Just an update for our current development:
We’ve been focusing on the world generation aspects of the game, which are taking longer than anticipated. Mainly we have a few complex topics we’re working through prior to being able to launch first build.
(Click on the Image to Enlarge)
The three major areas we’re working through are support for “sized” blocks (blocks of varying heights of the standard 0.5m block that allow us to build rolling hills and smooth elevation changes versus having constant 0.5m increases), support for “complex” blocks (tiny blocks subdivided from a standard 0.5m block that will be using for terrain detail like stalactites/stalagmites), and the overall concept of our planet being lush and vibrant.
The main need for sized blocks is to ensure that we don’t have a situation where we either need every dynamic object jumping up to the next elevation level, or force clamp them as they’re running forward to the next elevation. With the sized blocks, we can have a very smooth increase in elevation for situations like roads between towns, or in natural plains areas. We would still utilize full blocks where appropriate for large increases in elevation, but this would support animal mounts and vehicles getting from place to place without workarounds.
For complex blocks, we will be using them strictly for detail in the terrain. Rather than building a rock formation from the standard 0.5m blocks, we can use the small 0.0625m blocks (as well as a mix of the 0.25m and 0.125m sizes above that) to give them a much better look. These can also be used for situations like roots of a tree, or larger vines hanging off the same tree. Ultimately, complex blocks are aimed to be used by the player to build very detailed objects without being limited to the full blocks.
Finally, since we’re dealing with a finite planet, we can generate the world similar to how our own planet was formed, with the climate weathering the terrain appropriately. We’ve stepped away from the thought process of “biomes” as seen in other games, and focused on how an individual block type (or plant, or tree, or creature) fits within a set of parameters like the climate. When these parameters combine, we end up with the appropriate content for an area at the block level, and since the parameters are smooth, we also ensure that the transitions between areas are smooth as well (such as the transition from a jungle to plains). Overall, the planets will generally look and feel like our own if they contain similar characteristics as Earth (which this first planet will contain), but its just as likely that you’ll run into plenty of alien planets when exploring the universe.
There’s still no ETA for first build, though we are getting much closer. We’ve brought in some new developers to speed up the process, and should be seeing something a bit more tangible soon. For the moment, its been a lot of working within the engine to get the content showing up appropriately, and the code itself is not very fun to look at. As soon as we have something, we will let everyone know.
– The Imagine Nations Team