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New Dual Universe Articles (08/22/17)

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First, there's this new article on MMORPG.com

http://www.mmorpg.com/dual-universe/interviews/checking-in-with-novaquarks-ambitious-space-sandbox-1000011963

 

 

And this one by pcgamesinsider.biz 

http://www.pcgamesinsider.biz/success-story/66074/another-mans-sky-novaquarks-vision-for-ambitious-mmo-dual-universe/

 

 

It's likely more articles are forthcoming this week too, as Gamescom has just begun :) 

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I couldn't access the second one, but the first one is really interesting.

 

It sounds like they are going to keep a tighter hold on expansion than previously thought. 

Quote

Even if the universe will be almost infinite (we still plan on a limited galaxy, albeit very large), the size of the practically explored/visited universe will grow slowly according to the player’s progression in the game. We don’t want players to be able to instantly teleport anywhere in a galaxy of billions of planets, because then every time you arrive on a new planet, it’s almost always empty. We want the community to build up the content of planets one by one and expand wisely, but with no hard limit.
 

 

I think this is actually very smart if properly managed. 

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2 hours ago, Lord_Void said:

I couldn't access the second one

 

By Alex Calvin, Editor - PC Games Insider
Quote

 

At this stage, it’s unsurprising to see developers trying to create the most ambitious games possible; but it’s a bit unusual to see an AI and robotics expert giving the MMO genre a crack.

But that’s precisely what Dual Universe is – an ambitious MMO made by Novaquark, the development studio founded by one Jean-Christophe Baillie.

For several years, the French genius has been experimenting with large-scale virtual worlds, with Dual Universe being the culmination of this work.

“Dual Universe is a sci-fi sandbox game set within a continuous single-shard universe,” Baillie tells PCGI.

“This means that everybody shares the same universe, at the same time. There are many planets and places to explore. Dual Universe is also all about emergent gameplay. Players can build anything they want from ships and cities, to orbital stations and anything in between, everything is editable, including the planet themselves. Players will be able to create collective stories and gameplay based around exploration, mining, crafting, trade, politics, and warfare. The ‘continuous single-shard’ aspect is key here. It means that there are no abstract boundaries. No instancing, no zoning, no loading time. We want to offer a really immersive experience. In terms of gameplay, we believe that what we are trying to do with Dual Universe changes everything. Because in-game, everything you do matters. You are part of a collective story, it's not just about yourself.

"We think Dual Universe will see the rise and fall of several empires and the dawn of new virtual civilisations.”

 

A single shard universe in an MMO isn’t exactly unprecedented; Eve Online operates on this technology (apart from China, which has its own server). And though Baillie says there numerous challenges, there is pay off in terms of the worlds Novaquark can create.

“There are many challenges. Due to our single-shard approach, we cannot have regional servers, for example,” he explains.

“There are no instances in Dual Universe. That's the point. While playing, everybody is in the same world at the same time. Everything is persistent. There will be one central cluster to connect to. Displaying thousands of players and constructs with their own customisable LUA scripts is a challenge and that's very stimulating to work on.

“We believe this approach will bring something new to players. A new approach that changes everything. To my knowledge, there is no other project out there trying to deal with this level of scalability. We’ve heard of improbable.io, which seems to go in a similar direction, but they don’t have the kind of planetary, voxel-based fully editable world technology we have. That is a big difference in terms of gameplay.”

The single shard technology is based on is not the only impressive feat the game has managed, either. After a Kickstarter push that raked in $668,134, Novaquark has attracted a total of $7.4m following a recent funding round.

“This successful fundraising campaign is a very important step for Novaquark,” Baillie says.

“It's all possible thanks to the fantastic support of the community, and the Kickstarter has proved that there's a demand for Dual Universe. The potential is huge here and our current investors now trust us more than ever and are eager to continue their support for the project. We're hard at work to deliver what was promised to backers and confident that our vision of the renewal of the MMO genre will attract even more fans and partners along the way."

 

Being an upcoming science fiction with some huge ambitions and a massive scope, there are certainly comparisons to be drawn between Dual Universe and Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky. That latter game released last year and disappointed many people due to the scope of the marketing and expectations far exceeding the actual content of the game (at launch). Baillie says that he and his team have learnt from Hello’s experience.

