New Planet Speculation Thread

    Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Valiant70, Apr 13, 2017.

    1. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      All right. About time someone did this. This thread is for sharing "fan theories" about the new planets. Theories based on Schine hints are strongly encouraged. Pure speculation is fair game, but kinda lame. We can't play with the new planets yet, but we can play scavenger hunt with the hints Schema and friends have dropped.

      (in reference to this thread: Reveresed April fools: The new planets are real )
      My guess is that they've done something like what was done before - tell the truth in such a wonky way that it befuddled us. Let's look at some of the things Schema said and try to decode them a bit. Unfortunately the original reversed April Fools prank is no longer accessible, or the link is just broken. If someone can find an archived copy, please link it. It would be helpful to compare the joke post to what dodecaplanets actually ended up being so we can work on deciphering Schema's humorous hints.

      A million times faster? That could be exaggeration, pointed at the fact that the joke image is only a few blocks, and possible optimizations to the game engine that would speed even THAT thing up from next to nothing to REALLY close to nothing.

      This could still be part of the "one block" joke, but it could also be an insight into how the new planets are generated. Perhaps they actually do start from one block somehow. This reminds me a lot of something in a tech demo from Aubern's portfolio.
      Voxel Planet
      Now don't overhype that demo - that approach is rather unsuitable for Starmade as the blocks are misshapen to make it spherical. Don't believe me? Load it up and explore it.

      The interesting part of that demo is that it generates with a single block at the center. Hmm... There's something to that. Auburn's come up with something I'll bet. But what?! And could this possibly mean the planets are now a single entity?

      WTF? Kind of contradictory... there's another hint here that I haven't figured out. It probably has to do with how the planets (or their surfaces) load.

      No surprise there. Schema hates the very idea of anything other than pure seamlessness throughout the Starmade universe.

      *squints, tilts head to the left* ...HEY!
      [​IMG]
      What's that behind and slightly to the left of the cube-thing? It looks like a dodecaplanet, but I've never seen one that color before...
      [​IMG]
      It's grey, the same color as that cube in the center of the "planet" in the middle of the image. The joke planet looks like a cube, and the planet you see if you look really closely to the left kind of looks like a sphere. Are they perhaps still using the dodecahedron shape? That grey dodecahedron really has me scratching my head. I doubt it's a mistake or bug. Is it even really a dodecahedron? It's a little blurry to tell. Darned resolution/image compression/censorship... *grumble grumble*

      This... might be straight up true. Multiple biomes have been discussed before and stated as an eventual goal.

      This was the remainder of a clue leading to this gif:
      [​IMG]
      Auburn's been at work on terrain generation, I see. I'm trying not to drool on my keyboard... Oh, and there's a river with multiple levels of water and an odd rendering-bug-like gap between them. Maybe this points to the development of an actual liquid engine for bodies of water and other liquids, which were mentioned long ago in a Q&A stream as a distant goal.

      So to sum up what I've figured out so far:

      Kinda-sorta-confirmed maybe:
      • Optimizations out the wazoo
      • (improved? maybe LOD?) seamless loading
      • Multiple biomes per planet
      • Prettier terrain as seen in the gif (with smexy rivers!)
      Not-so-far-fetched speculation:
      • Actual liquids
      • Single-entity planets
      • Minds will be blown
      • by arouqarouq - Curved plate rendering (maybe just from a distance?)
      • EdymnionEdymnion - minds will not be blown. :(
      Really far-fetched speculation that has no grounds in anything from the planet post:
      • Planets will be perfect and everyone will be happy and there will be no more complaining about planets or anything else in the game because the planets are so awesome and they make the game perfect.
      • Mr.SteamMr.Steam & EricBlankEricBlank - Slightly off-cube blocks to allow a sphere
      • jayman38jayman38 - Procedurally generated creatures that may contain contain secret sauce (or nuts)

      So, your thoughts? Would anyone with a particularly strong intuition about puzzles and mind games like to weigh in?
       
      #1 Valiant70, Apr 13, 2017
      Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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    2. arouq

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      I was going to post this in my own thread, but seeing as how there is a planet conspiracy thread already.... :D

      first.png

      third.png

      It seems to me that a plate system is being used here, the plates are being warped to appear spherical in nature. We can see warped "plate" systems in physical real world objects, as well as in game development. Here's a few examples:

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
      Source: Determining if a spherical triangle is visible - Math and Physics - GameDev.net

      This is the most likely approach they have taken. We already use a plate based system, simply curving it a little can create more "spherical" like planets.
       
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    3. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      I'm not convinced that the horizon is actually curved. I think it's a hill. That does kind of look like plate edges though. That makes them look better from space, but who knows if the edges actually look any better on the ground. I hope they've found a way to make building across the plate boundaries possible if this is the approach they've taken.
       
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    4. arouq

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      You might be right, it could just be performance increase, size increase and better terrain generation (biomes, buildings, monuments etc).

      If they go for any of the examples I listed, angles between the plates will be reduced.

