Today we are celebrating the launch of Flipside Studio 2020.1, along with a completely updated brand and website refresh.
With over 32,000 recordings, a 48-episode comedy show produced live by Caffeine Studios, and a kid's show streaming on Super RTL, the largest private broadcaster in Germany, all made with Flipside Studio, we couldn't be more excited to be rolling out tons of new features and seeing what our users will create with them.
Choose between a peer-to-peer or server-based multiplayer connections
Flipside Studio now supports not only one type of multiplayer, but two (is that another first in VR?!). Now you can choose the best type of connection for your productions.
Here's a handy reference to help you choose:
Peer-to-peer is best when all users are physically closer to each other, like in the same local area network or the same city. Peer-to-peer will give you the lowest latency multiplayer in these cases.
Server is best when users are farther apart from each other. Server-based connections will give you lower latency as well as more stable connections over greater distances.
Body physics on characters for more realistic interactions
We've added the ability to add physics colliders on characters so that their interactions with the environment feel more realistic. You can generate colliders for a character in the Flipside Creator Tools with a single click, and then tweak them to suit your needs.
Note that body physics can be very performance intensive, so we recommend going through the generated colliders and removing ones that aren't necessary to achieve the shots you need. Often you can get away with just a collider or two on the arms and midsection of the body, but it can scale all the way up to individual fingers if needed.
Expressions and blinking on texture-based faces
We've added a new facial expression mode that lets you add blinking and expressions to texture-based faces, which lets your characters have more expressiveness while recreating that classic cartoon style. You can also mix and match styles now too, so part of your face can be animated with textures and another can be animated with blend shapes or even Unity animations. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Stream directly to Zoom using Flipside Studio as a virtual camera device
Flipside Studio can now appear as a virtual camera device that apps like Zoom, Skype, etc. can use as your video source. To enable it, go to Settings > Output on the desktop camera switcher interface and look for the DirectShow settings.
Redesigned auto-scrolling teleprompter with adjustable speed
The teleprompter controller has been revamped to include auto-scrolling with a slider to adjust the scroll speed.
More realistic eye movement
We've made a number of improvements to how eyes move on characters in Flipside Studio, including improved idle movement with simulated saccades and world-space points of interest, more natural blinking, and improved range of motion when eyes lock onto targets of interest.
Trigger effects from interactions with your Twitch chat
We've added a TwitchActions component to the Flipside Creator Tools that lets you define custom Twitch chat commands that users can type which then trigger actions in your custom sets. This can be used for anything from triggering sounds and visual effects to voting on the direction the show's narrative should take.
Over a dozen new types of interactive elements to build your sets
We've added a ton of new interactive functionality to the Flipside Creator Tools, letting you build sets with interactions as complex as games. There's even a scoreboard element that keeps score for everyone in the scene.
Build your own guns (or pea-shooters!), choose-your-own-adventure stories, and more with over a dozen new components. The best part is you can hit Play in Unity and test them all in VR without having to build and upload your sets, making the Flipside Creator Tools a very powerful tool for crafting interactive VR experiences.
VR camera switcher now supports unlimited camera previews
We've added support for an unlimited number of camaras in the VR camera switcher, which is now found under the Show Tools menu, and you can have as many VR camera switchers as you need too.
Improved audio quality and playback performance
We've increased the recorded and multiplayer audio quality in Flipside Studio from 16 kHz (the standard for VoIP) to 24 kHz, which noticeably improves the voice quality particularly in frequencies between 8-12 kHz. We did this while also improving our audio playback performance!
We've finished the migration from Unity 2017 to 2019
With this release, we have now completed our upgrade from Unity 2017 to 2019, meaning all assets should be made using Unity 2019 from now on. This was our first major Unity upgrade since supporting user-uploaded assets and taught us a lot about how to migrate successfully when users also have to update their assets.
If you're still making assets in Unity 2017, now's the time to head over to the Flipside Creator Tools page to find the new version of Unity to use and update those assets! We've done a lot to make it backwards compatible with 2017 assets, but some compatibility issues couldn't be solved automatically.
