Developer Diary – May 2020
WRITTEN BY ZenART VR
May 15, 2020

Hi there! This is the first Developer Diary post we’re putting out after the Early Access launch of Zen Universe. We will share our initial impressions, comment on a couple of hot topics, and share our plans for the immediate future. Let’s begin!

We launched!

One of the biggest moments in any developer’s career comes when it’s time to flip the switch and go live. On the evening of May 13, we did just that and saw our creation show up in the Steam store and in the hands of VR enthusiasts all over the world. And the reactions came fast!

We got quite a few reviews, messages, and videos popping up day one! Zen Universe made it to the top-selling list for the day, which means that quite a few people got to experience it right off the bat. 

The whole team watched the videos and read the comments, taking notes, and discussing all the information. Of course, there were the inevitable bugs that players were encountering. We created a list with them and we’re currently in the process of addressing them one by one.

There was also a slew of amazing feedback in the form of observations and cool suggestions. We took note of these as well and the team is buzzing with ideas on how to implement some of them.

All in all, we had a blast and we are grateful for all the positive first impressions you guys had and shared with us.

FAQ

As mentioned above, we received quite a few messages and we grouped the most frequently asked questions in a list. We’ll be addressing these through the Steam Discussions panel and in patch notes, but here are a few things that stood out and we’d like to make a little bit clearer.

  • The Early Access asking price of $29.99 covers Tales of the Rocks and Olympus: Home of the Gods for now, but the other two launch locations will be upgraded for free to Early Access owners, so this will drastically increase the value of the bundle for the same price.
  • We are aware of a few navigation bugs such as players getting stuck or unable to teleport in a few tricky spots on the map. We are working on eliminating these issues and making the navigation an overall smoother experience.
  • We are aware of a few sound issues. These greatly vary depending on the hardware used and even if other applications, such as recording or streaming software, are running. We are doing our best to address these, but they require a little more time.
  • A lot of you ask about hardware requirements. At the moment, Zen Universe works on the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, and we recommend the Rift S as the optimal choice for now. Supporting as many headsets as we can is definitely a priority, and we’re planning to include full support for the Valve Index in about two months. We just need more time to make this happen.

What we’re doing next

Of course, our top-most priority right now is fixing bugs. We want to make sure you guys get a great play experience regardless of your widely varying hardware, but unfortunately, that’s a time-consuming process. 

Second, we’re taking your tips and suggestions seriously, and we’re already working on ways to implement some rather insightful and cool suggestions made by players of the game. After all, that’s what Early Access is all about – putting our software in the hands of a wide audience and adjusting it according to its needs!

Third, we are working on implementing a Settings menu. While not required for Zen Universe to run, its implementation will vastly increase the convenience and customization of our worlds. For starters, a fully-featured Settings menu will allow you to adjust your graphic and gameplay settings. Right now, these are automatically set based on the hardware you’re using. By the way, that’s the reason why various YouTube videos of Zen Universe gameplay look slightly differently – the graphics settings change based on the power of the YouTubers’ graphics cards.

Additionally, we’re planning on improving the UI as a whole. This means better buttons, signs, etc., but also additional tutorials and better overall experience for newcomers. We are monitoring player behavior in these videos you’re sending us and we’re trying to make things even more clear and convenient for you guys to enjoy. 

Thank you!

Seriously, thank you for all this feedback. Your bug reports, tips, and opinions have immeasurable value to us and make a direct contribution to the development and betterment of Zen Universe. By all means, keep those messages coming, and never hesitate to ask us anything. We’ll do our best to reply as quickly as we can and take your feedback into consideration. You can do so through our email [email protected] or any of our social media channels.

Until next time, stay safe and see you in Zen Universe!