Early Access, New Lava World and
What’s to Happen in 2017

Hello Nomads and welcome to the first blog post of the new year. It’s been quite some time and you must be wondering what’s up. Let’s take a look.
 
Road to Early Access

We’ve had good results with the way we launched the Alpha of Planet Nomads, so we are going to use a similar approach with Early Access. Only this time we’ll use the help of Alpha Nomads too.
 
There will be a feature lock-down towards the release of the first Early Access version. Instead of adding new features, we will do intense testing together with Alpha Nomads and then some bug hunting/fixing. That way we can launch a stable game together, get positive reviews on Steam and GOG and secure a bright future for Planet Nomads and its further development.
 
There will be at least one major update available to Alpha Nomads before the Early Access launch, which will include the updated visuals and the rest of Planet Nomads – the game.
 
As you may have guessed from Trello, the months leading to Early Access are all about creating the gameplay – to be able to have survival mode we must add material mining and processing, recipes for all building blocks and crafted items, 3D printers, containers and generators with interfaces, player conditions, deadly threats… The list goes on and on and it will be no small task. You will be part of it all, Nomads.
 
In the next episode of Nomadic Journals, we will have Peter cover the ins and outs of the Early Access version and what’s going to be in it.
 
We see the Early Access launch of Planet Nomads in March or beginning of April. The final date depends on the development speed and other gaming titles being released at the time. Most importantly – you’ll know the date long before launch.

 
Naming the Rarest and Hardest-to-Find Material in the Whole Universe

We are running a naming contest with Alpha Keys as prize. You may suggest yours before Friday’s 5 pm. It’s no biggie – it’s just naming the most desired building material, which will be known by everyone. Check the forum.
 
In December Last Year

Although we were mostly vacationing during the holidays, many people on the team couldn’t take a rest for that long. They worked on finishing and improving their parts. One of these people was Kubat. To make himself warm in the winter he created a lava world. The lava world is the first biome created specifically with the new PBR shader in mind. We introduced it last year.
 
Lava Word in Planet Nomads 1
 
Lava Word in Planet Nomads 2
 
Lava Word in Planet Nomads at Night

 

We find it pretty impressive. More biomes to come, including underwater ones.
 
 
Nomads Have Been Busy

You have backed Planet Nomads once again and voted for it on IndieDB, making our sandbox game the Best Upcoming Indie of 2016. You pushed it two positions higher than the last year, with Planet Nomads ending on a lovely third place.

 
indiedb_banner2017-thanks3
 
Anything else? You bet! New website for Planet Nomads in the making. It will better reflect the production value of this sci-fi video-game and help it stand out in the myriad of Early Access survival titles of questionable quality.
 
It also seems to be a good time to make a new trailer for the Early Access release, don’t you think? With the updated visuals and gameplay finally taken in the game.
 
Guinness World Records 2017
Oh and one more thing! Thanks to Cobra TV, Planet Nomads is now forever a part of the Gamer’s Edition of Guinness World Records ( Planet Nomads is on page 125).
 
 
C1YXXrHW8AEsvnQ
 
 
Thank you Cobra, thank you Nomads, stay tuned for more!

You’ve Made 2016 Great, Nomads

We’d like to take a moment to wish you Merry Holidays and most of all, we would like to thank you for being the most incredible game community we’ve ever had around a game.

Planet Nomads wouldn’t be here without you.

We had the best time developing Planet Nomads.



We are going to launch the game together soon.

We are going to keep growing the game and adding features.

All the best in 2017, Nomads!

Let’s all keep rocking together.

Nomadic Journals #7
Alpha Update is Out, Graphics Overhaul Is Spectacular

Dearest Nomads,
 
We hope you will love the glimpse of how Planet Nomads is going to look when it launches in Q1 next year. We’re hoping it’s going to be among the best looking sandbox survival games out there. Well, watch and see if you agree with us.
 

 
 
Two things to ask you we have.
 