Bug fixes and improvements since 2020.1.0-rc2
DirectShow settings can be found under the Settings > Output tab to enable/disable the Flipside Studio virtual camera device.
We've added usernames to the front of the ghost/build mode headsets so you can more easily see who's who at a glance.
Fixed an issue causing object positioning in hands to be slightly off in playback.
Fixed an issue causing embedded camera settings to appear different in set builder mode.
Fixed a bug that could cause audio to go out of sync when switching between acting and ghost mode while recording.
Fixed not being able to switch out of ghost mode after connecting over multiplayer.
Fixed a bug that allowed recorded parts to interact with the handheld camera.
Sitting handles feet with toes that don't point forward, such as hoofs.
Fixes for errors in DirectShow not working for some users.
Fixes for some users experiencing a broken teleprompter.
Flipside Creator Tools
Fixed a bug in the character importer that caused eyelids, lashes, and eyewear to be configured as eyes.
Fixed some fields not being editable in the Unity inspector window on the AvatarModelReferences component.
Improvements to our Daz character auto-importing.
Getting Flipside 2020.1
Flipside Studio 2020.1 is now the current stable release on Oculus Home and SteamVR, so those of you on the Beta channel that don't want the latest experimental features can access this release on the regular Stable channel now. We will be introducing a new beta with some exciting new features in the next few weeks, so feel free to stick to the Beta channel if you're interested in testing those out.
If you make your own custom characters and sets, you will also need to upgrade to the Flipside Creator Tools 2020.1, which can be downloaded from here.
From the Flipside XR team, we want to say a big thanks to all of our users who have helped shape this release by testing and and finding bugs for us to fix. You've all helped make Flipside what it is today.
We're excited to announce that today's release on the Flipside Studio beta release channel is our first release candidate for a new stable version of Flipside Studio.
What this means is we're holding off on any major new features to focus on fixes and usability improvements until we feel it's ready to move over to the stable channel for everyone to use. If there are no major issues with this release, we'll move it over (along with any fixes we make in the meantime) to the stable channel after a couple weeks of general use.
Once we go stable, it will also complete our migration from Unity 2017 to 2019, so now's the time to update any assets that haven't been updated to Unity 2019 yet.
Fixed remote users not unloading a recording when it's cartridge is removed from the player.
Fixed an error that could occur on users rejoining a multiplayer session.
Fixed remote users not always seeing new users in character on first joining.
Fixed a bug that could cause ToggleElement components not to properly record their current state at the start of a recording.
Fixed the Ghost Mode button not working on the camera switchers while in Set Builder mode.
Fixed a bug that caused the Recordings palette to disappear and not refresh itself with newly-added recordings.
Flipside Creator Tools
Click here to download the release candidate of the Flipside Creator Tools (2020.1.0-rc1).
Added wrist settings to AvatarModelReferences so you can adjust the wrists to reduce twisting. The new settings let you adjust the Twist Weight, Parent-Child Crossfade, and Twist Angle Offset values. Assigning multiple twist bones is coming soon too.
Improvements to our Mixamo auto-import detection and our CC3 expressions.
CC3 importer auto-fixes the jaw bone hierarchy on imported models.
Fixed a bug that was causing parts of faces with multiple blend shapes mapped to one expression not to move.
We've added a plugin that creates a "Flipside Studio" virtual camera device in Windows, so you can select Flipside in your camera list in any video chat software, including Zoom, Skype, Slack, Whereby, etc.
To turn the virtual camera device on, press Alt+D in Flipside Studio. The first time you do, Windows will popup up a notice requesting administrative permission to install the virtual camera device. Give it permission and you should see "Flipside Studio" in your camera options the next time you launch your video chat software of choice.
Note: If you don't see "Flipside Studio" in your camera options, you may need to restart Windows for the change to take effect.
Also note that you will need to press Alt+D to enable the virtual camera each time you run Flipside Studio while this feature is still considered experimental and not enabled by default.
Added a Re-Sync button under the Recordings palette menu which does a complete re-sync of your multiplayer session should things fall out of sync for any reason.
Improved default microphone selection logic when multiple microphone devices are available.
Improved audio playback performance.
