A0.85 and A0.9 Progress Update: Higher Game Frame Rate

Another progress update on a0.85 and a0.9. Some (probably most, heh) of you are wondering why the current update is taking so long, let me clear that up first. Currently, we have most of our programmers reworking/working on several key system, including the UI, AI behavior, World Editor, and Player Skill/Animation systems. All of these are major systems and won’t be done until a0.9, but they do impede on our current progress on a0.85. For example, we have the character deformation system done, but since the UI system is still being worked on, the deformation system doesn’t have a working UI, so it’s inclusion in a0.85 was uncertain until a week ago. Now we’re pretty sure it’ll be in since that part of the UI’s done. A0.85 is also a major art asset update, so we’re waiting on some new scene assets to be done.

We have been doing some efficiency work as well, trying to get the frame rate of the game higher. One of the largest improvements so far is with AI collision detection. It used to be that we would update the collision detection of every ragdoll collider within an AI body at every frame, now we’re only updating the collision of the capsule collider surrounding the AI every few frames. What this means for you is an uptick of about 10+ fps depending on your setup.

Finally, here are some screenshots of the Adventure map procedural improvements, the current canyons look a lot better and we’ve added stone bridges over the waterways. We’re also working on multiple layers of water next as well as better sloping river banks and better town setups (no more flat towns). All of that we’re trying to get into a0.85 in the next couple of weeks.

 ProceduralImprovement2 proceduralimprovement ProceduralImprovement3


A0.85 Update: New Bosses and animals

We’ve been working on a lot of assets for the coming a0.85 build, including lots of new animals and bosses. Most of them are from the swamp and mountain biomes. For a0.85, we’re trying to get the basic animations for these creatures into the game, as well as most of their attacks. We’re trying to get several hundred enemy hit animations done as well, but they might take a while. Here are a few concept arts:






A0.9 Progress Update: World Editor and Training Room

Currently, our team is actually split into two working groups. One’s working on a0.85 while the other’s working on a0.9. Due to all the changes to a0.9, there isn’t too much crossover between the two builds, we’re literally working in two separate branches of the project. Due to this, there are some bugs that we’re ignoring completely in a0.85, since by a0.9, they’ll disappear. Today, we’ll show you two things we’re working on for a0.9.

The first is the World Editor. It’s a program that you can launch and edit a world map with. The world map can be generated in the editor or through other editors such as World Machine. Once you have a map, you can convert it to full voxel format and edit the world to whatever you want, be it cave cities, race tracks, or floating islands. Currently, the largest map we’re aiming for is 6X6km. We’ll also have voxel brushes that players can make and share. If someone made a very cool looking mountain, he can export it and make it a brush, then just paint it into the world. Beyond the general editor itself will be the Story Editor, which we’ll show at a later date. Once the world is done, the player can export it and compress it to share with everyone else. We’re thinking of doing a world bounce system where you can go from one world to another in multiplayer as long as they’re on different servers.




Next, we’re also adding in a tutorial level onboard the Epiphany called the Training Room, it’s like a holographic deck. It’ll actually be the first scene for new players (before the opening cutscene). We’ll have a fairly comprehensive set of tutorials for this feature, but don’t expect many of them to be in when a0.9 rolls around, we’ll add to it as we go. You’ll also be able to directly access this room through the Main Menu. Since the asset itself is done, we might just push this out in a0.85, or at least just the room part of it.


A0.84 Available on Steam

Originally, we were going straight for a0.85, but some of the assets needed for that build are taking too long, so we’re releasing a0.84 as an inbetween build. The changelist:

Colony in multiplayer (no NPCs or farm yet)
Monorail in multiplayer (Coop and Build only)
New objects in the Creation Editor (bed, lights, door)
Time of day is tweaked for Adventure Mode
Ramps added to towns
In multiplayer, NPC followers will no longer be auto released once they die, can be revived
Added currency to Adventure mode, meat is no longer the currency there
Added simple cutscenes for several story parts in Story mode

A0.85 is looking to be late October. It’ll mainly be a Story Mode build.

A0.85 Update: Custom Facial and Body Shape

If you remember, we had facial and body shapes working all the way back in a0.3. Then we took it out. The reason for that was the old system was using bones to change the skin shapes, while it worked great, it also took a lot of memory. So, after a year and half, we have a new system in place for this to work, through morph targets:


This might end up going in around a0.86 instead of a0.85 though, as we’re going through all the player wearable assets and changing their morph targets, and there are quite a bit.

A0.85 Update: Swamp Biome

We’ve been working on a bunch of new assets for A0.85, here are some concept art for the swamp biome for you to enjoy. The swamp biome is to the east of the southern grasslands, across the bay. It’s a flat area extending from the ocean to the south until it hits the high cliffs of the crater rim to the north. It’s a mix of wetlands and sink pits, populated by animals large and small, many of which poisonous and hunt by surprise.





A0.831 Changelist and UI change preview

A0.831 has been released on Steam. Here are the changes for A0.831:

Fixed factory using multiple resources to make just one item
Fixed several Adventure map generation bugs
Made turrets weightless so that they won’t fall through blocks anymore (temp measure)
Added more shade weed to Adventure mode
Increased wooden bow’s attack power
Tweaked wet in Adventure so that there are less chances of a middle-of-the-ocean spawn
Added proxy server option for people who cannot or don’t know how to port forward (we still recommend port forwarding for the best speed, proxy server can be quite slow depending on location)
Players no longer get hurt from above ground area attacks far underground

We’re packing the stand alone versions right now and will release them before the weekend here.

Going forward for a0.85, we are now pretty far into implementing colony elements for multiplayer. A0.85 will also open up the swamp and mountain biomes with additions to the story.

Most of the team are working on elements for a0.9, including a complete redo of the UI. Our old UI wasn’t too bad from the player point of view other than that it was hard to read at higher resolutions and a bit cluttered. But from a code point of view, it was a mess. So a streamlining of its logic was needed. At the same time, we also wanted to make the UI graphics a bit more futuristic with shader effects and such. So, we went about designing a system that took elements from Windows, Photoshop, Civilization, and what we had before. Below is a WIP preview:


A0.83 Changelist

Planet Explorers alpha 0.83 has been released on Steam. We’ll release the stand alone versions next week once we know for sure the builds are pretty stable.


New costumes/armor
Continent generation in adventure
River generation in adventure
Lakes generation in adventure
Biome borders in adventure no longer a straight line
NPC houses are now models for smoother experience
Added F1 and F2 for camera modes (with tweaks)
Redid parts of the storyline from a0.82, more streamlined
Much easier to place monorail parts
Able to edit a monorail line after completion
Changed the way multiplayer loads, no more waiting forever for everything to load
Changed multiplayer auto saving to 30 minutes
Added multiple new Puja/Paja types
Falling AI will now play effect when hitting the ground
NPCs in adventure mode will come after people for hitting them or other players in towns (in PVP)
Fixed multiple bugs from multiplayer
Added glowing flora at night in the forest
Added 5 new animal species in the rainforest biome
Toughened the robot bosses in multiplayer
Added new animal animations
Added portable water pump
Added in procedural map caching as an option
Colony shielding will now drive away animals or deduct health when upgraded

If we run into problems with a0.83, we’ll be pushing smaller patches right away. Our next big build should be a0.85, sometimes in September.