“Both games have some common points and comparisons were inevitable,” he admits.

“We try to be very clear and to manage players' expectations every day on what Dual Universe will or will not feature. We're confident because our game was envisioned to be an MMO from the beginning. We didn't need to adapt on a production level to what we promised. Our Continuous Single Shard Cluster (CSSC) technology is there. It works. It needs constant fine-tuning following up our tests but it's here. Our proprietary voxel engine is also very robust. We can display many things on screen and everything is editable in real time and persistent. While leaving or entering a planet's atmosphere, you don't have any loading times. We released several videos on our YouTube channel to showcase that. It works as we've shown it and as people have seen and played it at PAX last year or during some community events we organised.”

 

Despite having a rather measured approach to marketing communication, Novaquark has some rather lofty goals for Dual Universe.

“We want to bring the ultimate sandbox MMO to the market,” Baille says.

“Something that features the best of EVE Online and Minecraft and offers something new to players. We give them the tools and plant a few seeds. Then, the community will make the game flourish. We already have more than 1,500 organisations -the equivalent of guilds- created in our community portal. More than 9,000 players backed us on Kickstarter and our own crowdfunding portal, and it continues.

“If everything goes well, in several years we hope to be the number one platform for user-generated online entertainment, a central place for you to meet your friends, and live adventures together. Basically, we're making the Matrix [from William Gibson’s Neuromancer] or the Oasis [Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One], if you prefer.

“That's the ambition for Dual Universe, and we're just at the beginning.”

 

 

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I think the biggest takeaway from these interviews is the better impression we're getting on JC's idea for how the game should expand and grow. Specifically this quote:

 

Quote

"You first have space ships, then faster spaceships, then warp drives, then Stargates. This will take many years." (emphasis mine)

 

We've all known about stargates and FLT drives for a long time, but this seems to be saying that those things are going to be deliberately designed to be unreachable for years, and I don't think most people realized that.

 

This is a really big deal because it completely changes how people imagine the gameplay, and how we need to pitch DU to others. If we sell people on the idea of exploring a massive universe like No Man's Sky (man do I hate that comparison), then they're going to be extremely disappointed when they get in-game and realize they can't do that for years. If the game's not actually going to become functionally interstellar for a long time, then we need to understand the implications of that ourselves, and make sure we market the game appropriately to our friends. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely and completely agree with this sort of long-term thinking (if this is actually what JC meant by those comments). One of the most significant problems for open world building games is that they always feel empty and lifeless, because everyone and everything is so spread out. By forcing players to remain in a concentrated area (first on Alioth, then the starting solar system), the players will be channeled into building a living and active world, instead of just scattering all over the galaxy and never seeing each other again. This is a great idea, and shows a great level of forethought and long-term planning.

 

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When I first heard that PC Games Insider had compared DU to NMS, I was worried that it was going to be a harsh/unfair comparison, but it seems to me that the article is pretty fair based on what information we have so far, which is nice to see.

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You can add this one to the list, from ComputerBild.de :

http://www.computerbild.de/artikel/cbs-Vorschau-PC-Dual-Universe-No-Man-s-Sky-trifft-Minecraft-18798441.html

 

It's in german, if anyone is willing to translate in english, thanks.

I used Google Translate to read it. There is no official news, but it's a good article about DU.

 

PS : At the end you have a link to the Gamescom babes :P

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I love how JC and the Novaquark team are approaching this game. The fact that FTL/warpdrives and stargates are planned as expansions to the game after release and the days months years it will take to learn all the skills and such really drives home the emergent game play. the first year we will be in a relatively small area of the game. Its going to be a lot of fun to see how the game progresses, especially the area around the arkship as the years go by

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On 23/08/2017 at 2:22 AM, Xugo said:

“If everything goes well, in several years we hope to be the number one platform for user-generated online entertainment, a central place for you to meet your friends, and live adventures together. Basically, we're making the Matrix [from William Gibson’s Neuromancer] or the Oasis [Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One], if you prefer.

“That's the ambition for Dual Universe, and we're just at the beginning.”

 

 

That's what I call ambitious! I love it!

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