Home Improvisation Coming to PS4 with Online Play

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Home Improvisation Coming to PS4 with Online Play

Since the conception of our furniture assembly simulator/domestic “modern art” engine, we’ve consistently had the most fun watching groups play it together. Over time, our focus on multiplayer has grown, and we’re happy to announce that we’re working on bringing seamless online furniture assembly to the world for the first time ever.

Yes, that’s right, in a few months you’ll be able to ruin relationships and build modern art monstrosities remotely, as well as in the comfort of your own home. In honor of this announcement, I’d like to shed some light on why we decided to prioritize online multiplayer, including a bit of our history with networked games that influenced our design process.

First, I’d like to take you back to before digital furniture assembly was listed on our resumes, before we were a company, and before we even graduated and entered into the games industry. As students, our team made a game called Black Oak Manor, an asymmetric multiplayer battle arena game with procedurally-generated haunted houses. It was great fun. We played it with our friends. It was a hit at campus demos and parties, and we were primed to keep working on it after graduation. We took the next step and submitted the game to a few indie events and festivals thinking that, in the worst case, we’d get some feedback from knowledgeable testers to help us along… right? Well, that wasn’t quite how it worked out. Here’s the entire text of the feedback we received from multiple festival submissions:

“Very intriguing idea.”

In hindsight, Black Oak Manor was unpolished and had considerable flaws, but there was one major pitfall that truly doomed the game from the start: nobody would go to the trouble of actually playing it. It required four players locally on one screen, with a single player networked in on a separate machine controlling the “boss” monster. You needed two machines, a network connection, four controllers grouped locally, and a mouse in order to play. In a way, the project was doomed from the start because we didn’t think about how our players actually wanted to use the game. We designed it as much for ourselves as for them, and we made it a hassle to interact with.

With Home Improvisation, we started off with a prototype that allowed players to switch seamlessly between single and multiplayer modes, and we went from there. At PAX East 2015, we found this format opened a lot of possibilities, and we spent the better part of the weekend watching total strangers drop in and out of games together, cooperate, compete, build on the creations of previous players, share knowledge, leave messages, destroy and transform previous players’ creations, and generally use the game in a lot of different ways.

At one point, an impromptu group of nearly 30 developers gathered around a single screen and engaged in the design of the magnificent “Chelfie” by committee.

Home ImprovisationHome Improvisation

We realized that Home Improvisation is not only a “sandbox” in the traditional “few goals” sense, but also that players, including total strangers, found completely novel ways to interact by using the game in different ways. That inspired us. We’ve made it our new goal to extend our sandbox into the online arena with as little friction as possible, so players can find infinite new ways to play and interact.

Our new online mode will feature seamless multiplayer drop-in and drop-out, and we look forward to seeing where players run with it. We also hope it proves to be at least as fun and diverse playing with strangers online as with friends locally.

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  • Sounds pretty interesting. Any idea of a price point for this?

  • Aw, no Tim the toolman Taylor? It was the first thing on my mind whem I misread the title.

  • We have the most powerful console in the world, the beast selling console in the world and with all the power of an 8 core super computer. And some one said “lets put a home improvement game on it”. WHY????

    • Super computer? Lmao!

    • Why not? Theres a truck load of PC games that don’t exactly push the limits of the system. Not everything has to be AAA… This looks highly intriguing and I’m quite curious as to what sorts of houses user’s will create!

    • The PS3 was the supercomputer, 100s were used by the US Air Force as a computer hub to run tests.

  • Can we build up the outside and the yard as well? Are we able to set actual square footage dimensions? We just bought a house and I would love to use this tool for home improvement updates!


  • Its hard to call the PS4 a game console with Sony investing in things like this… It wouldnt even help learn carpentry.
    Not trying to be a “jerk” but every game that doesnt push the limits of the system is little to none worth the time. Heck there are really no games for the camera at all. besides livestream its been worthless so far. VR is probably gonna be too. Ugh. As for this “game” it caught my interest in the title and instantly lost it with the trailer, just shouldnt be on PS4 in my opinion.

    • You’re being a jerk telling the developer of this game in the comments of his blog post that his game is worthless because it’s not the best looking game ever made.

      This isn’t a Sony game. It’s what they call an independently made game.

  • IKEA simulator

  • very interesting idea. will there be a demo?

    I personally don’t mind ports of PC games, so long as they are reasonably optimized to take advantage of the PS4’s 7 free cores and incredible GPU compute capabilities. seeing another flat-looking Unity game with no global illumination, multi-bounce lighting/audio, use of motion control or touchpad, or stereo 3D is what makes me skip ports more than anything.

    can you talk about how the final shipping game will utilize most the CPU and GPU cores/bandwidth?

  • Very intriguing idea.

  • Nice!! Congrats guys!!! Will totally be getting this. I loved playing Black Oak Manor in college and can’t wait to play your game. Been hearing good things about it.

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