The Crytivo team has been working hard since the successful completion of our Kickstarter campaign back in May and would now like to take this opportunity to address you, the community, with an update on The Universim. Firstly, we would like to thank all of you for your continued support and the fantastic posts on our forums and social media outlets. It’s just amazing to read everything you have to say. If you’re interested in reaching out to us, you can find us on:
For those waiting to receive their pledge rewards, they’re almost ready and coming hot off the presses. We’re finalizing the last of the rewards, the t-shirts, and will soon have them at the warehouse to be sent out. It took a bit of time as we had to make sure we were able to order the best quality gear for our backers. You won’t believe how tricky that can be, sheesh.
Lastly, we posted an update regarding issues with PayPal and the funding recently. We are continuing to work with PayPal regarding this issue and would like to request that any future pledges are made directly on our website!
Now, let’s talk about the game!
PROMETHEUS ENGINE - WHAT CAN IT DO?
As you know, The Universim is a game about building up a civilization, exploring the boundaries of space, and surviving on the many planets you discover throughout the universe. To do this, we require an engine, which we’ve dubbed Prometheus, to handle the algorithms for generating planets and their composition. Preparing and designing Prometheus has been our main focus recently, seeing as it is a crucial milestone that will allow us to create resources, biomes, weather, and much more with ease and then combine all of that into generating new and unique planets for your civilization to discover. In other words, dynamic planets are awesome and we’re implementing them ASAP.
Currently, Prometheus is able to generate basic unique planets by forming a random planet mesh (hills, water, etc.) and layering it with biomes, which determines how world objects are distributed based on their own rules; for example, a palm tree would be found in a desert biome and not the forest. Right now we base all our biomes and objects off Earth-like environments, but this system will essentially allow us to create whatever we want. Feel free to share some suggestions with us!
Weather is another major aspect of any planet that is under construction by a dedicated developer. Right now, Prometheus can handle basic weather such as wind, clouds, and rain. We plan on making this system dynamic to allow us to create different types of weather (acid rain, anyone?) that spawn based on conditions such as temperature and biome composition. This means that you might find a few surprises when you first step onto the surface of a new planet … you better be prepared! I know we keep saying that, but darnit virtual people’s lives are at stake here!
Prometheus is also responsible for controlling character objects in real time pathfinding, such as allowing workers to navigate the landscape in search for resources or animals, as well as aliens (and other beasties) to stalk those workers as prey. Here’s what 200 lumberjacks look like.
PROMETHEUS ENGINE - WHAT’S NEXT?
Although there is still much more to be done, Prometheus is in a solid enough state now to allow us to refocus our efforts on implementing gameplay mechanics. We will, however, continue to polish Prometheus and currently have some developers working on finalizing the weather system.
After releasing the prototype to the community, we essentially had to rework the foundations of the game since the prototype was a focus on visuals and atmosphere rather than gameplay. Since then, we have been working on implementing mechanics that will be available with the alpha at a later date. We do this by designing the first gameplay experience that we want players to go through, which involves starting a new civilization in the Stone Age.
To sum up what mechanics are currently implemented:
Starting the game, we generate a new planet called Mother Planet. This is a default planet type that will be used at the start of the game in order to familiarize the player with the mechanics and is comparable to Earth.
You can choose where to place an epicenter for your starting civilization, and doing so will spawn two workers.
Workers are assigned jobs through the epicenter, which are prioritized by default but can be tweaked by the player. We have completed a large chunk behind the job logic, and currently they focus on gathering resources and maintaining worker’s health.
We also have a basic model editor implemented which we will use to allow players to customize and paint models.
Right now, our developers are completing their current milestone that will polish the first gameplay elements, which include the job system and worker AI. This will pave the way for us to begin adding new content, unique buildings, and behavior.
GAMEPLAY - NEXT MILESTONE
Our design team has planned the next milestone, which will focus on the population fluctuation of an epicenter, and can be summarized as:
Months will be used to track temperature change and create seasons on the planet. They will also be important time points where epicenters will trigger things like changes in population growth.
