Water Planet involves a cybernetic jellyfish!

Water Planet

I am a big fan of water and water effects in games (which is why I was so happy to see Pippin Barr’s water museum earlier this year). That’s why I’m surprised I haven’t looked into Water Planet [official site] before now. I’m watching a dev log video and the phrase “cybernetic jellyfish” has been used already!

Water Planet sounds like it’s a game that’s maybe also a music video set. The description lays out a single-player first-person adventure where you “Gather resources to fuel an interstellar ship as your on-board A.I. Gemini guides you through sunken ruins and ocean depths while listening to the music of VIRGO.”

That’s the trailer ▲▲ and this is the dev log video I mentioned ▼▼

If there’s one thing which concerns me it’s how static the jellyfish seems but it might be a placeholder. Given the water effects and how they try to convey fluidity it would be weird to have such stiff arms and tentacles or a static bell (unless that’s something explained by the cybernetic element?).

There’s more information about the game in this article on Vice’s Creators Project from a year ago and another that’s more recent.

Plus photos from the Water Planet VR showcase at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami from a few days ago – I really like the sculptural elements!

According to the Steam info the game is due out in Q3 2017, so any time before the end of September unless disaster strikes. It’s for both desktop and for VR headsets.

Let’s finish with a video from Wired about how jellyfish move:

9 Comments

  1. TheMightyEthan says:

    This certainly does look like a music video set, as I now have TLC’s Waterfalls stuck in my head.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    It has a neat style to it but I was kind of expecting more Bioshock-type water interacting with things… surely the point of creating a water planet would be to explore the cool ways in which water splashes and drips and flows off, through, and around things? It all seems weirdly static. And yes, the jellyfish… I didn’t even recognize the floating thing as a jellyfish. I really hope that is placeholder.

    Indies: Don’t skimp on animation… It’s the number one part of bringing characters and creatures to life.

    I do like the atmosphere though.

    • haldolium says:

      Fluid dynamics and the like aren’t really developed far in games sadly.

      Seldom a game manages to get the elements physically right and especially water- and snow-themed indie games are usually just a collection of some shaders. Although since you mentioned it, Bioshock wasn’t particular interesting/breaking either. Basically really big productions, especially from the past few years, do offer good ocean simulation at best.

      There is much untouched potential if at some point dynamic behaviour of stuff catches up with the abilities that are now common for film.

      I guess its just a matter of time, until then it will remain static refraction shaders.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Yeah, it will be interesting when games get water simulation on the level of Moana that you can actually play with. Imagine an Avatar (Airbender) game with that kind of tech.

        It doesn’t have to be anything fancy here though, just some interaction between the water and the player and environment. Clever use of animated shaders and particles can go a long way (link to youtube.com).

    • noodlecake says:

      Animating things well takes a lot of work and in big companies generally it’s a separate job for artists who specialise in animation. It’s rare for a 3D video game artist to be great at modelling, texturing and animation at the same time. In a small team you might have the same artist having to do all of those things as well as actually design the aesthetic in such a way that the player is guided through areas, as well as design the aesthetic of the levels in such a way that everything looks as nice as possible which is a lot to take on. I think expecting small teams to be able to deliver beautiful animation everywhere as well as great textures and models, and aesthetically pleasing overall level design is a bit much, especially in a first person game in a 3d environment.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        It’s really not too much to ask for base level decent animation. It’s quite common for smallish teams now to hire an animator on a freelance basis. Even for a one-dev team it can be done: Home Free dev Kevin Cancienne taught himself to animate dogs by looking at reference because that’s what the game needed (link to kickstarter.com) … It’s hard but not impossible.

        I would submit that instead of having detailed models and little to no animation, indie devs should aim for a single consistent style and level of quality across the board from models to movement. A simple mesh that moves in the right way is going to be more believable as a living character than a highly detailed static mannequin. It’s about priorities, not budget. If you can’t do characters or creatures justice, do like Gone Home and just don’t have visible characters. Pick achievable constraints.

        In this case, the jellyfish doesn’t work because it doesn’t move (even a little bit) like a jellyfish. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, but it needs to be effective.

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    Angstsmurf says:

    Yes! After Friday the 13th, I was hoping for Waterworld: The Game.

  4. Sunjammer says:

    Not a fan of the music but I can listen to that voice all day long. The unintentional ASMR is real and strong.

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