1) Alpha Feedback – Big Blocks Building

If you are an Alpha Nomad, please give us feedback on the building with the new prefabs and how should the new building system work and what it should incorporate. Use our forum for that.
 
2) Vote for Planet Nomads on IndieDB

It’s that time of the year again. Will we beat #5 from last year?
 
Please Vote for Planet Nomads on IndieDB
 

Bonus) Alpha Access Available for a Limited Time

If you’ve missed your chance in September, you now have a second one. Check out the PREORDER page and play Planet Nomads now.

 

Thank you, Nomads, and have a spectacular day!

New Camera Effects from Unity 5.4.2 Look Fantastic,
Update Info, GDC and CC Wrap-Up

The blog has run into a one-week delay with the Casual Connect gaming conference last week in Tel Aviv, together with GDS Prague on Friday and Saturday. Casual Connect was not the best fit for Planet Nomads as the conference focuses on mobile games and not many attendees had the patience for a game with so many complex mechanics.
 
We’ve learned our lesson and will be presenting a build with a huge theme park in the future, with many things already built to stimulate people’s imagination. GDS was much better as Planet Nomads took compliments from gaming industry veterans who worked on hit titles like DayZ and Arma3 and are now creating their own brand of a sandbox game called Take on Mars. We’ve exchanged good tips with each other.
 
So while Game Access in Brno in May was amazing and full of eager sandbox players, there were only five at Casual Connect, and this one was the greatest of them.
 
Biggest Sandbox Games Fan
 
Together we’ve figured out a vehicle design that never flips over. Works every time, although riding upside down can be hard on the stomach.
 
Daniel has also enjoyed the company of fellow Polish developers from Qubic, who were demoing their arcade space shooter Robonauts right next to Planet Nomads.
 
CC_GDS_blog5
 
Tel Aviv is a marvelous city, where the old and the new meet, and we’ve certainly enjoyed summer temperatures compared to our country’s temperatures coming to a freeze.
 
Nomads in Tel Aviv
 
The hostel where we lived had the dopest chill out roof.
Nomads on the Roof of Tel Aviv
 
In Prague, Maly Kuba and Pavel joined Daniel, as well as Jindra and Vlada from the Craneballs mobile division. Here’s our booth with the classic roll-up, planetary beam lighthouse and Pavel in action.
 
Planet Nomads GDS 2016
 

Unity 5.4.2 and Its New Camera (Post-Processing) Effects

We’ve updated Planet Nomads to Unity 5.4.2 and Kubat has fallen in love with the possibilities it provides, and we believe you will fall in love with the new visuals too.
 
Planet Nomads Romantic Sunset
 
Planet Nomads Desert Unity 5.4.2
 
Planet Nomads Forest in Unity 5.4.2
 
PN Beach
 

These screenshots are taken directly from the developer branch of Planet Nomads. It is currently not generating world objects as it should, as Tomas is improving the underlying system of generation, but we should have it fixed tomorrow. Expect this post updated with more screenshots. (Edit: Beach screen added!)
 

Developer branch vs Alpha Branch

Which brings us to the question “When will Alpha Nomads be able to play this version?” It won’t be this year. The developer branch is currently unplayable; player controls, world generation, the interface, building, physics, everything is still under detailed scrutiny and rework. The Alpha Nomads are constantly on our mind and we are working to put the dev branch together and release to Alpha Nomads early next year, long before the public release of Planet Nomads on Steam Early Acccess and GOG Games in Development.
 
There is an update coming on 1st December though! It will include the big blocks we uploaded on Trello some time ago. Walls, wall corners, new flooring, ceiling, stairs and more.
 
Wall at Night
 
Planet Nomads Big Floor
 
Big Blocks Sunset
 
Thank you for your interest in the development of Planet Nomads, the upcoming PC sandbox game, which ties survival, exploration and building in a way that has never been done before. It’s launching in Q1 2017.

