If No Man’s Sky didn’t exactly scratch your itch for multiplayer interplanetary exploration, mining, and crafting, then Astroneer is suiting up right now to take a stab at this format with all sorts of lovely soft pastel visuals and a quirky feel.
The team posted its development roadmap this week that traces the project’s main goals from Astroneer’s current pre-alpha status all of the way to launch. Currently, the team is tackling some of the large, essential “boulders” that will make up the core systems, which are broken down into more manageable “rocks” to allow for progress.
There were also hints dropped about possible features, such as themed spacesuit designs: “Without giving too much away, one can already begin to speculate about all the ways planet-themed unlockable suits might add to multiple areas on this roadmap, like the research system, crafting, customization, and others.”
In a small planned surprise, Frostkeep sent out a wave of unannounced pre-alpha invites for Rend this week. The studio says that the additional testers will prove most helpful as work continues to get the survival sandbox ready for early access. More waves will be coming soon, so don’t feel shy about signing up.
The team went on to pen a dev blog about its skill system, which sounds fairly similar to other games out there. There are no limitations as to how many skills you can work on, so go nuts. Leveled-up skills lead to better efficiency as well as unlocked crafting recipes and helpful perks.
As in most survival sandboxes, you’re going to start out at the bottom rung of the gathering ladder, punching trees for their wood and also because they deserve it. Y’know, it only now occurs to us how poorly these so-called “survival” games actually prepare players for a real-world survival situation.
In an interview with Pantheon Senior Game Designer Corey LeFever on MMO Play, LeFever said that the dev team is “very satisfied” with the progress that the team has made over the past couple of years.
The interview serves as a decent overview of what Pantheon is about, although knowledgeable fans might find it slim pickings for new information. LeFever does discuss the open world aspect of the game as well as climates, class roles, and Pantheon’s group-centric philosophy.
“We really have put a lot of our blood, sweat, and tears into this project, and we hope that comes across when our fans see the streams and public facing updates,” LeFever said. “It’s a rare opportunity to work on a project like this in the manner that we do, and we take that seriously. As far as the next dev steps? We’re pretty focused on continuing on all fronts: systems, classes, new zones… you name it.”
“When you push the world it pushes back. When you give to the world, it gives back. Take too much, and the world just might bite back.”
The Ashes of Creation team posted a new developer diary this week that focused on one of its five design pillars, that of a reactive world. The gist is that the game world will slowly react and respond to player actions, reshaping in both positive and negative ways.
The team said that each server will be a world to itself: “Each server in Ashes of Creation will be unique, because each server will grow, mature, and change on its own based on how its players interact with one another. Sure, we’ll have our own events planned out, but the players’ choices on how and where to settle towns, when to lay siege to settlements, and even how much they forage for resources — it all changes the landscape and layout of a given server.”
Looking for a little more of an Ashes of Creation hit to get you through the weekend? The team posted a pair of short videos showing off some aggressive fauna — namely, a troll and flanggler. Watch them below!
What would a superhero MMO look like if it took place in a small town where the tallest building was only three stories? We’ll probably never find out because it’s almost mandatory to have them skyscrapers for visuals and dramatic perches.
City of Titans spilled some info about its own downtown skyscraper district yesterday, calling it the “beating heart of the city.” Following a massive fire in 1908, the downtown rebuilt to include modern marvels of architecture from several different decades and styles. When the game comes out, players will be able to visit the area to see the tallest building in the game (Liberty Tower), a superhero hangout, and plenty of skywalks.
“Downtown is home to a huge, wildly eclectic range of superbeings and superpowered groups,” the team posted. “Some of the more frequently glimpsed groups include enforcers of the Black Rose, the Aether Pirates, and the ePunk Radicals. Prominent supers often seen in the area include Captain Orbit (at the Orbit Room), the speedster Celerity, and a host of others.”
Last weekend, Crowfall developer ArtCraft Entertainment held the last of its February playtest weekends, inviting the game’s Early Access backers to jump into the gameworld to play, test, and provide feedback on the game in its current state of development. As one of said Early Access backers (full disclosure there), I was among those invited to take part in the test, and having last played the game sometime early last year, I figured now would be a good time to pop in and see how the game’s coming along.
At present, the game build is a very early one that the devs have dubbed Pre-Alpha 2.0, so the features on display during the playtests are both limited and almost certain to undergo radical changes between now and Crowfall’s eventual launch. The game’s current, rather bare-bones incarnation includes the frameworks, in varying stages of completion and polish, for its basic gathering, crafting, and PvP combat features, though my playtime over the weekend was limited largely to the former two, with relatively little in the way of bloodshed. I don’t consider that to be altogether a bad thing, though; even this early implementation of Crowfall’s gathering and crafting systems is intricate enough that I reckon it deserves a column in and of itself, so let’s go ahead and dig in.
For those that felt titillated and intrigued by the original announcement of Rebel Horizons a year ago (if you can remember back that long), movement has been spotted on the project after many months of relative silence. The team is planning to make an appearance at GDC this spring and has a new trailer to show off to the public.
