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Saturday, November 3, 2012

What if I told you...


Yes, I know I said I would not do it. But it was hard to resist the temptation. After all I had all the required pieces, so why not?

All the videos I have posted recently were captured from this new engine, codenamed "VoxelFarm Realtime". It means all you see here is generated on-the-fly, as the viewer moves. It takes less than 15 seconds to boot an entirely new world, which can be larger than Planet Earth.

You can also carve, dig, and build into everything you see. You are not restricted to square shapes anymore. The blocks you can add are no different that the same blocks you already see in trees, rocks. Organic and all kind of angled surfaces are very much possible.

Now the cat is out of the bag, more on this to come.

48 comments:

  1. I might as well just give up game development now.

    Can't wait to see what becomes of this!

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  2. Wish you the best of luck. The tech might be in place but the game design will be a completely different monster to tackle :)

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  3. I actually anticipated something like this because in last videos you can see highligth cursor&terrain type when jumping, but I ended up thinking it's just some debug thing :D

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    1. Oh and also, does the LOD problems relate somehow to the change?

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    2. Correct. Having to generate everything as the viewer moves takes longer than just a plain download as I have it in the non-realtime version of the engine.

      I need to engage all CPU cores available. As more of them become available, LOD transitions can be pushed back.

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    3. This one's a bit unclear: is the world being generated locally or by a server?

      If it's local then mad props for optimising generator which previously needed a computer farm and still took long time to create (albeit it generated the whole world at once). How big the saves will be? I bet a computer of yesteryear can't handle this at all?

      If it's still cloud-based... well, I hope you will get Google caliber servers :D. And please keep us non-Americans in mind ;)

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    4. The world is local, no need for any servers. The save files are quite small because only what you change is saved, everything else can be recomputed from scratch.

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    5. Cool, altough that means the LOD problems stay even on places you visit often (maybe create cache of some size for such places). That also means it doesn't kill your hard drive with constant reading&writing :)

      How fast the generation is if you travel at high speed (are you able to reach LOD-2)?

      Aaand the big question: can one edit the world definition in Voxel Studio, then play it?

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  4. EPIC!

    I've been checking out your blog sense the post about your cities and political landscapes(http://procworld.blogspot.com/2011/07/political-landscape.html)! I'm excited about the game aspect even though you lied :P

    My only concern ... minecraft is fun but there are no living cities or armies or empires or the like.

    How do you plan the building to work in your game? Minecraft style of placing a block at a time, or more of a design tool with drag and drop?
    Will there be NPC's? (or pure sandbox mode? I've seen your cities so I'm guessing NPC's )
    High or Low fantasy?
    How many players per world? Can I have a private world where I can play with just my friends?
    Public worlds?

    ... I'm sure I have many more questions coming!

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  5. This has a LOT of potential... if you manage to keep the gameplay elements fresh and interesting this could make a great game. I am parsonally looking forward to the procedurally-generated cities and "states" you showed some time ago. Good luck!

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  6. I thought this might be one of the outcomes of the project, but I hope it will still be able to be used for generating a landscape/world for use in an external rendering program.

    Given the full 3D(not limited to blocks) aspect of the engine I suspect it will be easy to distinguish it from Minecraft.

    -Sonic

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    1. I still keep the non-realtime version which can be used to generate static 3D worlds.

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    2. So, would it be possible to provide a seed value and then work from there? Seems like a fabulous way to distribute maps (and also bug reports... how nice would it be to say "hey seed value UJVZIL6R93I generates a stack of buildings 400 floors high, at about coordinates 69348 by 27827")

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    3. Exactly, the entire world is deterministic after the world seed is set. I am using a 32 bit key for now, so only 65,000 different worlds.

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    4. 2^32 is approximately 4.3 million. 65k would be 2^16. Am I missing something?

