Not much to add other than showing off something new in the desert biome. We’re going to do a lot of optimizing for the a0.7 build next week. Our aim is to get it out by next weekend, but it might get delayed a bit if we run into playability issues such as low frame rates or memory leaks. Fingers crossed for no problems!
Here are some new screens from the Redstone Canyon biome while you wait for a0.7. Right now, we’re finishing up the story part of the Desert biome, you’ll probably see some screens of that by this weekend if everything goes smoothly. After that, we’ll bug test and polish for a few days and send the build out. So yes, what you will see in the build will look better than this. We still need to add grass and have better texture type distribution…and more land features, it’ll be a busy time until the build’s done.
Hey everyone, we’ve been getting a lot of things done over the past few weeks. We’re about ~2 weeks out from a0.7 releasing. The changelist for that is still ever changing, we’re not even sure what will end up in on the build’s release date ourselves, multiple new features are still in fluid situations. Like I mentioned before, between builds, we normally take the game apart and work on the pieces individually, over the last week, we’ve been putting a lot of stuff together again.
Here’s a video of us using the jetpack, you can see the new grass and parts of the new terrain textures, since the placement system is still not completed (terrain layout order and terrain normal/heightmap for grass), the final versions of these will look much better. Also, ignore the ignore the frame rate dips and the weird resolution, we were capturing in Unity with Fraps on a HD5770, not the best of combinations.
Now, below is an image of the planting system. As of a0.7, we won’t be able to get the auto planting and harvesting by npcs in, so it’ll be all manual labor by the player. How it works is, the player will get fertilizer, and spray it around (the dark soil). Then he can place the seeds in and watch them grow. On top of Earth crops like corn, tomatoes, and more, the player can gather seeds from all the collectible plants from around the world and plant these as well.
More on A0.7 next week! We’re getting close!
We wanted to show you guys the planting system this week, but it’s not completely ready yet so we’ll hold off on that for now. The Electronic Mineralogical Scanner is ready to be shown though, so here it is. The UI will change to something more futuristic, but the general idea will be the same. This will actually scan in real time the amount of minerals in the area of the player (which isn’t marked yet). The final version will also feature a real time terrain overlay so you can get your bearings better. As you might note, it just looks like 2 spheres of particles…well, the secret is out, all mineral layouts in the current a0.62 build are actually spheres. This will be changed in a0.7.
Next, in the Creations Editor, it’s possible to use alpha cutoff for your own textures. So you can get results like this:
Finally, we’ll talk a bit about NPCs. Remember a time when followers can do things for you like go gather wood or mine minerals? We took that out in a0.6 because we completely rewrote the NPC code, but we’re now adding that perk back in. Companion NPCs (now up to 4) will follow you in formation, kind of like in Dragon Age. They will also display eat, sleep, work, converse, and guard behaviors while in camp. There will be at least 3 new mainline NPCs introduced in a0.7, with 3 more probable ones.
Anyway, that’s all for this time. Next time, we might start to show off some of the new environments and plants from the canyon and desert regions. We’ve been reworking/making new forest plants as well as terrain textures and voxel models, and it’s starting to shape up nicely.
Another update on our a0.7 build. This time, I’ll mainly talk about the grass. There was a lack of grass in a0.6, and really, all the alpha builds so far. The main reason for that is of course, efficiency, or the lack of. The grass in a0.6 took up way too many drawcalls, so we had to cut back on the numbers so that the framerate can be manageable. Fast forward to now, we’ve been working on a grass system of our own that’s separate from how the Unity engine does it. Now, we can get up to 15000 grass panels of up to 64 types of grass for 1 drawcall. What you get is this (grass not final):
Now, we’re also adding in wind direction and grass reaction to people (and maybe ai). Another thing regarding flora efficiency is that we’re cutting down on the types of flora that can be collected, this way, we can keep the types of flora (not counting grass/bush types) under 21 types within a 256X256m area, that will also help the ms (ms is milliseconds, which is how long it takes the cpu or gpu to process something, the less the better) greatly.
