About this project
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Planet Explorers is an open world voxel based sandbox adventure RPG game set on a distant planet. The game uses a new OpenCL system based on the Unity 3D engine to allow players to change the terrain in anyway, create new objects in any form, and do it anywhere.
In Planet Explorers, it is the year 2287, one of the first colony ships sent out by Earth arrives at the planet Maria, in the Epsilon Indi Star System. During its landing sequence, something appears in front of the massive ship that causes it to lose control and crash into the planet. Some of the colonists survive in lifeboats, but what they find is an unforgiving land filled with creatures ready to outlast the visitors from Earth. Now the survivors must explore, gather, build, create, fight, and ultimately, establish a lasting new home.
The gameplay will be in 3rd and 1st person perspectives. Players will be able to customize their character, combine and create weapons, vehicles, and buildings. At the same time, players will have to defeat multitudes of enemies of varying intelligence and defend the remnants of the colonists. This is an RPG, so it will feature a full story arc complete with missions and side quests. The game will feature a single player story line as well as random single and multiplayer adventure maps. Multiplayer, both through LAN and online, will be featured prominently in Planet Explorers, including but not limited to build mode, adventure mode, cooperation mode, and versus mode.
Planet Explorers will be for PC and MAC for sure. Linux will be very likely (we're using the Unity engine, so it's a given, but we're testing this next week to be sure). No mobile versions are planned at this time.
Story Mode – Story mode is the main meat and bones of the game. It is the action-adventure-RPG-somewhat-4X segment, offering NPCs, missions, town building, farming, diplomacy, and of course, a storyline that you can follow or ignore. This story features a 17X8km world map with many unique characters, landscapes, biomes, locations, and over 100 types of potential enemies. In the final game, the map will be completely open from the start, and there will be landmarks to remember, scenic sites to see, extensive cave systems to explore. Even though we’ve made it seem like a very action oriented game in the trailers, in reality, players can choose not to fight so much or at all, and instead just to plant a farm, make some food, keep the colonists alive, negotiate with the sentient aliens, and defend the perimeter from the local life forms. That can still eventually arrive at the ending. And yes, there is an ending.
Adventure Mode – This mode is based on a procedural map generated from a seed. Currently, it comes in 256X256m and 512X512m sizes, and the plan is to make it infinite. Players will be able to complete random missions in the mode and eventually be able to setup conditions that they want to play (such as tower defense or attack an alien camp). This will eventually become the de facto survival mode as well, where the player can still perform the functions of the story mode (such as town building and NPC gathering) without the story.
Build Mode – In this mode, there are no enemies but an infinite amount of building materials. It also currently comes in 256X256m and 512X512m sizes with a plan of infinite terrain later. Players will be able to build whatever they want in this mode, including everything in the Creations Editor. Think of this as the perfect testing ground to test everything you build. Or…it’s your place to build your garden without ever worrying about the pesky aliens.
Multiplayer will allow Local Area Network, Player Hosted Server, and Online. It will feature several modes but some are still on the drawing board or going through technical trials so the final result is still in flux. Players playing multiplayer should be able to bring in at least one of their created objects, be it a sword, gun, or vehicle, and the plan is, of course, to allow more.
Versus – This mode will allow a team of up to 4 players to battle against 4 players from another team. We plan to allow for full terrain manipulation in this mode, but it’s not a given. We are going to have base defense, capture the flag, and something similar to DOTA.
Smooth Voxel Terrain - Want a different look for once from the blocky usual? Planet Explorers uses the Marching Cubes algorithm to calculate a smooth and diverse terrain.
Long View Distances - Players can enjoy vistas of up to 1km from where he or she is standing through LOD, not too many voxel games can pull this off.
Large Overworld – The main story world is actually NOT procedural. We went out of our way to make a unique 17X8km sized continent. There are also some large islands. The world will contain multiple biomes from grassland to rain forest to volcanic plains. The world is large, once you walk around it, you'll know the feeling.
Procedural Worlds – We also made it available for players to play on procedurally generated worlds in both adventure and building modes.
Creations System - A subsystem in the game that enables the player to construct weapons, vehicles, planes, boats, objects, and maybe even mechs.
Building and Digging - Like pretty much all other voxel games, you'll be able to build and dig anywhere. Unlike a lot of other voxel games, we'll have a lot more types of resources (uranium, anyone?).
Replication System - The player will be able to find templates within the game called Scripts. Once the player gets enough materials required by each script, he or she will be able to replicate the object into being through his or her pocket replicator. There will be many objects.
A Science Fiction Colonization Story - We're being very careful in what we put in the game so that it stays true to the spirit of space exploration, and you are not likely to see completely impossible things (mostly). It's not hardcore scifi though, as we don't want to scare people off. This game at its heart, is for those of us who want to be a stranger in a strange land for a few hours (or maybe a few days or weeks).
