Stellar Overload
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Stellar Overload:
a futuristic adventure game set on cubical planets
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Last news of the year

2014-12-17 General

The biomes development goes on.


This month we’d like to show you, using a video concept, a preview of a biome’s artistic development.



The relief, the sky, the trees, the foliage, the water, the clouds, the sun, the lens flares, the bloom, the ambient light, the occlusion are important elements subject to the reflection of the artistic team day after day.

We are eager to show you the fruits of this work, in game this time, when we are ready.

The pre-alpha postponed.


Today the quality of the game, migrated to Epic Games’ engine, is not satisfying enough to deliver a version. So we prefer to postpone the pre-alpha for a few weeks and are hoping to be able to release it in January 2015.

For your information, this pre-alpha version is nothing else than the September’s prototype migrated to Unreal Engine with a "simple" multiplayer layer. The new gameplay features (combat / craft) are to be included in the Alpha which will be released a few months later.



The whole Cubical Drift team wishes you Happy Holidays.
See you in 2015 for a decisive year for Planets³ and its community!

Monthly Dev Report

2014-12-03 Development

The UE4 Migration


The migration to Unreal Engine goes on.

We are facing unexpected problems regarding the user interface and the rendering at a long distance, but we are getting there!

Implemented features:

  • Movement synchronization in multiplayer
  • Block destruction, placement and “picking” (synchronized in multiplayer) including wall placement
  • Terrain generation like in the prototype
  • Integration of “pre-modeled” trees

    Juniper

  • Menus and the key bindings configuration window
  • Partial compression of the geometry enabling the game to run on 32-bits platforms
  • Mac version
  • Real-time saving
  • Universe creation / loading window
  • HUD



Remaining features in order to release the pre-alpha:

  • Placement ghost improvement
  • Destruction ghost improvement and tools implementation
  • Display of the inventory window and implementation of all the associated actions
  • Display of the game settings window
  • Correction of some lag and synchronization problems in multiplayer
  • Integration of the animals
  • Improvement of the multiplayer connection window
  • Deactivation of Unreal Engine’s dynamic shadows (not adapted) and restoration of the block lighting model we used in the prototype
  • Setup of the rendering in order to improve it (reflection, particles, textures)
  • Creation of the installers for Windows and Mac
  • Correction of the remaining bugs


The web Tools


We have added several interesting features on our website.

Private Messaging


You now have access to a messaging system working like on some social networks, that is you have the possibility to send messages to people in your friend list.

So a new option has appeared below the nickname of the community’s members enabling you to send them a friend request.

Add Friend

If the person accepts, you now have the possibility to send him/her a message from your account page, in the new “Private messaging” tab

Private Messaging

If you receive spam (through a friend request or a message) you have the possibility to report it using the “Action” button.

A new icon « messages » has also appeared on the top right banner of the website.

Last Messages

English-speaking / French-speaking Forum


We decided to fully split the English-speaking and the French-speaking forums.

You can, from now on, use the language selection button on the top right side of the forum to change the language of the forum and switch from one forum to the other.

Moderators


The application form for the moderators is still open, if you wish to join us, it is here: http://www.planets-cube.com/forum/topic/846.

We will choose the first moderators in December.

The Animals Family is Growing

2014-11-14 Artistic
The living beings creation process reaches maturity.



The project artistic demand implies a great care in the conception.
For each animal we think about design, sound, animation, behavior, loots, action zone and so on …

Tiger 3D Model

Aware that the richness of the world will also depend on the quantity of creatures, the artistic team works on optimizing each step of the production process.

Modelsheet (Reymantha), modelling (Merakline), rig (Martino), animation (Bastien), texturing (Reymantha) are gaining in accuracy and efficiency day after day. Everything is done to expand Planets³’s wildlife.

Animals 3D Models

All the team at Cubical Drift is, as eager as you, to see all these animals roam freely on the planets.

Monthly Dev Report

2014-10-29 Development

A new engine for Planets³


This month the entire dev team focused on the new engine. We needed to take the good decision and to start migrating the game on the new engine. Indeed we finally choose the new engine: Planet³ will now use Unreal Engine from Epic Games!

Unreal Engine

Engine Choice


Guyk and Mick investigated dozen of different engines. Some of them were even specially designed for voxel worlds. But at the end only one of them adapted to all our constraints: Unreal Engine.
The 2 important constraints we have:

  • To regroup advanced technical specifications: OpenGL3+ and DirectX11 full support, access to shader model 5, advanced toolset for creating games.
  • To be able to easily release the game on different platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Consoles.


The migration is not finished yet, but here is a first video of our current progress:



Obviously we focused on the migration of the world generation and the rendering aspect of the game (we cannot make a blocks’ game without blocks!). You can see that we already activated some rendering options: HDR, atmospheric fog, reflection effects, god rays, lens flare, particles effects.

Development Choice


The first challenge was to learn how to use this fantastic engine because nobody in the team had ever used it before. CodingMarmot, Guyk and Mick did take the challenge and successfully migrated almost half of the game in less than 3 weeks.
This month’s goal was to show you a video with multiple planets using our sub resolution engine.

