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Miniature Multiverse

What's Miniature Multiverse?

Miniature Multiverse is a first-person, panoramic-interface, graphic puzzle/adventure game in development, using 360-degree photography taken inside imaginatively detailed, beautiful miniature-art environments. Within this game, you'll explore a wide range of fantastical and intriguing places, solve a variety of (creative, varied, but relatively easy) puzzles, experience ambient sound and animation bringing the illusion of fully realized worlds to life, and unearth a mysterious story of the 'endless explorer' and the truth behind the 25 realms.

'Miniature Multiverse' began as a creative concept of indie artist and 'Triumphant Artists Web Network' founder Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, in 2010 and has been in intermittent development since that time, including an unsuccessful Kickstarter circa 2011 and various dead ends before the problem of HD 360-degree image capture inside a bunch of sprawling miniature sets was solved more efficiently, and increased progress in other areas was acheived as well.

I've accelerated development beginning around 2017 and despite some attempts to complete things faster, realistically may still be almost a year away from a worthy release, with the 'Miniature Multiverse Extras Pack' (with artbook and other exclusive stuff) now most likely expected to be launching around early January 2020 and the full release of the game around February 2020. The Extras Pack will give you far more inside information on the creative process behind this game than I can fit here in this webpage!

But a target of early 2020's simply a guess; this could take less time if things go well and more if not. (The game will be submitted to Steam, then Itch.IO, at the time of release.) I've spent over $1150 of my own cash on this project since the effort began in 2010, including a ton of miniature supply stuff and also a few shaders/audio assets, PlayMaker for Unity, and some camera gear. That figure does not include the hundreds of hours of unpaid work involved. I'm really hoping this takes off a bit as I have poured a vast amount of labor into it. I had attempted to raise funding through sales of unrelated items on Matthornb.itch.io and eBay but these late-2018 sales were largely disappointments and wound up actually slowing, not accelerating, development of this game. My best estimate is that another $350-400 must still be raised somehow to complete the project, and unless there's an uptick in sales of my stock 3d assets, video clips and texture pack items for digital artists on itch.io or original paintings/handmade art on eBay, or some other creative products I'm selling like DVDs of the stock media, or the soon-to-launch art ebooks/physical printed artbooks, it may still be a while before that works out. As a solo developer, there's a ton of work involved too even after the funds are in place for raw materials needed to scratchbuild the last few gameworlds.

And there are other priorities in 2019 competing for my attention as this is not the only project I've got in development. My most recent HornbostelProductions.com blog entry covers this situation in a brutally honest way. If you're interested in helping me turn things around and get more of my projects completed in the next 2-3 years instead of 5-7, I'd appreciate you taking a moment to check out this list of easy ways to boost my productions. Some of these even can benefit you beyond the fact that they accelerate release of awesome free/cheap stuff online!

 

Miniature Multiverse will become available for Windows, via Steam & Itch.IO with possibility of other release venues/platforms later on. I would give you all a promise of a Mac/Linux version but as I currently lack recent Mac OS X and Linux systems in my house to test that on I wouldn't be able to guarantee it'd work well on those target platforms! I think if the game sells in the range of at least a couple thousand copies after launch, both of those target platforms plus attempts to release this on additional storefronts (like the Humble Store, GOG.com, Windows Store, Mac App Store, Desura, Epic), then will become much more likely to materialize.


The 2011 Kickstarter failed to hit its goal despite a niche of interested viewers & one backer, and KS staff designating it as a project they loved. But, rather than give up, I expanded the scope of the project and funded it entirely on my own. This old KS media shows a bit of how I was trying to make the project work at that time.

Vyrsul
A somewhat desaturated image of a world called 'Vyrsul' and a screen captured early teaser promotional clip captured in early December 2018, showing me wandering around in the first area of the game, 'Lokus', and ending with the transition to another world, 'Pryme'.

How this was done

How do you walk around in a miniature world?

Well, that's a great question. I struggled with it a bit myself. The first few tests used chrome ball bearings and silver Christmas ornaments (really!) and a high-res camera mounted above them, capturing 360-degree reflections in the spheres. Ultimately, the resolution resulting from this did not meet my standards, and distortion was noticeable, so I wound up using a custom system which used a GoPro style compact camera, basically snapping stills at 15-degree increments for each and every node in the tour. I then stitched the images together in Photoshop and painted out the background carefully for each node - replacing the roof of my garage with a virtual extension (typically a 3d rendered sky) that would complete the illusion of a fully realized world even in the distance beyond the already-extensive scale miniatures I'd built for each world or 'realm' in the game.

Once I've physically built a miniature world, captured photography inside it, and worked with it in Photoshop, I add realistic digital animations as needed, from imaginary wildlife, to water flowing, fog and lighting effects, etc, and embed that stuff seamlessly into the node via various methods in the Unity 2018 game engine. Puzzles and interactions are implemented either with coded scripts or with a GUI-based scripting toolkit called Playmaker. Sounds are layered in too. I'll note here - only the first fifth of the game has been even hinted at in the visuals that are viewable online. It's a rather epic production for a solo indie developer!

The result of all this careful work is, I hope, the appearance of fully realized and real-looking fantasy spaces, a mysterious game space that will amaze you and provoke a sense of wonder and curiosity when you wander around in them and discover all the cool things I've put there, all the embedded puzzles, and how this all fits into the unfolding narrative.

Features

Efficiency. This should run and look great even on lower-end systems.

Visuals and artistry you'll love.

360-degree free-look interface.

Available for Windows on Steam.

Pricing

A vast expanse of miniature-art worlds at a very low price!

  • Miniature Multiverse
  • 200+ handcrafted miniature-art panoramic nodes to explore
  • Over a dozen puzzles integrated into the game's imaginative realms.
  • On Steam and Itch.IO
  • No ads, play the full game and all its diverse areas for one simple price
  • $ 1.50!

  • Miniature Multiverse Extras
  • Your name in the game itself (if bought before game release)
  • A making-of PDF artbook with concept art and behind the scenes info.
  • Hint Guide PDF with hints & solutions to all challenges in game
  • A making-of video clip relating to the game.
  • $ 1.00