August 24, 2016 by Daniel
We’ve been pretty open about what to expect from the alpha throughout the development, but wanted to put it all in one place and feature it more prominently so here goes.
The most important information can be found in Nomadic Journals #3, on Trello and in this blogpost from March.
We have been able to achieve all the features we planned and added some nice touches too like dynamic weather and particle effects. With one exception – the animals will not make it to the first alpha release, because we need to completely rework their path-finding AI. The voxel-based terrain presented some unforeseen difficulties, and the current version has animals pounding into obstacles sometimes and most of all it consumes way too much computing power as is now.
ALPHA BUILD IN A NUTSHELL
The alpha build is the very first playable version of Planet Nomads and compared to the version we are planning for Early Access, it could be considered more of a sandbox tech-demo.
There is only one planet in alpha, 64 kilometers in diameter so you are able to travel it whole in a reasonable time in a land-based vehicle. There are 11 biomes in it, changing most visibly when you travel south/north. The planet is completely destructible.
Building is now limited to structures and land-based vehicles, with fliers and space coming later on. There are currently around 50 types of building blocks that provide quite a few options as is, but that number is going to increase. We have not put any limits on the total number of blocks used on the planet, and we are looking forward to feedback from stress tests.
There is a day/night cycle and dynamic weather, that will later be tied to survival.
The game now features a creative mode only, so everyone is immortal and have unlimited resources.
THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE GAME
You should not approach the alpha build as a “final game with bugs”. This is not the case. The development of Planet Nomads is a continuous cycle with a lot of content to be created and added to the game. The Early Access release in Q1 2017 will be closer to the game we have in mind, and will feature survival and crafting, but we are still expecting at least 2-years of development after the EA release to bring Planet Nomads to its full potential.
PLANET NOMADS ROADMAP
The vision we presented on Kickstarter still stands, and the stretch goals such as multiplayer, space flight, modding and orbital building will be added to the game during the EA phase. Given the amount of preorders and the general good reception of Planet Nomads, we are expecting to be sufficiently funded to finish the game. We will certainly have a better idea with the alpha-version feedback.
We know you are keen to hear roadmap details and upcoming features and what is going to happen in the time leading to the Early Access release on Steam (Q1 2017). In the past weeks, we got some new ideas and heard a few good ones on PN forum, but had iced them to be able to completely focus on preparing the alpha build.
After the alpha release however, we are going to have a looong meeting on the topic of future steps and will have a clearer picture for you. Still, the details change all the time, based on feedback within the team and from our Nomadic community and will change even more with people playing the alpha. Given the approach to PN development, don’t expect detailed plans spanning more than a few months into the future. Follow our blog, Youtube, Twitter or FB to hear the news when they come.
HOW TO BEST ENJOY PLANET NOMADS ALPHA & HELP IMPROVE THE GAME
You should focus on the things that can be done in the alpha – try building what you’ve always wanted to build, put PN physics to all kinds of tests, work with the terrain by digging and building underground, chop down trees and rocks, explore all the eleven biomes by crossing the planet from pole to pole.
Discuss the alpha, ask for help and share your tips on the Alpha forum. Report bugs here.