      I've thought about this a little. If they're using a plate based system, I can't see any reason for building across plate boundaries. You'd have massive distortions, take a look at AuburnAuburn planet demo. It could certainly be done, I doubt it would be worth it.
      --- Updated post (merge), Apr 13, 2017, Original Post Date: Apr 13, 2017 ---
      If they make them big enough, there might be no reason to build across plate boundaries.
       
    5. Mr.Steam

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      If the plates all joined together seamlessly why would you even need plate boundaries? It seems like it would be one continuous plate.

      Please verify my math, but if each block was slightly trapezoidal shaped (in other words slightly smaller at the bottom than the top) they could wrap around a sphere. I calculated that if each block was only tapered by 1/16° on each side of the block it would take 2880 blocks to go around the circumference (360 X 1/8°). Using the formula of Circumference = 2πr I get a radius of 458 meters (Which seems like a reasonable planet size).

      A 1/16° taper would make each block expand by .00436 meters per block. (If my trig skills are still correct)

      So if you restricted block build height to less than say 100 meters about the average surface height. (In other words the middle block is 1m wide and every block below it would shrink and every block above it would grow. The blocks would grow less than half a meter at 100 meters above average. Under most normal heights you probably wouldn't even notice the block growth.

      It does mean you would be restricted from building all the way into space, but that seems like a reasonable trade off for truly round planets. Of course as the planet radius gets bigger the blocks could go even higher without too much apparent distortion.
       
      #5 Mr.Steam, Apr 13, 2017
      Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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    6. EricBlank

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      Better transitions and a more curved horizon can be achieved with cubical blocks, but by tapering the thickness of the plate as it approaches the edges, so the plate becomes more convex, like a lens or very shallow, wide dome. It wouldnt change the nature of the blocks at all, simply how the terrain is designed. Right now when i look at planets it appears the edges of the plates are built up to a set height. The interior of the plate varies, but around the edges its always the same height, which gives it that weird straight edged look. Back when we had cookie planets the edges of them slowly dropped away before being cut off.

      It does seem implied that theyre doing a huge amount of optimization. If you look at another thread here, The Importance of Planets, page two, DukeofRealmsDukeofRealms states thus;
      "We are aiming to create the largest planets we can, the focus being on performance."
      And
      "Current planets are heavily unoptimised, ever since we started work on our new planets, little to no work has gone into current ones. Achieving better performance than the current ones isn't a challenge at all. We have a number of potentialsystems which could see planet size increasedrastically, we're not at a stage to be able to tell if that will work just yet."

      So achieving best possible optimization and performance versus planet size definitely seems to be high priority. We will get better planets. They might not be that much shinier, but they at least wont try to kill your computer anymore.

      The mention of visibility across distances might refer to LOD for displyaijg terrain. It might just be a rough facsimile of what the planets surface looks like, without small details. That alone would be a tremendous improvement over try to load entire plates while in orbit a kilometer away.
       
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    7. Thadius Faran

      Thadius Faran #1 Top Forum Poster & Raiben Jackpot Winner

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      I hope this means bigger planets as well.
       
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    8. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      Eh, DukeofRealmsDukeofRealms pretty much killed any excitement I might have over new planets.

      Seems like planets are going to stay nothing more than background scenery and resource dumps.

      If there's not really anything good to do with planets, I don't really care what they look like, I'll still just avoid them.
       
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    9. arouq

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      Translated: "My way or the highway".

      There's a valid a point there. Take a look at No Man's Sky, a game that heavily relies on procedural planet generation for exploration (that's the entire point of the game). Ignoring all the other issues with the game, what they achieved with their planets and procedural generation was quite amazing. Yet, with that top of the line procedural generation, it wasn't enough to appease the brain. Common complaints were, "once you've seen one planet, you've seen it all". This particular issue isn't an issue exclusive to NMS, it's an issue the industry has been trying to overcome for many years. Procedural generation is not at the point where it can create enough variation to fool the player into thinking it's new content.

      I think they've made the right decision, nobody wants a blocky NMS slapped into StarMade. Procedural generation must be treated as "background filler", like it has for so many games, we know this works. If they want exploration, they're going to have to design it with their own hands.

      From this, it's clear they are working on solving the planet issue (performance/size) first and then working the mechanics into the final result. I will, and I know many others will be happy to just see performance increases.
       
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    10. jontyfreack

      jontyfreack Pipe-God-Emperor of starmade

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      I don't mind, as long as I get to blow up something im good.

      However having a lot of NPCs on planets to recruit/enslave as crew would be nice, also having entire cities filled with NPCs would be fun, all the more to blow up from orbit while laughing and basking in the glory that is myself the pipe-god-emperor of starmade.
       
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    11. The_Owl

      The_Owl Alpha is not an excuse

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      I just want land combat tbh

      Tank treads and wheels when.


      seriously, wheels would be pretty cool
       
    12. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      No, because I'm not insisting they do anything to appeal specifically to me under some threat of leaving the game otherwise. I'm simply stating that if there is nothing to do with these planets other than eat them for resources, then I would rather eat asteroids and will simply not use planets for anything. I already actively avoid planets for anything but temporary ground bases for a day or two, and then never go near one again. They can make the planets as big and as pretty as they want, but if there's nothing to do with them there still won't be any reason for me to go near one. Not when we can do everything faster, easier, and better out in space.