Fixed voices going out of sync on added parts.
Fixed a bug that caused eye rotations to go in the wrong direction.
Fixed a bug causing sets to fail to load if they share the same bundle name as the previously loaded set.
Fixed a bug in how character bundle version numbers are compared.
Flipside Creator Tools
Click here to download the latest version of the Flipside Creator Tools beta (v0.33).
Duplicate characters and sets
Duplicating the scene file for a character or set can lead to issues building bundles because Unity gets confused when more than one scene file has the same asset bundle label.
To make this less error-prone, we've added a new Duplicate Selected Scene menu option under the Flipside Creator Tools menu which duplicates the scene and also changes the asset bundle label at the same time, making it easy now to create alternate versions of characters and sets for testing.
Fixed an orientation issue with the VR teleporter. It now behaves more consistently like Flipside Studio's teleporter.
Fixed a case where the Chair component wouldn't initialize properly for some users.
Fixed CC3 character importing to correctly map blend shapes based on names.
We've revamped our teleprompter controller to support auto-scrolling with an adjustable speed slider. You can play, pause, rewind, fast-forward, or advance one screen of text at a time.
Saved setups are now editable
Last update we added the ability to delete your saved setups. This update adds the ability to update them as well, so you can now dress your sets exactly how you want them, save your setup, then come back and make further refinements at a later time.
Improved finger positioning when grabbing props with physics hands.
Added Unity's constraint components to the list of supported component you can use in custom characters and sets.
Further improvements to the expressiveness of lip syncing.
Improved error handling and reporting during initial load as well as character and set loading.
Your controllers now stay visible at all times instead of showing only when the user interface is visible.
Fixed lighting issues going from sets with lightprobes to sets without lightprobes.
Prevented getting fingers into strange hold positions grabbing props with physics characters.
Fixed camera switcher not scaling with you in ghost mode.
Eye rotation fixes on additional characters.
Keep the "Press Esc to exit fullscreen" overlaytext hidden if any 3rd party capturing software is open (list includes: OBS, Streamlabs OBS, Xsplit, Twitch Studio, Mixer, Caffeine, VLC, Camtasia Studio, Bandicam, LIV Client, Mixcast).
Flipside Creator Tools
Added resting position threshold to the Blink All setting on AvatarModelReferences to make the natural eyelid resting position customizable.
Added Unity's constraint components to the list of supported component you can use in custom characters and sets.
Added a Resource Usage panel in the Inspector window for AvatarModelReferences and SetInfo components, giving visibility into the resources that your assets are using. The panel also includes recommended maximums for each resource for both PC and mobile. The mobile numbers are the current numbers we're targeting for Flipside Studio on Oculus Quest (still in closed beta testing).
Fixed FlipsideActions.OnHide events not firing correctly.
TargetElement now works even if there's no ScoreboardElement in the scene.
Calls to FlipsideActions.ChangeSky(id) now change the skybox while testing in the Unity editor.
Eye movement has been improved in the following ways:
We've improved the range of motion to feel more natural when looking at eye targets like other characters or the handheld camera.
We've added procedural animation when not looking at eye targets that mimics focusing on different points of interest. We keep the gaze on a point within a small range of head movement to add more realism, so eyes don't feel so locked to head movement.
We've made blinking feel more natural too.
Camera switcher now found under Set Builder > Show Tools
We've moved the VR camera switcher to the Set Builder menu under Show Tools. This also means you can have as many VR camera switchers as you want!
This means that the desktop camera switcher going fullscreen doesn't open the VR camera switcher any more. Instead, it works totally independently. Press Alt+F to go fullscreen, and press Esc to exit fullscreen.
You'll see the instructions "Press Esc to exit fullscreen" appear on your monitor when you move your mouse, but it only shows up with a deliberate move of the mouse so it won't pop up if you accidentally bump your desk while in VR.
Other Flipside Studio improvements
Pointing no longer sticks with trigger presses on SteamVR, instead it points while you have the index finger trigger pressed and stops pointing when you stop pressing.
Improved the feel of texture-based facial animations by holding each expression for a minimum number of frames.
