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New news system in blog format

2015-09-08 General
As indicated in the last news, you can now see that the website's news system has been changed into a blog.

This is a first step to allow us to keep you informed on the project's progress more easily.
Now I leave it to the other team members to talk a little bit more about their work and point of view.

So, who's next?

Progress report

Working on the next version


Since the release of the alpha’s multiplayer version, we have been working on the next version: the “craft version”. The goal of this version is to introduce a part of the crafting system with everything related to it, like the gathering of various kind of resources and 2-3 zones with each a different difficulty level.

We are also designing various models of houses (futuristic, post-apocalyptic) which could be found in the game. Here is a first glimpse of Reymantha’s concept arts:

Houses Concept Art

Moreover, we plan to release, as promised, an intermediate version introducing an exporting tool (really basic) which will be compatible with the current version of the game and enabling you to save your constructions and to import them in the future versions. This temporary tool, is the best solution we found until a real backward compatibility can be achieved. Because this will probably not be possible before a long time.

A new member joins the team


Two days ago a new member has joined the development team: BlockBuster, whose real name is Sylvain Reynaud. He has been developing video games for quite some years now, which greatly motivated his hiring a few months back. He is joining CodingMarmot, GuyK and Mick to work on the game development. You will find more information on him on the team page.

Pictures


A while ago, a member of the community asked to see pictures of the team and its working environment. Here they are:
 

Planets┬│: the alpha version

Today is a big day for the Planets³ project: the alpha version is now available!
For those of you who preordered a game license eligible for the alpha, you can download it here.

We wanted to surprise you with the alpha: you will be able to experiment a first preview of a randomly generated dungeon. The goal is to show you the science fiction RPG aspect of the game and a preview of our generation engine. We spent almost 5 months to develop all mechanisms required for this new feature. 5 months during which we had to remain silent, to prevent any spoil of this surprise until today.
Even if we are still far from what we will deliver for the final game, we hope that you will like this alpha content as much as we like it!
 


Talking about the story: the alpha is a prologue, the story take place 200 years before the facts that will be related in the game. This allow us to introduce 2 of the main species: the Humans and the Cognitrons. This alpha content will most certainly be used in the final game. So it was not a waste of time.

We leave it to you to discover the rest of the story by exploring this alpha content yourself.

Here is the alpha original soundtrack:




This version is an alpha, so you need to be aware that, despite all our efforts to stabilize the game, you will ineluctably encounter bugs during your playing sessions. You can report them on the forum here :http://www.planets-cube.com/forum/16/

We are open to receive all of your comments, opinions and critics on this delivery (as long as they are constructive). We can’t wait to see all your feedbacks on this first random donjon experience.
And do not hesitate to share any screenshot on our website gallery!

For the Kickstarter’s backers who did not register their account yet, please follow these FAQ lines : http://www.planets-cube.com/faq.html#58.
This operation will activate your licenses and other options you have chosen on Kicsktarter.


So, what’s next?


1. Multiplayer


We have disabled the “join” button in this build. So for the moment, it is not possible to play with friends with the alpha version. Indeed we had some issues with this feature’s development, and it was not possible to do it on time. So we choose to release the alpha without the multiplayer option rather than delay this release one more time. We deeply regret that and we will release another version with this multiplayer option as soon as possible.

Update: the multiplayer option is back...see the following news for more détails.

2. Craft


We finally choose to prioritize the dungeon, so the craft has not been implemented in this version. But you will be able to equip some weapons (will you find them all?) and one armor that will simply reduce incoming damages. We plan to release another version with the craft feature in September.

3. Optimizations


It is planned to continue all the optimization efforts during the next months, and each new release should be more efficient than the last one, allowing the game to run on more and more computers.

4. Vehicles


Vehicles will be the beta main feature. It should be delivered at the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. There is a lot of technical unknowns that made the beta a real challenge, and that explain the vague release date.



Of course we will continue to keep you in touch of our latest progress via the news. But you need to know that we will change their release pace to one news per month (each first Wednesday of the month).

Once again we want to thank you all for your support!

Monthly Dev Report

You might have noticed that we made some changes on the website’s home page.

Indeed, for the upcoming alpha release, we would like to have a home page which is easier to read, clearer, simpler, and which puts the focus on the game.

Regarding the alpha, we are doing everything we can to release it this month. We still have some major bugs to fix before reaching a level of stability suited for a release. The whole team looks forward to seeing you test our last 5 months’ work!

By the way, the next news will be the announcement of the alpha. So it is possible that it won’t be in two weeks as usual.

This alpha version not only gives you the opportunity to test functionalities, but it also gives us the chance to test some of the graphic choices planned to be used in the project. The following video shows one of these graphic tests.
It is part of an analysis phase which aims to determine what is feasible and what is not. The artistic direction becomes more refined every day using the lessons we learn from these tests.

Monthly Dev Report

Technical, visual and sound improvements


Forest preview

We are still working on the gameplay but we have nothing to show you today. We worked on the AI, combats, generation, scenery and on the sound environment. In the upcoming days we will be working on the interaction between the player’s character and the NPCs which is required for the roleplay side of Planets³.

Here is a video showing the results of a first iteration on the block explosion algorithms and the implementation of the blocks’ level (the weapon launches level 1 projectiles, the grass and dirt are also level 1, but the trees’ roots are level 2).



And here is another video showing the progress made on the external sceneries.



We have come a long way since the in-game results of 2012!

Game First Steps

Image Gallery


You might have noticed that a new tab has appeared in the website’s main menu: the gallery.

You now have a place to share your screenshots and concept arts.
You will also find wallpapers about the game that you can download.

Feel free to use the gallery and to show us your most beautiful images!

Musical Choices and world generation

Musical Choices


This week we would like to talk about our musical choices, and to let you listen to two of our music.

In the game, the soundscapes (music and sound design) will be a mix of realism and fantasy. Regarding the sound design, it will be a mix between realistic background sounds and fanciful creatures. The music will be composed of orchestral instruments mixed with synthesizers in order to further identify Planets³’s world. In the final game, music will follow in real time the global progression of the player, to give more importance to his actions. It could, for example, intensify or decrease in magnitude according to the player’s progression in a location.

Here is one of the music WonderB created for space:



And one of the music of the moor:



There will be several versions of this music in the moor, with multiple variations, so that the musical experience can always be different.

Development


Of course, we are also making progress on the gameplay and the world generation. The enemies AI is beginning to be interesting (player detection, basic attacks, and so on…), we implemented the death of the player and his respawn, the possibility to regain health, the interaction with objects of the scenery (like a door or an interactive “terminal”), and the ability to equip a weapon.

Regarding the generation, we use what we call “doodads”. A doodad is a decorative element which we place at specific locations, like a tree, or an herb, but also parts of a dungeon or the houses of a village (even if this doesn’t exist in the game yet). And for each of these doodads, we have the possibility to create multiple alternative versions, to render the game less monotonous. We implemented this feature recently, and here is a screenshot to better illustrate it:

Doodads

On this picture you can see that all the trees of a same kind are not identical.

Share our news on Facebook and Twitter


On the Web side, we added a new feature, enabling you to share the news (and it will also be used for other elements of the website later on). By clicking on these new buttons, you are now able to share the news on your Facebook or Twitter account. Feel free to use them to help Planets³ attract attention!

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!
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