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DevBlog: Builder gameplay, Voxel Tools & Elements

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So a couple of questions, I personally am a big fan of spinal guns, basically the turretless assault guns of spaceships, big clumsy weapons systems mounted without a turret which the ship is more or less built around, will these exist in dual universe?

and will I be able to take models I have created elsewhere and voxelfy them, allowing them to be used in the game, or will I have to remake my creations inside the game?

can't wait until release by the way, don't think I've ever been this excited for a game before, the hype is real


oh, one more thing, can I make railways for planetary defense? long story short I had the idea of using armoured trains armed with anti-siege weaponry as a planetary defense mechanism >~>

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This is not WoW, there are no instances. What you are suggesting are instances in an MMO that its selling points are no instances. This is also why DUAL needs its subscription model. It's not the average Korean crap that's fully instanced. 

Yikes I think I just got eaten by a raptor. lol. That's not what I meant or how it would work but I see your point. That would be the effect. 

'Creeps away from the well armed cat really carefully.' 

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Silly voxel question. Are you using marching squares, marching squares with the hole fixed or marching tetrahedrons?  Are there any unallocated values in the mesh list? Can your voxels have normal maps?
If there are unallocated values we could do a few shapes like chair legs, thin struts, Shelves and small bumps and lumps but the procedural automesh function would have to skip these to avoid errors but it would give captaintwerkmotor those mosaics, etc.  No fuss microvoxels. 

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Any plans to put in a concave tool?  On the crafting video triangles were used to fill in the gaps at the front of the cockpit. Just wondering if you could achieve the same effect by chopping the base voxel with a concave tool.

 

http://www.ign.com/videos/2016/09/01/dual-universe-first-look-at-crafting-gameplay

 

Also near the start when the voxel was edited with the ball shape  it left an obscure shaped piece near the core. Would that piece be movable/rotateable and able to join other pieces?  Effectively letting us design our own elements I guess?

 

Sorry if it's a daft question I don't know the limitations or what's already in.

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Any plans to put in a concave tool?  On the crafting video triangles were used to fill in the gaps at the front of the cockpit. Just wondering if you could achieve the same effect by chopping the base voxel with a concave tool.

 

http://www.ign.com/videos/2016/09/01/dual-universe-first-look-at-crafting-gameplay

 

Also near the start when the voxel was edited with the ball shape  it left an obscure shaped piece near the core. Would that piece be movable/rotateable and able to join other pieces?  Effectively letting us design our own elements I guess?

 

Sorry if it's a daft question I don't know the limitations or what's already in.

THat's what the smooth tool is for. It's the same mechanism that makes hills possible. It trims the voxels to take a smooth shape.

 

 

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Any plans to put in a concave tool?  On the crafting video triangles were used to fill in the gaps at the front of the cockpit. Just wondering if you could achieve the same effect by chopping the base voxel with a concave tool.

 

http://www.ign.com/videos/2016/09/01/dual-universe-first-look-at-crafting-gameplay

 

Also near the start when the voxel was edited with the ball shape  it left an obscure shaped piece near the core. Would that piece be movable/rotateable and able to join other pieces?  Effectively letting us design our own elements I guess?

 

Sorry if it's a daft question I don't know the limitations or what's already in.

This is a key feature of the technology and it is where landmarks microvoxels started but there is a catch. If you create a lot of these odd shapes it must record more data per voxel: orientation, smooth level, centre of smooth, off set if you use that. It turns into a lot of data per voxel and too many such odd voxels will load slower. Landmark solved this, I believe, by turning the most common microvoxels into independent meshes. 

 

For those that don't know how these non minecraft voxels work read these wikipedia pages. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marching_cubes and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marching_tetrahedra 

Someone has maliciously deleted a key paragraph and pictures from the Marching tetrahedra wikipage degrading it badly. 

 

Many people use the Marching tetrahedra now because marching cubes has a hole but that hole should not be a problem in a 25 cm voxel system. The hole would be 12 cm, too small for a player or anything with a bounding box greater than 12 cm to fall or glitch though. It would be visible though. It is easily fixed if you are using the right lookup table. http://i.stack.imgur.com/i4Yyt.jpg

It is caused by the 3 to 6 ambiguity. 

http://users.polytech.unice.fr/~lingrand/MarchingCubes/algo.html

Minecraft builds a mesh over the voxel but the mesh is centred on the voxel. For the smooth voxels we see in this game and a dozen others the voxels appear to be at the cubes corners.  

So when you place a cube of material you are defining all 8 corners to be that voxel material when you place a wedge, two are defined as air (orientation says which two).

