let us first assure you that everything is going well. We didn't spread much news lately because we first needed to figure out the plan for the upcoming weeks and months leading to the closed alpha. To carve order out of chaos so to speak.
Planet Nomads Closed Alpha Features
It's about time to let you know what to expect from closed alpha. The release is planned for summer and these are the features we're working towards.
Procedurally Generated Planet with Deformable Terrain
You will start your journey on a single planet which will consist of 5-8 biomes, all procedurally generated, and you'll be able to deform them as you please. Besides the ground itself, this will include mineable and destroyable world objects - trees, rocks and such. To make this possible we need to finalize blending of different materials to have a natural feel when you step out of a forest to open spaced plains and continue your journey further, towards deserts and other less hospitable environments.
Kubat will be adding particle effects, setting the correct lighting for the upgraded day/night system, and will also create the topography of each biome using the new, optimized and more powerful noise generators. Together with Petr they will make sure you crash land on a world worth exploring.
Animals & Behavior
Another feature that will make the world come to life is animals. The closed-alpha will have 5-10 animals in place, each with their own behavior patterns and reactions to the player and other animals. Where's the big difference between 5 and 10 coming from? We've learned a lot about the process of making animals, and by using Blender for rigging and animations, we should be able to speed it up greatly, so the number 10 is our new optimistic guesstimate.
Building & Physics
The closed-alpha will include building of buildings and ground vehicles and cover their physics. You will have most of the structural blocks from the Editor at your disposal plus the basic functional blocks (wheels, suspension, power distribution and generators among those).
Additional Necessary Work
The above features are the most tangible ones, but that's not all of it. There are menus and HUD/GUI, save/load function (the planet together with your changes and creations), there's music, sounds, player animations, and then there's Planet Nomads game design itself, as in how will everything work together.