When you connect Flipside Studio to OBS, your OBS "Mic/Aux" sync offset is set automatically to ensure audio is in time with lip syncing.
Added a Delete Setup button to be able to delete previously saved setups.
Added the Trails FX Unity plugin to the list of supported components.
Flipside Creator Tools improvements
Auto-hide overlay text in the Flipside Creator Tools unless you move your cursor over the Game window.
Added a button to the SetInfo component to apply the Flipside skybox to the current scene outside of play mode.
Added buttons to SetInfo to copy lighting settings between SetInfo and the Lighting window.
Added a gizmo in the Scene window that shows where your Center Eye is located.
The latest version of the Flipside Creator Tools (v0.31) can be downloaded here.
Fixed an issue with the Combo Textures facial expressions having the open/closed mouth textures backwards.
Fixed an issue with Textures lip syncing being affected by facial expressions and blinking.
Fixed TwitchActions to trigger events for everyone in the multiplayer session, not just the Twitch streamer.
Fixed one cause of characters with body physics to end up in contorted positions.
Fixed a cause of Twitch chat messages not appearing on the panel.
Fixed menu never stopping if your play area is too small.
Fixed multiple GunElement components all sharing the same bullet pool.
We've added a new TwitchActionscomponent that lets you define custom Twitch commands (e.g., "!vote") that can trigger actions in your custom sets and characters.This opens up a ton of new possibilities for interactions with your audiences on Twitch!
See the FlipsideCreatorTools/Examples/Example-TwitchActions scene in the latest Flipside Creator Tools release to try it out for yourself and see how it works. There are three commands, "!ding", "!bloop", and "!vote" that are connected to different sounds. "!vote" is combined with our TriggerCounter component so that it takes 5 votes to trigger the event.
Build shared choose-your-own-adventures
We've added a new GroupChoiceElementcomponent and prefab that lets you create decision points that all users present must vote on to determine the chosen outcome. This makes it possible to build shared choose-your-own-adventure experiences.
See the FlipsideCreatorTools/Examples/Example-GroupChoice scene in the latest Flipside Creator Tools release to try it out for yourself and see how it works.
GunElement has a button in the inspector to test fire the Fire() method, and the method is now public so you can attach it to events, not just direct user interactions.
GunElement and ThrowableElement now have an AssignUser(#) method for assigning to separate users. Guns and throwables are automatically assigned to the correct user on being grabbed, but there are cases where you may want to design gameplay that doesn't involve grabbing a "shootable thing" and this is the start of making that possible.
Added TriggerGameEnd() and TriggerLose() to the ScoreboardElement, so you can trigger different end states like ending on a timer, or automatic failures.
PooledAudioElement now has OnVolumeChange and OnVolumeOff events you can attach things to.
Added ObjectPoolElement component for creating object pools with no coding required, for things like short particle effects.
Added ignoreEyeTargets option to AvatarModelReferences, since animating the eyes on some characters can look off if the eyes aren't perfectly aligned.
Fixed SteamVR controllers not always initializing properly in the Flipside Creator Tools.
Fixed set builder not saving your changes if you quit the app while in set builder mode.
Further improvements to the lip sync quality to be more expressive.
Added a noise gate filter to reduce background noise affecting lip syncing.
Fixed eyes so they ignore ghost mode users.
Fixed internal handling of SetTargetCount(#) and ResetCounter() methods on TriggerCounter.
Fixed camera previews falling out of sync between the handheld and POV cameras.
Fixed PropElement gravity behaviour in the Unity editor to better match the behaviour in Flipside Studio.
Partial fix for lighting consistency issues caused by light probe settings carrying forward between sets.
Colour settings in SetInfo display as HDR to better match lighting settings.
Fixed smoothing on FollowElement components in Flipside Studio.
Fixed issue with users joining multiplayer sessions while in ghost mode.
Fixed issue with users rejoining multiplayer sessions not receiving the current scene state.
We're excited to be able to share some major improvements to the Flipside Creator Tools in terms of improved testing workflow to save you time building interactive elements in your sets, as well as introducing a number of new types of interactivity that can be built into custom sets.
