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Voxel Tools: Pre-Alpha Game Design

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How about making a ingame customization of the textures where you don't have to many possibilities, but still get unique textures? I would think of something like overlaying specific patterns (created by you) together with colours you could choose to for example carve something into the stones or metals in the game. There could not be to much abuse but you would still have customization and diversity.

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As some know, I play landmark but also recently purchased space engineers. Space engineers is pretty deep as far as ship design, but its also intimidating and difficult to acclimate to after using landmark tools.

 

Specifically In landmark you place voxels by pointing your mouse, in space engineers you place voxels by moving the character into position. I find space engineers method harder to build with (I am sure if I spent more time with it, I would have less of an issue).

Is this something DU has considered? How voxels are placed, by mouse pointer or first person cross hair. 

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Hi Kiklix,

 

Sorry for the late reply.

Yes, this is something the team has already considered.

Right now, for development time constraint reasons, you place voxels by using a first person cross hair, pretty much because, by default, the game will be in First Person view. We understand having Third Person view and being able to use the mouse pointer to build voxel constructions are far more user-friendly on a building aspect. We want to implement that in game, but it's very unlikely we will have that in the Alpha version of the game.

 

I will keep the community informed on the subject as things evolve on this matter.

 

Best regards,

Nyzaltar

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Will it be possible to manipulate voxels into other shapes like we do in Landmark or will DU be coming with its own voxel editor. In the picture of the Martian from The war of the worlds that my brother and I made in Landmark, we used basic shapes to make the majority of the Martian with heavy use of line tool and smoothing, however there were parts of it that needed fixing by manipulating voxels into certain shapes to fix areas that couldn't be fixed using the tools supplied, so use of voxel reactors and boards made within Landmark came in very handy, however not everyone can use this method of fixing problems as it can be time consuming to become proficient at this so if DU has an inbuilt voxel editor that would be amazing.

Martian%20Front_zpsqxglrzmt.jpg

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Angelsheart, if you have not already read the dev blogs, I highly recommend it. Lots of cool information there 

http://devblog.dualthegame.com/page/4/

This one specifically should shed some light on NovaQuarks direction with Dual Universe. 
http://devblog.dualthegame.com/2014/08/03/shape-the-universe-leave-your-mark/#more-290

 

 

I was discussing the ideas of voxel manipulation in dual with a friend the other day. Something we talked about that many people do not touch on is that games where you can manipulate voxels like landmark often need templates and a giant ugly immersion breaking workspace to make things. Games like minecraft you just need your UI to select the brick you want to use.

One one hand I would like to see voxel manipulation in dual so we can make cool stuff like we can in LM. On the other hand I dont want to see it done like we do it in LM due to the workspace required which is not only ugly and immersion breaking, but also a drain on resources (data streaming). 

Not sure what the answer is, just bringing up points to consider. 

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No problem. Some things could be built while instanced which should not be a problem with a large community with various game play elements to have fun with. Building inside an instance is only detrimental when the only thing going on in the game is building. I think it would be hard to craft a large building into the terrain if building took place in instancing...so ya, tough call. One option would be to have build templates be invisible to anyone except the builder and when those copied voxels are placed outside of the "template zone" then they would be visible. This would not eliminate the workspace but it would reduce the amount of stuff seen in the world. 

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No problem. Some things could be built while instanced which should not be a problem with a large community with various game play elements to have fun with. Building inside an instance is only detrimental when the only thing going on in the game is building. I think it would be hard to craft a large building into the terrain if building took place in instancing...so ya, tough call. One option would be to have build templates be invisible to anyone except the builder and when those copied voxels are placed outside of the "template zone" then they would be visible. This would not eliminate the workspace but it would reduce the amount of stuff seen in the world. 

 

A game I used to play actively called Shores of Hazeron had a separate client that would let you build spaceships and buildings in. You would save the template, and then just import it to a character at a crafting area and then just drop it if you had the appropriate amount of resources.

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Hello there,

 

I would tend to KISS principle : Keep It Simple, Stupid. Else, people will get lost and it will create faucet between players.

Also, the more complex building is, the more time it will consume.

Remember that, even if we all like to build cool stuff, Dual Universe is also PvP oriented.

