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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA sandbox game on GPU
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NelStuff
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« on: October 14, 2018, 04:59:04 AM »

A sandbox game in development





Me:
Hi! I'm Nel and I'm creating my dream sandbox voxel game. I'm from Belgium, I'm a computer scientist/engineer and I have a PhD in artificial intelligence (deep learning). I have a passion for exploration games, sandbox games, experimental games, game development and classical piano (playing and listening). My dream is to be able to develop games full time for the rest of my life.

The Game:
The game I'm developing is a solo project (for now). It is a sandbox game, meaning that you are free to choose how to approach the content, similar to a child playing with sand in a sandbox without any rules. It is an open world allowing you to explore when and where you want. There are three core gameplay mechanics: exploring, collecting/gathering and creating/crafting/building.
The engine of the game works with voxels, meaning that the world is one big 3D grid and each element in the grid is called a voxel. Voxels have many different properties like occupancy, velocity, pressure, material types, etc..
The game runs almost exclusively on your graphics card. This allows you to have more impact than just modifying voxel by voxel. This also enables the simulation of flowing water, sliding sand and falling rocks.

Scenario / Context / Gameplay
While making the core engine, I'm constantly thinking about different game scenarios. Let me know if you have ideas! I like the idea of having magic powers with wands or runes/tattoos on your hand, where you craft special materials to craft wands or runes. You would be able to customize your wand, by designing (drawing) the wooden profile, colors and gems. But I will need some honest feedback on this. Maybe the pickaxe, shovel, axe is still unbeatable? Gameplay with depth will be the hard part and is also the most important one, so I will probably iterate on this before settling. I do like the idea of idle/incremental games where you progress overnight. You could craft an alchemy table that transmutes resources overnight and have upgrades that make it more efficient.

Name / Title
We still need a good name for the game. One that doesn't show a lot of results on Google. Let me know if you have an idea!
Names that I'm considering at the moment:
- Voxel Wizard
- Meor
- Meor World
- Simbox

To-do broad overview:
- Rendering different materials with different textures
- Persistence: saving the adjusted voxels to disk
- UI
- Game title
- Working out a gameplay scenario

Discord | Twitter
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 06:44:22 AM by NelStuff » Logged

NelStuff
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 05:21:19 AM »

To celebrate one year of development, I've made a little time-lapse of the progress.





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alvarop
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2018, 06:35:01 AM »

This looks really cool. I look forward to seeing how your project evolves.
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i make games that can only ever be played once on http://throwaway.fun
NelStuff
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 08:01:01 AM »

Any suggestions for the name for the game?





Messing around, checking if a third person view feels right. Model and animations are placeholder.
Not sure if third person is the way to go. I feel more immersed in first person.
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fearless_donut
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 10:25:57 AM »

Hey. I like the screenshots. I'm interested in voxels too, though i'm still not ready to dig really deep into them right now Smiley.

Personally, i'd prefer to see something with sci-fi setting on current engine. Something with big machines shooting each other and changing the surrounding landscape(It'd be great if those machines would be partially destroyable too). Something with artillery breaking holes in the enemy stronghold. Something with airplanes dropping bombs to make rivers flow in different directions. Oh, i feel embarrassed, i want too much. Embarrassed
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My devlog - Aether Way
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NelStuff
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 06:37:39 AM »

@fearless_donut: Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it <3

Names I'm considering at the moment:
- Voxel Wizard
- Voxel Sauce
- Voxel Vibe
- Meor
- Simbox

Any preference?


Experimenting with oceans.. Water can now be deep without blowing up the simulation! More stuff on Discord!




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NelStuff
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 02:17:28 AM »

Added a hand and some textures. The terrain feels a bit fluffy. Still working on saving and loading chunks.



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NelStuff
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2018, 02:09:56 AM »

The top screen shows the triangles that are actually meshed and rendered.
As you can see, I'm doing very aggressive "culling", this means that I only render voxels that are in view and not occluded by other voxels closer to the camera.



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william.equal
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2018, 03:47:08 AM »

Wow, that's really cool. I loved the look of the old "Outcast" voxel engine. Really looking forward to see you progress in development of this title!
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Alex WILLIAM E. Gleich
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Fuzzy Branch
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 02:54:45 PM »

Looks cool! How do you handle the water simulation? Is it full-on 3D grid Navier-Stokes?
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Artsicle
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2018, 03:37:39 PM »

How about "Openvoxel"/"Openvoxels" for a name?
Not many search results on google
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 04:00:39 PM by Artsicle » Logged


NelStuff
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 01:51:40 AM »

Looks cool! How do you handle the water simulation? Is it full-on 3D grid Navier-Stokes?

It's indeed based on Navier-Stokes, but I cut a lot of corners, it doesn't have to be realistic Smiley

How about "Openvoxel"/"Openvoxels" for a name?
Not many search results on google

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, I really appreciate it!
"Open" would make me think it's open source or free.
I'm also not fond of "voxel" in the title anymore (I used to be), because I think gamers will associate it with blocks and multiplayer.

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Artsicle
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2018, 03:47:26 AM »

Ah, yea, I didn't even think about all the block games. Good luck!
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Aghko
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2018, 06:39:00 AM »

Hey, it looks very impressive what you did!

Regarding the Wizard-manipulating-environment game: the game called Son of Nor did something like that already. Maybe you want to check it: what they did and the reviews on steam to get some ideas and see what works and what doesn't, and what would be cool to add.

Also, if you are doing the game solo, don't be too overambitious on what is the features that the game will have, but define a solid and fun core game play that works through all the game, and add twists and extra challenges to it as you progress. I did the mistake of over creeping games many times already. Is much better to do one single thing greatly, as examples of that: Papers Please, Hotline Miami or Superflight.

I think before giving the game a name you should define what is the core experience you want to deliver in your game, and then would be possible to do a proper brainstorming about that. In case you are thinking about having a heavy narrative game-play, then the name could be related to some character, location or the universe you are creating itself.

I have to say, that what you have done there would work greatly as a level generator / editor for many kind of games... for example to create crazy asteroid field for the one on which I am working on (wink wink, nudge nudge). Have you consider, besides creating a game with it, to add the level gen engine to the asset store?
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