In the kind of complex shape fragments Majestic is talking about, only three or four voxels are set to polymer and the rest set to air. It can be simplified by referencing two materials and the cube configuration, one of 12 orientations and a smooth curvature +/-. If it's marching cubes you also need a test to look for the hole and add 6 more cube configurations to plug it.  

What JC is doing looks simple but there are pages on code under the hood. In every game memory is always lacking and bandwidth always limiting. 

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Personally I think its great NQ are taking into consideration every aspect of play! every Dev blog is very informative and I am grateful about their transparency that things may be subject to change and are not finished yet but I hope it is everything they want it to be!

 

The game just keeps adding new depth and layers all as exiting as the last while trying to take every style of play into consideration. Very ambitious but keep up the great work! I hope that the thunderclap and crowd funder are successful!

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(Posted Friday 19th of February 2016 on the DevBlog

 

voxel-tools.jpg?w=680
 
 
In the past few weeks Dual Universe has been on occasion described as being mainly a PvP MMO. However Dual Universe is so much more than this: it has a rich �Builder� gameplay at its core, which is rather new in the MMO genre (at least at this scale). Specifically, this gameplay is not just a kind of single player experience added on top of a MMO, but takes an entirely new dimension because of the fact that you are building within a MMO that takes the word �massive� seriously. This is a crucial aspect, and is central to the emergent gameplay experience.
 
We plan to implement the Builder gameplay in the Alpha version (not all tools might be ready though) before any PvP gameplay. We are doing this for 2 reasons:
- We would like to send a message: our game is as much a Builder Game as a PvP Game.
- In our game vision, building constructs will be the first brick of the gameplay cycle.
 
 
Warning: everything said in this blog post is still "work in progress". Development is an iterative process and the gameplay may evolve a lot between now and when the players will get their hands on the game. 
 
 
Goals we have in mind for the Builder role:
 
 
Building as a meaningful activity:
 
Instead of just remaining an end in itself, we want to give to the Building activity a purpose to all the time invested in it. To build gigantic things and just stare at them once they are finished feels like something is missing. If you have played other Builder games, like some people in our team, you might have felt this way. That's why we plan to place the Builders at the heart of the Economy. We want to make them feel useful or even essential to other players. Builders will be able to sell, or buy their creations together with other players to increase their wealth for other purposes. Building activity will, along with the crafting activity, bootstrap the player-driven Economy. And a strong emergent Economy will be necessary to make PvP possible on a large scale. So even for PvP Players, Builders will matter.
 
 
builders-pvp-players.png?w=760
 
 
Showing your art to an incredibly bigger audience:
 
You are an artist for the sake of Art, and you don't really care about making your creations profitable or being useful to anyone. That's fine and even in that case you could still have a solid reason to build in a single-shard game like Dual Universe. Why? If you want to show what you�re capable of to the community, well, in the average Builder game, you will be able to show your work to 20, 50 or possibly a few hundred players if you are on a solid and very populated server, but this is still a small part of the game community. Of course, you have social media to enlarge your audience, but watching a video on YouTube is not comparable to seeing an impressive fortress in game, right? Imagine that in a single shard universe, your creations can become a tourist attraction similar to real life monuments (Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower), bringing thousands of in-game visitors just here to see your Art� Well, you get the picture.
 
 
 
The protection we plan for the Builders:
 
Building is a very time consuming activity to bear fruits, we are very well aware of this. It is also something many players practice as a relaxing activity. So if a builder wants to build without risking being attacked by a PvP player, he will have the opportunity to do it in non-PvP, secure areas. Right from the beginning, there will be a secure area of several kilometers around the Arkship (the in-game starting point). Beyond the safety of the Arkship, as players explore the universe, we are currently evaluating other possibilities for additional secure areas in the game to protect builders and their creations, as the number of players in game grows and they spread across the universe. We know that each possibility comes with Pros and Cons. Expect the final decision to be announced more or less at the same time we�ll communicate in detail about the PvP gameplay. Here is a brief outline to some safe building zone ideas:
 
- Arkification Token: the ability to find tokens (alien relics?) for the players while exploring or mining. They could be used wherever the owner want, and will be destroyed upon use. This would then create an indestructible safe area and anything in it become untouchable by PvP Mechanisms.
 
- Alien Ruins: areas on planets containing lost, deactivated alien technology that could be rebuilt/reactivated by players. Once the area is rebuild/reactivated, the area becomes safe and anything in it becomes untouchable by PvP Mechanisms.
 
- Virtual Simulator: enabling player to enter a virtual world (call it �inception syndrome�!). While in that virtual space, the player would be able to design any construct, in a completely peaceful setting. This would help builders to design their construct and create their blueprints safely, without being interrupted by any PvP action. For ships, it will also be possible to test their flight mode, without risking a crash or wasting resources!
 