We’ve been trying to free up some milliseconds for a good reason, which is we’re trying to pull off real time cubemapping and ambient lighting based off of that (which will take 3-5ms). This mostly came about because we need a better way to detect caves and compensate the lighting accordingly. With a real time cubemap, we can do exactly that, since we can detect if the entire area is dark or not. Tests for this so far have been promesing, but we shall see once we put this in game.
Next time, I’ll show off our new planting system and the mineral detector.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the progress in the adventure mode and the multiplayer mode for a0.7. In alpha 0.6, all a player could do in adventure mode was to build and fight, there weren’t any towns, objectives, dungeons, NPCs, etc. For the next build, we want to be able to add the basics for all of these. The goal is to eventually have a system, probably by a0.8, where players can build the buildings, terrain features, town layout, and dungeons in an editor, upload them to a databank; then when a player wants to generate a world, he can click random and the game will randomly pull buildings, terrain features, and dungeons from the databank and populate the adventure world with them. We also thinking of an editor to let players script missions, but we’re not sure if we can pull that off yet. Below are some screens from our town generation.
Now, that’s just the single/multiplayer adventure part. For versus, we actually have another thing going altogether. We thought for a long time about how to make voxel versus fun. I mean, we said MOBA type games before, but that’s just not very fun since we don’t have heroes or any magic. Regular town defense games are a dime a dozen, so are FPS games. We wanted to make something more unique.
So what makes voxel games different? Well, the building and digging, of course. After a long discussion, here’s what we plan to do. In our multiplayer versus games, players will be divided into teams. When they start out, they get a few flags (we’re just calling the object that, so it’s subjected to change), which they can plant to claim a 64X64 meter of territory. The claim will allow slow resource generation. The goal of the game is to expand territory and gain more points. The administrator can set up the game with a finite time (victory conditions) or no ending at all. So, the player incentive is to produce as many flags as possible, expand territory, and destroy or steal as many enemy flags as possible. That, is the gameplay in a nutshell. Players will probably have to protect flags with walls and turrets, as well as build factories and farms to make better weapons and food. Players can also buy “teleportation cards” to teleport to whichever flag that’s been attacked. Since there should be 8-16 players per team (we don’t know if this will hold), we expect players to do a combination of digging, building, attacking, and defending. Players will be able to import ISOs into the game (there probably will be a limit), as long as they have enough materials, they can be replicated; so we might see some tank wars and air battles.
We don’t really know if this is fun or not, it’s like a 3D version of Clash of Clans mixed with a long game of Civilization and then some Battlefield sprinkled in, in 3rd person. But we shall find out!
Update: Everything should be working correctly now. If you still have problems, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our host Caronet is in the process of upgrading our game servers, without even telling us. So they switched the servers, and we didn’t know until people started to not be able to log in. Now we need to change and install a lot of things to get them back up and running again. So please bear with us as we try to get everything back up. Holy cow, there goes our weekend.
Hey everyone, our forum mod Malus Tepes is running a new contest. It’s an animal design contest, in which we’re looking to put the winner’s design into the game. You can find the official thread here: http://board.pathea.net/index.php?topic=3102.0 The contest runs until November 8th. You can also read up on the evolution of Maria thread that we talked about last time to get a feel for what types of creatures fit the ecosystem of this world.
Now, I’m going to show you the new creation system and the build system. Mind you, they’re all works in progress, but you can see where we’re headed. The new creation system allows far greater depth for people who want to dig deeper and maker prettier objects while still remaining easy to use for the people who just want to make a block sword. It now allows people to imprint decals, import up to 16 of your own textures per object, project an image onto a surface, make sharp edges and points, and rotate templates. We’ll still be adding in bevel, smoothing, and other features. It also got an UI upgrade while we’re at it.
The build system now uses blocks and angles, in a0.7, we’ll be looking to give players the choice to use 1/2 meter blocks. Once we add in LOD, we’ll cut that down to 1/4 meter. Players will be able to build this inside the creations editor (and save as iso) or directly into the world.
Next time, I’ll give you all an update on multiplayer coop and versus.