Multiplayer - We want to have the voxel gathering and building and mix in a little MMO style action for our multiplayer experience. Plus something like DOTA. We want players to be able to enjoy multiplayer long after they've played the single player. We want people to make vehicles and battle it out Twisted Metal style. We want a lot of things.
Beautiful Set Pieces - We have spent a lot of time designing everything on Planet Maria. Every tree and animal you see in the game is part of that ecosystem, and they will look the part. We want to take players on a grand adventure in a very alien setting.
Enemies - There are a lot of enemies (eventually over 100 types) for the players to encounter, some will be out to get you and some will run from you. They are on the land, in the air, underwater, and even underground. Some are dumb as rocks and some are as smart as you.
Build Your Own Settlement - The player will have the option of building a settlement in the game and recruit some NPCs to come and live in it. The town building will feature upgradable buildings and structures that are required to get better equipment or some other functions.
Farming and Growing - Everyone in the player built settlements must have food to survive, so it's the player's responsibility to figure out ways to feed the population, from farming to herding to fishing. That won't be easy, from predators and alien raid parties.
Diplomacy or War? - There are sentient alien species on Maria, they are a mystery. There will be a lot of run ins with them. The player will need to decide to fight them or leave them alone or build a diplomatic relationship with them. You are the intruder after all, so while you might fear them, they also fear you and this will be reflected in their actions accordingly.
You might say, “Oh great, another voxel game!” Understandable sentiment, but we’re trying to do something different. We’re not just going for the open world sandbox gameplay that everyone else’s doing. We’re actually adding in a fairly comprehensive storyline that gives purpose to the player’s actions. We’re aiming to make a RPG that uses gathering resources as a part of the gameplay and building as an aid to combat. At the same time, we’re retaining the procedural aspects of the genre to allow players to enjoy that part as well.
When we first started working on Planet Explorers, we believed in 2 things. First, space exploration is awesome. And second, the future of gaming will in large part be driven by user generated content. The idea of gathering resources and building what you need was there from the start, but using voxels to do it wasn't. When we eventually did turn to voxels, the project was already pretty sizable in scope.
We've been working on this game for over a year now and it's finally starting to turn into what we'd aimed for. At where we stand, we have enough budget to finish a bare minimum game, but not enough to add in every feature, storyline, and technology that we want. That's where Kickstarter comes in. We hope that what we've managed to put together so far is enough to convince you that it's something you want to play when it's completed, enough so that you will support us on our way there.
You might also ask: "Well, that's a lot of content you want to put in, how can I be sure that you'll actually get this done?" The answer is we have a team of about 15 hard working people right now, that's pretty big for an indie game, so we currently already have the actual capacity to see everything to the end! We're not making empty or far fetched promises. You can see the difference from our announce trailer back in March 2012 to this current trailer for yourself.
What we need the cash for:
- Finishing up the Game - We have a very tight budget right now, and we need help to sustain the team until the game is finished. We've got a great team working on this game, as you can see from the videos, screenshots and from playing the Alphas, so you can rest assured that we’re not messing around. We want to finish this more than anyone else and make it as good as we possibly can.
- Music and Effects - Getting great music and FX costs a lot of money, we want to be able to hire a great composer and effects artist for this game.
- Software and Hardware - Both are very expensive, but we are constantly in need of new software and hardware, especially Unity engine related things (such as 4.0).
- More and Tighter Contents - We want a few more programmers to shore up the AI and more artists to add in more contents. We also want the multiplayer to not just be an afterthought but an integral part of the game. Oh yeah, and more things to replicate!
- Character Customization – We want a fully customizable character editor as well as multitudes of hairstyles, face styles, facial hair styles and so on to pick from.
- Extra Contents - We have many story branch and game play ideas that we want to implement, a little extra cash will give us the budget to do it. We want to take players to underwater ruins and the surfaces of the moons!
- Server Cost - We would like to be able to host some of the games on our servers, and the servers cost a ton.
- Better Graphics - We want to spend more time on getting more effects, shaders, and better lighting into the game.
- Modding - We want to make it available for people to mod the game, for that we also need to write a lot more code for an editor and such (since Unity isn't very mod friendly by itself).
- Multiple Language Support - We would like to translate this game to as many languages as possible.
- World Editor – We want to let players make their own custom maps for single and multiplayer.
- QA - This costs a lot more than people think. We need to get many different graphics cards just to test out all the problems. We also need to hire QA testers in studio as the storyline gets bigger and bigger.
Please note: we put the estimated delivery time of the rewards as Feb 2014 because that's when the game comes out. We should be able to deliver on the alpha/beta testing with build a0.6 starting in May. We'll try to get the other deliverables out to backers when they're all ready so we can pack them together. For the designer perks, we'll start to work together shortly after the Kickstarter ends. Some of the designs are not final, but very close to the final iteration.
Backer will get a wallpaper pack that features 3 different art pieces with resolutions ranging from 1024X768 to 1920X1200.
Backers here will be able to alpha and beta test the single player mode of Planet Explorers and get a digital copy of the game once it's complete (can be a Steam key if we get on!) . Plus the wallpaper pack.
