Inside the Facebook Horizon Creator Accelerator Program

Oculus Blog
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September 29, 2021
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Currently in an invite-only beta, Facebook Horizon is a social experience where you can explore, play, and create new worlds. We recently wrapped up our first-ever Horizon Creator Accelerator Program, where a small but mighty cohort of creative world builders came together to network, learn, and make some mini-games. Today, we’re excited to share a look at the fruits of their labors.

Creators: Alex (Laex05) & Jordan (MeRcOttE27)
Game Title: Shop Shop

Tell us about your mini game.

Alex (Laex05) & Jordan (MeRcOttE27): It’s fast-paced shopping. Race against your friends to find the items and score bonus points!

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

A & J: Laex was inspired over and over again every time he met a fellow creator. Their energy and passion towards building in Horizon got him excited to build and learn. :)

Merc has always had a desire to create, and having the tools in Horizon was just like, “Oh wow, it’s there.” One of the main reasons he got an Oculus Quest was to become a creator in Horizon.

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

A & J: We applied for personal development, but also to be able to share what we learned with the community through the Youtube channel Vidyuu Tutorials. We believe that helping others and bettering the community leads to a better, richer knowledge pool and helps everyone. As an added bonus, we get to work with the experts at Horizon and use their support to help us grow.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

A & J: We would love for people to enjoy the food—it’s unique and full of character. Merc worked on the art for countless hours, and we love the way it turned out. There’s some cool scripts, no doubt, but our favorite thing is just the gorgeous art style. It’s full of charm. We would love for someone to play and say, “I’d like to do that again.”

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

A & J: Plans are big for us. If you haven’t checked out our latest game, Murder Village, it’s an awesome hide and seek game with three- to five-minute rounds. It’s fast-paced and addicting. Our Tours Event is in full force, and the pre-show is now more engaging than ever. We actually just launched a new YouTube Channel, Vidyuu Nights, that will focus on the entertainment side, as Vidyuu Tutorials continues pushing out amazing new content inspired by the knowledge we gained in the Accelerator Program. We can’t wait for you to see what’s in store! ^_^

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

A & J: We want to give a huge thank you to the entire team at Horizon. This app, the community, and the Accelerator Program have changed our life. We’re just scratching the surface of the future in VR and greatly appreciate being a part of this endeavor. Thank you!! 😊

Creators: Ashley Briley (Ashe2Ashes) & Matt Torres (Tellous)
Game Title: Creature Mixology 101

Tell us about your mini game.

Ashley Briley (Ashe2Ashes) & Matt Torres(Tellous): In our game, you’re a student in a science class. You have to pay attention to the chalkboard and memorize a body made up of three different creature parts. Then, you race against your classmates to mix potions in the correct order to create the creature.

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

AB: I’m an old-school player of The Sims game franchise as well as other games like Spore, so new simulation and creation games always interest me. After hearing about the Horizon beta and the phrase “build worlds,” I was interested to see what that looked like in VR. I had tried briefly to build in another VR social app but found the tools non-intuitive. Horizon’s tools surprised me by how simple it was to pull shapes and put them together. From there, I knew I wanted to learn and do more in Horizon including scripting, and I haven’t stopped since.

MT: The LittleBigPlanet series was where I first fell in love with the concept of user-created levels. Creating LBP levels gave me some game development exposure that led me to joining a local game developer community called Dallas Society of Play and participating in some game jams with them. When I finally got an Oculus Rift, I had been itching to play with creative tools in VR. I tried some of the other popular apps, but nothing ever felt right for me—that is, until I got into the Horizon beta. The satisfaction I got from the creation tools and scripting was exactly what I had been searching for. I’m excited for Horizon to open up to everyone so they can experience these world-building tools for themselves.

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

AB: Horizon is intuitive to a point, and I found learning scripting possible but slow for someone without a background in coding like myself. I saw the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program as an opportunity to learn things hands-on and gain enough knowledge to pass on to the rest of the “non-coder” community. I also wanted to learn experience development and creation—a concept I hadn’t thought of before Horizon.