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    5. No worries, though of course I was hoping it was the other number that was off. Bigger is always better, right? ;)

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    6. It would be no big deal to switch to a bigger seed. In practice 65K is already very large when you consider the worlds are huge and you start in a random position not affected by this seed.

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  7. Sounds amazing. In my mind, the first thing I imagine is something like a Skyrim landscapes, Red Faction destruction, and Minecraft crafting hybrid.

    I look forward to more updates!

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  8. would be epic with some rpg elements like skyrim and include your city/town gen..

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  9. I always thought this would lend itself well to a game builder. A world made in a few seconds that could then be taken and edited to build an environment. So the world is built then the artist makes his alterations and a game is made with that world, it would save a lot of time on some projects

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  10. Oh snap.

    I hoped for a world builder tool.

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  11. I kinda love the world builder idea. But I would buy it soo fast if it ends up into a voxel sandbox game. I love that style and I think minecraft is only the beginning. So much can be done with that type. Minecraft just made it popular.

    I do think that you should also make a world builder type of thing. Maybe a program that can export to 3d programs. S'all up to you.

    Oooh, procedurally generated weapons (swoon)

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  12. I happened to be listening to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LtnLVRvypw) while watching the previous biome videos. I couldn't help but imagine all the crazy epic cities and constructions people would eventually make in an engine like this!

    This game /needs/ to exist.

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  13. yes this would be very much ok :) finally a nice looking game hopefully the mechanics will be good also ...

    as for resources you could log how many err points or cells have been removed of x texture and say you have "x cubes worth"
    cubes could be short for cubic foot or metre

    for building you could put a snap to grid every 10 cm and make walls be panels each 1m wide by 2.5mm tall and modular like 3 differant types of panels 1 being a blank wall 2 being a door 3 being a window and then have 2m wide segments that are just a double door wide window and wide blank wall

    if you will make it a survial genre with limited land scaping would you let minor landscaping like leveling where a house would go so it was partially flat

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  14. You have broken my brain, I am now going to punch a tree and see if blocks fall out...

    On a serious note: I did not figure it possible on such massive(ly detailed) scale! I must say, impressive!
    Is this what the monolith was a hint for?

    Also, to be honest, I personally would prefer realistic simulation (Cities with people who actually do stuff, and change the environment or even just their own city) over a sandbox world... I would ofcourse prefer it even more if we could have both...

    Then last but not least: This is now on my Christmas wishlist.

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  15. I knew this would happen, and this is the greatest idea ever!
    However, I'm also interested in the world builder / 3dsmax plugin ideas.

    Clone yourself and make both! :P

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  16. I'd like to see a Populous style god game, what Black & White and From Dust SHOULD have been. This engine would be perfect for that.

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    1. I actually really like this idea. The engine for ProcWorld has a TON of potential. And I think that once it's a bit more complete, it could branch off into other areas. It would start with the ProcWorld engine, then move on into: ProWorld RPG, ProcWorld World builder, ProcWorld God simulator, etc...

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  17. Is there a video on this page I can't see?

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    1. No video in this post. I will post one tomorrow.

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  18. There are a few caveats to Minecraftification.
    Minecraft works on the cheapest $20 graphics cards, and the most basic home computers.
    It's in Java which means PC or Mac, which helped give Minecraft a large user base. You could play in in a web browser.
    Minecraft feature list is MASSIVE. I mean huge!
    Will zombies be able to infect villagers so they have zombie children for example?

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    1. David, look at all the successful games throughout history, and then look at all the clones out there. Now look at how many games are both.

      Sure, some clones become successful, but usually it is because they do something original, or because its a sequel (which doesn't really count as a clone).

