Jean-Christophe Baillie

Indie space sandbox MMO Dual Universe launches pre-alpha with a fresh trailer

Happy pre-alpha, Dual Universe! The ambitious indie space sandbox MMORPG kicked off the pre-alpha over the weekend, bringing 2500 backers in to test. You’ll recall that it was the alpha that was meant to start this fall, but studio Novaquark didn’t believe it was ready enough, hence the birth of a pre-alpha to “honor [the studio’s] commitment to [its] backers.” This particular round of testing is open to “gold founders” and up who contributed to the game ahead of September 7th.

In today’s press release, Novaquark CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie talks up both the game’s funding ($7.4M to date) and single-shard tech. “Our proprietary CSSC (Continuous Single-Shard Cluster) and voxel engine technologies are now benchmarked for the first time with real players and not just bots,” he says. “It is truly amazing to think that when you see a moon in the sky, it’s actually there, you can fly to it with a proper spaceship. And you could carve out half of it, given enough time, as the world is entirely editable. Everyone will see it. This kind of giant continuous world experience has never been seen before in gaming. We can’t wait to see what people are going to build over the next weeks.”

The studio has a brand-new trailer out today in honor of the pre-alpha; you can watch it down below, and then when you’re done, take a peek at our demo and interview with Baillie from PAX West, after which MJ dubbed it “Landmark in space but better.”

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PAX West 2017: Dual Universe demos its persistent, seamless, sandbox universe

If you were hoping that another title would pick up the idea of a voxel world and run with it, you’re getting your wish. I met with Jean-Christophe Baillie, the president and founder of NovaQuark, at PAX West. He showed off the pre-alpha build of his company’s voxel sandbox, Dual Universe. After zooming across the planet, building a ship, terraforming, and then blasting off to the moon to do it all again, I believe this subscription-based game (which begins its pre-alpha for backers on September 30th) may very well be the home that players who’ve been wishing for a voxel-based world have waited for.

Baillie defines Dual Universe: “We give more creativity freedom to the players: They can build the ships they want, the environment they want, the houses they want. It’s about freedon to create anything you like.”

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How voxel tech is powering sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe

Dual Universe has a fresh dev diary out this week on how it’s employing voxel technology for its builder-centric space sandbox.

“The idea of voxel is not new,” Novaquark’s Jean-Christophe Baillie says. “You’ve seen it in other games over the years, starting with MineCraft. But we wanted to go beyond the cube-like aspect. We wanted to let people be able to carve out literally the world the way they want, to sculpt the world, and to make it more realistic.” The voxel tech allows the team to scale and display everything from huge planets to small player-built space stations.

Dual Universe’s Kickstarter currently sits at almost 70% of its $557,724 US goal with 19 days left to go and over 5000 backers. The alpha is expected by summer 2017, with beta to follow in the first half of 2018 and the launch before 2019.

The voxel tech pre-alpha video is included below.

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Dual Universe dev on single shards, launch schedule, consoles, and VR

WCCFtech has an interesting interview with Dual Universe’s Jean-Christophe Baillie out this week that sheds some fresh light on the upcoming sci-fi sandbox. Baillie says that even if five million people show up to play the game, they’ll all be on the same server thanks to cloud tech and “dynamically split space” and “recruiting more CPU power to that particular spot.” Another concern for sandboxers is how much destruction of player buildables gamers should expect.

“Of course, it’s a fundamental issue: we don’t want to come back and find the house destroyed. It will still be possible to destroy the stuff created by other folks, but only outside of the safe zones. Though you could also use a ‘protection bubble’, a shield of sorts, to protect your stuff in that area: there are a lot of layers of protection.”

Dual Universe’s Kickstarter currently sits at almost 70% of its $557,724 US goal with 20 days left to go and nearly 5000 backers. The alpha is expected by summer 2017, with beta to follow in the first part of 2018 and the launch by the end of that same year. Consoles are out, Steam is a go, and VR is a maybe.

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See how you can build your own spaceships in Dual Universe

If you’ve ever watched developers slap together spaceships (and sell them to you for a few hundred actual, not-play-money dollars) and thought, “I could make something better than that,” then Dual Universe is here to call you on that bluff.

Dual Universe not only uses voxel construction tools to piece together spaceships but will also allow players to erect vehicles, cities, and even space stations. The studio said that this construction tool is the “centerpiece” of the game.

“Constructs are an essential composition of Dual Universe and empowers the community with the tools to create a unique environment and shape the world to their liking using their imagination,” said Novaquark President Jean-Christophe Baillie.

Dual Universe will be showing off its construction demo at PAX West this weekend (booth #6816). You can see a demo of the ship creation tool below that takes an idea to flyable craft in less than 10 minutes.

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