a path will reveal itself to me.

Synthetic Dreams community · Created a new topic Updates

January Update:

Visited family back east for the holidays. In 4 years I have only returned in the Spring or Summer. In the Winter the trees are bare, the woods are quiet.

I made a pilgrimage to Epic Games HQ. Toured the Facilities. I called my mother after the tour: You should have heard the desperation in her voice when she asked if they have any positions for me. She wants me closer, like any mother would I suppose.

There's still growth to be had and work to be done out here. The Pacific Northwest calls my name.

SyntheticDreams new design feels good. It's time to stop faking locomotion. Blink teleport, snap turning. It all serves a purpose - but for stronger immersion we need to embrace our current spatial limitations.

I think about Homesteading. If I were given a piece of land. Water, Electricity, Internet. What sort of experiences would I create? I plan to use SD as a platform for exploration of this idea.

Killed a shark, harvested shark meat, went to get mackerel off stove -> game crashed. (I may have had full inventory?)

(Edited 1 time)

December Update:

The Winter Solstice approaches.

Synthetic Dreams one year anniversary.

From the May update: "... Starting to think of SD more as a place that you inhabit instead of a series of things that happen to you"

Today I am releasing an update to Synthetic Dreams. Welcome to my room. This is the place I inhabit.

All previous content is accessible via Relics placed around the area.


I will travel back to my parents house. My old room. In the closet, under the bed, on the bookshelf: A box of memories. Relics from another life.

Goodnight. Until next year...

Jump to 2017 Updates

November Update:

One week until Touch. Crunch mode on the Canyon project.

I've been thinking a bit about locomotion lately. Ultimately - physically walking would be ideal. I like to imagine a play space the size of a warehouse.

Also been thinking about monetization. If VR is "somewhere you go" - then perhaps it would be helpful to think of yourself as selling tickets. Welcome to my Museum.

Last month I set out to make some videos. Sometimes it is true that the first step is the hardest.

Testing the waters vid on ULU channel My first attempt at vlog/dev diary
(Edited 1 time)

October Update:

Time flies.

Did a bit of prototyping with swapping to a Motion Controller pawn, and a wandering NPC that looks at you when you get close. (It resumes wandering when you walk away)

About 1 month until Oculus Touch is released. I'm most excited about their sculpting app "Medium". I wonder how viable it will be to create assets in medium and import them into Unreal Engine.

Currently the structures in PLAT are made with BSP Geometry. BSP is fine for basic shapes, but rapidly gets cumbersome for complex geometry. Sculpting interesting shapes and intricate details in Medium seems like it would be ideal.

I did a gamedev twitch stream last night, it felt really good just to "play". To joyfully follow one idea into the next. Ended up making a physics based rocketship with player-controlled thrust.

I've still been meaning to make that Youtube video. It's that one thing that's been punted from one to-do list to another. Lingering eternally. If I tell you that I'll create the video by the end of November, does that create a meaningful deadline? ... Making videos shouldn't be hard. I could probably create 3 videos in that time. :)

September Update:

So, last month I re-worked SD into a "demoable" experience. While a demo mode will prove useful, It's not quite what I'm trying to accomplish with this project.

I've made a picture to better explain the old structure vs new

Previously you would load into LOBBY and select your experience (with CITY and WAR being discoverable in VOID)

In the new design, you'd load directly into the void (new map name is PLAT, as in "a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land")

You would then use your input device to navigate this area. Discovering Structures and People (NPC AI wandering around) - When you meet a person, they may have a line of text, or play an audio file.

There will be a structure for calibration, displaying information such as your HMD position and rotation values.

Additional content would come in the form of other structures and people (sometimes with structures leading to different maps/experiences such as CITY and WAR)

I've done some work measuring and mapping my room, I'd like to continue iterating on this. Also giving the user an option to possess a motion controller pawn in the space (giving the option of hand-based interaction in this limited space) Plus - the "List of Maps" bullet point was just an idea to have a debug feature to get around quickly.

"Your Room?" - This is an invitation to collaborate. Your structure within this world could take many forms. The user could enter a gallery of your pictures or showcase of your 3D models/environments. Or maybe you just want your living space recreated in VR.

Here's a fantasy I have: If this were to become compelling enough, I'd travel the country/world living with and collaborating directly with the people interested in Synthetic Dreams as a platform. I feel like I'd experience a lot of "life" through this, gaining new perspectives on a constant basis.