      Now lets apply what I just said to this procedural world (It needs a name =3), First off, take into account that this... game(?) isnt finished yet, hell, Miguel doesnt seem to think it finished enough for public use yet obviously. Hence, you cant compare it on equal grounds yet, but instead should compare it to minecraft at the same level, Minecraft started off as just grass blocks and stone blocks in a small procedurally generated map, there were no fancy features, there were was no AI etc. Then he just casually added features as time went by. Actually, the great appeal of minecraft is not all the features it has, it is the fact that you have an entire world which you can build with and shape to your will.
      Procworld(as I will call the game(?) for now) has the same basic appeal, an entire world at your fingertips, ready to be changed, except, its graphics are *better* (Some people prefer blocky graphics, I have to admit, it has a certain... charm), and since the world is made up of different sized voxels, which are turned into geometry, we will be able to make much smaller holes or smaller geometry than in minecraft, this will have an appeal all on its own.

      Then there is simulation, I believe Miguel is going for a simulation type world, not sure though, but if my assumption is true, realistic simulation, perhaps including the NPCs building stuff and digging stuff, would be really interesting, and a big lure for the simulation market =3.

      Basically, Procworld will only half-way share the market of minecraft probably, since it is different enough to be its own game, rather than just another clone, but it also taps into areas where minecraft does not, hence it will also have other people who are/will be interested in Procworld, but not in Minecraft.

      Lets just say it is similar enough to be attractive, but also different enough not to be overlooked =3.

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    2. This engine is about a sandbox experience that does not require all surfaces to be at 90 degrees. Different games may use this property in different ways. Eventually there may be a game or mod based on the engine that has zombies in all shapes flavors.

      It took me a lot of time and research to get the procedural generation running at the amount of detail I wanted. You can call that a feature.

      You certainly will need a $100 GPU to max your graphics. I would say if you can run Skyrim on your rig and enjoy it, this thing will run pretty well.

      I'd be very happy if this thing got at least a slim fraction of the popularity and recognition Minecraft has.

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    3. If your going for a different market than the children that play and build with Minecraft on their parents computers, then fair enough.
      The blocks themselves are not just there for ease of rendering, they make adding and deleting really fast and accurate. With any shape chunks there could be a frustration in placing parts down in the world accurately, so you may have to resort to grid positioning anyway.
      There are a few ray-marching demos on YouTube and people are always saying 'yay, the next minecraft' etc so you never know, you might be right after all.
      I'm guessing you've play Minecraft a lot?

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    4. Yes, I agree with you that square blocks are easier to handle. This is what I use as well. Still in a Minecraft world, only a small fraction of what you see has been put there by hand. The output of the procedural generators does not have to be square as it is in Minecraft.

      Then even if you place square, you can have some tools that will soften the edges afterwards.

      Let's say you are building a dome. You would place the square blocks first, then even out the whole thing using a different tool.

      My take is, keep the good part of having blocks, which is the ease of placement, then remove the visual constraints they bring.

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    5. By "remove the visual constraints" you mean "suppress edges". Minecraft is more restful and interesting to the eye than your world because it doesn't smooth away the edges in the service of your false god "photorealism".

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    6. I was wondering how long it would take for the minetards to attack. We had a good run, everyone!

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  19. I was really hoping you'd license the engine. I would love to play with your tech to see what I could build.

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    1. Right now my main goal is to sell engine licenses. If you are serious about it contact me at my gmail account.

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    2. Do you have a rough idea of price and pay structure in mind that you're willing to say publicly? Are you selling only the terrain engine, or are you planning on adding some other typical game engine features (especially places like pathfinding and movement where it closely interacts with the terrain)? You mentioned running locally instead of on a server; do you plan to support generating locally and using a server to distribute how the players modify the world?

      I'll go ask those in gmail if you prefer.

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  20. Hi Miguel,

    Im loving your concept and the progress you have made on such a versatile engine.
    Out of curiosity, you saying your looking to turn your engine/game into a minecraft clone/sandbox
    game.

    What do you mean by this? Is the game going to become a survival based game with a sense of adventure and bounty to be found etc.

    Thanks for the hard work and keep it up!

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  21. WURM ONLINE way better than minecraft and would be really beautiful on your engine!!!

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