MT: I really enjoy helping people problem-solve in Horizon, and I love technical deep dives. The Accelerator Program sounded like the perfect opportunity to work directly with the Horizon team to learn world-building best practices and gain a deeper understanding of the scripting system. Thanks to this program, I have a greater understanding and look forward to collaborating and sharing this knowledge with other creators.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

AB: I would love players to be reminded of the fun of experimentation and hope they see what’s possible in Horizon. I want them to know that they can build it too.

MT: I hope people have a good time mixing up these silly creatures with friends.

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

AB: Yes, there are sure to be many new worlds on the horizon (excuse the pun). There are some already in the works with some of my favorite collaborators and some solo projects I’d like to push out. I also plan on creating some content that will help share what I’ve learned in the program. Keep a lookout to see what form that takes.

MT: So many ideas, so little time. Currently, we (Ashley, Matt, Ruth Diaz, and Don Carson) are focused on building a tree-themed series of worlds for the Horizon Creator Community. These worlds will serve the purpose of centering the voices of diverse creators through art exhibits and event spaces, among other things.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

AB: For those of you who are interested in creating in Horizon but aren’t sure where to start or would like to find collaborators, a support system, or tutorial resources (both building and scripting): The Horizon Creator Community Facebook group is a great place to join. Even though the beta isn’t open to the world yet, it’s a great place to start making connections and getting exposed to the things you can create in Horizon. If you’d like a sneak peek into the worlds that I’ve come across on my explorations in Horizon, I also welcome you to check out my YouTube channel, VRinReview, where I do a series called “Have You Seen This?”

Creators: Paige Dansinger (betterworldmuseum) & John Daniel Burnap (burnbuns)
Game Title: Horizon Future Farms

Tell us about your mini game.

Paige Dansinger (betterworldmuseum): Dig, plant, water, and harvest veggies! Toss veggies into the Community Basket to win! You’re helping to feed the community—I’ll bet that feels good!

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

PD: As a Pre-Alpha Community Creator, I easily understood the primitive shapes, gizmos, and simple block scripting were building-blocks for creating more resilient individuals, groups, and communities!

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

PD: I believed Horizon Future Farms would be a game that inspired people to make a better world outside of Horizon. I believe that social games that include risk, iteration, and rewards challenge people to grow better together. Climate, food injustice, and more existential threats may be navigated through games to dispel isolation and feelings of powerlessness. I’m dedicated to Horizon and believe it’s the best metaverse platform for creating games for positive social impact.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

PD: The one thing I wish people would take away from Horizon Future Farms is that it’s fun, easy, and natural to participate in positive change! Anyone can plant a seed, water, and share their harvest with the community—it just feels good!

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

PD: Horizon Future Farms has room to grow! It will include opportunities for community members to grow veggies together, create a market, and preserve veggies for the future. Horizon Future Farms will become a sustainable working community farm. Our team has also decided to donate 10% of our Accelerator rewards to an Indigenous Urban Youth Farm in my community.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

PD: Working with my partner John Burnap and the entire Accelerator group and leaders was a very positive experience. I learned valuable lessons on game design and building in Horizon, and I’ve become a better community leader as a result. Thank you, Facebook Horizon Accelerator Team!

Creator: Scott Michael Harris (Ubiquitouz)
Game Title: Crane-gry Skies

Tell us about your mini game.

Scott Michael Harris (Ubiquitouz): You get to operate four gigantic cranes 400 meters above the skyline. It’s a race to smash the most stuff and get paid while avoiding construction equipment and porta potties.

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

SMH: I’ve been fascinated by spatial design since I first saw stop-motion animation as a little kid. Since then, I’ve been exploring as many tools and resources as I can get my hands on to create 3D spaces, environments, and interactive content. I’ve wanted a collaborative VR building tool for a very long time.

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

SMH: If there’s a good resource or opportunity available, I always go for it. The Horizon Creator Accelerator Program is currently the best vehicle available for exploring more deeply under the hood directly with the Oculus team. Learning fundamental concepts directly from the makers of the tool is the best.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

SMH: This game is an exploration in scale, dynamics, procedurally-generated levels, and vertical progression. It’s the most scripting I’ve ever done personally.

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

SMH: When I first joined Horizon, I treated it like a hybrid of toy blocks and Bryce-like software. My first deviation was scale—I can go much bigger and crazier than I ever could with toys or play software, and build from the inside! The second deviation was interactivity—I can hook up interactivity much easier than with complicated professional software like Maya and Unity.