What about the constructs built in non-secure areas? These will be destructible. We assume what take the most time in the building activity is to design a construct the first time and tweak all the small details on it. Once you have the Blueprint, or a Construct Snapshot with a Repair Unit, it�s only a matter of gathering resources to repair it or reproduce it an infinite number of times. This is the best way to make the PvP destruction acceptable in our opinion, but we remain open to community suggestions!
 
 
 
The Tools available for the Builders:
 
We have taken some time to analyze and gather information about what are the strengths and weaknesses of already released builder games. It seems they all fall into two main categories:
 
Those who have predefined blocks which are easy to take in hand gameplay wise, enabling players to build nice designs quickly but where the creativity is limited, due to the number of different preset blocks you can choose from to build with.
Those who have voxel tools enabling players to manipulate the world to reach maximum creativity freedom. The drawback is generally that this ability to manipulate voxels is incredibly intimidating and difficult to take in hand for a beginner. While a few experienced players can build wondrous things, the vast majority of players are overwhelmed and discouraged.
In order to avoid the pitfall from the two genres, we�ve come to the conclusion to get the best of both worlds to appeal to both experienced and novice builders. So yes, in the Alpha, you can expect to have �Voxel Tools� as well as what we call �Voxel Elements�. So, what exactly are Voxel Tools & Voxel Elements?
 
Voxel Tools:
 
Deploy/Remove Shape Tool: 
 
voxel-tools-deploy-remove-actions.jpg?w=
 
In a nutshell this tool enables the builder to deploy (or remove) a primitive shape, a bit like a 3D brush. Right now it can be a cube, a sphere or a triangular prism. The size of the shape can be resized and rotated. It can be used for deploying/extracting large shapes or for fine tuning those intricate details.
 
voxel-tools-deploy-remove-primitive-shap
 
However it will grow in versatility as time passes: we plan to include cylinders, cones, tetrahedrons (triangle-based pyramid), square-based pyramids and many more! 
 
next-primitive-shapes.jpg?w=680
 
Line Tool: this enables the builder to create a plain linear connection between two rectangular surfaces that you are free to define. Both the starting rectangular surface and the ending rectangular surface of the volume are defined before deployment: the size of the rectangular base at each extremity is decided by the player with a simple drag&drop movement.
 
voxel-tools-line-tool.jpg?w=680
 
 
Smoothing Tool (work in progress): this enables the builder to smooth sharp edges and corners progressively enabling more organic and streamlined shapes to be made. The smoothing action can be triggered either by a click or by maintaining the mouse button to have a continuous smoothing action. 
 
Select Tool (work in progress): this enables the builder to select a precise group of voxels and save it temporarily (like in a clipboard) or permanently in their Voxel Element Library. The selection can then be reproduced (copy/paste) in the world (assuming the builder has the necessary quantity of material to reproduce it). Note that it only stores the voxel content and not other game Elements (eg Engines).
 
Paint Tool (scheduled): this enables the builder to �paint� any surface of a construct. In fact, it�s material swapping: one voxel of a specific material is replaced by one voxel of another material. The removed quantity of material is put in the player inventory while the quantity of material used to replace it is taken from the player inventory. We will try to have two painting modes: sharp painting (similar to hard edge painting) and smooth painting (where the material recently deployed is slightly propagating to adjacent voxels, creating a blending effect).
 
Voxel Elements (or Voxel-based Elements):
 
Put simply, a Voxel Element is a complex, predefined voxel-based shape constituted of one (or more) material(s). A spiral staircase is a good example of a Voxel Element. Voxel Elements will be gathered in a library. We plan to include more and more complex shapes in this library. The feedback from the community will be essential to know which complex shapes will be the most useful to builders. In the long term, builders will also have the ability to create Voxel Elements themselves, and to save them to their Voxel Element Library. They will also be able to modify the materials used by the Voxel Elements, so if you want a metal stair with a wooden handrail, or vice versa, you will have to simply update the materials attached to the Voxel Element.
 
Mesh-based Elements (or �Elements�):
 
As well as Voxel Tools and Voxel Elements there are also predefined game Elements like Cockpits, Engines, Boosters, etc� They bring functionalities to your Construct, and can be attached to your voxel-based creations, setting up their anchor point and orientation. Some Elements will be required to build certain things. A basic flying craft will require a Core Unit, a Control Unit, a Gyroscope, and a few propulsors (adjustors to orient, rockets to fly), but the voxel-made chassis, hull and design of the craft is entirely left to the builder.
 
Well, that�s all for now. We hope this gives you a better idea about the plans we have for all the Builders in Dual Universe. Don�t hesitate to give your feedback on the forum, if you have any suggestion or comments to make: we really want to have your opinion on this! :)
 
The Novaquark Team.

