Development Blog


Avatar Puppeteering using Motion Controllers

To coincide with the launch of the Oculus Touch controllers, we’ve implemented full motion controller support for Ascension VR. Whether you’re using Touch controllers or Vive wands, a whole new range of gestures are now possible!


In addition to the new gestures, the controllers allow for true hand presence inside the game and a add new and more natural way to play Ascension, using your hands rather than your head to select cards and take actions in the game.


Other players will see your full 3D Avatar, with arms and hands that sync to your real-world motions.


To achieve this, we use a combination of IK (inverse kinematics) and individual hand pose animations.

Hand Gestures

Using the Touch controllers, players are able to make 5 distinct hand gestures: open hand, fist, point, thumbs up, and finger gun.  The capacitive sensors for the pointer finger and thumb allow for the full range of hand shapes.

handshapes2 handshapes1p

The Vive controllers are somewhat more limited in this capacity, though they still support the open hand, fist, and point gestures.

Arm Movement

The arm movement is achieved by a realtime IK system, which takes the position of the controller relative to the headset, and inputs that data back into the animation system.  The position data is slightly offset and scaled to optimize the relative hand positions for each character.  The resulting full range of arm motion will allow you to play Ascension (or take an air drum break) in style!



War of Shadows Expansion Launches


Today we launched Ascension VR: War of Shadows!  This is our first expansion release to Ascension VR and can be purchased in game for $7.99.     

A new darkness seeps into New Vigil from the Void, intent on restoring despair and desolation to a world that has forgotten it. The four factions recall their veteran heroes and reawaken the great war machines of the past, as they plan their first in the chaotic ebb and flow of light and dark. The War of Shadows has begun!


The expansion includes new dual-cost Heroes and Constructs that require players to use both resources to acquire them, but have incredible power.  As the balance between Light and Dark shifts, cards gain additional powers depending on whether it’s Night or Day.


War of Shadows includes

  • cards10 New Monsters
  • 24 New Heroes
  • 9 New Constructs
  • Day and Night powers
  • Day and Night forest environments
  • Touch and Vive hand controller support


touchTouch Support

And for all Ascension VR players, this update adds full motion controller support. Players with the Oculus Touch or Vive controllers will now be able to play the game and articulate their avatars adding another layer of the immersiveness and interaction to board games in VR.  

Players can now choose cards to play, gesture to friends, and buy new cards all with their hands.


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Playing with their avatars

Tuesdays with the Devs

Play with the Devs: Tuesday Nights at 8:00pm PST

Jump into a multiplayer game Tuesday nights to play with the devs, give feedback on the game, and tell us which expansions you want to see next!  Occasionally we’ll do giveaways so you can get a code for your friends to come play, too.

Doesn’t matter if you’re on Gear, Vive, or Rift, you can all jump in the same multiplayer games to smash monsters, hoard constructs, and play your favorite Ascension heroes.

See ya in game!



Ascension Patch 2

  • effect-acquirecardNew game end screen
  • Mirror display in player profile
  • End of game honor warnings
  • New/Improved fx for player spawn, active player, winner, card acquire and others
  • Pile inspect order reversed (newest to oldest)

For this patch, we wanted to focus on UI improvements.  Big thanks to everyone who’s been joining us for Tuesday nights with the devs at 8pm PDT, especially Myzi and OldGregg.  That feedback’s been super helpful!

effect-godray We’ve updated the layout of our win screen so people can now see each other’s faces at the end of the game.  This is a big improvement over that large scroll that blocked everyone off.  Additionally, we’ve got some added flair for the win moment.  The VP star counter animates and sounds off when it’s approaching zero, and when a player wins, there’s a burst of particles over their avatar to highlight their victory.  Additionally, we’ve got despawn animations going so it’s easier to tell when someone has left a finished game – so you don’t sit there chatting to yourself without realizing you’re alone!

On top of that, we’ve heard your requests to bring the forest to life more. We’ve added fireflies, birds, falling leaves and will-o-the-wisps to amp up the life in the Lifebound forest.

effect-glowcardTo help guide players through the game, we created a materials editor to add some fun particle and material effects that can help draw attention to active or playable cards.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the avatar selection screen.  We’ve added a mirror so you can see how your real movements will translate as animations to others in multiplayer mode.

— T


Patrick’s Podcast with AutoDesk

Patrick sat down with Autodesk’s Wes Adams for a podcast.  In this episode we talk to Patrick Benjamin, Art Director from Temple Gates Games. Patrick talks about his transition from AAA to working at an indie studio and making VR games. We cover some of the things that he and his team have learned in the early days or making VR, improving the VR social experience with better player avatars, and how to propose to your wife through games.

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Listen to the full episode here.