Population growth will be based on a variety of factors, but for this milestone we will focus simply on food consumption; if there is not enough food to feed the population at the end of each month, people will begin to die.
As population increases, houses will be constructed. Construction will allow workers to gather resources from local warehouses and will allow us to create the foundations for adding all building types.
We aim to create two key buildings: farms and eateries. Key buildings are special, functional buildings that the player will be able to place on behalf of the epicenter. Eventually, we will allow epicenters to be influenced to do certain tasks, such as construction, and they may or may not listen!
Worker statistics will be polished and include their hunger, stamina, and health. As they complete jobs assigned by the epicenter, they will be required to rest and eat or risk losing health and eventually dying. Players will be able to view the ID card of any worker to see how they’re doing.
As certain population milestones are reached, workers will find a mate and … well, you know what happens next. But most importantly, player’s will be able to expand their workforce!
The idea of creating procedural environments with many objects on a sphere proved to be a challenge from the technical side of art. Simply put, it does not allow us to use conventional approaches for many things, thus special optimization features and shaders are specifically created for Prometheus. Our 3D models continue to evolve as we iterate on our visual style to find the perfect balance between visual fidelity and performance.
To help understand our visual style, as well as assist in visualizing the design of features, we create concept art for nearly everything. Here are some of our latest concepts with a little explanation of their purpose:
Our animal models have undergone an overhaul, adding more polygons and shaping them to be a bit more lifelike than before.
Epicenters are marked with some monumental object and this is a concept of what a starting epicenter might look like in the Stone Age. Whenever an epicenter is placed, it will come with a mini warehouse, called a stockpile. This is where your workers will temporarily store gathered resources and where they will also have to retrieve resources to be used in construction or supplying other key buildings. Eventually, warehouses can be built and placed closer to heavy resource areas.
Towers are key buildings that epicenters can use to defend their borders from danger. These will require a guard type worker to operate and be responsible for spotting any distant workers in trouble.
Farms are another important key building that will allow epicenters to grow their own food. Like nearly all key buildings, they will be upgradable to increase certain aspects about them.
Workers can take on any job that the epicenter requires of them, and each job will change the look of that worker. Over time, workers will also become hungry and be required to eat. The best option is to seek out an available eatery, a key building that will satisfy a worker’s hunger for much longer than if that worker had to resort to scavenge for food.
We know the question a lot of people are asking is, “When will the alpha be available?”
Firstly, we would like to continue being an independent team of passionate developers who can take the time to develop the game that we all will love without having to put limits on our creativity due to time. Because of this, and despite receiving quite a few offers from private investors and big publishers, we have declined more than 2.5 million dollars of investments due to unappealing contracts.
Overall, our development process has been moving slower than we had expected, mainly because we’re implementing the features the way we envisioned and in a way we hope you will enjoy. However, the process has been very strong and healthy as we continue to pour our love and effort into The Universim and continue to bring on more members to the team; recently we have welcomed two more 3D artists! We also hope to be attending various game conventions in the new year so perhaps we will even get to meet some of you in person!
We know you can't wait to get your hands on the Alpha build and we will to do our best to deliver it to you as soon as we can. But since this is our first game as a team, we want to ensure that we deliver the best quality experience to you guys, so please allow us to take the time to build the best planet management game ever. In order to make the waiting process a little less stressful, we have decided to share some of our game design documents with you! Our game designers are currently organising a few, and we will share the links with you pretty soon. We want you to be a part of the development process, so please leave comments and suggestions for new features that you want to see implemented.
Thank you again for your awesome support! We will continue to work on the game every day, or for some of us, every night, and hope that you will enjoy this crazy ride with us. So far The Universim community has been very supportive and kind, which has motivated us tremendously!
Please follow us on our social channels for smaller day-to-day updates and join discussions on the forums! We hope to give you the opportunity to try what we’ve been working on soon via the alpha version of the game, so stay tuned for more updates!