The Earth Is Yours In Anteworld

By Craig Pearson on March 1st, 2012 at 11:55 am.

Mmmm, globular

While I’m not sure what sort of game Anteworld will eventually be, I can say I’m already enjoying it. Developers Outerra have released an alpha demo, mostly showing off their engine tech, but with the tiniest particle of game in there. But why is that impressive? Because the demo’s proof of concept recreates Earth.

Now there are plenty of caveats to that: the world is not even close to fully mapped, instead there is one area with a small collection of buildings, although given that the finished game is about settling the planet it might not get busier. I expect it will, though. And there’s not a lot of variety in the vegetation, with just the same forest repeated over the land.

See the sights

What they’ve released is one download with two-parts: a demo of that shows the world and lets you fly around it as if you were in a UFO, one location they’ve fiddled with, and the engine’s lighting capabilities and not much else; and the beginnings of a game in the paid-for alpha, where you can place buildings, fly and drive around, but with no real goal. Not that placing buildings does anything more than show off the global illumination, but even that’s somewhat impressive. Like I said, I’m not sure what the game is they’re making here: in the alpha, the engine has elements of strategic building tools, letting you build roads that will follow the bumps that the engine generates, but it also integrates pilot-able air, sea, and land vehicles and you can fly around the barren but oh-so-vast planet. It seems an odd add-on if it’s not going to be functional, but then there’s a lot to be said for just showing off how well you’ve recreated the earth by letting people drive and fly all over it.

The untethered access, ufo mode, lets you zoom up from a single tree all the way to the stratosphere. From there you can make out macroscopic details: the size and shape of the Earth’s regions are clear to see. I could make out Britain, but not Bath. I could follow the curve of the Earth, but closer to the ground things get a little murkier. The data streams in from the game’s servers, so zooming around too quickly can cause the world to flatten until the information drops in. But it’s accurate to a point, and shows that off with an integrated Google Map: hitting ‘g’ shows where you are in the world: mountain ranges, oceans, and countries are all bang on, with the rest of the data currently being procedurally generated. I floated at Land’s End and could make out the shape of the British Isles, before flying to Lundy Island; I visited the tiniest islands I could find in the Pacific. They’re all there.

If you squint, well you can't actually see the wild Lundy horses.

Ultimately the aim is to make a world-building game, but one with a single-player mode that populates your own Earth with other user’s creations, while there’s a mooted multiplayer as well. I’m claiming Lundy as mine.

Anteworld’s available as a pre-alpha for $15, now.

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30 Comments »

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  1. SirDigsby says:

    Certainly looks epic.

    Just read the blurb and it seems sort of reminiscent of a mix between From Dust and Cities XL.

  2. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    I see Just Cause 3 is coming along nicely.

    • Belua says:

      This is the first time I hear about Infinity. Thanks for the link, this looks amazing! I’ve been wishing for something like this forever. Let’s hope they finish it in the next one or two years.

    • syndrome says:

      @Belua
      en.spaceengine.org if you change your mind about waiting for infinity ..

    • Belua says:

      I didn’t know this, either. Thanks for sharing, syndrome!

      If my day hadn’t been rather shitty otherwise, I’d be convinced that I’ve died and woke up in an open-space-engine filled heaven. How did I not know about those two?

  3. marcusfell says:

    Building creations, you say? I guess I had better start to planet.

  4. Electricleash says:

    I finally see an engine that could actually do justice to a Stargate Game.

  5. roryok says:

    I can see this really taking off like minecraft did, but in a different way. It could be like a real world version Sim City, but with first person modes.

    I guess it covers a lot of the same ground as google earth, but with a better engine and (hopefully) a better crafting system.

    • asshibbitty says:

      Sounds more like Second Life to me.

      • Kagehi says:

        Snort.. If someone managed to marry even the shitty prim system that SL has, never mind a better one (For example, one could use CarveCSG to “cut/weld/difference” existing primitives, to generate a mesh, such that you could build using real “primitives” like in a real modeller, not “prims”, which are a joke. Imagine, being able to “cut” a hole, of any shape, or size, any place you want, on the object…

        Of course, CarveCSG has some bugs, when dealing with inadequate edges (cut a hole in a single face, like the side of a box, and more likely than not, it will do something crazy, while if you cut through the corner, i.e., and edge, it works. Its possible to solve, but it require “pre-tesselation”, i.e., making more faces on the side, then deleting the ones you didn’t need, after the cut.

        But, like I said, marry a real build system, and mesh (which they finally have), and shaders, which they don’t, or, even better, “default” shaders, like applications of the sort of POVRay use, to prevent the need of having to have someone do the math themselves, to define what marble looks like, and Second Life would burn to the ground, or at least become a wasteland, just about over night.

        The only people that would still be in there are those that haven’t bought a new machine in 10 years.

        I would love to be able to play with a whole world like that. Heck, just give me a “complete” LA, so we can move the dark RP City of Lost Angels into it. lol

  6. wccrawford says:

    The “epilogue” they link to as a PDF… Isn’t it actually a prologue?

    • rooxx says:

      Nope, the novella covers the story before what happens in the game.

  7. asshibbitty says:

    F that noise about building whatever. This is a killer engine for a flight sim, with added satellite textures it could be stunning.

  8. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    gimme test drive unlimited in this. and mount & blade. and minecraft. and far cry.
    with multiplayer and coop.

    If these happen I probably won’t need to play anything else ever again.

  9. InternetBatman says:

    Coming to a super computer near you.

  10. Shortwave says:

    Man, dude. Grooooovy!
    I’ve been waiting to test this for over a year now.
    Can’t wait! Toorrreeeeeeeent away!

  11. HexagonalBolts says:

    This looks amazing. I really hope there is some AI in the final thing though and it’s not just like a big creepy petrified hollow world.

    • Shortwave says:

      This more or less will evolve into an engine people can use to publish games with.
      How it’ll be priced is something time will tell. >.>
      So in theory theres LOTS of different types of games that might come from this.

      Personally I’m hoping for a large population cap FPS MP / Sci-fi / Space combat sim game in one.
      : P

  12. ChromeBallz says:

    http://www.viewterra.com/

    http://www.vworld.fr/

    OLD project based on VWorld tech. Looks remarkably similar to what’s offered by Anteworld.

  13. Odeon says:

    The name and the use of the whole Earth as the landscape reminded me immediately of AfterWorld. It’s been in development for quite a while now due to being a small indie dev team, but these videos were posted a couple of years ago to give an indication of what they’re doing with Torque3D. Even in 720p, the videos don’t do the game justice. The current game is running on Torque Game Engine Advanced and has looked outdated for quite a while, but the T3D update (in closed testing now) is supposed to be coming pretty soon, relatively speaking.