The trailer for the sci-fi sandbox shows a man on another world, taking a jet bike across the desert to a settlement. There, he buys some gear and then steps into a teleporter, destination unknown.
Rebel Horizons is making a shared persistent universe in which players can forge their own destinies and make their own living. Possibilities include trading, crafting, bounty hunting, mining, harvesting, and traveling to other worlds, each with their own ecosystems and economies.
Catch a glimpse of the future in the GDC 2017 trailer after the break!
When you first step into the wasteland of Edengrad, you’ll be treated to the classic post-apocalyptic experience of trekking through a dry and mostly abandoned American southwest desert. That isn’t to say that it will be devoid of interesting sights and locales, however.
The devs shared some pictures from the Lost Highway and talked about how they worked to make this beginner zone more interesting than dull: “The Lost Highway is the first location seen by players after leaving the vaults. The desert, mostly based on Arizona’s Monument Valley, is in many places interlaced with rock formations […] On the one hand, we did our best to present Arizona’s climate as realistically as possible. On the other hand, we wanted to fill the world with interesting locations so the player wouldn’t get bored while wandering through endless grasslands.”
Check out some of the vistas you’ll be seeing on the Lost Highway below:
Coming soon — not in time for this weekend’s pre-alpha test, but soon — is the first version of Crowfall’s faction system. At some point in Pre-Alpha 4.0, players will be able to pick and fight for a faction, officially joining a team until the end of a campaign’s run. While a date for the start of faction play hasn’t been announced, the Templar will be available to test this weekend.
The devs said that this initial foray into factional warfare won’t be as full-featured as the launch game: “This isn’t a ‘mini-campaign,’ per se, so don’t expect win conditions, castle sieging or limitations on import/export just yet… all of that will come in due time. This is simply the jumping-off point.”
ArtCraft is also running a housing promotion by selling three of its units at 20% off (which range from $52 to $144). Whether or not you’re interested in buying them, you might want to check out the “Parade of Houses” video after the break to get an idea of what homesteading in Crowfall might look like.
Curious what Ashes of Creation looks like in action? The team released its first gameplay video last night, showing a mage exploring an icy dungeon with both outdoor and indoor sections. It’s a short romp, to be sure, but there are several details to be gleaned from it, including combat spells, utility magic, and very beautiful effects and scenery.
In a press statement, Intrepid Studios said that it’s giving us a movie-like version first and will demonstrate the dungeon with the full user interface next week: “We turned off the UI and shot much of the gameplay through a cinematic angle. We did this because we want you to experience the beauty in Ashes of Creation. All too often, MMORPGs have had to sacrifice aesthetics for performance. With today’s technology that is no longer necessary. The versatility of Unreal Engine’s graphical fidelity coupled with our own in-house built backend allows for the rendering of a visually stunning world while encompassing the gameplay mechanics of a massively multiplayer online experience.
Check it out after the break and let us know what you think in the comments!
The world of Chronicles of Elyria is full of biomes. That has a bigger impact than you might be thinking, as detailed in the game’s latest video Q&A session. It’s a brief session, but that means it runs for “only” half an hour, whilst answering a huge pile of player questions along the way. Whatever you want to know about how the game’s biomes will affect gameplay, you can probably find it in here.
A biome, of course, includes the environment, resources, and creatures found within a given region. But there’s more going on than simply the animals you find to kill; players will be able to alter the biomes (say, by cutting down or planting trees), and the natural environment will affect things like food storage and safety. You can check out the full video just below.
To focus more on building a game and not wrestling with tools, the Ashes of Creation team has been working with the Unreal Engine 4 as it shaped the upcoming MMO over the past nine months. In a dev blog on the engine’s site, Intrepid Studios explains that it is putting great effort into making art and lighting that tells a story and transports players into a fantastical setting.
The team gave a preview of an early level dungeon, the water temple, as an example of its approach to visual design. “It follows a lot of our design philosophy, in that we want the environments of our dungeons to be characters in and of themselves, not simply backdrops upon which the players play. We spent a lot of effort to make sure the temple tells a story, through both art and design. We want every column, every statue, every mural, every creature here to help us tell a tale that relates to the world and its history.”
Get a look at the art and setting of Ashes of Creation’s water temple (real name to be revealed later) after the jump!
Superhero games aren’t much fun without villains to beat up, and in a superhero MMO, there needs to be a lot of those. City of Titans dished out some information on one of its gangs yesterday, the Five Dragons.
According to the post, the Five Dragons are a low-level gang with “Far-Eastern flair and reliance on magic.” They’re mostly into non-supervillain crime, although that doesn’t make their guns or spells any less deadly. Their presence is strongest in Lotus Hills, which the group mostly controls.
“Members of the Five Dragons can be divided, roughly, into two groups,” this week’s dev blog explained. “The lower ranks consist of a mass of lower-ranking, unpowered members armed with guns, knives, and sometimes rudimentary martial arts skills. More experienced members often display considerable supernatural power.”