Author Archives: Garat

About Garat

Uber Entertainment Producer, 15+ years in the games industry. Credits include: Asheron’s Call, Zoo Tycoon 2, Supreme Commander, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, Demigod, and BioShock 2.

Planetary Annihilation: Game Client Demo and Alpha Announcement

Before we get to the video: We expect to start Alpha roll out starting at the end of May. It will be rolled out as fast as we can manage, and if you paid for Alpha access, you will get in as quickly as we can accommodate one of the largest alpha groups we’ve ever seen! Before emailing us with questions, please check the FAQ and the forums. Hopefully most questions you have are already answered! (We’re getting a bit of mail as you can imagine)

And now, the video! Enjoy, and let us know what you think of the game you all have helped make possible!

Planetary Annihilation LiveStream: Friday, April 19th

This Friday: Live Game Client Demonstration LiveStream for Planetary Annihilation

Details: Friday, April 19th, at 13:00 PDT (20:00 UTC)

http://twitch.tv/uberchannel

We’ll be showing a live, in-engine demonstration of the game client. It will be a 15 minute demo, followed by the normal Q&A. We may have a few other things to show off and talk about, but the focus of this livestream will be on the in-engine demo.

LiveStream will be uploaded to YouTube as soon as it’s finished, if you can’t make it to the broadcast!

Planetary Biome Concepts – Updates

A quick update! We’ve gotten the high res version uploaded to our own servers, so now you can download it here.

We also created two variants of cover pictures for Facebook and Google +. One based off the forest biome, and another based on the arctic biome. They’re also big enough they’ll make awesome wallpapers for lower resolution screens!

Planetary Biome Concepts

Hey all,

It’s Friday, and time for some art!

The image below is the culmination of quite a bit of work determining what the various biomes will look like. A biome is not the same thing as a planetary archetype, but rather one brush of one to many that can be used on a planet. You could have trees meeting up with desert, and some ocean/jungle off in the distance.

Without further delay, here is the image. It is a very large file. Currently hosted on tumblr, while I figure out how to get access to the underlying PHP to up the upload limit. 🙂 (Link to the Tumblr post – WordPress is having an issue with the large file)

Join the conversation about the piece here!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Biome Concept Art

In The Media

Well, it appears to be a week of writeups by some great gaming websites. First, on Wednesday afternoon, Rock, Paper Shotgun had the following to say:

Biomes! Double Craters! Height ranges! I apologise for shouting! This is totally cool, even for someone as RTS-unsavvy as I am. The Planetary Annihilation developers are very serious about the planets that make up the game’s maps, and have created the longest video ever to show you all the attributes players will have control over when they make their own planets.

You should read their full write up here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/27/make-it-to-break-it-planetary-annihilations-creation-tech/

Next, the kind folks at PC Gamer followed up, taking the lead from RPS:

Planetary Annihilation creators Uber recently ran fans through the tools they’re using to develop the Kickstarter funded RTS. While the resulting hour-long video doesn’t feature any footage from the actual game, it’s full of in-engine insights into how the team’s tools are helping them build what looks to be a cleverly thought out strategy. Also: constant, slightly hilarious, iris wipe transitions. At least it wasn’t star wipes.

And their full write up is here: http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/03/28/planetary-annihilation-devs-show-planet-creation-tech-clever-unit-pathfinding/

Thanks to both for the nice nods to our LiveStream. Clearly, we’re always uncertain how talks that technical will go over in the community, but all the comments on the YouTube stream, on the articles, our forums, and on social media have been overwhelmingly positive. We know it is pretty unheard of for a team to go into this level of detail this early in development and we’re excited to be able to show these elements of our development.

Til next week, and we hope we see you on the forums!

March 22nd LiveStream

If you were unable to join us yesterday during the LiveStream, it’s up on YouTube now.

Segment 1: Jon Mavor and Kevin Francis talk about planet generation and the deferred rendering engine. In-engine demo.

Segment 2 (00:24:15) Jon and Elijah Emerson talk about the navigation, and flow fields. In engine demo.

