Kickstarter Quicklook: Planets³

PLANETS3 CutCheck out the new game from Cubical Drift Planets³.  They are taking the idea of Minecraft and infusing more customization and adding in an RPG.  Planets³ is a 3D open-world voxel-based RPG (in first person view).  Planets³ is currently up on Kickstarter at $114,290 of $250,000 of its funding goal with 20 days to go.  The following are all of the details of the game from their website.

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Imagined by video game lovers, Planets³ (pronounced «planetscube») combines the excitement of role playing with the pleasure of construction and the boundless freedom to roam about in a 3D universe. Its intricate plot and outstanding voxel based design offers opportunities for intense action and unlimited creativity. Planets³ has been designed to promote multi-player gameplay, to share the fun with friends.
Today, in the early development stage, all the elements are in place to develop a first PC (windows) release. What we need now is your help to make it happen!

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WORLD AND STORY

Rumors have it that aliens who look like humans crashed onto the planet some years ago. Is it true? What happened? Where are they from? Why did they crash? Are there survivors? Players will discover the answers to all these questions and will have to wrestle with several other mysteries as they build up their own little world.

Planets³ adventures take place in a universe entirely made of 25cm³ blocks (voxels). The blocks can be combined in a variety of ways to build beautiful objects and landscape elements of all shapes and size. In this completely open world, freedom is the key. With entire surroundings that can be completely modulated, destroyed and recreated as you wish, the only limit in Planets³ is your own imagination! But this freedom comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, to leave our planet and visit the universe, players must unlock their own personal spaceship, or build one themselves…

An important part of the adventure will take place in the depth of the planets, where danger is ubiquitous. Of course the player will harvest valuable resources (minerals or crystals), but mainly he will be led there by the story in order to solve mysteries and explore dungeons.

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Intertwined with this main story is a variety of secondary storylines: smaller branching stories which feature their own additional quests, often linked to a native or a dungeon. These additional quests aren’t necessary to complete the main storyline, but for the explorer interested in discovering all the secrets of Planets³ universe, these optional stories will grant them additional intel and extra loot (often better) that can’t be acquired anywhere else.

EVOLUTION

LEVEL UP YOUR AVATAR

Players will be able to improve their skills while playing. Every action will improve one of their statistics:

  • running and jumping will improve your athletics, making you run faster and jump higher
  • doing actions while tired will increase your stamina, allowing to make longer efforts
  • using heavy tools or weapons will improve your strength, allowing you to use them more easily
  • taking damage will increase your vitality allowing you to take more damage

Another part of the leveling process is the concept of “zone level”. It is defined by the blocks’ hardness you will find in this zone. You can picture this as the tool level required to pick up that block. With the first tool you craft, you will not be able to go to the center of the planet; you will need several different levels of tools for that.

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The last but not least aspect of the leveling is your technical level, defined by the level of the tools you can create. Traveling from one zone to the next will enable you to find new resources that can be used by the Job Master to research new recipes, enabling to craft more powerful items. Another way to improve your technical level is to fight enemies and take their gear. You can either use it directly or bring it to a Job Master to dismantle it and discover new recipes.

JOB MASTERS

You will find lots of characters during your journey. They will ask you to complete tasks for them such as helping them to find specific objects or build structures. Through specific quests line, some of them will allow you to use their crafting skills once you have gained their trust: they will then become job masters.
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These Job Masters are mandatory to progress throughout your journey. They will provide assistance in many different ways:

  • research new recipes
  • repair broken items
  • dismantle objects to learn how to reproduce them
  • recycle outdated objects
  • harvest crops for cooking
  • fight by your side
  • build structures following your orders

Therefore without Job Masters the player cannot create new objects and thus cannot progress in the game.

The first one you will encounter is Watts the blacksmith. He will be the one to teach how to craft low level tools, armors, weapons.

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COMBAT

CHOOSE YOUR COMBAT MODE

A player’s fighting style is dictated by the armor and weapons they choose.

Sneaky characters wear light armor and can stealthily attack from any angle.
Equipping a ranged weapon, such as a bow or gun, allows players to keep their distance from enemies.
Equipping heavy armor and a thick weapon, players can plunge into melee battle and give as good as they get!

