Explore A Planet In Planet Explorers

By Jim Rossignol on February 25th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.


Planet Explorers has one of my favourite premises for a game, which is: you’ve crashed-landed on an alien planet, now go off and explore and survive. The way you do this is by engaging in a game that is somewhere half way between Minecraft and an MMO. (You start off getting a mission from someone with an ! above their head, and that mission is to hit a tree so that you can gather materials to build stuff.) It’s in alpha right now, but it’s on its way to being a big builder’s sandbox, complete with a voxel landscape that you can deform, or at least run around in digging holes with a shovel, as I did for the first half hour. It’s a world filled with alien plants, alien beasts, and towering robot things. The game is in early alpha right now, so it’s very much a work in progress, but it’s a (currently) free game that already does do what it’s says on the tin. There’s a trailer below showing off some of the delights of the latest build.

You can play it for free, just here.

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81 Comments »

  1. BurningPet says:

    This is looking better and better as they progress! i just love crazy big monsters. more games should make their monsters ridiculously huge.

  2. RedViv says:

    It has monsters of sizes small to giant, enormous amounts of customisation, and will stay free until the really lovely devs think they’ve worked on it enough, so:

    I am prepared to throw a lot of money at them once they allow me to.

  3. soco says:

    I’m getting a Starforge vibe from this, especially from those parts of the video where it looks like they set up a base to defend. I wonder how it will differ.

  4. X_kot says:

    The most fun I had playing SPORE was during the creature phase, exploring the new land and bumping into all sorts of odd beasts. Especially the towering collossi that could wipe out entire species. This looks like captures some of that spirit.

    World of SPOREcraft

    • derella says:

      So true. Spore was such a disappointment in so many ways… But exploring the world as a creature was rather fun for while.

  5. daphne says:

    Obligatory Noctis reference.

    …:(

    • Magnulus says:

      Yes! Absolutely! This was my first thought. And then I was sad about Noctis V, which will obviously never happen.

  6. jonfitt says:

    OOOh, that does look good. Minecraft meets Pandora if you will.

  7. TheMightyEthan says:

    That’s awesome. Whenever I was playing Minecraft the story in my head was always that I’d crash-landed on this alien planet and had to survive.

  8. Pryde says:

    I want an option to play as wildlife and explore planet explorers.

  9. McCool says:

    If this was first person this would be my dream game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      You can play it in first-person.

    • Triplanetary says:

      I literally don’t understand why people care so much about camera perspective.

      • jonfitt says:

        It’s a matter of immersion for some. Controlling your virtual body VS moving a virtual marionette.
        For others it determines if they can play the game or will blow chunks all over their keyboard.

        • LuizPSC says:

          So that´s mean the player is not controlled like point and click like Dragon Age?

          I don´t like how it is controlled, i like the story (still playing) but not how is controlled, so if have first person is controlled like Mount & Blade or Elder Scrolls?

      • McCool says:

        It’s the immersion thing. The games that fascinated me as a child were Ultima Underworld, Doom, and later Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight and the System Shocks – the pinnacle for me being Morrowind. All I’ve ever wanted is a game to drop me in some amazing world and let me get lost in it. Watching some character do cool stuff and helping them accomplish it is fun, but nothing compared to a simulation of doing those things yourself. Which apparently this game has!

        And so I shall play. Thanks for the tip-off, RPS. You are still lovely, sometimes.

        • particlese says:

          Very much this, which makes this the first MMO I’ve really been excited about playing.

          Compulsive buts: Guild Wars was loads of fun for a while, but wasn’t at all immersive, even in first-person. Star Citizen is exciting, but I’m primarily in it for the single-player, plus a bit of coop.

        • Continuity says:

          *Cough* Oculus Rift *Cough*

      • Cunning Linguist says:

        It really is abut aesthetics and what goes on in people’s heads when they play a 3D game.
        Personally (sorry) I cannot play in fist person , I find it nauseating and abhorrent, especially with violent games (as in everything but Portal)

        One of the biggest attractions for me in video games, ever since Pac-Man , was controlling a video game character, not being one. First person games feel to me like they’re trying to be VR simulations , and they all fail . Disembodied hands and guns floating around is what it feels like.

