As we get closer to the release of A0.9, more and more systems are coming together. Here, we show you several new things going on in the game. The weather system has been updated to dramatically improve it’s efficiency and effects, rain will no longer fall through buildings and there are more ambient colors around to give a much more consistant look (it’s sped up in the vid). We’ve also updated the grass system so that grass will sway when things go through them, the wind will no longer be in set waves and instead will be random. The water shader has also been updated so that things walking through water will create waves. All of these together will make for a much richer world experience.
We’re mostly done with all the game systems that we set out to rewrite, we’re waiting for animations to come back from some of our sourcing partners as well as our own inhouse animators (we’re trying to do about 2200 new animations) to tweak these systems. Another problem we’ve encountered is that the physics in Unity 5 is very different from Unity 4, so we’re having to spend more time than we’d like on tweaking some of it (wheel, AI collision, aircraft). But overall, we’re pretty close to finishing out a0.9 (yay!).
Hey all, we’ve been moving the entire Planet Explorers project over to Unity 5.0 over the last couple of weeks. There are still some physics and shader related bugs that we’re going over, but, the overall results are pretty nice. 64bits, here we come!
Here’s a video of the new UI we’re preparing for a0.9. The new UI is faster and sleeker, it uses a more Windows-like design with a “start” button and a clear screen button. We tried to make the menus simpler in some cases, but game is what it is, so it’s not really possible to hide all the data that needs to be shown. This is still a work in progress, but we hope you like it.
On another note, Unity 5.0 just came out, we’re actively looking at porting our game over to the new version of the engine. There are lots of bugs and changes that we need to make, but we’re going over them one by one. We hope to have this done by the time a0.9 comes out in April.
– Added the tutorial section of the Epiphany ship
– Added 4 new types of clothing
– Added several new buildings in Adventure mode
– Added new landscape features to Adventure mode
– Added the option to extend height to 512m in Adventure mode
– Tweaked town formation in Adventure mode
Of course, as always, we’ll try to fix and tweak any minor bugs in the coming days.
There are a lot of things that still need work in the Planet Explorers alpha, but I think going into a0.9, we all knew that we needed to upgrade the combat system dramatically. We started with the animation and went from there. Pretty much all the key animations have been changed, now the player character will have different animations for hit, run, dash, different weapon types (staff, crossbow, dual wield, etc.), and much more. We’ve also included IK and ragdoll animations to give variety to all the different animation sets. We tried to make it so that the player isn’t fighting with the controls. One thing we’re making optional is the ability to attack where the player clicks.
On the AI side, we rewrote/modified the entire behavior tree, plus lots of new animations as well. We want the AI to feel smarter, to be able to dodge swords and bullets, to engage the player more naturally instead of always facing the player and throwing different attacks at a percentage rate as before. We also added in IK hit detection so that each hit from the player generates a visual response from the body of the AI.
Finally, we wanted the combat to have more oomph. Players getting hit by large attacks will fly a long way. Players getting hit with a smaller attack will show reaction from the part of the body that’s been hit. We’re still in the progress of modifying the camera and the UI so that they show a corresponding reaction with each hit, we’ll show off these as they come online. With all of that added together, we hope the combat will become a more satisfying experience for everyone.
We’ve been working really hard over the last month to finish up all the components of a0.9. We’re getting there, but there are still lots to do. Many players have asked for an exact date for a0.9, based on our current standing, we’re looking at sometimes in March. As to why we went from the original December date to now, it’s because we’ve decided to rewrite the items code as well so that the game can become easily moddable on all fronts. We like to joke around the studio about it, but a0.9 really is turning out to be PE 2.0 as far as programming’s concerned: every system except for voxel generation has been tweaked or rewritten. The bad part is that it’s taking up a ton of time and the results won’t be seen regularly like in games such as Kerbal or Space Engineers (they had more flexible and better programming structure from the start to allow for faster updates). We do sincerely apologize for that as it is a demonstration of our lack of experience when it comes to setting up the structure for this type of game (though in our defense, there weren’t a lot of smooth voxel games around as a blueprint). But we’ve learned a lot and we’ll make sure there won’t be a repeat of that for any of our future games.
Due to the late release of a0.9, we will be releasing an a0.87 version in February. A0.87 will again be mostly an asset update, with new cloth types, biomes, locations, procedural updates, and such. Now, as I said before, we have done a ton of work for a0.9, and we’ll be showing off the new stuff bit by bit as they come online. Today we’ll show you some of our progress on the Story Editor:
For people familiar with editors, this will feel right at home. You can pretty much do anything within the bounds of the game with the story editor, if someone wants to mod the editor itself for more, well, be our guest. We will have a decent documentation when this fully rolls out. Next are a few screens of the procedural Adventure mode:
We did some optimization and we’re able to allow 512m height on the terrain now. All of a sudden, the mountains look much better. We also tweaked the cave systems and added more procedural code. We’ll be working on this up to the release of the game.
On a final note, we’ll be crossing the 200,000 copies sold on Steam mark any day now. We’d like to thank you all for your support and we’ll make sure this game ends up deserving of such support.
We’ve just released the a0.86 build of Planet Explorers on Steam. For this build, we’ve included the World Editor. The current World Editor is fairly rudimentary, but you can see the direction we’re going with it. The current game won’t be able read the output maps from the editor until a0.9 though. We’ll try to release a tutorial/documentation as soon as possible. For now, the World Editor is Windows only. Also included in this release are story bug fixes for a0.85 and the block LOD.
Looking forward, we have a0.9 coming up as well as Unity 5.0. We’re not sure if a0.9 will be using Unity 5.0 or not, it depends on when that comes out. We do know that there should be some significant improvements to lighting, physics, and optimization once we make the switch.
As always, the stand alone version of a0.86 will be up once we’ve straightened out most of the immediate bugs in the release.
We’ve been having lots of meetings regarding the progress of A0.9 this months. So far, the main objectives of a new ai behavior system, a new player movement system, a new ui, the world editor, and their incorporation into multiplayer are all moving forward, albeit at different speeds. The world editor is fairly stable and ready for player testing now, while the rest are still a month away at the earliest. So, we’ve decided to put out an a0.86 build before Christmas with the world editor. Before anyone gets too excited, the game can’t currently read the world editor maps yet (the a0.86 build is still based on the a0.85 branch, not the a0.9 branch), but most of the editing functions are in. We’ll try to put in an early version of the story editor as well if we can get it to work smoothly, no promises though.
Another thing to be included in a0.86 will be the block building system LOD. What this does is to allow block buildings to show up at the farthest terrain setting. We’ll also be testing in the future to see if we can get the resolution of blocks down to .25 meters from the current .5 meters.
We’ve just released the a0.85 build on Steam. It’s mostly a Story mode build with some Adventure mode updates. All old saves are probably not going to work with the current build, so here’s a save package for you to download: SaveData.rar Below is the changelist:
Added player customization
Added several new face types
Added 11 new animal species
Added 2 new enemy types
Added 2 new locations
Added swamp biome
Added mountain biome
Added 7 new NPCs
Added Pujan wall
Added 2 new Pujan towns
Added 4 new rivers to story map
Added natural bridges to adventure mode
Added better town designs to adventure mode
Added new air boss to adventure mode
Added rainforest biome to adventure mode
Changed building block textures
Easier to pick up plants
We weren’t able to get the 64 bit version working with the current build due to the difference in behavior tree libraries, but it is already working with a0.9, so everyone will just need to wait a bit longer for that. We’ll put the standalone versions up on our site probably next week after we’re pretty sure the build is mostly stable and bug free.