I purposefully try not to plan my builds in Horizon the way I do in my professional work. I want to let myself find flow states and just go wherever they take me. I have recreated historic tombs of Petra, built daydreams of my favorite childhood games and movies, and paired whatever dynamics and interactive concepts interest me with whatever metaphorical skin comes to mind.

As for what's next, that list seems endless sometimes. There are all kinds of original games and mechanics swimming around in my head. I’m very interested in expanding GAMEGRID in a few ways. The frame I built for “Ubi’z Diner” is designed to slide lots of other mini-games into it. But at the moment, I’m thinking about how cool it would be to build out one of my earlier tests, “Powerhats 5000,” into a robust multiplayer cyberpunk RPG adventure puzzle. With all the things I’ve just learned, it’s now possible to do a lot of the things I didn’t know how to get started on a few months ago.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

SMH: To all my industry friends: Just like simple collaborative cloud-based software like Sketch and Figma are killing older monoliths like Adobe Illustrator, collaborative in-headset creation tools are going to blow older 3D software away. There’s no going back. In-headset creation tools will change the game. Everyone should be paying attention to this.

On a lighter note: Have you ever wanted unlimited Legos, gravity-defying super powers, and the ability to manifest whatever comes to mind while hanging out with a friend? Break free from the desk and 2D screen and jump on in.

Creators: Ruth (uptoolate) & Marc-Julien
Game Title: Waffle O’Clock

Tell us about your mini game.

Ruth (uptoolate) & Marc-Julien: It’s the Night Shift at Waffle O’Clock. The local zoo’s animals have escaped for some late-night waffles! Race against the other players to fill as many waffle orders as you can before the timer runs out. You get big points for cooking the waffles just right. Make sure you get the right topping.

Waffle O’Clock was uptoolate’s concept. She needed a scripting-focused creator to complement her design skills, so she teamed up with Marc-Julien. They bounced ideas around and, with guidance from Facebook Horizon staff, built a quirky mini-game. The ideas keep flowing, and the current iteration of the game is just the beginning. Time will tell whether the game becomes a World Hop game, a standalone competitive game, or even a collaborative experience.

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

MJ: I love VR, and I love the idea of making an environment to be in. I’m also a software developer, and it’s nice to pick up new skills in other programming languages. So the scripting environment in the world-building tools of Horizon makes a great playground for me. It’s more appealing to casually build in Horizon than it is to try building something up in Unity or Unreal Engine. Since it’s built to be accessible to anyone, it’s very immediate.

I got into world building in Horizon because the scripting caught my interest, and I wanted to see what was possible. Laex05, who is a fixture in the world building and scripting community, jumped in with help early on. He is an outstanding catalyst for building interest and enthusiasm. I found myself looking into the tools he hadn’t explored yet (such as the Perlin Noise script block) just to see where his creativity could take it. At a million miles a minute, he turned that into YouTube content and then a mini-game called “#minigame Last To Burn,” where people hop around blocks falling into a rising lava pool. He also introduced me to most of my new friends in Horizon.

The Horizon Creator Accelerator Program took my casual interest to a new place. I’m now interested in more collaborative creation with as many creators as possible. I also hope to help people new to scripting to pass on that invaluable early help I got from Laex05. The Horizon builder community is the first online community I’ve ever felt attached to, and I credit the Facebook Horizon team with having done that for me.

R: I really love VR as well and love the social aspect of Horizon. My best time is when I get to build alongside someone and chat as I work or even just hangout quietly if they’re scripting. I was inspired by Victor Riddel’s use of text in his worlds for objects because when I initially landed in Horizon, I was disappointed by some of the limitations that I perceived and kept comparing it to other products. Since then, though, I have accepted the challenge to be creative within constraints and really love building in Horizon.

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

MJ: I’d seen uptoolate’s work, and it always delights and surprises me to see what she can come up with. She needed someone with strong scripting experience to help with her idea. I’d been interested in learning more from Facebook Horizon staff, but my biggest drive was to make sure uptoolate could get into the Accelerator Program. Her work needs to be seen.

R: Ah thanks, Marc-Julien ;) I applied because I really wanted to see what I could do, and I wanted to learn more about scripting as well. I had no idea that learning about vector math would be included in the program! (Thanks, Wafflecopters.)