You can watch here:

During this LiveStream, Jon and Kevin go into detail showing off the latest iteration of the planet generator, some of the new rendering techniques and art concepts that have gone into not only creating awesome looking planets, but also to show what they’ll look like once asteroids start hitting them. Not to be missed if you have dreams of sending 5 synchronized meteors flying at your enemies.

Next, Jon and Elijah discuss flow field pathing using an in engine test bed that pushes the navigation system and units as hard as possible.

The full show is almost an hour long, and most of it is spent with the planet editor and nav tests up and running. If you want a chance to see more in-engine content than has yet been shown, this is the episode not to miss.

Have a great weekend all!

Sprinting Along

Announcements:

We’ll be doing our next LiveStream on March 22nd, 2013, where you’ll be able to see at least some of the things discussed in this update in action. Same time as always: 1300 Pacific (UTC – 8)

Development Update:

Last week, we kicked off our new blog and we’ll continue giving more insight into the development process on Planetary Annihilation. As a producer, my own role at Uber is a little unusual, and that’s with 15 years of other companies to compare it against. Everyone here at Uber helps create content that goes into the game and I’m no exception. In addition to community and marketing management, business development, driving our new sprint process, and numerous other things, I’ve been working on the first pass of unit implementation. Producers will often get pulled into creating content, writing code, or whatever their skill sets support, but often only during crunch to fill in for a resource shortfall. Over the years, I’ve done video editing, audio editing, scripting tutorials, and a hundred other things long since forgotten. This is not crunch driven necessity, but something that needs to be done, something I’m excited about doing, so I’m doing it.

As the team has grown, we have been improving our process to aim toward common goals. We currently use a light agile process that helps to keep the team better informed about what everyone else is working on, and makes it much easier to highlight the “next big goal”. Our current focus is toward a first playable build: a build where everyone on the team can launch their client, connect to an in office server, and throw down. All the parts are already there, but having parts does not make a game any more than having a muffler, wheels, engine and car body sitting in your garage makes a car. In the past two sprints, the game has gone from over 10 different test apps plus a client/server shell, to a client server that has first pass user interface that you can click through to start a game, build units, and send them toward your enemies and blow them up.

I’m working on unit blueprints and getting our first pass of units spec’d out, implemented and building/functioning in game. My own background before moving to production was engineering and technical design implementation – script heavy, data heavy implementation of a creative design, so talking with Jon, Mike (Sorian), Elijah, Steve and Andrew we determined the first pass of units we’d need to get to first playable. We have all of the land and air units building. The in game UI for this is up and running thanks to the Coherent Labs UI system implemented by William and David Johnson. Commanders build factories, factory builds fabbers, fabbers and factories then proceed to pump out more units. From there, you can see a functioning metal and energy economy and we start to see how all those systems interact to create awesome scale games. It’s great to see a giant battleship cruising on a planet, with your commander and your recently built base nearby.

We are close to starting daily playtests in the office, and we are very excited for that day to come. Things like the deferred rendering engine have come online, which allows us to do some pretty great things in the rendering pipeline that we hope to show off soon. This is seriously cool stuff, and I could write pages on the amount of work that goes into the technology and gameplay that we’ll be showing off in the months to come. Writing never seems to do it justice so we’ve been trying to show and not tell which we will be able to do more of soon.

We look forward to sharing that with you when we get there, and it’ll happen faster than most of you will believe.

Join in on the conversation here if you have comments, questions, or just want to chat.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Uber LiveStream: March 8th, 2013

Hey everyone,

Just in time for the weekend, here’s the archive of the LiveStream we did today. The overall breakdown is:

  • Outland Games Segment: Start til 52:50
    • Meet the team responsible for Outland Games, and get a 50 minute walk through of game development.
    • It’s not as easy as it looks! 🙂
  • Planetary Annihilation Segment: 52:50 to 1:15:00
    • Reviewing the greybox unit tests and the normal Q&A on the game
  • Bacon Segment: 1:15:00 til end
    • Bacon.

