Road to Alpha 8: Development Update

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by EleonGameStudios, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. EleonGameStudios

    EleonGameStudios Developer
    Staff Member

    • Developer
    Oct 20, 2014
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    Hi Galactic Survivalists!

    Last week, we set up a thread where everyone had the possibility to write down questions about the upcoming larger planets. We finally found time to compile all the answers to a shiny Q&A document for your reading pleasure - to be found below ;)

    What's happening behind the scenes at the moment?

    While the first internal version has been released to our QA team yesterday, the dev team continues to work hard on the design and layout of the new biome system.

    The new "Terrain and Biome Generator" will not only allow to distribute the biomes according to certain criteria, like temperature and humidity (Read more: but it will also allow to generate procedural terrains. Yes - procedural terrain generation is back (no fixed heightmap planets anymore) - in the quality of the Alpha 7 planets and maybe even better!!!

    Here are some screenshots of the new terrains:

    The best thing is that the "Terrain and Biome Generator" is an in-house production and can be used for creation of playfields and planets by any owner of the game. You will see it will be very easy to create new planets!

    For those of you who missed the overview of the main features for Alpha 8, here we go:

    - Larger Planets: increase size from the current 8x4km (32km²) up to 32*64km (2048km²) playfields!
    - Updated planet-tech: biome distribution based on humidity and temperature!
    - Solar System random generator: just swipe a few sliders and create a solar system on the go
    - Procedural terrain generation
    - Improved AI behavior (the new NPCs will behave much more natural and will better react to the players)
    - New and improved threats (and possibly a new and more varied threat-progression)
    - Repair-2-Blueprint
    - Better Creative and Building tools

    Stay tuned for another blog post about Alpha 8 soon.

    Thanks for reading

    Empyrion Dev team


    LARGER PLANETS - Questions & Answers

    == Global Changes ==

    Q: Will the planets that have been made before 8.0 now be unplayable or can we convert them from 7.x to 8.0 version?
    A: Since we completely changed the decoration system, you will need to add the new decorations to the old heightmap planets with the help of our new editor.

    Q: Will the GREEN BORDER with pathing/waypoint problems* be taken care of?
    A: Yes - we intend to solve this problem.
    *Game currently does not pick the shortest route for a marker that lies directly behind the green wall in front of you, but sometimes goes "around the planet"

    Q: Will the larger planets remain square heightmaps wrapped around cylinders or will they be changed to spherical planets, where you can travel to the north and south poles?
    A: The playfields of any planet are still rectangular maps, but we aim to improve the technical limitations (red and green wall) to a point where you will hardly notice them.

    Q: Are there going to be any changes to performance that I should anticipate (such as more RAM usage, CPU usage, etc) for single player and servers?
    A: The new larger planets themselves will not have a higher performance impact.

    == Planet Generation ==

    Q: Are main biomes treated the same like the sub-biomes now (in yaml definition, entity-distribution etc.) ?
    A: Yes

    Q: Will it be possible to give a size-range of the generated planets in the generator with possible biome ranges?
    A: Yes

    Q: Will it be possible to have more generation parameters (like amount of resource rich planets, amount of inhabited planets etc.)?
    A: Yes, we will provide several parameters to control the generation of the solar system

    Q: How will you handle flora and fauna if the tool you have developed allows complete random and custom planets to be made (or an entire solar system)?
    A: Fauna and flora distribution is handled as before, but is much more convenient with the new generator.

    Q: Are you planning on adding a wider variety of fauna and flora, or are you considering keeping flora and fauna species rigid with the specific biomes found on the planet surface. e.g. Spider only spawning in a forest, but due to this it will spawn in every forest on every randomly generated planet? The concern is that every planet will have the same flora/fauna since planets will have similar biomes due to each planet accommodating a vast array of biomes now.
    A: This pretty much works like before. The creator can choose where he wants to spawn deco, NPC and POIs. There is no such thing like an "universal biome reference".

    Q: Will the generator include the ability to cluster POIs better?
    A: The generator will allow you to pull the POI setup from your .yaml and directly displaying in the editor view! Same for ore deposits.

    Q: Is it possible to have multiple biome types within the same planet ?
    A: Of course! This is the overall goal of the new generator/editor approach!

    Q: Are there multiple different large planets in the make or do we start with just one?
    A: We will rework all the planets that are currently in the game, so you will have a similar same selection as before.