 

whats with the '

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As I understand it, mesh elements are functional and voxel elements are more decorative. Is there the possibility of having the voxel elements fulfill some functional roles as well? Especially since mesh elements are not planned to be editable (for a while) so the constructs that depend on those elements may look...samey.

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whats with the '

Incompatibility with European key board unicode and American html that the site uses. Some text editors in word processors do apostrophes differently based on language settings. Blame planet microsoft. There is a European and American system and if the word processor is set to one and the browser is set to the other the  appears. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specials_(Unicode_block)#Replacement_character

 

NQ-Nyzaltar can fix it manually but that's no fun. Setting all the computers to the same font would be a pest because this is occurring because the french ' is not the same unicode as the English ' used on this site. In french the ' has extra functions; they need those functions.  It's a European key board setting problem. It might be fixable by using a word processor setting or using open office text writer instead of the microsoft version. 

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what about a ridged curve line tool I have already started to make a style guild and it has a lot of curved lines

 

 

 

You might want to check this out -> 

 

I know it's from Landmark and it's been posted like 2 years ago, but from what I've seen already, DU is currently at the state where LM was two years ago in terms of building tools and probably similar techniques apply here, which I'm eager to try when DU alpha is released :)

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Incompatibility with European key board unicode and American html that the site uses. Some text editors in word processors do apostrophes differently based on language settings. Blame planet microsoft. There is a European and American system and if the word processor is set to one and the browser is set to the other the  appears. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specials_(Unicode_block)#Replacement_character

 

NQ-Nyzaltar can fix it manually but that's no fun. Setting all the computers to the same font would be a pest because this is occurring because the french ' is not the same unicode as the English ' used on this site. In french the ' has extra functions; they need those functions.  It's a European key board setting problem. It might be fixable by using a word processor setting or using open office text writer instead of the microsoft version. 

Yeah. It's charset basically. French one is UTF-8 as I know, shame there isn't the possibility to use multiple charsets at once.

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I think that copyright laws are a little odd in this area. Since those constructs are produced by a private player, I don't think legal action can be taken. From my

 

understanding, copyright laws only take effect when someone is trying to make a profit off of a copyrighted thing. Since no one here is making real money from the ships,

 

and since the DU devs didn't make it and use it to sell the game, I don't think there'll be an issue.

If you copy someone else's work, it's a copyright violation. Build an X-wing fighter that a layman would say is the same as the one in Star Wars and, yes, George Lucas has a claim against you. Doesn't matter if you try to make a profit off it. (Copyright holders are not required to enforce - unlike trademark holders - and a rights holder will often let it slide if you're not making a profit... but he doesn't have to).

 

In the US, the special digital copyright law (which is a huge overreach, IMO) makes this even tougher for digital matter... so making that X- wing in an online game is a bigger violation than building an unauthorized model in RL.

 

Most of the big sci-fi franchises... SW, ST, BSG... appear in RP sims in Second Life... I assume the rights holders have OKed this in some way. IDK if that would apply to a game like DU.

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(Posted Friday 19th of February 2016 on the DevBlog

 

 
 
builders-pvp-players.png?w=760
 
 
 

 

What I want to know is where are those PvPers getting the money to buy my ships?

 

First there's the general question of where game money comes from in DU... in most MMORPGs it comes from NPC/monster drops. In one game I've played it is purchased for RL cash by the players (that's how that game is monetized). DU is very short on NPCs, so where does the money come from. Will we be trading DACs (purchased for cash) for raw goods?

 

But wherever it comes from, how are the PvPers earning game money?

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What I want to know is where are those PvPers getting the money to buy my ships?

 

First there's the general question of where game money comes from in DU... in most MMORPGs it comes from NPC/monster drops. In one game I've played it is purchased for RL cash by the players (that's how that game is monetized). DU is very short on NPCs, so where does the money come from. Will we be trading DACs (purchased for cash) for raw goods?

 

But wherever it comes from, how are the PvPers earning game money?

It's exactly what I've pointed out before on a previous topic. I think the one about DACs being lootable/ unlootable, but not so sure. It was a topic about money though.

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Hello Everybody,

 

i wonder if there will be a way to upload own mesh stuff to this world?

 

And when YES, what kind of format it will be.

Is there any info right now?

 

 

Many thanks for now =)

Floyd

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Hello Everybody,

 

i wonder if there will be a way to upload own mesh stuff to this world?

 

And when YES, what kind of format it will be.

Is there any info right now?

 

 

Many thanks for now =)

Floyd

The Devs have said that only they will be able to upload their own 3D meshworks (Elements) in the game. The reason, being the same as with Planetside 2, in the sense that limited and controlled 3D-Mesh objects create less hiccups on loading times when people are in-range.

 

And because copyrights and stuff.

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