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This system allows for an immense amount of flexibility: begin a fight with a ranged weapon, then quickly switch to a sword to finish the enemy with a swift melee attack! This also means that when teaming up, players can choose their own favorite fighting style; these flexible teams can then take on even the most challenging enemies with an advantage.

FIGHT IN DUNGEONS

Dungeons take a big place in Planets³ story and secondary quests. They not only allow you to defeat tons of monsters but also reward you with lots of treasures.

They are destructible, as they are made of blocks as any things in Planets³, but you will need to have the adequate tools to destroy them.

Inside each dungeon is at least one boss, who protects a long-slumbering treasure: a chest full of useful objects, and even unique ones.

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When an enemy is killed, there is no random reward. Players can take the armor or the objects the enemy was wearing. However the enemy’s gear is random, but you see what the enemy is wearing, so you can choose to target or avoid him. Inside a dungeon enemy’s apparitions are also random but controlled by the boss (you kill the boss you make them stop appearing).

PLANETS³ : A CONSTRUCTION GAME

Blocks List
The blocks come in a large variety of shapes. Players will be able to harvest all these blocks (using appropriate tools). Then, they will be able to place them wherever they want in the universe, to use as materials to create objects, or to donate them as research material. There’s more than 100 different materials available including wood, rocks, metals, dirt, sand, gravel, construction items, and of course…alien technology and materials!

More than being just an adventure game, Planets³ is also a construction game. Some quests in the game will ask the player to build houses or vehicles.

This aspect of the game will allow the player to express their imagination and to build all they have ever wished for all with the flexible Planets³ blocks. Some NPC can even be recruited to assist in the construction and can accelerate building times.

CRAFTING

BlocksListThe job masters are here to help you in your quest, and you’ll be helping them in return. By aiding them with their research – retrieving natural materials and bringing them to the various masters – players will learn how to create advanced objects, which allow them to explore further into their world…and into the galaxy too!

The first master players will meet is named Watts the blacksmith, who is the creator of most of the metal armors and weapons in the game.

 

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The crafting system of Planets³ works via a simple assembly system: each object is divided into different parts, and these parts can have different shape and be made of different materials. The shape and the material of each part will define the stats of the object. Higher quality materials create a higher quality finished product – or even an entirely new one.

VEHICLES

If you have a need for speed, don’t worry – you can build your own vehicles in Planets³, constructed completely out of blocks!

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Ground vehicles and animals are not the only means of transportation. Planets³ will have specific control blocks for spaceships!
ship_smallTo create a vehicle, players will need to find a control block, such as an engine. Don’t feel like tricking out a ride? Players can trade for pre-made vehicles by bringing NPCs the needed resources.

Building your own unique ride or leaving it up to the job masters – the choice is in your hands.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Here’s a few little details to keep in mind about Planets³:

The game is still in development; the trailer contains some footages from the current prototype and does not completely reflect the final product.

An average planet is 8km along each edge, which represents 3.2e+13 blocks. Yes, that’s right: thirty thousand billion blocks: 32 000 000 0000 000! The building potential from just one planet is nearly infinite.

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While on a planet’s surface, the view out into the rest of the universe is nearly endless! This means even from the surface of your own planet, you’ll be able to see moons and other planets in the distance.
To ensure the game runs with a variety of graphics cards, we have implemented an algorithm of sub-resolution to be able to display a quantity of blocks a individual graphic cards can manage.

The research is one of the important points of Planets³ development because it is by making this effort that we will be able to improve the visual aspect of the game as well as the player’s game experience.

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About Cubical Drift
Created in 2013, Cubical Drift is an independent video game studio bringing together video game “passionates”, each of them being an expert in their field.

Planets³ is the studio’s first project, which is ambitious both from a technical and artistic point of view. The studio foresees a 5-year schedule with the release of an extension within 3 years after the initial release, and its development onto console and mobile platforms.

Planets³ will ship in two segments, the first being Planets³: Race to Space  launching in fall of 2015, the second Planets³: Space Enemies, will arrive as the completed game in 2017 if the funding reaches $1 million.

I hope that this game reaches its full funding as the idea is awesome and is something that I wanted more out of the Minecraft experience.

Check out their Kickstarter page here and learn more about the game.

Check out their website and learn more about Cubical Drift here.

So are you as interested in this game as I am?  Looking for a more focused Minecraft game?  Let me know in the comments.

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