    == Global Planet-related Topics ==

    Q: Will all planets be the same size?
    A: No. The solar system generator will randomize the planet size (note: The same seed will give you the exact same solar system)

    Q: Is the heightmap limit remaining the same, so the distance from the surface to orbit or down to the core, regardless of the diameter of the planet?
    A: For the moment, we have the same overall playfield height but it may change depending on the size of the planet.

    Q: Will day-length vary based on different planet sizes? Or would this only be based on planet rotational-speed, which is not added in game yet?
    A: For now the day-length is the same on all planets. However, we plan to integrate tilted planets so that the day/night ratio depends where you are on the planet (eg longer days and shorter nights on the northern hemisphere and vice versa on the southern hemisphere)

    Q: Will resource nodes be more spread out on larger planets due to the current limit of nodes we have right now on smaller planets? I.e. If a small planet has a max of 9 Iron deposits on its surface, is a larger planet also going to be capped at 9?
    A: The deposits amount and count can still be set in the .yaml. So it is up to the creator of the playfield. However, we might introduce an automated scaling parameter that takes into account the planet size

    Q: Will custom terrain files (XMLs and heightmaps) be usable on multiplayer scenarios?
    A: For 8.0 this is not yet possible. However, the new procedural planets can be used for multiplayer scenarios.

    == Gameplay ==

    Q: Will the max traveling speed be increased ?
    A: The traveling speed is limited by how fast the terrain is generated. In the current state, we are not planning to significantly increase travel speed.

    Q: Will the view range be adjusted and will LODS/view distances be increased so we can see objects further since the planets are bigger?
    A: We are currently not planning to increase the view distance.

    Q: If planets are larger on the surface, does this also mean the spherical representation of the planet in the space playfield will also be larger?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Will there be quirks such as it is faster to get to the other side of the planet by going to space first?
    A: As long as we do not increase the heightmap of playfields, yes this would be a shortcut. Think of how a rocket nowadays can get faster from point A to B if it goes through space.

    Q: On larger planets, would the solar panel theoretically have a wider "sweet spot" due to a wider area that the sun is hitting? i.e. On a small planet you only have say 500m where you are near the equator, but a large planet could be 2km (providing random numbers)?
    A: Yes

    Q: Will the entire planet share the same weather?
    A: We are currently not planning to change the overall weather system. We might add biome-dependent weather.

    == POI & Dronebase Threats =

    Q: Will there still only be one Drone Base that provides drones for the entire planet, or will there be regional drone bases?
    A: We could increase the number of drone bases to have regional bases. However, we are not yet sure to include this feature in A8

    Q: Will drones and transporter have an increased speed factor, reaction agility, larger attack force due to larger planets ?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Will there be more than one Patrol Vehicle per planet?
    A: This is pretty much up to the creator of the playfield.

    Q: Will we see larger POI settlements now with larger flat areas and will it be easier to spawn POIs without a drastic change in drop or climb of terrain
    A: The larger planets will have larger areas of "flat terrain" (Of course this depends on how the playfield creator designs the terrain)

    == Deco & Additions ==

    Q: Will there be more ENTITIES (POIs, RESSOURCES, Drones, animals, enemies, etc.) on the larger planet possible (right now very limited) ?
    A: There is an entity limit for any playfield. This means the amount of NPC, POI, deposits that are on the planet at the same time, is limited. However, we are planning to increase the entity limit per planet.

    Q: Will there be caves, deeper oceans, underwater caverns and large redwood forests with this larger planet update.
    A: This is planned for the future.

    Q: Can we get few more planet types aka 'I want new additional planet textures'?
    A: Additional terrain textures will be considered in the future.

    Q: Are you planning to introduce different GASES as environmental factors on new planets to make them more diverse & dangerous?
    A: Entirely new planet types are planned for the future, yes!

    Q: Will you introduce "ice" as ore in underground rock form on some barren, desolate or toxic future planets (and in space in asteroids)?
    A: This is also a topic for a future update (more different materials in general)

    == Other ==

    Q: Are there any plans to make the space playfield larger as well to keep it from feeling too crammed together?
    A: Yes, the space playfields can now be significantly increased as well (probably more than 100 times the current size)

    Q: Will way-points act any differently? A big planet could have lots of spots marked and really start to fill up your screen. A player might only want to see them within a certain distance, or they might want to hold down a key for a quick check against them.
    A: This is planned for the future.