Test your interactions in VR without leaving Unity
In order to test the custom interactions in your sets, just press play in Unity and hop into VR. All of the interactive elements provided by the Flipside Creator Tools package are now fully interactive for testing right inside the editor. Grab and pick up any PropElement, throw it, or press the trigger to use it just like you would in Flipside Studio. Teleport around using your right-hand joystick and trigger, just like in Flipside Studio.
To try it out, open the Assets/FlipsideCreatorTools/Examples/Example-ScoringSystem scene after installing or updating and press play.
Pro tip: You can also test the facial expressions of your custom characters using the left-hand joystick, just like in Flipside Studio.
New ways of triggering events
We've introduced a number of new components that let you trigger events in different ways, including:
Trigger an event only once using the new TriggerOnce component.
Trigger an event every frame or at set intervals of time using the new TriggerEvery component.
Trigger an event after a counter is reached using the new TriggerCounter component.
Other new components like FollowElement let you attach objects to the user's hand, or teleport an object back to its home using the new TeleportObjectTo and TeleportObjectsOnContact components, and the PhysicsEstimator component even lets you seamlessly switch control of an object from a Unity animation or other kinematic movement to Unity's physics engine taking it over.
We've also introduced several new components for creating mini-games and interactions that require keeping score. These include:
ScoreboardElement keeps track of scores, in competitive or cooperative mode, and can optionally display a basic scoreboard on a TextMeshPro component.
GunElement and BulletElement enable an object to fire projectiles that can hit other players or targets, including awarding points to the user that fired the gun.
ThrowableElement enables objects to hit other players and targets, including awarding points to the user that threw the object.
TargetElement assigns points to the correct multiplayer user when hit by a bullet or throwable object.
Everything has been designed to work over multiplayer as well as in Flipside Studio recordings, opening up many new storytelling possibilities. To get started, after installing or updating to the latest Flipside Creator Tools release (v0.29) in Unity, open and inspect the Example-ScoringSystem scene in the Assets/FlipsideCreatorTools/Examples folder.
Sets with many audio sources can cause performance issues, so we've introduced a PooledAudioElement component that lets you hook into Flipside's internal pool of audio sources for virtually unlimited audio sources in your sets. PooledAudioElement also lets you configure audio spatialization settings, and implement audio volume changes in reaction to events in your scene.
View more than 8 cameras on the in-VR camera switcher
The in-VR camera switcher panel now has back/forward buttons under the camera position previews, so you can swap between groups of 8 camera positions and cut between a virtually unlimited number of cameras.
Additionally, we've made the following fixes that span both Flipside Studio (beta channel) and Flipside Creator Tools (v0.29):
Fixed reduced lip syncing expressiveness on characters.
Reduced jitter over multiplayer on characters with colliders.
Fixed cloned props so they have unique names in multiplayer and playback.
Fixed ToggleElement not firing OnEnter and OnExit events.
Fixed sitting at the start of playback in multiplayer recordings.
Fixed Vive trackers initializing on playback and improved foot position calculations.
Added null check and error message for missing bones in GenerateColliders component.
Accounts for transform data of SkinnedMeshRenderer so they don't affect the generated colliders in GenerateColliders component.
Fixed haptic feedback getting cancelled out on the opposing hand when both are firing simultaneously.
Fixed eye targets so characters make eye contact with each other again.
Fixed cameras not moving with animations in sets.
Fixed guests not receiving invites from host if the host kicked the guest out to reset the connection.
When we started Flipside, we quickly realized that latency was a big deal for the actors we were working with. A joke that takes 300 ms to get a reaction often fails to land. That's why we based our multiplayer system around peer-to-peer, so that studios with actors on the same local network could achieve ultra-low latency communication between actors.
However, peer-to-peer networking still presents a number of challenges for users over a distance, particularly around firewalls and restrictive network settings. We wanted to be able to support completely remote teams as well, so this release is the first to introduce a second multiplayer option that uses a server-based back-end, powered by Normcore.
You'll notice a new toggle on the Friends panel that lets you choose which type of multiplayer connection you'd like to use. Choose one then send your invites and everything should just work from there.