Nomadic Journals Ep. #6
New Building System, Thrusters, Hovercrafts on Water

Hello Nomads,
 
it’s good to see you in here once again. On today’s episode of Nomadic Journals we have a special guest Pavel, who’s going to talk about his work on the changes in Planet Nomads building system, about the grudges of wheel physics and the upcoming thrusters and hovercrafts.
 

 
If you watch till the end you will see the procedural planets are slowly filling with water.
 
In other quick news, big events await for Planet Nomads in near future. We’ll be showcasing Planet Nomads at the Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect Tel Aviv. It takes place on 1st – 3rd November. If you are around, come see Daniel. A guided tour around Tel Aviv will be highly appreciated too.
 
The second demoing of Planet Nomads will take place on the floor of GDS in Prague, the dates are set for 4th – 5th November.
 
Fly from Israel and go presenting for another two days they said, it will be fun they said… Fortunately there’ll be Maly Kuba and Pavel to back me up, and together we’ll survive against all odds.
 
Until next time, Nomads. We’ll be bringing more blog news after the conferences are over, but will keep you updated on Planet Nomads Twitter as both events unwind.

Between Heaven and Earth
Internal Reworks and External Polishes

Hello Nomads,
 
Looks like the crazy roller-coaster period of the past two months, of highs of Alpha Nomads creations and lows of time pressured dev work, is stabilizing. We refreshed at holidays last week and at a weekend team-building event in Beskydy mountains (there are no Tigers among us). The plan for October is up on Trello. A lot of work is still connected with the Golden Manager revolution and we are also exploring some great new opportunities and features.
 
Golden Manager – Complete Rewiring of Planet Nomads Continues

A significant work-time was spent on the Golden Manager – a complete under-the-hood rework of how the individual parts of Planet Nomads work and communicate with each other. The system of Golden Manager itself is very much done, but as it turns out there are many related systems that need rework too. Main character animations, stats and attributes, the need to approach the drill, cutter and welder tools differently, multiple GUI have to be adjusted to the different input system and include the newly budding inventory and crafting, to name a few.
 
Nomads, we know you are hungry for new updates and content to be added to the alpha. The thing is, everything’s changed. It will take time to get the current developer version of Planet Nomads to the level of alpha and then to start building atop of that again.
 
It is a painful period, and we hate to be seemingly treading water, yet the benefits will be tenfold. It will be easier to change, modify and add stuff in not-so-distant future. Modders will appreciate the systematic approach used in the Golden Manager. We are trying to approach the dev work as if we were modders ourselves already. Unifying items and world objects to allow seamless changes and additions later on. In the end it will be a treat for the whole community with the added benefit of user-generated content.
 

Visual Sugarcoating of the Sky

Not everyone have their hands tied with the Golden Manager however! You’ll be happy to know that Martin Š. created atmospheric scattering that is both realistic and out of this world. The original solution in Unity had a locked atmosphere thickness of about 800 metres which meant you could see stars during the day by climbing a hundred meters higher. Martin took the solution from Sean O’Neil and rewrote it for GPU. This solution takes into account the position of the player and the sun angle, so we can realistically portray sunset or sunrise and everything in between, whether you are looking from the ground or from space. We can also change the wave-length of the sunlight, allowing for colorful skies quite different from the Earth experience.
 
Atmospheric scattering at noon.
 
Sun Rising
 
It takes some imagination to see the power of the atmosphere in these static images, but wait till you see it in the game, Nomads.
 
Visual Sugarcoating of the Ground

Another improvement comes with the upcoming triplanar PBR shader we’re going to use on ground textures. It works on spherical planets and uses vertex paint for better blending between voxels. We’ll use texture array from Unity 5.4 in addition to our noise textures and distance-based tiling and the final result looks way better than the current ground known from alpha. In terms of numbers, according to Tomas’ calculations where we previously could use 10 textures at a time, we can now have 80. Should be amazing be the numbers themselves!
 