 

I think that Space Engineers has the right compromise. If you have not seen it yet, I suggest taking a look at ships made in steam workshop which can be really sophisticated and beautiful, even if they are based on basic shapes (attention, some ships may also use mods).

 

Regards,

Shadow

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Hello there,

 

I would tend to KISS principle : Keep It Simple, Stupid. Else, people will get lost and it will create faucet between players.

Also, the more complex building is, the more time it will consume.

Remember that, even if we all like to build cool stuff, Dual Universe is also PvP oriented.

 

I think that Space Engineers has the right compromise. If you have not seen it yet, I suggest taking a look at ships made in steam workshop which can be really sophisticated and beautiful, even if they are based on basic shapes (attention, some ships may also use mods).

 

Regards,

Shadow

 

I agree and understand the premise but I will say that I am currently making ships in another voxel game that completely outshine anything I have seen in space engineers (I also play Space Engineers), of course those ships cant fly but this is in part due to being able to manipulate the voxels. It does take longer to build, but the build (in looks) is more rewarding. 

 

I like things to be simple as well, but at the same time there is something to say about  being able to refine ones skill and continue growth in a voxel build due to being able to manipulate the vertices (I know the corners are technically "voxels" but most think of a voxel as the cube, not the corners). In the other game I play this alone has kept some of us to continue building (admittedly not that many) with very little development seen over the past year. 

 

I am less concerned about players finding new ways to make shapes with voxels and more concerned about the large workstations this often requires that ugly up the environment. 

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I agree and understand the premise but I will say that I am currently making ships in another voxel game that completely outshine anything I have seen in space engineers (I also play Space Engineers), of course those ships cant fly but this is in part due to being able to manipulate the voxels. It does take longer to build, but the build (in looks) is more rewarding. 

 

I like things to be simple as well, but at the same time there is something to say about  being able to refine ones skill and continue growth in a voxel build due to being able to manipulate the vertices (I know the corners are technically "voxels" but most think of a voxel as the cube, not the corners). In the other game I play this alone has kept some of us to continue building (admittedly not that many) with very little development seen over the past year. 

 

I am less concerned about players finding new ways to make shapes with voxels and more concerned about the large workstations this often requires that ugly up the environment. 

As long as it remains simple and accessible, I see no problem with that.

I can imagine, for example, a "smoothing tool" that round corners and edges, but asking players to manipulate meshes will probably repel most players, even if it is not mandatory.

 

Regards,

Shadow

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I think that would depend on how the "mesh" utility was approached. Less publicized and used more as a "for advanced users" it should not affect the publics perception. That being said, the other game just uses a smoothing tool, there is no mesh adjustment tool...its all trial and error and critical thinking about how the voxels work. Oddly, this technique that stems from a "simple build tool" is much more difficult to understand and use than a mesh converter would be.

 

If we are able to move the verticies in Dual through creative use of the smoothing tool and other tools, the price of admission for "good builds" will be much much more intimidating than a  mesh tool would ever be. 

 

Lastly though, I am not really asking for a mesh tool or anything like it. I just hope I can make stellar looking stuff regardless of how it happens. 

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Hi there,

 

We have taken into account:

- The interest to have a voxel editor, to manipulate directly data defining the shape of voxels (also called Hermite Data Field, for those interested :))

- The fact that voxel boards can be immersion-breaking in a consistent open world and the need of having a more user-friendly and accessible approach for a majority of builders.

 

There will be soon an update on several topics regarding the voxel tools.

It will cover: 

- The voxel tools operational so far (and those still under development).

- The possibility to have a Voxel Editor: Pros & Cons.

- Voxel Elements presentation: an alternative to Voxel Boards.

- Our stance on "Voxelmancy" (microvoxels, antivoxels and such).

 

We might make this update through a blog post, depending of the update size. If not, it will be posted piece by piece in this thread.

If you think something is missing on the topic, just let me know   ;)

 

Best regards,

Nyzaltar.

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Hello there,

 

I think that would depend on how the "mesh" utility was approached. Less publicized and used more as a "for advanced users" it should not affect the publics perception. That being said, the other game just uses a smoothing tool, there is no mesh adjustment tool...its all trial and error and critical thinking about how the voxels work. Oddly, this technique that stems from a "simple build tool" is much more difficult to understand and use than a mesh converter would be.

