A new dev team member

2014-09-17 General
We are happy to introduce a new team member : “Mick” (Mickaël Parisot is his real name).
You can find a summary of his profile on the “Team” page of the website here.
Hiring a new developer was planned but not so quickly, but meeting Mickaël before summer, was a wonderful coincidence. Given his generalist profile with a predilection for networking, his video game development experience and his human contact, we didn’t need a long reflection time to decide to hire him!

For those of you who know it, he his the creator of WonderWorld, an independant 2D game project which has lot in common with Planets³.
He has now dropped this project in favor of Planets³.

He has started working with us at the beginning of September and he will be in charge of the implementation of Planets³ network layer. Also he actively participates to the game design and code architecture.

The team with Mick
Guyk / NeoM / Mick / Altalus
Reymantha / CodingMarmot


Since the release of the prototype, the dev team has started a long design and development phase, the goal being multiplayer addition and rendering optimization.

Meanwhile the artistic team started to iterate through the different biomes (animals and vegetation).

Animasia exhibition

2014-09-09 General
As you may have seen on the homepage of our website, we’ll be at the Animasia exhibition at Bordeaux in France the first weekend of october.

We’ll have a little stand inside the “Forum Emploi Numérique” space on the ground floor.

Animasia

Monthly Dev report and More...

2014-09-01 Artistic, Development

Development


A fair share of our work is invisible for now, since it consist of engine improvement (world generation, rendering, differential saving, installation …). Even if it is still under development, we have reached a stable version.

The universe is currently composed of several static planets which are quite far from one another, so we decided to increase movement speed in space in order to make it easier to travel between them.

Planets³ - view from space

We added a little arrow above the pickup ghost in order to indicate in which direction the blocks are going to be removed, this is very useful to understand what is going to happen.

Pickup arrow

We implemented a new “block placement ghost”. It displays more clearly that the blocks can be rotated and which shortcut to use to change their orientation.

Block Placement Ghost

Since the press prototype release, we also put effort into the user interface, it now shows what the final user interface of the game will be.

Planets³ User Interface

Artistic note


The “Sculpting³” is really enjoyable each time you contemplate the result. Indeed a beautiful construction requires patience and a good deal of observation to judge the result every step of the way.

The new “block placement ghost” is of a great assistance to help carefully choose the right shape and orientation of each block (we have a thing about the tetrahedric block, don’t you?). Iterate over and over again is the key to realize the sculpture you dreamed of.



You have at your disposal a complete block palette of colored materials. The material choice is relatively arbitrary and doesn’t have much importance in the current creative mode.

Planets³ Inventory

The world generation is basic. The planets’ sculpture (vegetation, landscapes), the design of living beings, of constructions and so on… has been put aside for now.

The light dynamic is also basic (the planets being static). It will require some work to be adapted to the upcoming moving planets.

The world is made of materials which have each their own colored texture. On each block of a given material, this color varies randomly a little bit.In the future, a second layer of alternative textures will be added to paint the materials regarding their nature : woods, rocks, metals, fabrics, crafted materials, and so on...

Planets³ Biomes

The construction prototype


It’s the september’s “surprise”, we are proud to deliver a first version of the project : Planets³’s construction prototype.

This first release is not the Alpha version of the game. It’s the prototype version we gave to the press during the Kickstarter campaign with some improvements. We thought it would be nice for all of you, who have supported us, to finally be able to put your hands on something concrete, even if this prototype doesn’t reflect yet what the game will be.

Information on the game
It’s important for you to understand that your saved universes will very likely not be compatible with the future version of the game. Indeed, given the list of changes that will be made to the game in the coming months, the list of materials itself will not be valid anymore. But don’t let it stop you from sharing your most beautiful constructions !

The shortcut you have to know: F1. It displays main available shortcuts.

We also opened a “Prototype” forum section in order to discuss specifically this release (to report bugs or to discuss improvements you would like to have in the game).

Beware that this prototype is currently only available on Windows 64 bits.

Now it’s your turn!


All of you who have pre-ordered the game with an alpha access can go to their Planets³ web account and download the prototype.
Those of you who didn’t pre-order the alpha access on Kickstarter or on our website during the 2 months after Kickstarter can now upgrade their license to purchase the alpha access.

Everything happens here in your Planets³ web account:
https://www.planets-cube.com/my-account.html

Give a license

2014-08-25 General
For all of you who ordered (or will order) multiple licenses of the game, you now have the possibility to give a license to another person (identified by his/her email address, whether or not he or she has already created a Planets³ account).

You will find this option in your customer account here:
https://www.planets-cube.com/my-account.html

For people who have supported the project on Kickstarter:


You must have a Planets³ account in order to be able to give your Kickstarter extra licenses.

If you didn't already register your account, please follow this link:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1247991467/planets3/posts/862093

A Sculpting┬│ elephant

2014-08-20 Artistic
We are glad to introduce a Planets³ elephant.

Elephant Concept Art

This is a concept art which means that the textures and lighting dynamics doesn’t exactly reflect the ingame conditions. However it displays a more advanced artistic process.

Sculpting³ works iteratively, starting from a rough shape (using the world’s 25 cm square blocks) which is then smoothed using smaller blocks (up to 3.125 cm square blocks) in chosen areas: often the head and the limbs.

The aesthetic dimension oscillates between realism induced by the proportions and a minimalist polygonal aspect induced by the use of blocks which offers a limited choice of sizes and orientations.

The character design promises a great cohesion with the world made of blocks. It will allow us to model any creature and especially to stick armors on some of them. It has also been conceived to be adapted for a specific type of animation, which we’ll be disclosing soon.

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

Another 3D Armor

2014-07-17 Artistic
Lots of technical development since a few days. But we would like to introduce you another 3D armor.

Another 3D Armor Concept Art
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