Voxel Populi: Planet Explorers

By Adam Smith on July 5th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Where are all the blocks? Planet Explorers, available in alpha right now, is a terraforming, building, crafting sort of a thing, but when the player starts digging the earth isn’t shifted in discrete cubes. Unnatural and off-putting as that is, it does at least give the game a distinctive appearance, as do the giant creatures trundling about. Construction is of the fort and tower variety, given that the planet is hostile in the extreme, and it could turn out to be quite the thing, as demonstrated by the trailer below.

The planet in Planet Explorers is designed rather than generated, so there will be constructed landmarks and even a story to follow, although doing so will be optional.

I thought it was all procedural at first though and seeing those creatures set a train of thought clattering slowly out of my brainstation. What if a game offered a procedurally generated world to craft and explore, as is all the rage these days, but with Spore’s creatures wandering around in it, collected randomly from the creations of other players.

That would be good, right?

As for Planet Explorers, I haven’t had chance to look at it yet but perhaps one day I will.

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53 Comments »

  1. Dizzard says:

    I keep hoping that somebody will do something big with the spore idea. It was such a promising concept that just got shafted.

    • Knightley4 says:

      I remember my awe after first demonstrations and then… Well.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Me too. Even in it’s half-finished form the game was fun and the creator was absolutely amazing. It just needed far more depth in the Creature, Tribes, and Cities stages. The game was just full of neat things though, like how animals you befriended would become domesticated, and how you would see the vehicles you designed running back and forth on your planets in space mode.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I remember them releasing the pre-alpha gampleay concept “toys” as downloads. It’s quite telling that most of them, even though they were 2d or vector 3d, we more fun and more in depth to play. :-/

    • Pantsman says:

      Was Dizzard trying to start a Pun thread here, but the joke was too subtle for everyone? Or is my imagination trying too hard?

    • Lemming says:

      I always thought just the space section (with procedural planets included), would be a great foundation for a zoomed-out and cutesy Frontier-type game.

  2. Zanchito says:

    Wow, that Spore idea is mighty cool. You should write to Maxis. I’m serious.

  3. Zarx says:

    No procedural generation, no sale

    • Premium User Badge Adam Smith says:

      When multiplayer is added, probably a long way down the line, there may be some procedurally generated areas apparently. But, yeah, none in single player.

  4. HexagonalBolts says:

    What I really want is a world where the creatures are randomly generated and then interact with each other, through that you get a kind of natural selection going on.

    • InternetBatman says:

      How much random generation do you really want in creatures though? Too much and you wind up at evolutionary AI attempts, which are just a mess. Most of the things created are far less than ideal.

  5. Rikard Peterson says:

    The big platypus-turtle is cool.

  6. Syra says:

    Doesn’t look very visceral.

    • Unaco says:

      Trailer was also missing some of that “Double step” music.

    • Luke says:

      There does at least appear to be grit. And gravel. And dirt.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      Yeah it looks like a procedurally generated world but it’s not. :\

    • Grargh says:

      Also lacks a cover system, despite having plenty waist-high walls.

  7. InternetBatman says:

    I’m not crazy about the whole tower defense aspect. I like exploring a hostile world, and I like building a home to protect myself from that world, but then I like the two things to stay separate.

  8. neofit says:

    “but when the player starts digging the earth isn’t shifted in discrete cubes. Unnatural and off-putting as that is [...]”
    Pure genius! :D

  9. magnus says:

    I’m in, as long as I don’t have to log-in to a download client I’m only going to use once.

  10. asshibbitty says:

    Gaem looks god.

    When putting up Flash videos can you also put a link to YouTube under them?

    • Didero says:

      Unless I misunderstand what you’re asking, you can click the ‘YouTube’ logo in the bottom right of the player to go to the video’s page on YouTube.

      • Jekhar says:

        Or click the title of the video in the top left corner.

      • asshibbitty says:

        It aint showing in HTML5 browsers at all, that’s the problem.

      • x1501 says:

        I’m on Firefox 13 and I see no way to access the video’s YouTube page directly from the embedded video. In order to get the link, I’d have to either google the title, view this page’s source code, or allow JavaScript in order to enable the Share button and then extract the link from there. It’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaWeuOqBkMY , by the way.

        • Tayh says:

          Wat…
          I’m using Firefox 13 as well, works perfectly for me.
          Maybe your flash player isn’t up-to-date?