 

If we are able to move the verticies in Dual through creative use of the smoothing tool and other tools, the price of admission for "good builds" will be much much more intimidating than a  mesh tool would ever be. 

Good point. I can't say anything but that I do agree.

 

There will be soon an update on several topics regarding the voxel tools.

Looks great. Wait and see  :ph34r:.

 

Regards,

Shadow

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Hi there,
 
We have taken into account:
- The interest to have a voxel editor, to manipulate directly data defining the shape of voxels (also called Hermite Data Field, for those interested :))
- The fact that voxel boards can be immersion-breaking in a consistent open world and the need of having a more user-friendly and accessible approach for a majority of builders.
 
There will be soon an update on several topics regarding the voxel tools.
It will cover: 
- The voxel tools operational so far (and those still under development).
- The possibility to have a Voxel Editor: Pros & Cons.
- Voxel Elements presentation: an alternative to Voxel Boards.
- Our stance on "Voxelmancy" (microvoxels, antivoxels and such).
 
We might make this update through a blog post, depending of the update size. If not, it will be posted piece by piece in this thread.
If you think something is missing on the topic, just let me know   ;)
 
Best regards,
Nyzaltar.

 

 

 

 

Voxelmancy was the term used inside another game. Here in Dual we call it "voxelmorph". :P

 

Seriously though, I would like to lose the term voxelmancy and not carry it over to this game. 

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To be honest, I don't see where it could be wrong to use the word "Voxelmancy", even for Dual Universe. But I might be wrong, as it is just my opinion here.

The team will discuss the topic internally to be sure there is no legal wrongdoing by keeping using this word.

 

Without the intention of "stealing" any word cleverly found, trying to rename an emerging concept feels like not calling a cat... a cat.

True, this name has been created by the community of another game. And as such, this deserves credits while extending the concept to other games.

Voxelmancy is a perfect word to illustrate the idea how some people are able to manipulate voxels in a weird way that looks almost like dark, obscure magic to other players, while in fact everything can be understood with technical (and often complex) explanations. And it seems usable equally for heroic fantasy and sci-fi games.

 

Look at another example of a concept that has spread through the years: Theorycraft.

It's a concept born in the Starcraft community. Since then, it has extended to World of Warcraft and later many MMORPGs where mini-maxing stats to improve the Player Character efficiency can be seen a legitimate way of having fun.

 

Best Regards,

Nyzaltar.

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My feelings on voxelmancy have more to do with it sounding more 'magical' than 'technical'. If it were an industry used term I could understand it, but it comes from a game where very few people play and even fewer deal inside the world of voxel manipulation. As its not well known to the masses, this is the prime opportunity for Novaquark to set a new, more positive standard. Take a vote, heck I wont even vote on it...scrub my idea just so people don't think this is my way of imprinting myself into something new. 

Secondly, voxelmancy simply due to the namesake and being "magical" infers the feeling of "not understanding" where as technical terminology (although equally as scary in to the layman) at least drives home that it is something understandable. 

 

The overall perception of voxelmancy seemed negative in that other game. A lot of players in that game dislike it because in that game the developers seemed to pay the most attention to people who use heavy voxel manipulation. I feel this is part of the decline of that game or the lack of attraction. I simply do not want to see the same thing happen here. Bringing over a term that already has negative connotations is starting off on the wrong foot in my opinion. Being fair and rebutting my own opinion I will quote myself "its not well known to the masses". So maybe it will not be an issue, but I would rather not take the chance. 

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I don't think I've personally ever fully been clear on the voxelmancy concept. The reason being: there are players who are good at voxel manipulation (ie creating new yechniques/voxel shapes etc) and there are players who are good at using those techniques to make something outstanding. There are those in between and a rare few who are adept at both, though not that many.

 

I've been called a voxelmancer but don't consider myself one. I just build what feels inspiring. I don't create weird vox3lmancer shapes. Though I have used/discovered my own techniques others asked me to show them.

 

The term voxelmancer caused some rifts in some aspects of the community in other voxel game, in the alpha stage, simply because there was some frustration from some (not myself) that voxelmancy was on the verge of being elitist and prevented some less adept players from building at a high standard because instead of solid tools, players were left to invent their own ways around voxelmancy by making up new techniques (work-a-rounds). These were never my arguments but as time has gone on I've come to see the points behind the frustrations some players had.