  10. bascule42 says:

    I’ve had a fair number of hours fun on this…definitely one to watch.

  11. Meister of Articulate Statelments says:

    That would be “an !”, thank you very much. Going downhill, this site is, I say.

  12. Archipelagos says:

    We need to get a moratorium on NPC’s with exclamation marks above their heads. File it under the same category as UN-skippable cut scenes and being unable to jump in an MMO.

    • arccos says:

      Why does it bother you? For as long as we have window dressing NPCs around instead of interesting interactions with all of them, the ! makes sense. It’s a shortcut to content instead of talking to every cookie-cutter NPC on the map.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      They should all have little kittens on their head instead.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      How about question marks instead?

    • Cunning Linguist says:

      I agree with the examples you gave, especially unskippable cut scenes. But I would like to see much more stuff like this, like different symbols over NPCs to indicate moods , and speech bubbles rather than awkard voice-overs. The exclamation marks are there to make it easier to get to the NPC you need to see. Without those the games would be even more of a chore and we’d need a different quest system altogether- which I’d like to see as well.

      • Highstorm says:

        Rather than arbitrary (and immersion-breaking) icons hovering over their heads, I’d prefer NPCs to actually gesture and animate in a way that says they want my attention.

  13. JimDiGritz says:

    Looks like a brilliant concept..

    Am bitterly disappointed that this hasn’t got procedurally generated landscapes though.

    The idea of encountering completely different planetscapes each game made me smile.

    Now I’m expecting to land and say “oooh I think I’m 2km from that game I started last week”

    Will probably still buy this though…!

    • Beemann says:

      There`s an adventure mode bit with map seeds and biomes you can select that I suspect will get some work at some point. It`s rather primitive right now though (when I created a zone it made a small box of a world with some rather awkward landscape and supporting oneself meant utilizing a tedious questing process in which quests were given and received by nobody).
      Also “dying” there appears to have no effect aside from 4 seconds of being “dead” and an awkwardly long “respawn” animation that sets you up to get knocked down (or at least injured) by whatever knocked you out in the first place

  14. guygodbois00 says:

    Looks very promising indeed.

  15. Unclepauly says:

    The poor baby-face alien at 2:13 looks like it just wants a hug then she shoots it dead :(

  16. Sc0r says:

    I tried this version and the more I played, the more I fell in love with it.
    I built a Sword thats also a saw!
    http://i.imgur.com/FSAs1wt.png
    And also a car with weapons so large it almost toppled over (not even the biggest weapons)
    http://i.imgur.com/74fLzFe.jpg

  17. Triplanetary says:

    I can’t play it. I’ve never been able to get OpenCL to work with my graphics card. It is about three generations out of date at this point, after all. *sobs*

  18. geldonyetich says:

    Slightly too much freedom to create, in my opinion. Sounds like a travesty of a statement, yes, but what bothers me about it is that there’s nary a reason to care about custom guns or forts if anyone can just create whatever they want, one voxel at a time. It undermines the sense of there being concrete game pieces. I’d rather they have a system more like Borderlands or Dead Space 3: lots of prefab pieces you can put together in many different combinations, creating the best of both worlds of there being concrete game pieces while still allowing the players some freedom of customization. So when you look at another player bearing a sidearm, your knowledge of the components that went into that sidearm could tell you what it’s capable of.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      “Too much freedom…”

      …I..nh..what?

      • Josh Brandt says:

        As an example, Second Life has too much freedom to actually be a game.

        • geldonyetich says:

          More like how Gary’s Mod has too much freedom to actually be a game.

          • Brun says:

            Garry’s Mod is as much of a game as the player is willing to make of it. There’s a reason they call these games “Sandboxes” – it’s because you use them to do the same kind of things you did in a real box-full-of-sand as a kid. Combine some solid but flexible base materials with maybe some toys to let your imagination do the rest.

          • geldonyetich says:

            One can go back and forth on “sandbox vrs game” to a far greater degree than this comment thread would adequately accommodate, but even then, I don’t think you’d get a consensus. Suffice to say, I would say that there’s a difference, and if Planet Explorers wants to stay sandbox, it’s their game and it’s their decision. However, it’s not a direction that excites me as much as implementing something a little more substantial.

    • Iamerror says:

      Excellent point.