Things are going strong with the startup gig. Brace yourselves for a complete redesign on that project too ;-)


Shout out to one of Synthetic Dream's "beta testers" Klexian - he just released his VR title 9Grids on Steam! http://store.steampowered.com/app/486140/ Congrats!!!

August Update:

Summer is ending. The days get shorter.

First weekend of August was the VRLA expo.

Going to expos and conferences always leaves me feeling energetic.


After showing a few people in my office I realized that giving people the choice between the 4 sections is a bad idea when I want people to experience things in a certain order (namely INTRO first and ABOUT last)

Also, asking people to wander around in VOID will certainly break flow in a demo environment.

SO - I reworked things for a "hands free" experience

INTRO -> PIXEL -> City (where you're flying over the rooftops) -> ABOUT

also - I finally executed on that 56k modem idea I had for PIXEL. It was very tedious to script, but turned out nicely. (Just have a few more tweaks then I'll be uploading the new build!)

I had the chance to demo this to a ton of people at a local VR event. Reactions were positive! I think the ABOUT section resonated with many.


July Update:

July 4th was spent on a mountain ridge. Overlooking Orange County, California. Tiny fireworks over Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach.

Middle of the month: took a solo roadtrip up to Santa Barbara + San Luis Obispo

*redacted. Album of roadtrip pics for patrons only*

Been spending a lot of time at the office with nothing much to show for it... HOWEVER - Immersive Entertainment just closed a 500k round of funding. So things are about to get busy busy.

We got some pre-release Oculus touch controllers, super slick design. (Capacitive triggers/thumbsticks/buttons!)

Narrowing focus on Synthetic Dreams though. All you will need to experience it is the Oculus Remote.

Also: I entered and Won a hackathon hosted by Quest Nutrition. Prize was a Vive and a PC capable of running VR O_O (they still haven't shipped it to me though - dat anticipation)

I created a sort of a Yoga / Tai Chi experience: (which you can download if you have a Vive)


That's all for this month. Goodnight!

(Edited 1 time)

June Update:

Synthetic Dreams was released on the Winter Solstice. Normally falling on the 21st of December, but last year, the 22nd ~~~ The Summer Solstice occurred on June 20th.

Last month I spoke of "A New Chapter" a major component of that was Immersive Entertainment (a startup I'm involved with) getting office space in an incubator!

*redacted. image of office for patrons only*

Those are all our desks on the left + plenty of room to set up the vive.

There are other "factors" to this new chapter which I hope to share in the near future.


For the unreal engine May jam I made a vive game about doing bodyweight squats


I had in my head a vision for what I wanted the final "product" to be. I was able to execute toward that product, and once there: reflect on how the current state compares to that of my vision.

With Synthetic Dreams that final vision - that forward vector - is cloudy.

Maybe it's not about What I'm making... but more about Why I'm making it.

I showed an old friend "ABOUT" . And felt a renewed shimmer of purpose.


So, I ask myself WHY

1 To create a universe (to express myself through my writing (characters / monologues))

2. To further my knowledge and mastery of Unreal Engine / VR techniques

3. To create a timeless work of art (My Walden)



May Update:

Oh man, what was I thinking - MENUs?! A good example of a design paradigm BAKED into my skull through years of interacting with software. Starting to think of SD more as a place that you inhabit instead of a series of things that happen to you.


*Redacted: private words and a collage for patrons only*


I've always taken the path of least resistance.

Not this time.

Tomorrow marks an entirely new chapter.

Through resistance, through suffering. I will adapt and grow powerful.

April Update:


Unreal Engine 4.11 is finally here! - My favorite improvement: Camera system refactor.

Basically they've made cameras easier to use and attach things to.

Today I'll be pushing out an update built with 4.11. The camera refactor also means I'll be able to do some fun gazed-based stuff. (in the main menu, PIXEL and VOID will show the LCD outline, whereas the other two glow brighter - I'm still deciding which style I want to go with)

Also look for subtle reactivity for the Mock-UI in INTRO (the panels will get slightly bigger as you look at them)

Update for PIXEL: I have the Modem sounds ready - Now need to script/apply pixel behaviors to the noises

I'm beginning to re-think VOID. I never wanted people to feel like they were in a pit / excavation. The map was really just carried over from my jam "Into the Void" (Unreal Engine theme: Thrown in at the Deep End). What I really wanted to create was an endless/empty void. New level name is PLAT, digging deeper into level streaming. Also - some fun redirection stuff that I'll want to share with you guys.

