One year later...

Today is the one year anniversary of the release of my VR adventure Eye of the Temple on Steam! It's currently 40% off to celebrate.

I thought I'd take a moment to talk about what I've been up to since the release, both related to Eye of the Temple and other projects.

Eye of the Temple updates

In the months after the release I worked on various fixes and updates to the game.

Of those, the Speedrun Challenges was the biggest feature. Leading up to its release, a handful of people from the game's Discord community had been testing the feature and competing for top spots on the leaderboards of the challenges. This was really great to see! I also set up a page on and even implemented autosplitter integration for the popular speedrun timer LiveSplit, meaning that the game can control starting and stopping the timer exactly.

Here's a video of Mettanine's current world record for the first speedrun challenge:

I had contemplated whether to run some sort of contest when the Speedrun Challenges feature released. However, after some contemplations back and forth, I decided not to wait and see if there was any interest in the Speedrun Challenges feature at all. I figured a contest should be used to boost existing interest, not conjure up interest out of thin air based solely on extrinsic rewards.

As it turned out, there wasn't any interest to speak of. Once the feature released (which I posted about in various speedrun and VR subreddits and Discord servers, on Steam and Twitter, and wrote to journalists about), there were only a couple of people trying it out - much fewer than the handful who had been fairly active testing it during beta. Oh well. While certainly some people found the idea fascinating, I guess speedrunning and physically intense VR are two niches with too tiny an overlap, at least for PC VR.

How has the game performed in its first year?

I wrote last year that sales of Eye of the Temple around its release had been mediocre, and that assuming year one sales would be about 3x of week one sales, the game would be on track to cover maybe half of its production costs after one year of sales if I based it on giving myself only an entry level game programmer salary.

Year one sales outperformed that projection, instead being 4.45x of week one sales in units sold, and 4.1x in revenue. So that's nice! The costs are about two thirds covered instead of only half. If I instead base the costs on my old salary I got at Unity, they would be covered only 40% so far. However, I think expecting a lower salary when going indie is reasonable, especially in the beginning.

What about a Quest 2 port of Eye of the Temple?

Edit: Eye of the Temple for Quest 2 released on April 27 2023! See this post for more details.

There's still no announcement regarding a Quest 2 port of Eye of the Temple at this time, but I do hope and believe it can happen, and there are still continuous efforts trying to make it a reality. Let's just say, I've been in a whole lot of meetings.

My next game

I have ideas for a new game, but it's in very early stages. It won't be a VR game. It'll be procedurally generated world focused on exploration. It doesn't have a name yet, but let's call it The Big Forest for now.

As the code name suggests, the game will take place in a big forest. I developed a procedural environment experiment in 2016 that serves as a proof of concept.

The game will have a generated structure of progression. In April I worked on experiments generating such structures and visualizing them as dependency graphs and spatial graphs.

The game will have procedurally generated and animated creatures, and I've experimented a bit in August with procedural animation. Luckily I can draw on my experience developing my Locomotion System back in 2009.

Furthermore I have ideas about how to populate the world in a way that's informed by my article from 2021 about designing for a sense of mystery and wonder. Combining all these elements into an actual game is going to be a tall order though.

My old game The Cluster

Before I started working on Eye of the Temple in 2016, I had worked for over ten years on a fully procedurally generated 2.5D platformer game called The Cluster. (Fun fact: The term "procedural generation" was not in common use back when I started in 2003, so I called it random level generation.)

Eventually in 2016 I gave up releasing that game in a traditional sense, for a variety of reasons. But in the past year I've gone back and implemented a few improvements and bug fixes, and I'm considering whether I should spend a bit of time wrapping it up enough to be released for free as an experimental game, or an extended tech demo if you will.

For one, the game is fully playable and certain people can easily have a few hours of fun playing it. I recently recorded half an hour of gameplay here:

For another, the game demonstrates several techniques that I think are still to this day somewhat novel within the field of procedural generation.

  • Overall, the game's procedural generation applies a planning approach to an infite world generated on the fly. In this article from 2015 I contrast the simulation and the functional approaches with the planning approach, which is more akin to traditional level design. In procedurally generated games, there are many examples of a planning approach used on finite levels generated all at once, for example in rogue-likes, and there are examples of the functional approach used for infinite worlds that are generated on the fly, for example in Minecraft. But I'm not sure how many games have used a planning approach for infinite worlds. The Cluster's multi-tiered map shows the game's planned space on a vast scale.
  • It demonstrates that the "Layer-Based Procedural Generation for Infinite Worlds" approach that I discuss in this moderately popular YouTube video from 2013 actually works and scales up to a playable game.
  • The game has directional signs at various spots where the road forks, pointing the way to landmarks like shrines, gates and the hub village. While this is common in manually designed games, I'm not sure if I've seen it in procedurally generated worlds. The things pointed to exist far outside the currently generated chunks, and reinforces the feeling of the world as a carefully planned place.
  • Because the game's planned world has knowledge of goals far outside the currently generated chunks of the world, the gameplay can revolve around exploration with a hints system that provides a balance in between aimlessness and knowing where to go.
  • It incorporates full enemy path finding in a 2D platform game, and moreover a procedurally generated one at that, so enemies can follow the player almost everywhere. It may have been done before, but it's certainly not common in platformers.
  • The game has sophisticated camera framing. Based on the locations of walls, ground and ceiling segments, the camera positions the player differently in the frame and smoothly interpolates between these different framings.
  • The game has a lot of built in debug options that makes it possible to inspect various aspects of the generation at the various layers of abstraction.

It feels like a shame to let all this go unreleased. On the other hand, any work on this free release can be seen as a distraction from working on my next proper game which has commercial potential. If you're interested in the release of this game, please let me know, since that all helps motivating me to wrap it up.


It's been a bit of a weird year. My attention has been split between all of the things above: Updates to Eye of the Temple, meetings related to porting it, working on various experiments for my new game, and tinkering on wrapping up my old procedural platformer. There've been periods of productive focus and motivation, but also periods in between of procrastination and lack of motivation. I hope I can find my way into a more persistent groove soon.

I can't talk much about Eye of the Temple, but if there's anything related to The Big Forest or The Cluster that you find interesting and would like to hear more about, let me know! This can help inform future blog posts and videos, and maybe even what I'll focus my attention on.

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