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

MJ: It’s hard to say at this point. I know that one of uptoolate’s original goals with the first iteration of the game was to help teach people how easy it is to make waffles in real life, but the realities of game mechanics in VR and in Horizon specifically have shifted the game out of that realm. Really, I want people to have fun and be delighted with what they see. I devoted a lot of effort to how the game feels (and I’m not done!), so I hope that people will feel comfortable and that they’ll be satisfied with how they interact with the objects in our world. I hope that they laugh while they’re having fun.

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

MJ: Always! I want to build on the work we’ve done to date and incorporate the expert feedback from the Horizon staff. I also want to go back to my first creation, a hangout space called “Space Patio,” and build on what I’ve learned in the Accelerator Program to perfect some of the interactions in that world. It’s not a game world—it’s meant to be a place where friends and strangers can meet, chat, and enjoy the view. I also want to go back to my “Flight Rockets test demo,” where you can fly by holding onto two rocket pods, so I can perfect it. I’d also like to work on some reusable interaction scripting templates that make it easy for people to add sophisticated interactions with minimal effort. I’ll probably focus on tools that others can build on, at least for now.

R: I have so many different projects that are rolling around in my brain and collaborations that I have already started. I’m excited to get to work with others again, as often my partner and I had different schedules. I am happy that my scripting ability has leveled up a tiny bit, and I now want to learn more!

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

MJ: I think social VR works best when you treat it as if you’re really there with people. Maximize the feeling of immersion by standing up and making as big a space as possible. Avoid using the sticks to turn. Immerse yourself in the world, and let yourself feel the feeling of presence when you’re standing near an avatar. Next time you start Horizon sitting down, stand up, then click down both the left and right thumb sticks to reset your height in Horizon. Look around by really looking around. Talk to people like you were in the same room with them! And beyond that, do the basic building tutorial so you know how to get around, and create your own world. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Make yourself a cozy little room, or build a mountain and stand on a cliff. Make yourself a deserted island with a palm tree and a hammock, then sit in a real-life easy chair and look around. Take a break wherever you like. You can turn a lunch break into a mini vacation. The virtual world is your oyster.

Creators: Samantha Nunoo (SammyX09) & Malcolm Langille (Soloo)
Game Title: Ice-Cream Frenzy

Tell us about your mini game.

Samantha Nunoo (SammyX09) & Malcolm Langille (Soloo): Ice-Cream Frenzy is a playful mini-game where players compete to catch the most ice cream scoops on their cone before the time runs out. The game begins with ice cream launched into the air by our waiter, Scoopy. She sometimes likes to throw junk, so avoid collecting them. The player with the most points when the timer hits zero wins!

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

SN & ML: The first world that I created in Horizon is based on a 2D game that I created in my high school game design class. I wanted to re-envision this game in a three-dimensional way, allowing for multiple players and levels. In the end, with help and encouragement from the Horizon community, I created an extraordinary world!

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

SN & ML: I applied to the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program because I wanted to get a chance to do what I love, which is learning, creating worlds in virtual reality, and building connections with others.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

SN & ML: Our game started off with a simple concept: catching ice cream scoops on a cone. You don’t have to have complex game mechanics to create a fun and remarkable game. Start simple with your plan, then build upon what you have as you progress.

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

SN & ML: I am currently in college majoring in digital arts, where I will be learning more about game development and virtual reality. Sadly I will be taking a break from building in Horizon to focus on my education. Once I have the free time, I am excited to come back to apply what I have learned from the Accelerator Program.

Creator: Reuben Hopper (5andw1ch)
Game Title: Money Madness

Tell us about your mini game.

Reuben Hopper (5andw1ch): In Money Madness, you enter a game show to grab money from a money vortex and put it in a bag.

What inspired you to start building in Horizon?

RH: I was blown away by how simple the tools are.

Why did you apply for the Horizon Creator Accelerator Program?

RH: I love making games, and the Accelerator Program gave me the chance to build a game for Horizon’s mini-game world hop.

If people take one thing away from your mini-game, what do you hope it would be and why?

RH: I just hope everyone has fun!

What’s next for you? Any plans to build something new in Horizon?

RH: My next world, Magic Mania, is a PvP magic fighting game.


To sign up for your chance to join Horizon’s invite-only beta, click here.