Look, There Go The Voxels: Voxatron

By Jim Rossignol on January 5th, 2011 at 10:33 am.


Lexaloffle have posted up a preview video of their new game, Voxatron, which is “an arena shooter set in a completely destructible voxel world.” It also appears to have running and jumping elements. There do indeed appear to be voxels, too. This looks totally excellent! Go watch the video, below.

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54 Comments »

  1. poop says:

    really wanna play this

  2. Rich says:

    Are you ready Voxel Music Man?

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Voxel Music Man is ready.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      If we have any lurkers reading this, I’m going to mention right here that I would really like to have a new poster called Voxel Music Man.

      (Also: This game looks STRONG.)

    • Samuelson says:

      Heck, even the music is STRONG. I was having fun enough trying to mix two different windows with the trailer up.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      I’d like to play a game about Voxel Music Man.

    • TeeJay says:

      I am the voxel music man, I come from far away, and I can play!

      What can you play?

    • Voxel_Music_Man says:

      Hullo.

    • JFS says:

      Oh my I hoped someone would do it :D But you used underscores! Voxel Music Man doesn’t use underscores.

    • Voxel_Music_Man says:

      This Voxel_Music_Man has underscores, baby!

      Sorry.

  3. d32 says:

    Extremely sweet. Wish I wasn’t afraid of jumping.
    Oh, and will it allow Minecraft map imports?

  4. cliffski says:

    I knew it was only a matter of time until coders remembered voxels, and looked at how many they could draw with a quad core PC.
    Awesome…

    • subedii says:

      They had a look at the making of Blade Runner in last months EDGE. One of the interesting things they mentioned was that the complex lighting involved in some scenes would be very difficult to achieve with polygons, even today.

      Louis Castle also talked about voxels making a comeback:

      “People ask me that… ‘Why didn’t you just use 3D’. Well that’s easy to say now we have full rendering pipelines and shaders, but back then you just didn’t. You had a few vertex shaded polygons and the texel mapping just wasn’t accurate on a lot of the cards. Nowadays I’d do it all in 3D. But I gotta tell you, the time’s coming when voxels and raytracing will come back into the fold because the rendering pipelines are so complex that we’re flipping back to the computational model load, a pixel-by-pixel solution. All technology ebbs and flows.”

      It’s an interesting read as to just how dedicated they were to make the game really work as a Blade Runner game and do the film justice. It’s probably the last game that’ll ever achieve that.

    • diziet sma says:

      Damn somehow that article passed me by in the Christmas tumult. Thanks for the heads up I need to go back and read that.

    • karry says:

      It doesnt matter how many voxels your quad core cpu can draw. Its still easier to do this kind of game with polys. Since this game doesnt have any textures – what advantages can voxels possibly have ? We’ve had the technology for polygon destructible terrain for some time now. And textured voxels would take much more ram than textured polys. Not to mention that voxels texturing process is even quirkier than poly texture mapping.

    • Negativeland says:

      @karry

      They’re probably using voxels for the reason why most hackers do stuff. Because they can. Voxels have this aura of neatness around them, which attracts many people, since they differ from the mainstream way of doing 3D graphics. Doing things the most efficient way possible is not what drives especially game developers.

  5. SquareWheel says:

    The platforming sequences look like fun. I hope it’s not just MiniGore with a pretty art style though.

  6. 12kill4 says:

    If only Minecraft used Voxels, then I could be happy…

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Er, it does. The world data is stored as 16 x 16 x 128 voxel “chunks”. It’s displayed with polygons, but the positions of the blocks are determined by the voxels.

      PCs currently lack the technology to do something as detailed as a Minecraft scene with a voxel resolution the size of the texels on a minecraft block. Like realtime raytracing: in terms of storage space, memory and processing ability, the technology just isn’t there yet. But someday it will be. :)

    • markside says:

      Thanks, MT. That was pretty informative.

    • stahlwerk says:

      @MadTinkerer don’t underestimate the speed of current Voxel raycasting engines. Especially in the minecraft case of (mostly) opaque voxels I think you could get to playable framerates (not including AI, world sim, collision detection etc.). One part of the real problem here is that the people who know how to do stuff like that are mostly earning their monies with serious software. The other part would be that with todays GPUs optimized to hell and back for polygon rasterization, there really isn’t much benefit to it in terms of speed or picture quality.

    • eoin says:

      Here’s a more modern voxel engine:

  7. Thirith says:

    It’s weird – I remember voxels originally being touted as creating organic landscapes (see Comanche or Outcast), whereas here they’re basically used to create 3D pixel art, as in 3D Pixel Heroes.