New PBR Triplanar Shader
 
Again, the newly gained plasticity and roughness of the terrain is best experienced in the game.
 
Game Design, Survival, Crafting, Skills

Besides all the technical improvements, we are first and foremost creating a game. So Petr and Tomas has been spending their weekends constantly overthinking how Planet Nomads should play and then confronting their ideas with the rest of the team. While everything is still subject to change, we have now settled on activity-based skills which improve as you build, craft, mine and explore and gets reset when you die – in order to minimize players using death as a teleportation system. There will be multiple quality tiers for tools, building blocks and armor, and a special node-based upgrading of equipment. These ideas are still maturing and we’ll present them in more detail.
 
The future holds good stuff, Nomads. For instance the cave system and more diverse topography that Martin D. has been working on will surely make you smile. Hang in there as we chisel these features for you to enjoy. If all goes well, we’re going to present them in Nomadic Journals in two weeks.
 

Nomadic Journals Ep. #5
Highlighting Alpha Nomads Work

Time for the latest episode of Nomadic Journals. This episode is most of all about Alpha Nomads. Their impressions, feedback and things they’ve been up to. It’s a fantastic spectacle
 
You will also find a sneak-peek of the building revolution we talked about last week and answers to your most pressing questions.
 

 
As always, thanks for watching and stay tuned for the future.

Building Revolution, Crafting, Story
Taking In Alpha Feedback

Yesterday we had a 5-hour Planet Nomads mega meeting on the next steps of Planet Nomads development. We’ve been collecting feedback to the game for over 20 months, and with the alpha build we got to see and hear direct hands-on experiences from Alpha Nomads. Besides alpha discussions on the forum, we saw people play the game and we saw people comment on Let’s Play videos. Here are the results of all that.
 
PN_MegaMeeting
Building Revolution

We are very happy with how well people received (dare we say accepted?) our building system, and that after a while it feels natural to use it. BuildVision was updated in yesterday’s update too, so now you can connect multiple blocks at once to a single generator. We don’t expect this to be the last change made to BuildVision, and are happy to improve this augmented reality building mode. While generally the reactions were positive, there was one recurring issue with building – it takes too long to build something as simple as a wall. Well, here’s our answer – bigger prefabricated pieces.
 
We are still experimenting with these prefabricated bigger pieces and prototyping pieces that include walls, vehicle pieces, garage doors, stairs… the models on their own look stunning, even without textures. The advantages of these are pretty straightforward – more variety, quicker building, better looks (modeled wall has much more detail than one made out of basic blocks) and one prefab is better optimized than the same thing build out of 2x7x4 blocks. The time for bigger projects is coming. Once we add textures to these prefabs, you’ll see what we mean. Then they go to the alpha build. These prefabs will be an ADDITION to the existing ones. It is quite possible the existing blocks will get a texture update as well, but more about that some other time.
 

Crafting Taking Shape

A long time ago we held a survey asking our first Planet Nomads Advisors whether they wanted a 2-tiered or 3-tiered material system (and got a completely new answer “the more the better”). This puzzled us. So in the end we decided to have both.
 
The crafting system will work a) with raw materials > 3D Printer > material for buildings blocks AND/OR b) raw materials > Refinery > processed material > 3D Printer > materials for building blocks.
 
Both methods will have their advantages and disadvantages, and you can choose the one that suits you more, depending on a particular situation or your general game style.
 

Exploration Design

Planet Nomads will have meaningful exploration, in line with the saying “Less is more.” You will not find a cave or monument everywhere, but when you do, you’ll be happy you did, because of the resources hidden in these or new technology acquired. You could possibly encounter an ancient teleporting device, who knows?
 This will require a more detailed navigation system. We’ve started with compass and those beams visible from afar, but would like to add points of interest, and then a whole globe map in the end, so you know where you are on the planet and what biomes look worthy of exploring.
 

