Most nerdy kids go through a model building phase at some point. For some, that phase carries through to adulthood and becomes a beloved hobby. Whether it be planes, trains, and automobiles, or Gundam mechs, action figures, D&D miniatures, or a wide variety of other things, most people indulged in creating small models that could fit in the palm of your hand at some point in life. I was never very good at it, but had plenty of friends that were. Monzo VR is an app for both types of people.
The attention to detail and steady hand needed to create the tiny works of art, as well as paint and apply decals, is well beyond the articulation my stubby fingers possess. But maybe in the realm of VR, I could sidestep some of those physical limitations a bit.
“Monzo VR brings together the strategy of creation with the joys of design and painting to build your own Virtual Models,” Madfinger Games explain in a press release. “For years fans would have to host their own hobby table at home. They would keep their tools and paints all together and work diligently over a lighted desk, but now you can bring your hobby desk with you anywhere you like. We call it the ZEN workshop.”
Madfinger has made a name for itself in the mobile space as the creators of games such as Shadowgun and Unkilled. Monzo VR is the first relaxation-based game and the first VR app for the company.
Naturally, I had some questions about the idea to bring this sort of hobby into VR in the first place. For starters, you can’t actually hold or touch the items you build at all. A big reason this was appealing to so many people is the shelf-value they present of being displayed and featured for everyone to see and share. Asking a friend over and handing them a headset to see your models, as opposed to opening a door to a display case, is a very different type of satisfaction.
Via email, we asked Tomas Nawar, PR Manager of Madfinger Games, about this and other topics.
UploadVR: Why did you choose VR for this project?
Tomas Nawar: One of our past original games was screaming for Monzo VR. So when Oculus reached out to us, we jumped on the opportunity right away. Our fans will now enjoy the great peace of zen-styled digital model kits in virtual reality. The experience is absolutely unique and immersive.
UploadVR: Intuitively when I look at this, it seems like it’s missing a lot of what makes model building appealing to people. You don’t have a physical object to display, hold, feel, or share with others, most notably. How do you think you circumvent this with Monzo VR?
Tomas Nawar: With your first experience in Monzo VR, you will realize how exciting is to see every part of the model with every possible angle. Assembling the parts of the model is very pleasant thanks to a unique system of controls (holding, smoothly moving, rotating). Everything is so perfectly designed with the best possible graphics for the Unity engine. The pleasure of assembling is completed by the opportunity to see up close how things work because you can actually see inside and even sit in certain models. Learning and relaxing is only the beginning, Monzo will have many options of coloring and stickering for every models where the limit is the player’s creativity. We live in time of digitalizing almost everything and thanks to virtual reality, we can do it and enjoy it without paint and glue on our fingers.
UploadVR: How did you decide which types of models to include?
Tomas Nawar: We were motivated by several old memories of how nice it was during our childhood when we had a lot of time to build miniatures models. Some of us loved to assemble planes, cars, animals, buildings, or even weapons. We also wants to give models which are more rare or with a higher difficulty level like Da Vinci models or the Space Station MIR. We would like to see how everybody from 3 to 100 years old may pick their favorite model to make it beautiful and original. On top of that, there is also great potential of gamified education with the building process.
Monzo VR will feature over 30 virtual modeling kits when it releases on Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR ‘soon’. The Oculus Rift version will also support the Oculus Touch controllers. You can find out more information about Monzo VR on the official website.