 

There are pros and cons of voxelmancy. I guess it is a term that is now out there, though I agree with Kiklix the 'mancy' aspect has connotations of magic rather than Sci fi.

 

My hope is voxelmancy in DU will mean a player is simply good at building, instead of what it means in the other game: inventing new microvoxel techiques, because that would likely mean voxelboards and I would really like to get away from those. If it's not possible then I will embrace it, but personally I have found the past year of learning work-around after work-a-round frustrating. If we can do what microvoxels/offsets etc can do with Dev made tools, I will be super happy.

 

I have much faith in NQ.

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I recall a reasonable amount of people on the other games forums being intimidated by "voxelmancy". I think a lot of it had to do with it being player discovered and controlled. What I mean is that there was no official tool, or documentation to help people understand what voxelmancy meant. My belief is that this confusion of no understanding what voxelmancy was, coupled with the "mancy" namesake (which reinforces "magical" or "divine") is in part of what gave it negative press. Now, there was positive press with the name, but it was from people who made tutorials for self promotion but you had to scour social media to understand what voxelmancy was. Also part of the turn off for the average person is that there was not an official source that contained all this information. Essentially voxelmancy felt like going back to school and taking a class, except there was no syllabus.

At the end of the day I care less about the word that is created to describe voxel manipulation, but what I do care about is leaving the negative connotations that word had in the other game, behind (I feel uneasy even mentioning it here). 

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Hi Kiklix and Lady_Astrum !

 

You made some very valid points there.

Indeed, "Voxelmancy" is a word that could interpreted negatively, or at least seen as intimidating, discouraging.

As we try to promote an easier way to promote voxel manipulation, well, it makes sense to find another word defining it.

 

Thanks a lot for your feedback!  "voxelmorph" and "voxelmorphing" have been noted.

We will discuss about it in the team :)

 

Best Regards,

Nyzaltar.

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Hi Kiklix and Lady_Astrum !

 

You made some very valid points there.

Indeed, "Voxelmancy" is a word that could interpreted negatively, or at least seen as intimidating, discouraging.

As we try to promote an easier way to promote voxel manipulation, well, it makes sense to find another word defining it.

 

Thanks a lot for your feedback!  "voxelmorph" and "voxelmorphing" have been noted.

We will discuss about it in the team :)

 

Best Regards,

Nyzaltar.

You're awesome Nyzaltar. I'm looking forward to knowing more about the experience of building with voxels in DU more than anything else at the moment.

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Voxelmancy was the term used inside another game. Here in Dual we call it "voxelmorph". :P

 

Seriously though, I would like to lose the term voxelmancy and not carry it over to this game. 

 

I like Voxelmorph a lot.

 

I didn't like the term Voxelmancy either.  It grew on me in a sort of Stockholm Syndrome kind of way i guess, but i don't like how it equates effort to some kind of voodoo.  

 

On the subject of whether it's a good thing to have it in the game, i guess it's sort of a double-edged sword.  First i think i should clarify exactly what i think "Voxelmancy" means though.  At one point i just thought of it as highly technical building.  But as building in Landmark has evolved my definition of what it means definitely has too.

 

What Voxelmancy means to me now is more like unsupported building techniques, or unintuitive methods.  Doing something with a building tool that produces an unintended result.  We had to use these tricks in Landmark because we had no other way to create many shapes.  The voxels had the ability but we just had no way to shape them.

 

So the more tools we have to shape voxels, the less need for Voxelmancy.  

 

If we are just talking about depth in building, or how technical you can get, then i personally can't get enough.   But I think the building can still have all that depth and also be accessible if it's intuitive and well designed.

 

One thing i love about Landmark is that even though it essentially has no progression, when i log in i'm a level 80 Voxelmancer, and the best part is i can delete the character and make a new one and still be a level 80 Voxelmancer, because the progression is all my own.

 

I guess the trick is just to make the learning process something that's enjoyable and a part of the game too.

 

People shouldn't have to go out of the game to learn how to build if possible.   So maybe some kind of system that allowed players to create in game building tutorials might be the answer.  What if you could record a hologram of your character performing a few building steps then add instructions to it and save it in game somehow. 

 

That might be too complicated to make happen but it would be cool :D   

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