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.