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First Monthly Dev report

2014-08-06 Development
Yes, it’s one week late, but we wanted to release the first monthly dev report with the new website.

Pickup Ghost


Today I would like to present you Planets³’s pickup ghost. As you may know in Planets³ the blocks are 25cm square, so we implemented tools that allow you to pick up multiple blocks at the same time. The following video will give you a preview of our work.



The pickup ghost shows you how many block you will remove at the surface, highlighting the corresponding block faces. But it also shows how many blocks you will remove below the surface.

Textures


This part was a hard one. On the concept presented on Kickstarter, we see all different kinds of textures. The sand and vegetation textures only use single colors, with some color variations. The textures of the trees have a pattern, lines to represent “wood material”. And the leaves are made of another pattern, a sort of green blur.

Today, after dozen of hours of reflection, multiples design in photoshop (pixel art, patterns with numbers, high-def textures …) and lot’s of in game tests we finally chose our way to draw materials in Planets³.
We will stay with single color textures, using color variations for each material (for example the sand could have 6 different yellows). But as we have a lot of different materials in Planets³, single color textures alone was not sufficient, so we decided to add some patterns and effects (with shaders) depending on the material “category”.
For example metals will shine but wood materials could have patterns.

We do have to finalize this work, so we won’t show you screenshots of these new textures today.

Engine improvements


During the last month we also improved the engine:

  • we did work on the multithreaded universe loading
  • we started to change the way we enlighten the planets
  • we changed the topology of the planets, to be more flat, and have less mountains but more abrupt. However the current result is still not definitive since we will have to modify the way planets are generated in order to stick to the concept arts of the planet you saw.

Miscs


  • we added shortcuts management
  • we modified the UI to reflect new design work
  • we added the possibility to change video options from within the game
  • we improved shadows to reduce flickering
  • we improved the support of OpenGL and Direct3D 11. Direct3D 11 support is still in progress but Direct3D 9 and OpenGL are fully operational.
  • we corrected other different bugs
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