This new multiplayer option has two benefits for remote teams:
You shouldn't have to fight with network settings to get a reliable multiplayer connection. It should just work.
The further you are away from each other, the faster going through a server is going to be compared to peer-to-peer. Sessions are automatically created in the closest region to you to minimize latency.
Note: Multiplayer connections are only compatible between stable-to-stable users or beta-to-beta users at this time.
Texture-based faces now support facial expressions and blinking
Texture-based faces now have a new mode which adds facial expressions as well as blinking. To set it up, add a new FacialExpressionReference component to your character underneath the AvatarModelReferences component, assign a mesh in its Meshes list, set the Expression Type to the new Combo Textures option, and add your textures.
We've noticeably improved our audio quality when it comes to capturing actor's voices.
Previously Flipside was limited to VoIP-level audio quality (16 kHz), which is great for networking but not great at capturing the full range of the human voice. This release increases that to 24 kHz, which means we're able to capture 50% more of the upper range of an actor's voice.
Other fixes and improvements
Fixed an issue causing mouths to hang open on some characters.
Fixed an issue causing set changes not to save to the local cache.
Fixed an issue where ToggleElement components weren't remembering their values in saved setups.
Fixed handheld camera disappearing on loading or playing takes.
Added separate options to the Flipside Creator Tools to generate characters with and without colliders (you can still add them later).
You can now add physics colliders to add body physics on your characters via the Flipside Creator Tools. Body physics lets actors interact in a more natural way with props and other elements of a set, and with each other.
It means you can high-five without hands passing through each other, swipe a bunch of props off a table in a fit of passion, or rest your arms comfortably at your sides without sinking into your body.
Body colliders are highly customizable to suit the needs of any character, but there will be edge cases and bugs along the way. Head over to our Discord community for help or to let us know if something isn't working the way it should.
New high-performance audio rendering/mixing system (DSPGraph)
ProBuilder 4.0 and Polybrush for 3D modeling, level design, and sculpting directly in Unity (great in combo with the Creator Tools!)
More built-in XR capabilities, which we have big plans for in the Creator Tools
And of course, the main thing every developer has been waiting for for years, Nested Prefabs!
Some of these changes will take time to make their way into Flipside Studio and the Flipside Creator Tools, but they pave the way for a faster, leaner, and bright Flipside future.
Note: If you're sticking with the Stablebranch, do not upgrade to 2019.2 yet. Stick with 2017.4 to ensure compatibility.
In addition to the above, we've also made a number of other fixes and improvements in this release:
Clone objects in Set Builder mode by grabbing them and pressing the trigger. The trigger used to turn snapping on or off, which was moved to the B/Y buttons on Oculus and the thumbpad on SteamVR. This makes dressing sets so much faster.
NDI support so you can stream low-latency high quality video from Flipside Studio to video capture devices over the network. Look for it in the desktop camera switcher's settings menu.
Flipside Studio now launches 2-3x faster!
Many other performance optimizations and reliability improvements.
Flipside Creator Tools improvements in Unity 2019.2
We've made some big improvements to the character and set previewing capabilities of the Flipside Creator Tools in version 0.25. When you press play in Unity, hopping into VR to preview now lets you do these cool things:
You'll now see your controllers in VR, just like in Flipside Studio.
Preview your character's facial expressions using the thumbpad on your left hand controller, just like in Flipside Studio.
Teleport around the scene using the thumbpad on your right hand controller, so you can preview your characters and sets from any angle.
Use your controllers to test collider and toggle interactions.
Some characters and sets built in Unity 2017 import with shader and lightmap issues. We do some auto-upgrading magic, but it doesn't cover every case. Cases it can't auto-fix will need to be rebuilt for 2019.
Animations in sets built in Unity 2017 don't play in the Unity 2019.2 builds (both Animators and Playable Assets). They import with errors, so sets with animations will need to be rebuilt for 2019.
Characters and sets built in Unity 2017 take slightly longer to load, due to the aforementioned auto-upgrading magic.
Adding or removing props on an existing recording is broken. For now, sets need to be dressed before the first take.