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Don Whitaker

A member registered Jan 31, 2014 · View creator page →

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The more I think about it , the more I would like to see a custom threshold price for the External Key distribution.  50 cents is fine for my old games, enough to probably deter key resellers. But for my game-in-progress, a higher minimum would let me attract more players/testers during development while still attaching a 'Retail Value' to the game. 

Maybe something similar can already be accomplished with the Refinery tools? I did experiment with a crowd-funding style reward system when I first posted Gravity Garden on Itch, but I've failed to generate much buzz. Maybe too early in development, poor marketing, not enough interest.  

I did switch my VR games,Crashed Lander and Chunky Orbits,  to Pay What You Want with a bonus Steam key. See if I can generate some buzz. If it goes well I might consider something similar for Gravity Garden


Excellent. I was hoping that's how it would work. The standard minimum of 50 cents will be fine. Thanks for the info. 

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I have a game that has been selling with a minimum price. It includes a free Steam Key with purchase. I'm thinking of changing the price to free with a suggested donation. I'd like to continue to give keys to people who pay, but not to free downloaders.

Is it possible to continue distributing the External Keys, but only when someone pays for the game? 

Very cool.   I've spent many, many hours in Mandelbulb 3D. It has a sort-of-real-time view of the fractals, but it all feels a little 'ephemeral' until a full (slow) render is made. This feels so solid and physical.  Lot's of fun possibilities there.

Awesome! I love to explore 3D fractals, especially in real-time. 

Is this using pre-generated data, or could you create new variatipons on-the-fly?

Thanks for the clarification.

So content that supports VR and the device Vove

Is this a typo? Do you mean the FOVE eye-tracking  dev kits, or the HTC Vive? 

Thanks Skydjinn. I probably won't be improving this specific version of Breeders, it is just too janky. I've learned a lot about Unity and coding since making this. I may work on something similar in the future, though.


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Here's a loose outline of my development plans Gravity Garden. Development will be slow as I do have other responsibilities and can't devote 100% of my time to game development.  Early Access release has been pushed back to late  2019.  

My current priorities are to expand upon the basic game loop, allow the player track their progress - and give them some goals to progress towards.  Save/Load system is high on the list, too. 

 More details about what I'm planning for the next several months of work. 
updated may 2019

  • Build on the Game Loop and add more gameplay elements
    • limited resources
    • care for plants to survive and thrive
    • discover new plants
    • rewards for exploration
    • Player can PROGRESS
    • Goals so player has something to work towards

Excellent - thanks for giving it a try. I like the 'playdough meets Tron' description.

Glad that you recovered from your rocket mishap. :) They'll be a better tutorial someday - kind of just dropping people into the game and letting them poke around for now.

Achievements will be a big part of the final game. This will allow me to create a game where players are free to just goof around or challenge themselves by working toward specific goals.

A few that I have in mind

  • Grow X number of a certain plant
  • Grow a perfectly healthy plant
  • Find X number of Alien Artifacts
  • Collect X amount of Energy

What sort of achievements would you like to see?

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I know about these bugs:

  • Player sometimes gets stuck after teleporting rapidly, especially when using both hands to teleport. Can usually be fixed by teleporting again and then pausing for a second before the next action.
  • GeoMelons sometimes mutate and start growing vines that aren't connected to an plant. These def need a rewrite - they are janky. :)
  • Had to turn of Single Pass Rendering feature in Unity - it's causing the game to crash when built. Hoping to get this worked out asap. It'll provide a big performance boost.
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Alpha 10 - April 27th, 2019

  • Mega Island home. Greatly expanded area for the  player to plant and explore.  Approx 4 square kilometers, or 1.5 square miles.   Sounds huge when I write it down. :) Not finished decorating but it looks great so far.
  • Spiffy new soil system. Live updates to the soil's texture that reflects current Water and Compost levels. This has been my holy grail since the beginning of the project. I finally have a version that is fast enough for VR - less than .3 milliseconds to update the soil textures. 
  • Eat fruits! Harvest a fruit and shove it in your face to see the world in a new light. :)  Soon this will also give info about the plants and other goodies. 
  • Quick Teleport. Press A/X button on Touch or Click the pad on Vive for a quick Teleport in the direction your are pointing.
  • Long Teleport.  Use the Stick or Touchpad to fine-tine the teleport location and distance.
  • Beginnings of the Save/Load system. Very crude at the moment but you can save your current plants and load 'em later. Soil conditions not saved yet. This was a big step for me, never coded anything like this before. :)
  • New and in-progress plants. Some are not yet fully functional. All are kind of a mess in regards to growth parameters water use, compost use, etc. 
  • Lots of changes under the hood for the plant growth system. More efficient now and much easier for me to create new plants and variations.
  • Changes to the lighting system. I've given up on full real-time lights in favor of baked lighting with light probes. Looks great and the performance is much improved.  This also lets the player see shadows for the full camera rendering distance.  
  • No floating islands at the moment. I had a system set up for fading them in and out but something went wrong and it's causing crashes. The islands will be back soon. 