The second problematic was to start « from scratch » for a major part of our code. Indeed it was most handy and clever to use Unreal Engine tools (like the UE script called BluePrints). This way we will go faster in the future and most importantly: we will use the UE Editor. The UE Editor represents all the creation power of Unreal Engine: development simplification, easier to test, to debug, real time debug and multiples possibility of configurations … We couldn’t afford to miss this tool!
For performance sake a large part of our code will still be coded in C++ but we will use Blueprints wherever suited.

Today, after 2 difficult months, we are truly happy with our choice. And we are already feeling the positive aspects of using Unreal engine, in terms of quality as well as in terms of time saving.

Next challenge: to continue the efforts and release the pre-alpha just before Christmas!

And new website functionnalities


Altalus continued to increment the number of our web space features.

Moderation


This month he improved a lot the moderation forum space. This work is invisible but is essential to maintain a stable and viable environment for the community.
By the way, we will soon call on moderators from the community.

« Spam »


He also did make some modifications about spam countermeasures, against all these “evil people” or robots that post undesirable messages.

« My account » space


As we were saying in last news, “my account” space has also been improved.

Furthermore, people who supported us on Kickstarter or during the 2 months after Kickstarter have now access to new features depending on their pledges. They can now choose a name for a monster for example. These monsters that will be randomly generated among other monsters will be a little different from the others (stronger for example).

Features


You also certainly saw that there are new features:

  • RSS flow on news
  • filters, options and possibilities to follow a topic on the forum


Next big feature will be the Forum Private Messaging system.

Animasia Exhibition

2014-10-08 General

Exhibition


Guyk, Mick, Reymantha and NeoM have traveled to Bordeaux for the Animasia exhibition and everything went well! We have met approximatively 500 people and we have had only positive feedbacks about the game and the concept.
It has been a great adventure especially since we had the pleasure to come across a dozen of you!

The team

For francophones : here is an interview realized on the exhibition and which has already been broadcast at the time this news is written :



Web


You have access to some new features on the web site:

  • Kickstarter backers who have chosen this reward can now choose a monster or boss name in the “My account” page on the web site.
  • We added a RSS feed on the news, since many among you have asked for it for several weeks.
  • You now have the possibility to follow a topic on the forum. It will then appear in the followed topics list on the homepage of the forum.

Monthly Dev Report

2014-10-01 Artistic, Development

Prototype


The construction prototype has been released 1 month ago and we’d like to thank you all for your constructions, critics and bug reports.

This month we have decided to put forward 6 of your constructions:

Backers Constructions
constructions de Mandrek, Dastan71, Wowman77 et Epsilon32


Dev


We focused our efforts on 2 of the most important parts of Planets³ : Multiplayer and rendering optimizations.

Multiplayer


Mick’s arrival enabled us to make progress regarding the multiplayer implementation of the game. We are also putting in substantial amount of efforts on the design and structure of our code.

Rendering


After spending several days of development, thinking, and investigation, we now know what we have to do in order to improve the rendering performance of the game. We even discussed our issues with experts on massive data rendering in french research laboratories (INRIA /CNRS) these last few weeks and they confirmed what we suspected : we have to satisfy some technical specifications.
Sadly Ogre, which is the rendering engine we are currently using, doesn’t allow us to satisfy those specifications efficiently. That’s why we have to replace it.

This was not foreseen and will have a substantial impact on the whole development roadmap.

Some answers to questions you might have:

  • Will this engine replacement have an impact on the release date of the Alpha?
    Yes, undeniably, this will postpone the release of the Alpha by several weeks.
    The Alpha will not be released in 2014.
  • Does this mean that there will be no new content in 2014?
    Perhaps there will be, we will try to release a “pre-alpha” version for Christmas. We hope to be able to include some “simple” multiplayer gameplay and perhaps a new gameplay feature. All of this using the new engine. This will depend on the time needed by the development team in order to integrate the new engine.
  • Have you already chosen the new engine?
    We are still evaluating some of them, and will keep you updated next month.


Our objective is to choose an engine which not only satisfies the rendering specifications we need but also will enable us to increase our productivity in the future (physics, AI, networking, and so on…). So it’s a bad news right now but it will be a great improvement for the project development in its globality.

Artistic note


The following schema represents the different zones of the first planet. The 5 zones on the surface are split up into 17 biomes, with each its topography, its wildlife, its dungeons, its constructions. In this picture we only disclose the topography of the biomes.

biomes

The red deer, the peacock and the squirrel are part of a long list of living beings which will inhabit each biome.

Animals

Web


Aside from the game development, you have certainly noticed that we keep updating our web tool:

  • you can now publish pictures of your constructions on the forum.
  • you can now rate posts and sort them by popularity
  • a new version of the “my account” page has been released, which is clearer, more practical and which will soon be improved with new functionalities (private messaging, web site/forum settings)
  • people who have supported us on Kickstarter and the 2 months after Kickstarter have now access to a new space where they can manage their rewards.

Forum popularity system

2014-09-25 General
Today we present you a new feature on the forum : the popularity system!

You can now like (or dislike) messages on the forum. You can also sort messages by “popularity” instead of sorting them by date.

popularity system

We have also inserted a “search” functionality. This will allow you to search for specific “words” among all messages in the forum.
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