      Just because someone says they won't use a feature doesn't mean they're pulling a "My way or the highway", it just means they aren't going to use a feature.

      I don't use Push/Pull beams, warheads, or cloakers either because I don't think they're worth it. Haven't seen this mythical highway of yours yet.
       
      #12 Edymnion, Apr 13, 2017
      Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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    13. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi

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      ?!?

      A procedural system like No Man's Sky (albeit with actual procedural creatures...) would actually be a great thing to have in StarMade. As long as it isn't the only thing to have in StarMade. If I'm not mistaken that's the whole issue with NMS. There's no awesome shipbuilding system, no large NPC factions, no multiplayer and PvP...
       
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    14. jayman38

      jayman38 Precentor-Primus, pro-tempore

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      In Yahtzee's "Zero Punctuation" review of "No Man's Sky" for Escapist, he touched upon the procedural creatures. It didn't really matter that the creatures were unique, because they all did the same things, and they all dropped the same stuff when killed.

      However, yes, like you said, it didn't have a whole lot of other things, either.

      My point is that there needs to be differences in the underlying stuff behind procedural creatures, not just behavior patterns and appearance. Different creatures need to "provide" different stuff when killed. There needs to be a wider array of AI "types" to make behavior more interesting, as opposed to NMS's A-B variation of "hostile creature" vs. "shy creature".

      One good thing about our tiny, tiny Starmade planets is that we won't have to worry about planets being so big, as in NMS, that you never have to deal with hostile creatures.

      I think missions/quests to "explore" planets and discover wildlife will be the secret sauce that makes procedural creatures interesting. (Everything is better when you get paid for it.)
       
    15. KiloZulu

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      I haven't seen anything in that gif to suggest a change in curvature or planet shape. Although it's very short,the start of the gif suggests a plate break. Any curvature in the background is likely just the camera angle looking towards one of the corners of the plate.

      The planets definitely need optimization to make them accessible, but after that, my only hope is that they include flora, fauna, and inhabitants to interact with. Planets and stations are at the heart of exploration in the game, and their inhabitants will be important for providing quests, information, and trade. They might also be hostile on occasion to provide some away-party excitement.

      My only other hope for planets has been that they grow in size such that they aren't dwarfed by anything larger than a fighter.
       
    16. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      Updated the OP with various ideas from others!
       
    17. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      Seeing as its a voxel game and how blocky we humans are, it should be relatively easy to make mix and match parts. Spore was very good at creating emergent gameplay for species based on the parts used.

      We could do something as simple as a couple different heads, couple different bodies, couple of different limbs, and a dozen or two accessories. Give each piece a ranking, and then generate some behavior based on total rankings on the fly.

      Like if it had a plant eater head, limbs with claws, and a quadruped body, that could be "Eats plants, is aggressive, is fast". Then could have decorations modify things like "Has armor, is less aggressive" or "Has fins for limbs, only spawns in water".

      Make one creature class object, give it some simple directives like "move towards food" or "attack/run/ignore other creatures", and then randomly select features that modify how likely it is to carry out a given directive at any given time.

      Have loot be also generated based on the random features. Means when you find something with the perfect combination, its something you'll want to keep and breed more of.
       
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    18. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi

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      There is a number of possibilities here.
      1. That gif was actually a pentagonal or even square, flat, planet section, viewed from approximately 1/3rd of the way from a corner or edge to the center, looking towards the opposite corner. It wasn't an example of any new planet shape that is going into the game, but a quick showcase of new terrain generation algorithms that will be implemented into whatever structural solution is chosen for planets. The apparent curvature is a result of an FoV setting either higher or lower than default, and not reflective of any new feature that may or may not be going into the game.
      2. It's a rounded solution, and that apparent plate boundary is actually a hill, or a cliff edge, and is the point at which the horizon curves off. It's far enough away that that distinction is rather ambiguous..
      3. It's yet another type of geometric planet face. Unlikely, considering the performance mess that comes from current dodecahedronal planets.
      4. Who knows...
       
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    19. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      Derailing much?

      That's likely enough. There was talk of "a framework that doesn't exist in the game yet" so the new shape (if there is one) may not even be in the gif.

      Could be. A rounded solution has some inherent problems that will require a great deal of creativity to minimize or overcome.

      Supposedly the overlapping of blocks in current planets has no impact on performance, and their lagginess comes from size and lack of optimization. Still, I hope they've at least picked a different shape for the planets. I like that dodecahedrons look roundish, but I've never liked the plate edges.

      Well, this is the most "likely" possibility considering it's the most ambiguous. :P And, well...
       
    20. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      Sorry. I do like where some of it was going though, so I spun off a new thread:
      Proceduraly Generated Fauna
       
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