VRUnicorns #SkiJump

SkiJump was a tiny fun project that evolved into a medium sized project that became a huge project.

For now I put this minimal article together to document that the game exists, but I hope to some day do it justice and document it properly, because I spent so much time on it and have little to show for it.

SkiJump started as a great 5 minute game, we tried to grow it to an infinite slope 10-20 minute game but we didn't think it was enough fun, and then the game became an overscoped multiplayer open world experience that didn't really go anywhere.

We enjoyed making it for the most part, but I wish we shared more of the process along the way. There were interesting technical and design challenges we tried to tackle, including VR locomotion, multiplayer physics simulation in VR, infinite world generation, origin shifting, seamless world generation and tiling, etc.. A lot of it fell through the cracks because we were a small team and we didn't know how to step back and rescope.

We thought we were smart at the time and waiting to show it when it's ready and looks good. But time passed and as we worked on it, not sharing progress, our enthusiasm faded. There were many crunch moments leading up to events where we showed the game in person, and looking back, I made the mistake to overwork myself instead of designing around problems to achieve what matters: making a fun game. It was a huge learning experience, that I aim to write more about, because I think it was also a big waste of time. Maybe the learnings will make up for some of that.

I left VRUnicorns around the time when we put up the early access VR version, and I started to work on Zestrea. SkiJump is still being worked on as of writing in 2023. Hopefully the team can figure out how to finish the game and make it fun.

Here is a quick look at an early version of the game from youtuber Nathie: