Category Archives: COMMUNITY

Weekly Update: Big Week, Big Noise

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The Pit is the colorful name we call the open floor area where most of Uber Entertainment’s programmers, engineers, and artists sit. Bodies and desks are packed together, purposefully, in close-knit configurations, so information flows more easily between each other. Need feedback? Have a question? Just turn and ask. Working closer is working smarter.

The Pit has a rep for being loud. And, spoiler: it’s accurate. But, this week it’s even louder. We’re launching our tower offense / defense game, Toy Rush, on May 15. And we’re also pushing hard on a new massive Planetary Annihilation update. We’re taking the noise to 11, as we discuss all the exciting new developments across these two fantastic projects.

The next Planetary Annihilation update will include an experience you’ve been waiting for. To be a little more specific, it’s a “big rock” feature. Big rock features are high-priority features that either: (a) blend parts of the game to make it more cohesive, (b) amp up the intensity of the game, (c) introduce new mechanics, or (d) add a new mode. Whatever the big rock is, you can bet it’s going to be awesome.

So, excuse all the noise. We think the reward is worth it.

More Thoughts On Balance

 

Last week, we talked about balance and opened up PTE to our early backers. This week, let’s move the discussion forward a bit and talk about the process — and why we consider it fluid.

Balancing a game is like players with levers on a terminal. Move a lever, get a result. The catch, though, is that sometimes when you move a lever, another lever on the other end of the terminal might move in the opposite direction alongside it.

Here’s an example: during beta, we cranked up the production rate of bot factories to see if it would lead to more raiding opportunities and early game fights. And you know what? It totally worked. In internal playtests, we were attacking each other more often and battling it out way earlier in matches than normal.

Everything was totally cool until Brad discovered that if he hoarded his bot units, he could create unstoppable balls of doom that both could steamroll entire bases and pulverize Commanders way, way too quickly in games.

One change can impact a lot, and it takes some time to find the holes. Balance is an act that revolves around predictability, in addition to more nebulous things like feel, fairness, and your expectations. In the “live” environment, we keep all of this in mind, as we push changes. But, we’re also always ready to react, too.

PTE is a great way to experience this testing process. But, as you play, it’s healthy to keep in mind that experiments we run in PTE are just that; experiments. Experimentation allows us to find new ways for our systems to interact and, generally, lets us pull levers safely. Planetary Annihilation already feels awesome, but PTE is going to help us make it even awesome-r.

And Now For Some Questions

 

I’m an early backer! Where’s my key?

Hey, that’s no good! If you were an early backer, the steps to find your game key are pretty easy. Let’s refer to the almighty FAQ:

If you went to the Uber Store and couldn’t see your early backer pledge after signing in, it’s probably because you haven’t finalized your pledge yet. An order must be finalized before it becomes visible in our account system.

 

Go to http://uberent.com/KS/FindMyPledge and enter the email address you originally used with Kickstarter or Paypal to find your pledge. If the link tells you it can’t find an e-mail, you probably weren’t an early backer. If you’re totally certain you were an early backer — rather than a pre-orderer — please e-mail support.

Will there be buttons on the overlay that show you your idle fabricators, as well as idle factories?

That’s an interesting question! Immediately, we’re doing a lot of work with hotkeys that’ll make it easier for you to utilize your idle fabricators and factories. Down the line we may just end up visualizing idleness, but ideally we want to give you tools that are so intuitive that you rarely even have idle units.

Speaking of, uh, Planetary Annihilation (sometimes transitions are hard), Steve’s been working on making new screenshots to show off the game. We thought we’d whip out our favorite “old” one to show you. So awesome.

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Thanks for reading today, guys. Have a question? Fire it at mailbag@uberent.com. And don’t forget to check us out elsewhere on the world wide web  — be it Facebook, or Twitter, Google Plus, or our forums.

Fire! PTE! Balance! Oh My!

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If you walk into our office through the secret entrance, the first person you’d see is Tim. He’s making new decals. In development lingo, he’s doing “dec work.” Basically, he helps make the terrain look scarred whenever something blows up — or, now, catches on fire.

If you take a left through the corridor of computers as you approach Tim’s desk, you’ll see Ben making new effects. And Forrest testing various performance tweaks. Look a little deeper and you’ll find something … new and vast. Something that Planetary Annihilation fans are going to dig.

As usual, we’ve got a lot of new stuff coming into Planetary Annihilation. The one we’d like to talk about today? Fire. We showed off fire for the first time courtesy a not-so-sly Facebook tease. In just a couple of days, you’ll be able to get your, er, hands on it, too.

Fire doesn’t just look cool. It adds a new strategic dimension to the game. And, ironically, it isn’t because of the fire itself — it’s because of trees. In the fire update, trees will be physical objects. Units won’t be able to stomp through them. Instead, they’ll have to path around them. You can also reclaim trees for bursts of metal, if you’re low on resources.

In the early game, you can imagine the advantage that selecting a spawn by a bunch of trees will give you. But, will you sacrifice your leafy protection for metal? Or will you purposefully start fires to make it easier for your machine of war to reach your foes?

Meanwhile …

 

We’ve also been shaping a brand new experience for folks who want to see, first-hand, how Planetary Annihilation is being made. It’s called Public Test Environment, and it’s available right now across PC, Mac, and Linux.

When we’re testing out new ideas to make Planetary Annihilation even more epic, we use private versions of the game to give them a spin. Sometimes, we make dramatic changes. Most of the time, we make small changes. Then, we play the game together in the office and see if these new ideas make the game more fun. If the answer is a resounding “yes,” we often push out these changes in a new update to the game.

Until now, this was a part of the Planetary Annihilation journey you didn’t get to see. The Public Test Environment is a public-facing version of the game where we’re trying out a lot of cool or interesting ideas, much like we did in our private in-office tests. When you download PTE, you’ll get to see features or balance changes that have the potential to change the way the wider game is played — and you’ll be in on it from the start.

We think PTE is a really exciting way to keep you in tune with Planetary Annihilation. If you want to give it a shot, visit this message board thread, read what Marc has to say, and the client it’s delivered through a download.

As creators, we use experiments to test the limits of our games. As designers, we use experiments to test out how balance and gameplay feel. PTE will be primarily used for testing experiments, from engine changes to even balance overhauls.

We have a fun balance philosophy at Uber Entertainment. Before we start finely tuning attack power, range, and concepts like that, we truly stretch the limits of units by doubling, tripling, or maybe even halving their abilities. We test for feel first, and then start really getting in there.

When you jump into PTE, you’ll see and get to play with these experiments, and truly experience how we’re shaping the Planetary Annihilation experience.

And Now For A Question

 

Will secondary colors return?

We’ve been asked this one several times since the Gamma phase began. The short answer is: yes, yes they will.

The long answer? We pulled them in the initial Gamma update because some combinations just didn’t read well. People couldn’t tell what army was what color. Since then, we’ve re-worked how secondary colors appear on units by minimizing their impact on unit models. Those times when you were like, is that red or blue team? Not going to happen anymore once we get this in.

And speaking of units — Andrew’s been thinking about redoing the Grenadier unit. Here’s an image of an early idea:

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Don’t forget to check out Planetary Annihilation on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and message boards. Have a question? Ask them on the forums or send us an e-mail: mailbag@uberent.com. Otherwise, plug in, stay tuned, annihilate!

Watch Yesterday’s Livestream … Now!

Miss our last livestream? No worries! We’ve got an archived version of yesterday’s shenanigans just below. Just click that big, wonderful YouTube play button:

Yesterday, we opened the show by discussing our brand new fire technology, which is coming to a Planetary Annihilation near you soon(TM). Uber engineer, Forrest, walks folks through the tech — and shows some wonderful, fiery scenes.

Later, Adam and John come on to discuss the latest balance changes while Brad eats delicious #smores and plays a match with the community. John and Adam also answer a bunch of questions from our forums and the Twitch chat.

Overall, it was a great show! Thanks so much for participating and watching! We’ll see you in the lobby, Commanders.

We’re Streaming Tomorrow!

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Earlier this week, we busted out a turbo-huge update to Planetary Annihilation that not only introduced some fantastic new balance tweaks, but also friends lists, instant messaging, replays, and more. Tomorrow, we’re going to discuss all of these changes — and debut a hot, new one! — during a livestream at 1PM PST. That’s right; buckle up, we’re streaming again.

Here are the details:

WHEN: April 24, 1PM PST
WHERE: Twitch.TV/UberEntertainment
WHAT: A discussion on the gamma phase and the latest update, a hot upcoming feature, game balance, and the debut of something special.

Have a question for us, by the way? Hit up this forum thread and throw us a line. Also, you can chat at us on Facebook, Twitter, or on Twitch. See you on the 24th!

Planetary Annihilation Gamma Update: Friends Lists, Replays, And Much More

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All of us at Uber Entertainment are always busy. It’s a given. But, the last couple of weeks have been “turbo busy,” as Brad would describe it. In-between polishing up a lot of incredible features, both the Planetary Annihilation and Toy Rush teams spent major swathes of time planning for their game’s showings at PAX East 2014. All the hard work and brain-busting effort paid off, too — oodles of folks dropped by, said hi, and had an awesome time playing Planetary Annihilation and Toy Rush.

With Planetary Annihilation, we set up two groups of four computers and had folks face off against each other in 2v2 matches. Meanwhile, Adam rocked the microphone and casted the matches for everyone observing the action to hear. Over the course of the three-day event, we saw planet smashes and tons of epic plays from rookies that turned pro before our sleep-deprived, but glistening eyes. It was cool, to say the least.

The rest of the team back at the office were also busy busting out all the new features you’re seeing today in Planetary Annihilation’s latest update. In addition to countless optimizations and tweaks, we’ve added some amazing Gamma-specific features: replays and videos, messaging, friends lists, and yet another advanced command and control feature.

Friends Lists, Instant Messaging, and Replays

Among other things, Gamma is all about you and your friends. Friends lists, messaging, and replays are a huge step in this direction. The friends list and instant messaging clients live on the right-hand side of your screen. When you’re not in games, you can add friends, see if your pals are online, or message them.

Replays can be viewed in the new Replay menu available at the main menu screen. Right now, you can search for matches and view them at any time after they end. We’ve got a great plan to expand this feature by adding the ability to create highlights and user uploading to YouTube. We’ll be talking about Replays again pretty soon.

Advanced Commander and Control: Line Drawing

Awesome! Starting now, you can organize units in whatever formations that you desire with a couple clicks of the mouse and a quick drag. We’ve also added the ability for you to set the path your units walk with a shift-click. Fighting across entire worlds is easier with this simple, intuitive, and customizable new control.

The Rest

Of course, this update includes many other fixes, optimizations, and tweaks. The full patch notes are available, as always, on our forums. We look forward to seeing you guys in the lobby, on the boards, on Twitter and on our Facebook.

Battle of the Beasts Wrap-Up!

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Battle of the Beasts had plenty of awesome action, but no team was a part of more event-defining moments than the tournament’s ultimate winners, Super Godde Bros. Team members “Giggle” and “Godde” played extremely well together — and under pressure.

As we’ve mentioned before, Giggle and Godde are taking home the tournament’s grandest of grand prizes: a unique and BEASTLY custom commander. Our artist Steve made this video of this mechanical masterpiece earlier today:

Also, in case you missed it — after our first round of the tournament, we announced an encore match in which the winners would take home a GeForce 770 courtesy NVIDIA. NVIDIA has been an awesome partner and its helping us make Planetary Annihilation that much faster and amazing. Congrats, guys (you know who are)!

We’ll be posting archives of the action later on uberent.com/beasts. Stay tuned in case you couldn’t make it LIVE! And thanks to today’s participants. You’re awesome!

Lore! A Summary Of The Past, Present, And Future!

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Over the development of Planetary Annihilation, we’ve revealed several pieces of lore detailing the known factions Planetary Annihilation’s grim, sprawling universe. But as eye-opening as these have been, they’ve only shed a sliver of light on some of your biggest questions. Like, who were the Progenitors?  What is Time Designation Zero? What ignited the faction war?

Today, we’ll start talking about these topics, courtesy our writer Matthew Kehm:

War

The galaxy as it is known today is in a state of war. Planet after planet, system after system, the conflict rages unabated. Worlds that were once vibrant and teeming with organic life have been reduced to barren wastelands. It is a war fought for many reasons. There are those who fight it to simply conquer and dominate. Many choose to sow the seeds of chaos, all in the name of their god. There are even those who wage war, ironically, in an effort to achieve the perfect peace.

One constant remains: The biologic is being driven to extinction by the machine.

The Progenitors

For thousands of years the galaxy was devoid of the sounds of machinery. No grinding of gears or the slow hum of a computer could be heard. Biologics were the dominant force. This all changed with the arrival of the Progenitors.

It is not known when or from where they came. One thing however is certain; as the Progenitors began to spread across the galaxy the dominance of biologics began to wane, machines replacing them at a rapid rate. Technology advanced like a tidal wave across the ocean of stars. The Progenitors, it seemed, could not be stopped.

What exactly the Progenitors were is not known. Many hold to the belief that they were biologics created by a mechanical god to act as slaves in a machine universe, ultimately rebelling against it. Still others believe that the Progenitors were themselves machines, building a vast empire spanning the stars. Ruins scattered across the galaxy speak of a vast Progenitor society but have yielded few clues as to their true identity.

As great and powerful as the Progenitors had been, something happened that brought their abrupt end. All that they had built, the technology that had fueled their expansion across the stars had suddenly ceased. The Progenitors themselves, the architects of this grand society, seemed to simply vanish.

Thousands of years later the event would be given a name: Time Designation Zero.

Time Designation Zero

How long the galaxy lay silent after the disappearance of the Progenitors is not known. Judging by the ruins and artifacts that have been discovered, many have concluded that several thousands of years have passed since the event.

That event, and the years of silence that followed would come to be known as Time Designation Zero, the point from which all history would be recorded; divided into before (BTDZ or BZ) and after (ATDZ or AZ).

The Commanders

Sentient machines, the greatest of the Progenitor era, had gone silent along with all other technology during TDZ. Known as Commanders, these machines were the greatest of their kind. It was only fitting that they be the ones to usher in a new age.

The first Commander to reactivate or “awaken” was Invictus. Finding his memory corrupted, not knowing where he was or where he had come from, Invictus was tasked with rebuilding what he could with his limited knowledge. The new age is considered to have begun with his activation.

Invictus was able to find other Commanders, some of which he was able to reactivate. They immediately looked upon him as their leader and the first of the factions, Legionis Machina, was created.

Birth of the Factions

Legionis Machina was just the first of many factions that would form after the silence of TDZ. Other Commanders across the galaxy began to reactivate, like Invictus, after thousands of years of dormancy.

Each of these Commanders was similar in the fact that their memories were also incomplete, full of missing or corrupted data. Using the data that they did possess, the Commanders built their own societies based on what they believed as fact. As a result, factions such as The Foundation, led by Inquisitor Nemicus, and Synchronous, led by Metrarch the Machinist, had their own vision on what the galaxy should look like. Though each faction had mostly opposing views, there was one thing in which they all agreed: the Progenitors yet existed and would return one day. This became the singular sacred belief that all share to this day. The manner of their return is still open to debate.

The Future

It is unknown exactly what the ultimate fate of the galaxy will be. What is certain is more factions will form, each with its own beliefs. War will continue to rage, Commanders continuing their struggle to dominate each other and eliminate any and all biologics.

Most of all, each and every Commander, whether pledged to a faction or no, prepares for the day that the Progenitors will return.

Make sure to check out each of our faction write-ups (linked below) for more lore:

Announcing Battle of the Beasts, Our First Official Tournament

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A handful of the BEASTLIEST teams in Planetary Annihilation are about to square off for eternal glory — and an epic prize.

Uber Entertainment is excited to announce BATTLE OF THE BEASTS, its first ever official tournament for Planetary Annihilation. Taking place March 28 at 11AM Pacific time, Battle of the Beasts is an eight team, doubles-style tournament where the winning team will walk away with a unique (and beastly) custom commander. Also, glory.

The entire tournament will be hosted by ZaphodX and his co-host, our own metabolical. To catch the action, follow and stay up with ZaphodX’s Twitch page on March 28. The Battle of the Beast official page will be broadcasting the event, too — and posting archives of the action as it goes down.

And who are these SPACE WARRIORS about to give everything for your amusement and their own eternal glory? We announced the eight teams and their seeds on this video:

You can get a text-based version of these rosters on the official BOB blog. We’ve alsolisted the rules in a post as well.

Excited? We are, too. Stay up to date on the tournament by visiting the BOB page. Also, jump into the discussion on our forums! This is a really unique opportunity for us and our competitors, so we’re dedicated to putting on an awesome show. See you there!

Lore Update: Faction #4 Reveal

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Back, back, back before we unveiled the Gamma version of Planetary Annihilation and all of its exciting features, we introduced you to the third faction in the game’s lore. As decided by all of you, this faction’s name is The Synchronous. Its fiery leader’s name? Metrarch the Machinist.

Today, we’d like to debut the fourth, and final of the known faction’s, lore. This group is called “The Revenants” and they’re led by Commander Osiris — a quad-Commander that’s already playable in the game.

Osiris leads with an iron fist and believes that it gifts rebirth to conquered worlds. This leader sees other machines, despite having assimilated technology, as flawed and pitiful things. Osiris is on an eternal search for perfection.

Our writer Matthew Kehm introduces you to The Revenants and Osiris with this short story:

ATDZ: 373

Sector 22.5.8

19…. 18…. 17…. They were coming. From a high ridge Commander Osiris scanned the horizon for any sign of them. His forward scouts had reported they were on the move towards his position. All there was to do now was wait.

16…. 15…. 14…. No sign of them yet. Scouts continued to report that Legonis troops were advancing, hundreds of them. Osiris quickly relayed orders to his forces. Forward units of Legonis Machina would hit their positions within minutes. Be prepared.

13…. 12…. 11….There they were. The vanguard of the enemy army was just appearing over the horizon. Osiris ordered his long range artillery to commence firing. A fair distance behind him, Osiris could hear the unmistakable thuds as his artillery began firing their high explosive rounds.

10…. 9…. 8…. On they came. Across the rusty red landscape of the asteroid, the enemy advanced toward Osiris. They knew he was the key to victory. If he was destroyed it was all but assured. Osiris counted on this. Brilliant flashes began erupting among the Legonis units, which he could now see were light scout vehicles. Nearly a third of them were instantly vaporized as neutronium shells hit their marks. Still they advanced.

7…. 6…. 5…. The cannons stopped. The tanks were now passing the outer markers. With a signal, Osiris ordered his bombers to make their run. Almost instantly they appeared in the sky to the west, roaring towards their targets. As they began releasing ordinance, another wave of enemies crested the horizon and began to advance behind the vanguard. This was the main Legonis force, comprised of heavy assault tanks and fighter-bombers. Osiris spotted their leader among them as well, Commander Flavius.

4…. 3…. 2…. Hundreds of scouts were now burning wrecks as the bombers devastated their ranks.

Osiris watched as his bombers banked to the southeast and fled the approaching enemy fighters which turned to give chase. Squadrons of interceptors were waiting to welcome their guests on the far side of the asteroid. Had Flavius learned nothing?

1…. 0…. Just as the first Imperator tanks reached maximum range and began to fire on Osiris, the ground began to shake and the massive roar of an explosion penetrated the surface just below the approaching Legonis Machina forces. Almost instantly the tanks, along with Commander Flavius, disappeared in a cloud of red dust.

As the dust cleared, a crater, several miles in diameter now sat where there had been rocky plain seconds earlier. Osiris scanned the crater for any signs of activity and registered only a handful of tanks still operational. Commander Flavius on the other hand was fully functional and beginning to dig his way out. The underground nuke detonation had worked as planned. With himself as the bait, Osiris knew Flavius couldn’t resist the temptation to destroy him.

Osiris reflected back on the numerous worlds he had conquered. Countless battles that had been fought, fought against other machines. Flawed machines all, having spurned the gift of rebirth that he offered. Only through their deaths could they be made whole once again; made better.

The search would go on. Somewhere in the vast reaches of the universe he knew he would find what he sought. Somewhere out there he would find that which was free of imperfections. Could it be the Progenitors? He vowed to never stop searching until they were found. Perhaps they held the answers he sought. Until that time, he would continue to create new from the remains of the old, and in turn find a cure to his own imperfections, his own flaws. When that day came, he would pass on this gift to others. Only then would all of machinekind reach its true potential….

Turning his attention back to the task at hand, Osiris gave a final signal. Attack bots and crawlers swarmed into the crater and set to work. Legonis units that were still functioning and able to resist would be dealt with quickly by the bots; torn apart and hauled off by the crawlers. Their remains would be sent to reprocessing stations where they would be used to create entirely new machines of war. The real prize however was Commander Flavius. Scores would be lost in attempt to subdue him, but in the end it would all be worth it. Nothing else mattered to Osiris.

The whole operation had been for the sole purpose of capturing Flavius intact. He would be disassembled down to his memory core and reconstructed using only the finest parts available from other defeated Commanders. Once completed, he would be superior to what he once was. It was another step on the long road ahead.

Commander Flavius of Legonis Machina was dead and buried.

Commander Thanatos the Revenant would rise to take his place.

Thanks for all the support, enthusiasm, and participation as we revealed each of our lore’s four factions. You had a direct hand in the process and we’re glad you pitched in.

Next week, we’ll be releasing a summary of sorts that lays out where the game takes place and what has transpired in the universe. We’ll see you then!

Here’s Today’s Planetary Annihilation Gamma Livestream!

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If you couldn’t join us for our livestream this afternoon (or just want to relive its amazingness), don’t worry; we’ve got your back. An archived version is available just below for your viewing pleasure.

On the stream, we discussed how much Planetary Annihilation has grown since alpha and beta. Later, we switch gears and discussed gamma. After that, Planetary Annihilation’s art mastermind, Steve, sits down to talk about all the new Commanders we’ve added. The show closes with a brief Q&A.

[If you’re having problems viewing this video, click the YouTube button and watch it there!]

Don’t forget that we’re streaming tomorrow, February 28, at 10AM PST until 9PM PST. We will be playing the game all day with you and with each other. Stop in! Say hi! Or you can smash planets with us, if that’s more your thing. See you tomorrow!