Flunked out of interstellar academy? Left your parents’ home on Mars at 17 and decided to make it on your own? Enjoy lugging stuff around or breaking things? Then you have a future in Dual Universe, thanks to an increased focus on space truckin’ and ore minin’.
Today’s big update to the pre-alpha program added a few new tools that allow players to scan for and mine that precious ore that can be found literally under your feet on the planets you visit. With the hand scanner, the directional tool, and the mining tool, you’ll be digging up your fortune in no time.
Once players get that ore, they’ll be helped out by the other features of this update, which are an improvement to the maneuverability of transport vehicles and the ability to easily transfer your goods to owned containers over a distance. You will need to be mindful of how much you’re carrying, as containers now have volume limitations.
MMO development is rarely steady and even; there are ups and downs, fast periods and slow cycles. Sometimes the slower patches are necessary to firm up the basics, which is why Dual Universe has been in a “feature freeze mode” for a while. The good news? This phase is at an end, and we should be hearing more about what’s going into this sci-fi space sim in the near future.
“For several months we have been in a feature freeze mode to direct our focus near exclusively on both server and client stability,” Novaquark said. “This freeze period will be ending as the next client build coming in May will deliver many anticipated features! Players can now look forward to scanning, mining, trading, a piloting mechanics revamp, and other additional new content!”
In this month’s Kickstarter update, the team also showed off the new female Novean base outfit, laid out its May pre-alpha testing schedule, and shared the winners of the outpost building contest.
Check out our recent Dual Universe demo and interview for a deeper look at this interesting title!
When you work in video games, you often get asked what new titles you are looking forward to. While experience has been teaching me to temper my enthusiasm, I do have one that I’m excited to play. I first got to experience Dual Universe in-person at PAX West last September, and since then I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release! Why? That title pretty summed it up well: It’s a persistent, seamless, sandbox universe. More than that even, it is a hotbed of creativity thanks to its voxel foundation. So I’ve had a taste of what can happen in a world that customizable, and I hunger for more!
That meeting with Jean-Christophe Baillie, the president and founder of NovaQuark, was seven months ago. How has development been coming along since then? How does the game look today? I got to sit down with Baillie for an update on progress and a new tour through the universe a few weeks ago. In my first demo, I saw promise. This time, I saw more of that promise realized.
Contrary to what you may have believed, Dual Universe isn’t going to limit its sandbox features to the creation and flight of personal spacecraft. This week, developer Novaquark is promoting the game’s robust creation toolset which should allow players to colonize an entire galaxy.
The voxel-manipulating tools will allow players to build outposts and structures. This isn’t your chunky Minecraft style of voxels, however, but a much more flexible and good-looking system. Terraforming, city construction, cave excavations, and spaceship design are all being handled on both the macro and micro level with these tools.
“Whether they’re building a single structure on a small scale or working together to forge an entirely new civilization on a massive scale, Dual Universe’s tools empower players to build however they want,” the game’s press release said. “Novaquark simply sets the rules and establishes the universe, but everything that grows, falls, is rebuilt, and shared within this universe is and will always be a community-constructed endeavor.”
Check out what these outposts look like after the break.
Excited for the release of Dual Universe? The game is still planning for a launch this year, but like any ongoing game project, especially one that’s delayed its alpha already, it could benefit from additional funding past its successful Kickstarter. So the game is jumping onto the ongoing fundraising train with the addition of its supporter packs, along the lines of the now-ubiquitous founder’s packs but oriented more toward the ongoing crowdfunding for the title. Developers have also previously said that a second crowdfunding campaign is coming, so this is probably that.
A variety of packs are available for purchase now on the official site, with silver level and above getting automatic closed beta access while gold level and above gets automatic alpha access. It’s worth noting that players will be able to simply subscribe once the game goes live, so if you don’t feel like dropping full retail price for future closed beta access, you’ll just have to wait longer to get into the game. Check out a new selection of screenshots and an accompanying trailer just below.
Space construction sim Dual Universe wants its players to know that it is truly listening to their feedback. The team at Novaquark started up a Trello to track fan suggestions and the possibility of each to be added to the different development phases.
While the studio stresses that this outline is not a development roadmap, it does contain several features that look like they’ll make it into the final product. These include an interplanetary map, radios, support for 4k resolutions, elevators, the ability to mute players in chat, and more. The chart also lists some rejected ideas, such as killing planets Death Star-style. Aw. Now how are we to have our fun?
