When Brendan last took a look at Dual Universe [official site], the sandbox civilisation-building MMORPG was populated only by robots. That's all changed with the launch of the pre-alpha for people who've already backed the game, with the new trailer featuring honest to goodness real life humans running around Dual Universe's ambitious sci-fi world. If you're a fan of swooping spaceship panoramas and tingly sci-fi music, then click on through.
Dual Universe is attempting to create an EVE style world of player-driven political shenanigans. We still don't know much about what systems are going to be in place to actually foster that kind of environment, but Jean-Christophe Baillie, the CEO of Novaquark, had this to say about the pre-alpha.
"Following up our recent global $7.4M mark in fundraising, this public Pre-Alpha milestone is very important to us and our community. Our proprietary CSSC (Continuous Single-Shard Cluster) and voxel engine technologies are now benchmarked for the first time with real players and not just bots.
"It is truly amazing to think that when you see a moon in the sky, it's actually there, you can fly to it with a proper spaceship. And you could carve out half of it, given enough time, as the world is entirely editable. Everyone will see it. This kind of giant continuous world experience has never been seen before in gaming. We can't wait to see what people are going to build over the next weeks."
The single-shard stuff he's talking about refers to how the game places every player on the same server. It won't be the first MMO to do that, and Brendan's piece looked at other games chasing that dream too, though it's true that nothing so far has attempted the level of destructibility/craftability that Dual Universe is aiming for.
A bit of that is on display in this trailer from E3 2016, though it's just spaceship construction rather than the vast terrain altering stuff Baillie is talking about above.
For a more detailed look at how the construction system works, check out this video.
Those who backed the game on kickstarter are now larking about in the pre-alpha, showing development is successfully ticking along for a game that might one day be the only thing you want to play.
Novaquark are hoping to start the beta phase in the early half of next year, and are aiming for a full release by the end of 2018.