    Q: Will there be something dynamic between POIs, proper AI vehicles, wildlife migration routes, regular Zirax patrols, anything?
    A: We are currently working on improving the ground AI. Expect some cool stuff and stay tuned for more info on this topic in the near future.

    Q: Will we see a first implementation of a wildlife pecking order, meaning territorial behaviour less randomised, more centralised on certain environmental conditions according to species.
    A: We are currently working on improving the ground AI. Expect some cool stuff and stay tuned for more info on this topic in the near future.
  2. SilvRav

    SilvRav Moderator
    Staff Member

    • Moderator
    Jan 13, 2017
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    and so it begins!
  3. Eliteace

    Eliteace Commander

    Mar 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Thats beautiful good job guys and girls :):):):);)
  4. elmo

    elmo Lieutenant

    Sep 26, 2017
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    Well done guys can't wait to start a new game with this so hope it is soon
  5. hound

    hound Captain

    Sep 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    In reference to the work being done on terrain.....In the ZeroG challenge thread is a pic of a ship floating over the shore.....The water looks cool and refreshing and the limestone boulder looks so real you can feel the gritty texture. You guys are going way beyond any expectations for the reality of terrain. Thanks for making one of the best looking games out there
  6. Micr0be

    Micr0be Ensign

    Oct 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    somehow this post makes me worry even more that they really cant fix the sphere planet and blocked poles problem, or else they would have already. i think thats really bad. "hardly notice them" what does that even mean.... it should be top priority to make ur planets ROUND, not almost round.
  7. TK85

    TK85 Commander

    Jan 26, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Very good news!

    A job well done is being done!

    There was just no mention of new star systems.
  8. Fractalite

    Fractalite Rear Admiral

    Aug 10, 2016
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    This is gonna be awesome!
    Starwing6 and Tyrax Lightning like this.
  9. Jacoviz

    Jacoviz Commander

    May 13, 2017
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    Are we going to be able to walk in moving ships?
    Fisch050, Ashrai, Fraser and 5 others like this.
  10. Bigfeet

    Bigfeet Captain

    Apr 24, 2016
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    Thank you for answering our questions & good luck on the implementation of 8.0 awished.
    Slimer, Tyrax Lightning and TK85 like this.
  11. Hicks42

    Hicks42 Captain

    Dec 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    *Is so excited he ties a bandana on* Sore o motte ki nasai!

    Has anyone thought about patrol Hover vessels aside from the usual Piñata Patrol Vessel?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  12. Quarior

    Quarior Lieutenant

    Sep 30, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I am impatient for this update :).
  13. JTurbo

    JTurbo Lieutenant

    Feb 19, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Everything looks good. Thanks for the answers.
    When will a detailed description of alpha 8 be?
  14. Westworld

    Westworld Commander

    Sep 21, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Wow 8.0 looks like it will contain many things I have wanted for quite a while now! I REALLY look forward to these larger planets and the new Creation & Generator tools. This should be an epic update!
    Keep doing what you're doing Eleon, You are on track to make one of the best games ever created! :)
  15. michaelhartman89

    Oct 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    This is amazing!

    " Q: Will there be caves, deeper oceans, underwater caverns and large redwood forests with this larger planet update.
    A: This is planned for the future."

  16. Phocian

    Phocian Ensign

    Aug 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    100% agree, it’s a fantastic game, reliable development process and the dev / community manager interaction with the players is an example to other games.
    Crewsk8200, Marty, Cleff and 7 others like this.
  17. eLLe

    eLLe Captain

    Jun 17, 2017
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    Luckily not.

    I'm really glad that there will be no speed increase because the planets will additionally have a real sense of size and not one round again for a minute.

    I see a great place for my base.

    I love everything you've done so far, Eleon thank you for everything.
  18. Myrmidon

    Myrmidon Captain

    Mar 26, 2016
    Likes Received:
  19. Jᴧgᴧ

    Jᴧgᴧ Rear Admiral

    Sep 6, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Vastly larger planets. Space that's 100x larger than current. Entirely new planet types. Natural flowing biomes.

    Jodi Foster had it right when she said "No words..." Although I'd start with "Epic".
  20. Scoob

    Scoob Rear Admiral

    Sep 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    This update is sounding pretty darn good!


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