Watch the LiveStream:

Please also take a look at the blog for Outland Games: 30 Weeks of Game Development!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Planetary Annihilation: Blog Edition!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to our blog. My name is Garat, and I’ll be your host. Well, usually. Others will write as well, but more often than not, I’ll be gathering content, talking to fellow Uberites, and sharing whatever we can here for your enjoyment. So welcome!

First things first: Next Livestream is this Friday, 1PM (1300) Pacific Standard Time (UTC – 8) at our normal spot on twitch.tv. This Friday, meaning March 8th, 2013!

Let’s get some expectations figured out to start, since this is our very first post. Our primary goal of this blog is to have a single repository for all our announcements. We’ll still cross link to Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc, and of course we’ll continue posting regularly on the forums, but we want a one stop shop where everyone can come to get the latest updates on all things PA.

Our second goal is to update this regularly. That means at least once a week we’ll get an update here, but when possible, we’ll update more often. To get things started, for people joining the show in progress (If you’ve been here since day one, you can skip the next two paragraphs).

Planetary Annihilation was launched as a kickstarter in August of 2012, and finished to huge success in September, one month later. With an original kickstart goal of $900k, the fans came together to blow past every stretch goal we made, finally bringing in more than $2.2 million.

Since then, we have been working away on the game, driving toward alpha, and in the meantime, making a bunch of announcements along the way! If you haven’t, you should read through updates 17 – 20 on Kickstarter. There is a lot of content in there, including quite a few live streams, images, and other links. Update 20 has links to our forums, our Facebook and Google page, and other links of interest, including our pre-order website.

That’s the past. What’s going on NOW? Well… We’re making a game, actually. Our next major milestone internally is first playable, where all our systems are fully integrated, and a match can be played, with a functional UI, client-server architecture up and running, and all other features that are ready for integration. We already have “playable” builds of the game, but our definition is rather loose. To get it to a point where anyone on the team, not just engineers, can easily login, start a match and play, is the major step needed to move us toward alpha.

Fortunately all this can happen while lots of other work goes on. AI and unit development, art pipelines, virtual texturing and shadow systems to make the planets look amazing, music and sound composition, planet biome concepting and creation – as you’ve seen, commander creation, as you’ve also seen, etc. One of those et cetera items is unit concept and creation from the art team. We just did our first pass of grey boxing the first playable units for the game, which you can see here:

This is how our units start. Very little detail, just simple geometric objects that represent the first pass of needed unit functionality that we’ve planned. From here, they go through the full unit development, with detailed modeling, texture creation, animation, rigging, sound, FX, the whole kit and caboodle. The Delta commander which we recently started showing off, started much like this. All those early blocked out commanders you saw in the scale images also will go under a process like this to be turned into a fully realized planet destroying machine. More units will get added to this as we are playing through and realize “Oops, we forgot this scenario”, and existing units represented here may change functionality and design if we determine the gameplay doesn’t actually benefit from that specific unit type.

Answers to some questions we already got about what these images represent:

  • Quite a few of these are simple copy/pastes, and occasionally scaled up/down. They are there to represent gameplay functions we know we need. Little, or in some cases no, thought has really been put into how they will ultimately look, just “OK, we needs some tanks, some bots, and.. other things” so let’s get these on the scene while we continue to figure out how we want each unit to look. But we have these so that in the meantime, the team can still blow each other up.
  • We intentionally did not label any of the units in these shots. They need to be obvious at a glance what they are. We leave it to the community to see if they can identify everything they’re seeing. Some will be obvious even without the game in your hands, others might take a while before you can suss out their purpose.
  • These do not represent final art. The most complete unit on here, the Delta Commander, is still only at first pass. How units behave in gameplay, as the art style gets locked down, and internal and external feedback can further alter even first pass units to look drastically different if we determine a strong justification to alter them.

As we move past first playable in the coming weeks, and start looking toward alpha, expect to see more updates, more and more often. That includes more screenshots, more video and of course, more awesome.

Stay tuned, and bookmark this page. We’ll post update notifications to other sites, but this will become your first stop source of information, along with the forums for those who want to participate in the conversation more directly.

Thanks to you all for your excitement and support up til now, and from here on, just expect it to get even better.