The Dual Universe team also showed off some of the new 3-D art it has created, such as the alpha spacesuits. Novaquark is planning several limited-duration pre-alpha tests this month, with the longest lasting up to a full day.
With limited-run tests on September 30th and October 21st, Dual Universe is taking small steps for dev-kind into the pre-alpha world. The team reports that these tests were successful in both operation and in providing feedback, with over 1,000 unique players logging in to the pre-alpha. One group of players even managed to create and launch a ship that discovered a new planet during the test.
The test contained several new features, such as a beginner player experience and in-game tutorials. The team said that with mods and Lua, players will be able to make their own in-game guides to share with others as well.
“This pre-alpha launch was a huge and fantastic moment for all of us,” Novaquark reported.
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.”
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.”
Dual Universe today etched a date on its pre-alpha launch: September 30th. “Access to this first playable version of Dual Universe will be limited to Kickstarter and crowdfunding backers that have pledged at Gold Founder level and above, prior September 7th,” says Novaquark’s press release today, which characterizes the sci-fi sandbox as a “highly anticipated disruptive MMO.” The forums further explain that the originally planned alpha is in fact not actually ready, hence the pre-alpha label.
“You probably noticed that we’re calling this first public access Pre-Alpha and not Alpha, as originally intended. Why? Because we are not quite ready yet to switch the game into Alpha, but we still wanted to honor our commitment to our backers. This first public glimpse of the game won’t feature a proper game loop as we originally wanted but, after postponing the release a few months ago, we felt like a new delay was not appropriate. We think any additional delays, even though the game is not in the true Alpha state we had anticipated, would not be in keeping with the spirit of our commitments to our community and backers.
“We decided it would be better to give you access to the game at an even earlier state than to delay again. That it would be better to give you a look at where we are, rather than wait again for where we had hoped to be at this stage.”
If you haven’t picked up a founder pack for Dual Universe, you’re going to want to rectify that soon. Novaquark wrote in a recent Kickstarter newsletter that it plans to end the purchase of founder packs come September 7th, the anniversary of the sci-fi sandbox’s successful Kickstarter.
“Obviously we couldn’t extend it forever and now it’s time to move on to the next stage,” writes the studio. “After September 7th, we will temporarily disable the Crowdfunding portal. No new pledges or upgrades will be possible once the portal is disabled. We will reopen the Crowdfunding Portal later in Q4 2017 with new Supporter Packs. Supporter Packs will include different rewards than Founder Packs and the Lifetime Subscription reward won’t be available anymore.”
So how’s the game itself coming along? Not too shabbily; this week Novaquark posted pre-alpha footage of a ship flying seamlessly from a moon to its planet. That seems to be a theme today, yeah?
Kickstarted indie sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe has posted its monthly update this week with a meaty dev vlog from Novaquark’s JC Baillie.
Baillie says that his team is moving away from introducing new features and toward polishing what’s already live and functional in the pre-alpha. That includes working with a third-party company for playtesting. Paid testers – crazy huh! While the studio won’t be at E3 next week, it is promising early alpha previews at the major cons (namely, Gamescom and PAX West) later this summer.
The rest of the video focuses on the game content itself, including moon take-offs, the planetary map (it’s pretty slick!), atmospheric effects, and new art assets.
Fig, the gaming crowdfunding platform that surged in popularity in 2016 thanks to successful Wasteland 3 and Psychonauts 2 campaigns, has released a list of the top 10 biggest gaming crowdfunds of last year — and it includes three MMOs.
Fig is touting the games that raised cash on its own platform, of course, but the data also include three MMORPGs in the top 10, backed off Fig: Soulbound’s PvP sandbox, Chronicles of Elyria; Novaquark’s builder-centric sci-fi sandbox, Dual Universe; and Artix’s cutesy cross-platform MMO, AdventureQuest 3D. All three were funded through Kickstarter.
Fig, like the Indiegogo/Microventures platform Crowfall has used for its latest investment round, takes advantage of relatively new U.S. laws that allow non-accredited investors to invest in startups online, making some of these crowdfunds true investment, not just donations, though they come with plenty of restrictions and caveats. Check out the full infographic below.