Survival

Less is more works for survival too. Instead of having to constantly check your suit’s energy and hunger/thirst levels, they will let you live longer. The idea is that you could eat three times a day, stay in perfect shape and get various bonuses from your healthy life-style, or stay hungry for four days and still be able to function normally. Generally it will be harder to get food, but when you do, you can feel safe… for a while longer.
 
Skills & Story

Two months ago we did not see these coming. A month ago we thought maybe. Now it’s close to 100% confirmed. The skill system will be very simple and very fitting for Planet Nomads – when you do things repeatedly, your skill increases and you get better doing them. When you are reborn (AKA you are not careful enough and die), you lose these skills. As for the story… there’s going to be a mysterious underlying story of “Who am I? How did I get here? What am I doing?” but the only way of getting the answers is through playing the game. We’re not telling any details.
 
Early Access

The Early Access is mainly about adding survival (and re-adding those animals and improving their visuals and behavior) and crafting, thus turning the current alpha into a fully fledged game. Of course, there will be more things added in between. Follow us through to know which.
 
Yesterday’s Alpha Update (v0.3.2)

Alpha Nomads may have noticed Planet Nomads updating on Steam yesterday. The biggest news includes huge physics improvements and memory leaks fixes. Also two new building blocks – magnetic jack and a wider cockpit. Check here for the complete list of changes.
 
magnetichever
 
Looks like we’re going to have a new episode of Nomadic Journals next week with more details, so stay tuned.
 
Shout-out to our Alpha testers for providing feedback and reporting bugs, lot of the above is coming from you, so thank you!
Craneballs

6 DAYS OF ALPHA
WHAT WE LEARNED SO FAR

Hello Nomads,
 
Tuesday today and there’s a Planet Nomads blog post… what’s up with that, you ask? Well, big things happening in the past 6 days since we launched the closed-alpha of Planet Nomads, and now that we’ve managed to get keys to all Alpha Kickstarter/PayPal backers, it is time to get you the status report.
 
GENERAL RECEPTION OF THE ALPHA BUILD

Planet Nomads had one shot at making the first impression and going through the Youtube videos on our sandbox game, we can safely say it hit the mark. We’d like to thank all Youtubers who provided an accurate peak into Planet Nomads Alpha and helped spread the word. We’ve been chatting on streams and let us assure you it’s unbelievably heart-warming to see people recognize Planet Nomads in the chat there and see familiar names. There were over 2000 Alpha-Tier backers prior to Alpha release on Thursday and over 250 more have joined since the release. People still considering the alpha access have 2 more days left till the alpha-tier closes for good.
 
OUR GREAT COMMUNITY AT WORK

Not only have we seen people play Planet Nomads, which is tremendously helpful in figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but the Bug Reports on the forum are detailed and contain all the information for us to reproduce and fix the bugs. Besides that, people have been helping each other out with hot-fixes, and the Linux players even provided ready-made solutions to our devs, how bloody cool is that? We’ve seen detailed creations, faster-than-light travel, we’ve seen good things and we’ve seen funny and not so funny glitches… and all that is good. We see people are playing the game, and there’s hardly a better view for a game developer (or any creator really) than to see his creation being lived and experienced.
 
 
Things are good on the home front. By Clifford~aka~Miku
This Is My Home by Clifford~aka~Miku
 
 
UPCOMING UPDATE & PATCHES

We have collected bugs on the forum, have fixed a few already (beacons switching off on their own, memory leaks, stacking of arced blocks and perma-strafing to name a few) and there are more we are working on right now. You can see the complete list of acknowledged bugs on the forum.
 
The first update of the Alpha version is coming next week and it will include fixes of the above mentioned bugs. A complete list of bugs will be covered in the changelog next week.
 