    • stahlwerk says:

      The technique employed in Comanche and Outcast wasn’t “true voxels”… it was raycasting of a height map, which – as evidenced by the suprising performance on even a 486 – can be done hella-fast.
      Basically your terrain data is a picture where the pixel values represent the height of the ground. Your camera is given a height, direction and position. Now for every screen column you cast out a ray into the world. You intersect the heightmap’s pixel values with the ray, and each time you find one that is higher than the previous maximum, you fill a piece of the screen column upwards.
      Enemy sprites are then (comanche) blitted to the screen depending on their angle like in wing commander, or rendered with a simple polygon rasterizing algorithm (Outcast did that, I think).

    • stahlwerk says:

      PS: if you want to build your own 2.5D Voxel Engine, here’s an excellent tutorial.

  8. Stephen Roberts says:

    Oh man I just peed myself. This looks like it would be great if it had co-op.

  9. tomnullpointer says:

    Come back outcast, i miss you so……

  10. vodka and cookies says:

    Damn thats looks cool, love the retro music as well. Looking forward to it.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Ahhhhhh, the way the game world scrolls just makes me think of Virus. This is a good thing.

  12. Casimir's Blake says:

    More convoluted platforming, please! Take a leaf out of Super Mario Brothers, not Super Meat Boy. Oh and if this ends up being a collection of squarish arenas, Serious-Sam-Style, no amount of destruction and retro-awesomeness will stop it from becoming repetitive and boring. Don’t do it lads, design some levels.

    Okay, no more critique, this does genuinely look excellent. 2011 could well be the year indie PC gaming reaches some measure of widespread recognition. Let’s hope… *Remembers the day he spent £6.99 on Dandy for his Amstrad CPC…

    • PleasingFungus says:

      …what’s wrong with Super Meat Boy? I mean, besides the bit where it’s ridiculously bastard hard, which I think is kind of the point.

  13. tanith says:

    This would make a great Space Invaders game!

  14. Longrat says:

    This looks an AWFUL LOT Like 3d dot game heroes.

    Not that I mind, quite the contrary actually.

  15. jeremypeel says:

    Wowow. Very nice.

    You know technology has really fallen off the landscape if you can name your game after it and make it your gimmick. Can you imagine a ‘Pixatron’?

  16. Wallllrod says:

    This looks really rather neat. I’m looking forward to it, though it’s a long way to go.

  17. Navagon says:

    There is potential in this one. But it has to be said that in this case I think it would benefit from the lack of retro style limited draw distance. It clearly doesn’t work in its favour (unless it’s very poorly optimised that is).

  18. Freud says:

    Voxels make me really happy. Then I think of Outcast and I wonder why no one makes games with that kind of atmosphere anymore and I get sad. But then I see a voxel and I get happy again.

  19. patricij says:

    Hey, check out the Voxelstein demo based on Ken Silverman’s (the creator of Build engine for the younger) voxel engine! I wish the author had done more with it, but oh well…still a nice little thing.

    • Spacewalk says:

      Last I heard it’s gone to a new engine and a really horrible direction.

      What a shame.

  20. HilariousCow says:

    Damnit! This looks awesome, but also, I am trying to do a voxelly game in my spare time.

    I HAD NO IDEA THAT SOMEONE ELSE WOULD HAVE THE IDEA OF DOING AN GAME WITH VOXELS RECENTLY.

  21. Forceflow says:

    This looks great. Now let’s just wait for that Outcast reboot.

  22. Shagittarius says:

    The game has a great look but is entirely wasted by being yet another Robotron clone.

    Even the indy devs have sequel/clone-itis.

  23. diziet sma says:

    @eoin Holy mother of god! This thread is full of geeky techy win. :P

    @stahlwerk Thanks for the link, that’s a really interesting tutorial there.

  24. Pop says:

    Hot pants of awesome!

    After a cruel addiction to Real of the Mad God I need this!

  25. Dharoum says:

    I wish this was an RTS, love the small blocks idea!

  26. Negativeland says:

    Brilliant stuff. Hopefully they’ll publish a Linux version too. I’ve bought both of the Humble Bundles so far, and wouldn’t mind more quality games.

  27. Neoky says:

    Hurry up and take my money so I can play this game!

  28. Deme says:

    Well.. This is my contribution to Voxel Music Man. Even if it all seems very polygonal.
    http://kyucon.com/qblock/#/22241
    :D
    Reworked to fit the stupid resolution limits. :(

  29. mashakos says:

    i saw this and thought IPHONE PORT PLEEZ!!!

  30. Polysynchronicity says:

    Pretty sweet visuals and music.

    If only it wasn’t a goddamn arena shooter.

  31. GoodPatton says:

    Here’s hoping little Indie games start to take over the market and force Triple A titles to actually step up their games a bit!

    So many strong Indie games!

    This is on the excite radar for sure!

  32. Navagon says:

    Worst. Spam filter. Ever.