          On the topic, this game seems highly revelant to my interests, but I’m not sure if it’s worth buying a brand new graphics card for.

          • x1501 says:

            This is interesting. I can see the video just fine, but there the mentioned YouTube logo is missing and clicking on the title no longer takes me to the video’s YouTube page. It’s a minor issue, but in case anyone wants further feedback, I’m running FF 13.0.1 and the latest 11.3.300.262 version of Flash Player , and the only ‘clickable’ objects I see in the video—aside from the play, seek, and volume controls—are the Share, Change Quality, Watch Later, and Full Screen buttons on the right.

          • Torgen says:

            Firefox 13.0.1, and the YouTube button in in the bottom right of frame, where it’s always been. Flash plugin 11.3.300.262

          • x1501 says:

            In this case, it starting to look like a local issue on my end. Probably related to NoScript or some other addon. . . Anyway, thanks for the input. Now I know where to look.

          • Biscuitry says:

            There are known issues with Flash Player 11.3 on Firefox. It’s suggested you roll back to 11.2 until a fix is available.

            Details and instructions here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/flash-113-crashes

        • asshibbitty says:

          Thanks for the link. It doesn’t look all that good to be honest. Strange use of voxel tech.

  11. Hisui says:

    I’ve been waiting for a take on Minecraft that isn’t complete bull in terms of art direction and game design. This has me greatly interested.

  12. Yargh says:

    I keep hoping that ToadyOne will somehow get his hands on Spore’s critter (and building) creator and make Dwarf Fortress in 3D

    Otherwise this seems to indeed have potential, I’ve been wanting an open ‘stranded on a wild planet’ type game for a while.
    Remember that it is in alpha though and needs a lot more work.

    • Pulec says:

      DF in 3D? Read forums, that is not going to happen, not in this century anyway imho. You must be happy with Stonesense for now.

      • Yargh says:

        Don’t think I’m not aware of that. But one can dream….
        I just see the DF critter raws as being an almost perfect fit for the Spore creature creator.

    • Stardog says:

      Gnomoria is as close as you’ll get. http://gnomoria.com/

      I’m surprised nobody has attempted it properly in 3D. The mechanics are simple enough. Even the Caesar city-building games had a lot of what ended up in DF.

  13. Pulec says:

    That evil b**ch crashes on planet, cut tress, kill plants and animals, generally making big mess, bleh!

    I thought there already was some terraforming games where aliens attacked a fortress.

    Why not make it little bit like Stargate? Come to a planet peacefully, build base on a empty one maybe.

    But she seems to be like Robinson Crusoe or something, repair a spaceship and go back home maybe?

  14. Stevostin says:

    That *may* be kind of the game for my wife. I am also quite interested. If you remove Minecraft from your mind it may actually be a great game of its own.

  15. wodin says:

    The space game made by the Terraria lot has what your asking for more or less I believe.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Not really “the Terraria lot” – it’s just the one dude.

      • Justin Hopewell says:

        Starbound is being made by a small team, though. Including one of the Terraria developers.

  16. Sc0r says:

    You had me at “voxel”.
    Add survival aspects and this could become my indie game of the year.

  17. DarkFarmer says:

    Looks really cool, I am interested. Unlike that other voxel game that everybody got hyped on this one looks legit.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      A little too soon on this one. Not quite ready for a public release yet. I will keep my eye on it, though.

  18. JayeRandom says:

    I’m wondering if this is the first-person Minecraft+tower defense I want to play: you crashland on a planet, someone or something gives you a clue that you have “until the seasons change”/”until the fufu trees start dropping pink blossoms”/etc to: build defenses to ward off an annual migration of Very Nasty Critters Indeed. During several in-game days/weeks/months you gather resources, craft intermediate feedstocks and assemblages, and end up building a strongpoint which you then have to single-handedly defend and repair during gradually increasing waves of critter onslaughts. After a final enormous wave (including boss fights), you finally get rescued.

    Edit: Oh wait, that’s basically “Tunnel In The Sky”, isn’t it?

  19. benkc says:

    Anyone else actually try it out? I found that in order to chop a tree, I had to be clipping inside it; and after a couple minutes, you couldn’t chop any more trees until you quit the game and restart.

    Hopefully they’ll sort things out, as the idea appeals to me, but right now it’s too alpha.

  20. wcanyon says:

    I’m gonna show this to my kid (10) and he’ll be like “looks cool but I don’t want to play as a girl.”