We are incredibly happy to announce that the most pressing issues with physics, like “skidding” vehicles, bouncing and “wobbling”, lights screwing up suspensions and the rotor blocks/hinges not always on their best behavior, will be greatly improved. And by greatly we mean nearly entirely. This is a huge win for Planet Nomads, since we have been tinkering with physics in the past several months going from stable, to sometimes wacky, to massively screwed by lights, all the time trying different settings, block weights, wheel power, suspension toughness and banging the table. It seems we have find the perfect combination of them. We’ll see next week when you get your hands on it.
 
 
Experimental Suspension Design by trekfan42
Experimental Suspension Design by trekfan42
 
 
VERY STABLE ALPHA

To our big surprise, we’ve seen complaints about how stable the alpha version is. We suppose it was surprising to some people, in today’s era of Early Access games. Call us old-fashioned, but this is how we approach game development. Again we wanted Planet Nomads to make a good impression, but that’s not the main issue. The thing with hacking together lots of features for the sake of having them and promising yourself to polish them and make them work as intended later down the road is that this approach usually doesn’t work. The code gets complex, any retroactive changes affect things you wouldn’t expect them to and when the nightmare starts, it never ends. Martin D., the spiritual father of our Sandy engine, has experienced this the most with the Android version of Overkill 2 and I’m sure he never wants to go through that again.
 
We are in for the long run with Planet Nomads. So when we are working on it six months or a year from now, growing the game, we can still be as effective as we have been so far, and the game will perform as expected. In the long run, it should make us all happy.
 
 
Home Sweet Home by JimTheNinja
Home Sweet Home by JimTheNinja
 
 
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS THEN?

Besides the update/patch next week, we will also have a looong meeting planned for the next week, where we’ll talk about the next couple of months leading to Early Access and what changes the alpha testing has hinted at and which we are going to utilize. We are hoping to be able to answer your questions about the future in more detail. So once more, hang in there.
 
Now that the alpha milestone is behind us, it is time to upgrade Planet Nomads to Unity 5.4. Cenda has been selected to be the first to test PN in 5.4 and has brought back good news, errors are but a few. Once the whole team and PN project migrates to 5.4, we’ll start exploring the newly added features, like texture arrays that should get rid of the visible grid you may have noticed on the terrain.
 

So this is the news, delivered as soon as we could. As was mentioned, there is still a chance to get on board the alpha. Afterwards it closes for good, and the next path for Planet Nomads begins – to have the Early Access version, publicly available to all, which will include survival mode with mining, crafting and wildlife fighting.
 
Thanks for reading, Nomads, and thanks for being so cool and awesome.

Nomadic Journals Ep. #4
7 Days to Alpha

Trying to explain all those improvements, optimizations and polishes that you are seeing on August Trello in this episode of Nomadic Journals.
 


 
IN OTHER QUICK NEWS

Looks like things are happening. Fast.
 
-Tripled the number of PN website visits to over 1 thousand per day in the past 6 days. Even at 2,538 visits yesterday.
 
-As you can imagine, preorders are in-line with that increase AKA through the roof! August has already surpassed the post-Kickstarter levels, becoming the best month so far.
 
-Linux version garnering attention after contacting Gamingonlinux who covered Planet Nomads. Other Linux outlets got in touch too.
 
-This just in: MAC performance issues seem to be fixed.
 
-Requested and granted 2200 beta Steam keys. Given the increased preorders for alpha, it might not be enough though. (There’s 1440 KS backers and currently around 350 from the website).
 
-Distribution of the alpha through Steam secured and tested.
 
-New screenshots for Steam Coming Soon page in the making.
 
-We are very grateful to Youtube and Twitch streamers who got back to us. Looks like we will all have good content to watch on the 25th August.
 
-Alpha tier will be available on the website 7 days after alpha release – in other words until 1st September. If you are not sure whether alpha is for you, wait for the impressions and experiences of Alpha Nomads before making your decision.
 
-We are energized as much as our community of Nomads. Thanks for the alpha-hungry messages!
 
-7 days till blast off.
 
 
End of this news relation. Tune in for future updates leading to alpha release.