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.
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.


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.
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!


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.

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.

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

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

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

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.


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.

How’s the Alpha Planet Going to Look Like?
Procedural Generation Revisited

Hi Nomads,
Wondering what was going on in the past weeks? Trello was full of vague “improvements and optimizations”. So what has improved and optimized and how? We will show you in the upcoming episode of Nomadic Journals next week.
One super important part of Planet Nomads that’s constantly evolving is the Sandy engine. Let’s revisit terrain generation and biome distribution.
In May last year we had a blog post on procedural graphics, a week later we showed you the first steps in Sandy. Big progress made in those 15 months.

We briefly touched the subject in Nomadic Journals Episode 2, and you may remember the conceptual picture below.

Biomes on Earth

This is how biomes are distributed on our Earth based on the annual rainfall (humidity) vs temperature.

Biome Distribution on Earth

Biomes in Sandy
Biome Layout in Planet Nomads
While it may not look like it at first, the above pictures represent the same thing. Humidity vs temperature with biomes displayed in different colors. It’s the whole palette of Planet Nomads biomes. For now. Given our existing eleven base biomes, we are now working with temperature mostly. If you look closely at the layout picture, you will see biomes are changing mainly on the horizontal axis (temperature).

Heat Map Transposed to the Planet

Temperature and humidity levels transposed and projected on a sphere will look like this.
Heat and Humidity on a Sphere
Planet Generated

Finally Sandy will check the layout settings for each temperature/humidity level and assign the correct biome to that, covering the whole planet from pole to pole. (Please note that on the picture the equator seems to be the south pole due to perspective.)
Transposing Heat Map to Biomes

This is the actual closed-alpha planet you’ll be exploring in two weeks. Temperatures change mostly when traveling north or south, and so will the biomes. Keep that in mind when planning your expeditions, Nomads.
Planet Generated from BiL
By improving and more effectively randomizing our noise algorithms for terrain generation we moved from a layered cake to something that looks more like a planet. So how does math translate into planets? There’s a great article explaining that with interactive examples.



With the system we have in place we can select any temperature/humidity range. So while we want you to enjoy all available biomes in alpha, when you start exploring other planets in the future, they might look like the one below. Note the blue rectangle which selects the humidity/temperature range in the layout.
Icy-type Planet

The Biome Layout now includes eleven biomes, but can you imagine the planets you’ll be exploring when we double that number? And triple?


Besides these better algorithms for biome distribution, Martin D. has also worked on material blending, which is now smoother and more natural thanks to added details. Here’s how it looks on the ground.
Biome Meeting
Biome Meeting Again


Already in closed-alpha, the name you give your planet will also serve as the planet’s seed – unique identifier that affects how the planet is generated. The difference is now limited to topographic details, but already in Planet Nomads Early Access we plan to give you more freedom over planet generation, so you can create your own and share the seed with others. More details in one of the future blog posts leading to Early Access.
That’ll be all for now, Nomads. Tune in to next week’s Nomadic Journals. We also released system requirements of Planet Nomads in case you missed it. Not bad for a sandbox game that has to generate massive planets, compute physics of all kinds of constructions and offer total control over the environment.
Take care!


Without beating around the bush here’s the information you’ve been so patiently waiting for. For Alpha backers the wait will be over in less than a month.


Planet Nomads STEAM store page’s ready and approved by Valve. We’ve nearly had the dev-build approved on the first go! Sadly there was one issue with the Linux build. Martin D. already fixed this hiccup and Little Kuba sent a new version to STEAM. It should get approved any day now.

Alpha backers will get their STEAM keys via e-mails on 25th August and may immediately add Planet Nomads to their STEAM libraries and play. This activation of Planet Nomads is for life and covers Early Access too.



Though it may seem like the alpha is ready, we’re still tinkering a thing here and there, like adding simple tutorial for building and polishing visuals of the biomes. Then a couple rounds of build/testing/bugs/new build and then it’s off to you, Nomads.

As covered in Nomadic Journals Ep. 3, the alpha will feature a creative mode with unlimited resources, immortality and a suit with hi-tier jetpack. It will be available for Windows and Linux, and hopefully MAC once we figure some performance issues on this platform.

Now to the other part of this announcement!


We’ve tested Planet Nomads on a limited number of rigs, so please take the requirements as a general benchmark of Planet Nomads performance. This doesn’t mean they are way off, just don’t ask us about specific hardware configurations yet, as we don’t know at this point.