Backers here will be able to alpha and beta test both the single and multiplayer modes of Planet Explorers and get a digital copy of the game once it's complete (can be a Steam key if we get on!) . Also your name will be put on the game's website. Plus the wallpaper pack.
Backers will get their name placed somewhere in the game world, plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will get to download the digital OST of the game. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will be able to download the high def PDF version of the Art of Planet Explorers book, featuring almost 100 pages of concept art from the game, and the artists explaining the art direction of the game. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will get the DVD of the game, an exclusive iron armor set in game, as well as all future download content (costume packs, new quests). Plus everything from the previous tier.
In this all digital pack, backers will get another digital copy of the final game (total 2), an exclusive iron armor set in game, an exclusive iron weapon set in game, as well as all future downloads free (costume packs, new quests). Plus everything that came before the previous tier.
Backers will get a 18X24 inch poster as well as the iron weapon set in game. Plus everything that came before the all digital pack.
Backers will get a t-shirt, as well as another digital copy of the final game. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will get a figurine of the main female character and still another digital copy of the final game (total 3 copies!) . Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will get the physical copy of the "Art of Planet Explorers" book featuring close to 100 pages of concept art and commentaries as well as exclusive steel armor and weapon sets. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will receive another t-shirt, another 18X24 inch poster, and will name 2 random NPCs. Also, the DVD will be signed by developers, and the first poster signed by the artists. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will receive an Epiphany Captain's cap, the artbook signed by the artists, one more digital copy of the final game (total 4!), an exclusive gold armor set, gold weapon set, and the Captain's Costume in game. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will receive a steel mug with the Republic of Earth emblem, another figurine for your friend, still one more digital copy of the final game (5 in all!), an exclusive vehicle in game, as well as the second poster signed by the artists. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will design a blade weapon for the game, get an exclusive in game platinum armor set, an exclusive in game boat, exclusive in game shades, as well as get the Planet Explorers travel bag. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Backers will get to name and help design a NPC character (sex, characteristics, looks, backstory, or make it in your likeness!), receive an exclusive in game hovercraft, an exclusive in game moonstone armor set, as well as an exclusive in game platinum weapon set. Plus everything from the previous tier.
We'll paint your likeness and print out a special 18X24 inch poster of you in the game's style in a game setting, and the backer will also get a beautiful laser engraved crystal (about 5x4x2.5") with the Republic of Earth emblem. Plus everything from the previous tier.
The backer will collaborate with the Pathea team and design a reasonable (must fit the game world) sidequest that will be in the final game (1 business week of 1 programmer, 1 artist, and 1 animator's time, prep time doesn't count), and the backer will also be named an honorary designer in the credits. Plus everything from the previous tier.
The backer will collaborate with the Pathea team and design a reasonable (must fit the game world) game feature (1 business week of 1 programmer, 1 artist, 1 animator, and 1 concept artist's time, prep time doesn't count, can be combined with the sidequest design of the previous tier), and will be featured at the start of the game credits. Plus everything from the previous tier.
Pathea Games is an indie game studio based in Memphis, USA, and Chongqing, China, made up of a small team of individuals who want to make some fun games. The average experience of the team is around 4-5 years in the games industry. We love to dream big and aim high, at the same time, we take seriously the notion of finishing what we started.
- You can contact us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can follow us on Twitter: @PatheaGames
- You can follow us on Facebook: Pathea Games
- Our music is created by Note by Note Studios
Play Planet Explorers Alpha 0.53 FREE!
Requires a DirectX 10.1+ compatible GPU to be able to run OpenCL as well as 4GB of ram, 64bit Windows and DDR3 recommended. If you have such a card but can't run the game, please upgrade your driver or use our boards to figure out what's wrong.
Risks and challenges
Pathea Games has been developing Planet Explorers with its own funds for over a year. More than anyone else, we want to finish this project the best we can. This is our baby. It will make or break the studio, so we're putting our all into it.
We've been very open with the game's development on our own boards at pathea.net as well as the TIGsource borads, and we take comments and concerns from our players very seriously. In fact, a lot of the new changes in game came from player suggestions. We will continue to do so long after this Kickstarter campaign ends.
We are trying to make this game compatible with as many computers as possible. Due to the use of newer tech, some computers will not be able to play the game. Please try the alpha to see if your computer has problems running the game.
We've had fairly regular build updates, usually with an interval of a month or 2, and the progress can be seen by all. When we say we will try to include something, we really will find a way to try it. We can't promise the end game will be to all of your liking, but you can be sure that we will try our hardest to make it a game that players will enjoy and will remember.
However, we do need to remind everyone that making games isn't always a smooth sailing and there are a lot of uncertainties (especially the programming part). We aim to have this game out by the end of 2013, but we put Feb 2014 instead to give ourselves a little breathing room. If it comes out early, it'll be a pleasant surprise. But in case we have a little delay (though unlikely if we get enough support), a bit more of your patience will be highly appreciated.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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