Alpha 9 - October 13th, 2018

  • New Cloud system. Clouds now drift about and occasionally clump together. When enough of them gather it will rain.  This will be xpanded on later with new types of 'rain' - including pests and other challenges for the player. 
  • Tweaks to the zero-G locomotion. Still tweaking the various Speed settings for the free move locomotion. Really need some more testers for this. I'm pretty much immune to VR sickness so it's hard for me to judge what is too intense. :)

Alpha 8 - October 1st, 2018

  • Removed the Full Body Avatar. I've been messing around with the player movement system and the avatar was requiring way too much attention. I had to tweak and adjust it along with every change I made. So it's gone for now , but may be back in the future. 
  • New "Artist's Palette" style menu. The Menu button opens the menu that's held in one hand as you select an icon with the opposite hand. 
  • Point at a seed or tool to see a short description and inventory amount
  • New Options tab on the menus. Lots of locomotion options:
    • Snap turn + angles
    • Smooth turn + speeds
    • Teleport
    • Free Movement + speeds
    • Swap move/rotate hands
    • steer with hand or face
    • swap hands for info text scree - coming soon.
  • Menus and controls are all fully ambidextrous.  Use anything with either hand.  
  • Revised movement system. Smoother when switching gravity on/off and overall more consistent between modes. 
  • Some tweaks to Teleport system, but it still needs work.
  • New cursors for grabbing, info, and menu selection. Should be easier to tell what you are pointing at. Player can still only grab ripe fruits. 
  • Basic sound effects when player bumps into things are skims across the ground. 

Alpha 7 - January 15th, 2018

  • Full-body avatar test. Using a fantastic unity plugin called FinalIK to add a full body, animated avatar for the player to control. All of the animation is generated on the fly from the position of the player's head and hands. Very tricksy. 
  • New Pest - called RockNom for now, but hoping to come up with something better. ;)  Eventually will spread as part of a 'thunderstorm' type event, but for now a sparkly comet might deliver some to your island.  They'll eat all the nutrients in your soil and they multiply quickly. You can eliminate them with one of your garden tools. 
  • Tweaks to player controls and grab system. 
  • Alignment of scanner, delete, grab, and other lines was changed to match the new avatar hands. Eventually there will be options to adjust these angles.
  • When Gravity is On  your avatar is a humanoid figure that walks and mirrors your movements. With Gravity Off you are a disembodied cloud of  fire and stone floating through space. :) New avatar set-up will allow for some fun character customization options. 
  • You can now see the active Tool or Seed in the palm of your hands. 

Alpha 6 - November 8th

  • Updated game engine to Unity v 2017.2
  • Nifty new shaders that supply a slightly cartoonish look.
  • Grab all fruits with both hands - current fruits active on GeoMelon, CosmiCorn, Bambooya, and DingleBerry
  • Tele-grab. Grab things from a distance. Your hand turns green when it's ready to grab. Uses the Grip button to grab  Soon an option for trigger, too. 
  • Tele-harvest. Harvesting 'portals' attached to your hands. Turn your  ripe fruit into more Seeds, Energy, or Compost.   Finally have an actual Game Loop. :)  Plant, Care, Harvest.
  • More tweaks to the locomotion system. Trying to make both modes feel consistent even though the Gravity On version needs to be different to make it work on uneven terrain.
  • Teleport now works when gravity is off. Just point into space to TP.  Set distance for now - later the player will be able to adjust the distance. 

Alpha 5 - October 6th

  • New player controller. Now it's all under one coherent system, all physics based.
  • Teleporting is no longer a tool based action. 
  • Player can change locomotion modes: teleport or thrusters
  • smooth turn or snap-turn
  • snap-turn by specified angle or choose any angle with stick/pad
  • turn strafing on/off
  • Improved teleport controls and marker
  • fixed velocity of thrown objects
  • fixed: some held fruits pushing player around

Alpha 4 - September 6th

  • Player can now harvest fruits from plants. Right-hand only for now. Grip button when your hand is near a ripe fruit. 
  • Fruits now give an indication when they are ripe.  More colorful and brighter is ripe.
  • Improved Clouds.  Now physics-enabled and more efficient. 
  • 14 new islands to find and explore.  Empty (for now)
  • 4 new farm-able islands. 
  • Velocity is transferred when player turns gravity belt off. 
  • Water and fertilizer particles now inherit velocity from player
  • Improved skyboxes

Alpha 3 - July 31st

  • Updated to SteamVR plugin 1.2.2
  • New Hands. Wanted to see what the game feels like with hands instead of controllers. Feels good. Just a few generic poses for now, but I will add more specific poses as time goes on. 
  • New configuration for fly/walk. Toggle between flying and walking by pressing the right stick/trackpad. Much easier now to switch between modes. No more 'pull-string' rocket tool, but I may bring that back in the future. 
  • Lots of new floating islands - I made a baker's dozen of new islands to populate the sky. All empty for now but eventually they will have things to discover and experience.
  • Dynamic lights -  similar to a day/night cycle without the annoying night time. :)  Still needs work but I like this first pass. Adds some nice variation to the visuals without bringing affecting performance significantly. 
  • Player now rotates around their head, instead of the center of their playspace.  More comfortable.

Alpha 2 - June 20th

  • Updated game engine to Unity v 5.6
  • GPU instancing now functioning properly along with Single Pass Stereo Rendering. Big performance boost!  
  • New plant - Energy Bubblers
  • New skyboxes
  • New control  to apply modified colors and image effects 
  • Delete plant tool
  • New cloud system
  • Beginnings of Inventory system
  • Harvest water from clouds, energy from stars, fertilizer from planetoids

Alpha 1 - May 14th, 2017

  • Basic player movement - classic first person controls or teleport
  • Bare-bones menu to choose plants and tools
  • Tools for watering and fertilizing soil
  • 7 different plants that grow, die, produice fruits, and respawn
  • Gravity jets that allows players to fly and navigate in 3D space
  • Scanning tool for testing soil conditions and identifying plants

I'll use this thread to collect all player suggestions. Tell me what you'd like to see in the final version of the game! You can reply here or start a new thread.