    • Cunning Linguist says:

      “Q: So what if I just goof off and build stuff in game?
      A: That’s fine with us, the player doesn’t have to follow the storyline at all.”

      Whenever I hear that I know there isn’t much of a game there, more like a sandbox that I’ll get bored of once I’ve explored the graphics it has to offer.

  19. DarkFarmer says:

    Still very rough, but a very promising game. But… Dat Mouse Sensitivity. Its way too low and no way to adjust it. At least not that I found.

  20. derella says:

    My dream game is set on an unexplored alien planet that you wake up on after a crash. Part of it would play like an RPG/adventure, where you are trying to piece together what happened, look for other survivors, and explore alien ruins… The other part would be trying to find food, water, and shelter.

    This sounds like it hits a few of those notes.

  21. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Interesting. I wonder how much interactivity with the world and its inhabitants is planned, because exploring building and fighting can only last one so far. Taming animals, ridinging and training them, creating vegetable gardens and the like would help.

    But we’ll see. It looks rather nice as it is even though I don’t plan on playing it as it is.

  22. FullMetalMonkey says:

    They seriously need to think about a better name. Planet Explorers, just seems abit too…..meh.

  23. Kestrel says:

    Site unavailable =/

  24. Jhoosier says:

    I’d like to play, but all I get is a black screen. Occasionally I’ll get a cursor, but still a black screen I can’t do anything in.

    I’d like to go ask in the forums, but their site seems to be down.

  25. kasen says:

    Yeah the link provided to download the game does not work :(

  26. Danorz says:

    we seem to have murdered their website :<

    FORTUNATELY HERE IS ANOTHER SITE TO DOWNLOAD IT

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.indiedb.com/games/planet-explorers/downloads/planet-explorers-alpha-051 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    • kasen says:

      Awesome thanks for the link :)

      • Danorz says:

        kind of irrelevant cause they got the site back up like 15 seconds after i posted that but oh well :)

        • jrodman says:

          That was a pretty good spambot impression though. I was fooled for a second.

          (Not a complaint.)

  27. crinkles esq. says:

    This looks incredibly promising. I would pay them all the monies to get OS X support going sooner than later, as it’s exactly the type of game I’d dabble in when avoiding work on the Mac.

    One thing conceptually that bothers me — are there no higher lifeforms with which to communicate and make friendships/allies with? It seems like the main goal is just, “mow down the natives with ever-greater firepower”. Also a little disappointed to see on their FAQ that the landscape will not be procedurally-generated (except multiplayer maps). I’d prefer to land on truly random worlds, instead of alien the first time and then by the 10th time, not-so-alien.

  28. anosrep says:

    Would please me immensely if they then modded this game and threw in a stargate and the SG1 crew.. I just want a good SG1 game.. thats all I want.. ever.

    But yeah I do love the look of this so far, would back it for sure!

  29. realityflaw says:

    I am frantically hacking at this tree with my knife but it won’t produce any wood, I wasn’t given an axe or materials to craft one at the outset! What am I to do?

    • realityflaw says:

      Ah ha! Hold down the button, I am the simplest of geniuses.

      • Highstorm says:

        Wow. You just took me back to my very first Minecraft experience.

        “I saw him punch a tree down in that video, how the fu– oh…” :D

  30. porschecm2 says:

    This game does indeed have a terrific premise. It took an awful lot of fooling around and mashing buttons and wondering what in the world I just did to select something and how do I un-select it, though. A slightly more thorough tutorial would be of great help, even if it’s only text-based. Nevertheless, this game looks like it has a lot of promise, and I’ll be keep an eye on it. It’s already fun, but currently only in small doses. Once it gets more polished and more UI wonkiness worked out, I can see losing vast amounts of time to it.

  31. sinister agent says:

    Man, I downloaded this weeks (months?) ago and still haven’t installed it. Bad agent. There’s only so much time for games though, and I’ve been trying to open my mind more to the increasingly common MMOs that actually make an effort to distinguish themselves, which is just SO time-consuming. Ugh.

    I don’t know how you lot manage to find the time, frankly.

  32. pupsikaso says:

    Wow, they’ve sure put a whole lot into it since I last tried it. Very promising at this speed of iteration.