The Minimum Requirements to run the game are as follows:


CPU: i3 – 6300 / AMD FX 6300
NVIDIA GTX 550ti / R7 260x

Recommended Requirements for playing Planet Nomads:


i5 4690 / AMD FX 8370
GTX 960 / R9 280x/380


If you are not sure whether your specs are fit for the job, try some Googling and comparing their performance with the above listed specs. Or head on to Planet Nomads forum and ask fellow Nomads for their opinion.


Furthermore the alpha already will have options to customize the graphics to fit your rig as best as possible. The above-mentioned minimum requirements run the game on Medium settings at around 30 FPS so there’s probably still some wiggle room left, but we wanted to be rather safe than sorry, and only with real life play-tests and stress-tests will we know for sure. So pencil down the 25th August to your calendars. Planet Nomads is coming and we’re eager to hear from you.
Planet Nomads Options


Nomadic Journals Ep. #3
Weather, Build Vision… Alpha Feats

Hello Nomads,
Is the alpha ready? When will the game be out? We’re getting more and more of these and the sweet tension increases with every day passed. We are slowly coming to realize that inevitably, you are going to join us in playing Planet Nomads. The game will finally start to fulfill its purpose. Do we have a closed-alpha date for you? Not yet. Will we have it for you in the next blog post? Very likely so.


The closed-alpha is now a matter of a couple missing features and polishes, check them on Trello. That’s the work we’ve been doing lately and will continue to do so until the alpha launch.
Closed-Alpha Forum Section
We’ll be opening a special section in the forum where Alpha tier members will be able to report bugs and provide feedback. So if you have alpha access, make sure you have your forum badge up too. Let me or Wazbat know if not, so we can help. The forum section will be accessible by everyone, so you know what Alpha players are saying about Planet Nomads, and general discussions can take place in the right forum section.
It’s happening Nomads. In February Kickstarter we put Planet Nomads on the list of upcoming space sandbox games together. Now we have a few months of closed-alpha testing ahead of us and then it’s Early Access and a live game on Steam.
Sometimes all this makes us do crazy things.
Madness you say?
Until next time, Nomads.

Let’s Make Closed-Alpha Game Mechanics Fun
and Add Some Flair Too

How are you all doing, Nomads? At Craneballs we’ve finally installed air conditioners to increase our survival chances for the summer crunching period, which will lead to the release of the alpha version of Planet Nomads in August. Now we still don’t have a date, but that too is coming soon. Let’s take a look at the progress made in the past two weeks.
Game Design

To make your stay in Planet Nomads more believable, Peter has been setting the values of all game objects – the weight of trees, building blocks, rocks, the land. The values also include health points, since everything is destructible. So things will feel real and when they drop down on you, you will feel that too.
The Electricity Design card on Trello is less fancy than it might seem on first sight, but still important – it’s a matter of setting the power demands of each active block, be that lights, motorized wheels, doors or cockpits, in relation to the power output of solar panels, generators and batteries. You will clearly see these power relations in the Build Vision mode.
Build Vision

Seeing people struggle with the previous block setting system, we’ve created the Build Vision to make tinkering with your creations easy. When playing Planet Nomads you’ll be navigating seamlessly between the settings menu and the world around you. We will show this in full in the next episode of Nomadic Journals.

Build Vision Screen

Bigger Blocks for Bigger Projects

It’s nice to have 0.5 m blocks to create fine detail, but sometimes you just want to cover big spaces quickly and save time. That’s why we are introducing scaled versions of several building blocks. So you can build more with less. Optimizing your builds to use fewer blocks also means smaller hardware demands; in other words your creations have just grown bigger. Add the new possible combinations and your imagination just got a new pair of wings.
A few examples of the scaled building blocks.


More Particles Being Created

We keep talking about particles… let’s stick to showing this time. Examples of particles from Cenda’s kitchen.






Badlands and Exotic Jungles Make their Way to Alpha

Alien Jungle
Jungle Biome

Power of Unity – Adam in Full

We were aching to see the full Adam movie online after watching it at Unite Europe in Amsterdam. Check it out. Not only does it show the power of Unity, it’s also a fine piece of story-telling.
That is all for today, Nomads. Tune in to our Twitter frequency to receive further mission updates.