Woorld arrives this September!

As we revealed last month, Funomena has been working on a new project called Woorld - as part of a collaboration with Google to explore the future of Alternative Reality applications. 

At Google I/O, we first shared the app by demonstrating a bit of the Sandbox Mode, where you play freely with many of the game's whimsical toys and characters. Now we’re ready to share a bit about the Story Mode, which is a more guided experience. 

When you begin the game, you are introduced to a tiny Adventurer, who helps you explore your own home, discovering how to place and develop a series of fun objects on household surfaces like tables, floors, walls and even ceilings!

As you play the game, you learn how to place items, how to grow or evolve them, and in some cases, unlock special abilities that help you change the way they appear or behave! 

In addition to figuring out how these tiny Woorld objects interact with each other, you are also trying to figure out how to help the Adventurer (who is curious, a bit hungry and also a tiny bit lost) find snacks, friends... and eventually get back to its own home!

We're thrilled to announce that the first Tango-enabled consumer device was announced this morning at Lenovo Tech World. The PHAB2 Pro phone - and Woorld alongside it - will arrive this September. We are very excited to share it with you, and look forward to seeing all the creative, playful and adventurous things you discover with it!

 

Hello Woorld!

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag! Today we are pleased to announce that we have been working on an experimental game that splashes in the waters of Augmented Reality!  Several of our Funomenauts (including Brandi, Ryan, Vu and Keita) have joined forces with Google's  Project Tango team to create a silly, simple and wonderful Woorld. 

Poised at the beginning of a new creative movement that mixes digital and physical play, Woorld is a whimsical, exploratory application. By peeking through the window of a supported handheld device, you can explore, discover, and create using digital objects and creatures that you place in physical space. Even better, you can collaborate on that experience with friends and family as they peer into your Woorld through a shared screen.

Designed to be accessible, open-ended and full of surprises, Woorld is just the beginning of the magical things we hope to do with AR and VR technologies. The game is set to be released later this year, but we’re very excited to say that later this week at Google I/O, developers from all over the globe will be able to create their own Woorld, meet delightfully curious characters, and decorate with silly objects.

Going to I/O? You can come see us talk about developing for VR & AR  - then go play Woorld at the Project Tango “Sandbox” area to see just how fun it can be for yourself!

Funomenal GDC

We had a lovely time at this year's GDC - which was as always a highlight of the year for many of us here at the studio.

To start the week on an uplifting and community-building note, Robin & Lauren were both able to participate in the New Voices workshop - a mentorship day for underrepresented minorities within our industry.

The event included mentors from all over the industry, was supported by Facebook/Oculus, GDC, Intel and many other great partners - and was co-organized by our fantastic VR & AR Director Brandi House, who joined Funomena from Oculus just before the conference.

Robin also worked with several awesome developers (including the ever-talented Kim Swift and Zack McClendon who is now at Double Fine as the Lead Designer on Psychonauts 2) to host the Game Design Workshop - a hands-on, two-day game design tutorial session which she has now been teaching in for 15 years!!

On Tuesday evening of the week, the Luna team showed off sneekrit video and beautiful concept art at The Mix - handing out cupcakes and champagne as it was also Robin's birthday. Akira's game was on display - as was the lovely and loud Thumper - now coming to Morpheus!!

Robin hosted the Game Developer's Choice Awards - in a very sparkly dress & matching sparkly bow-tie. The show was an amazing experience - made even better by the fact that the Girls Make Games project was recognized by Microsoft. We were thrilled to see Laila and her girls getting an award!

The Funomenauts as a group hosted our very first Open House, having folks come by to play Luna and another nifty project (to be announced later this summer) that we've been working on alongside Wattam. Though we invited about 30 people, we ended up with a packed house (good news about tasty snacks and experimental prototypes travels fast, it seems). 

And last but not least - several of us volunteered time and testing to the Experimental Gameplay Workshop which included debut demonstrations from Mahdi Bahrami, Jason Roher and David O'Reilly!

As always, we left the week feeling blessed, exhausted and just a little bit hung over. Thanks to everyone who came to see us, played the games, and gave us encouragement and support as we continue to explore the boundaries of what games can be! 

<3

Thanks, 2015 - Hello, 2016!

As we wind down for the holidays here at Funomena, we wanted to take a moment to reach out and say thank you to everyone who has joined us on this adventure, and helped make 2015 one of the most valuable years in our history.

Game development is often a lot harder than it looks. Challenging the status quo, making new things, and taking risks is... risky! And at times, a very uncertain practice. This year taught us a lot about working together, weathering challenges, and maintaining optimism in the face of uncertainty. For this, we are all very very grateful.

          Delicious Balloon Letters floating above our PSX booth.

          Delicious Balloon Letters floating above our PSX booth.

Highlights? There are almost too many to mention. Showing Wattam to the public for the first time at E3, and following it up with delightful experiences at PAX, Day of the Devs and PSX were all wonderful (if exhausting) experiences that we will treasure. Seeing our guestbook fill with signatures, reading so much fantastic press, watching our silly t-shirts travel to warm hearts in Europe, Japan and beyond... and just knowing that fans are out there waiting to play (including Noby Noby Girl!) ... it has all been very rewarding.

          Playing and goofing in the lovely Media Molecule masterpiece Dreams at PSX!!

          Playing and goofing in the lovely Media Molecule masterpiece Dreams at PSX!!

We've also enjoyed sneak peeking our first ever little development video of Luna's beautiful, sculptural world that looks like a children's book come to life. Seeing this vision in VR is also so exciting and transformative that we're still a little in awe. From concept to creation to embracing new technology... it's been a fantastic experience, making these two very different, but similarly "different" games, seeing friends, family and fans enjoy our work in progress.

In 2016 we look forward to working with even more lovely people, bringing on engineering, art and animation hires as we continue to build (slowly but surely) and build this little dream of ours. But even as we grow and change, we will remain a caring, connected group of people who want to see more beautiful, charming, delightful games in this world. 

Today, we received a beautiful holiday card from The Young Horses... and it reminded us that it was now time for us to reach out and share with all of you as well.

We believe that the simple act of saying thank you makes a huge difference... and are so glad to be part of a community of creators & players who share this view. Whether you sent us a care package, tweeted one of our silly gifs, bought a t-shirt, liked us on Facebook or just felt happy after seeing something we put out there - thank you. Life is about giving, sharing and multiplying joy. The joy you send our way and experience because of our work makes that work more rewarding. 

In closing - please enjoy this beautiful concept art from Luna, by Glenn Hernandez. We look forward to sharing more with you in the new year. May your 2015 come to a close with cherished friends & family... and your 2016 begin in just the same way. 

<3

The Funomenauts!