Another initiative: Re-create my room in UE (For my console jockies out there: "open nohl" (controls are same as VOID(spacebar,mousebuttons))) You'll also see some photogrammetry my GF did. This could eventually be tied into ABOUT.

Still waiting for my CV1. (I wonder what component is causing the shortage...) when I get it, I'll be adding Oculus Remote support.

March Update:

This was a private message for people who purchased Synthetic Dreams

February Update:

Managed to do a bit of cleanup on Synthetic Dreams.

Previously in INTRO, the part where a swarm of nanobots spawned was controlled in a bit of a hacky way. I basically spawned a ton of particle systems on top of each other. Stored references to them in a big array, then deleted all items in the array.

Now It's controlled in more elegant fashion. One particle system, with a function to ramp the spawn rate (Timeline that feeds into particle parameter)

Here's some before/after pics http://imgur.com/a/SMKmu

Note: This will be included in the next patch/update


Next on the TODO list - going to rethink PIXEL. It's meant to be some sort of connection protocol. I need to find a better way to visualize the "handshake" and then sending of data. (Current plan is to incorporate 56k modem sound)


Two other areas of focus for the immediate future will be the character (how you move, look, and interact with the world) and In-world user interface. (fun buttons and sliders?)

I'll let you know how it goes! Talk to you next month.

Synthetic Dreams community · Created a new topic Updates
(Edited 2 times)

January Update:

  • Standardized pawn/character (there were a few levels that had a custom pawn, will be much easier to create one master and enable/disable functionality on the master) Went from using 4 pawns to 2
  • Palm tree is WAR is using a lower LOD No LODS on Tree - Resolution is just too low to make out leaves
  • Texture seam on ruin walls in WAR Moved mesh around - seam is less severe, may delete these assets if I don't use them more
  • Some transitions are no longer abrupt
  • Created a system in VOID where you will re-enter the world next to the fragment you just exited
  • Some of the pictures in ABOUT were really high res, lowered res to save space
  • Experiment with using images of mountains on cards(2d planes) instead of using landscape(sculpted terrain) mountains

Before (Unreal Landscape)

After (2D Card made from a photograph I had taken)

  • Reverse engineered car headlights/taillights so it doesn't look like everyone is tailgating each other This one was fun - Had to take the texture into photoshop and flip lights around - there was also a mask texture to break up the lights, I removed that. So now it's much more like a constant stream of traffic aka LA traffic
  • Fixed CTRL+M (unlock mouse for non VR users) functionality in ABOUT
  • New Start location for Void (so you don't fall off a cliff if you walk directly forward)

Thank you for your interest in Synthetic Dreams. I'd like to use this space to go deeper, outlining inspirations and aspirations for the project.

The first thing I completed was the script to INTRO. I wanted to create a universe (sounds ambitious) I figured the best way to do that was to give myself a blank slate. The story goes: You upload your consciousness into a digital realm (singularity), then a catastrophic event occurs, massive data loss, everything black everything blank.

Then, a PIXEL appears. I wanted to create a sort of "handshake" procedure (like old 56k modems) a series of tones and movements, then once they have a "lock" - a stream of data. It currently ends with a sort of "breathing" as if it has connected and is now mimicking your respiration. ("Do you think that's air you're breathing?" ;-]) Definitely want to expand this area, eventually evolving into a full fledged "music video" type experience. Perhaps something akin to those wicked James Bond movie intros.

Then we have VOID, my attempt at creating an open world, exploration based experience. Also examining locomotion in the context of VR. (I currently have a hacked-in implementation of the "comfort turn" mechanic first implemented by Cloudhead Games) The scale is currently such that you won't be wandering in darkness for more than 10-15 seconds without discovering something. You are also able to discover "fragments" which are basically mini-experiences. Not sure how I'll implement motion controllers in the future, but one idea is that there is a fragment created for specific peripherals, and only available when those peripherals are plugged in. (psst you can press ALT + C and ALT + W while in the void to be warped to the "City" and "War" fragments)

And then there is ABOUT, born out of the idea that I'd create a VR resume. I feel like there's a lot left to explore with this one. One thing that interests me is the ways we can experience 2D content in VR.

Welcome to these forums, I expect things will be pretty slow around here for a while, that's ok. I'd love to hear what you think.