Planets³: A 3D open-world voxel-based RPG
Planets³ (Pronounced Platnets-cube, not Planets three!) is an open world sandbox RPG game based on a universe made of cube shaped planets… with equators. So imagine Minecraft, Skyrim, Starbound, some random dungeon crawler all mashed into one massive game, and you get Planets³.
Similar to Minecraft, “Planets³ adventures take place in a universe entirely made of 25cm³ blocks (voxels).” except, you can hop from one planet to another, and in the final game, from one solar system to another. But to do that, you’ll need to either obtain or build yourself a personal spaceship which you’ll be able to unlock as you progress further in the story. Yes, there’s a story. The story also doesn’t involve you alone, according to their kickstarter page, you’ll come across various people who you’ll be able to hire as Job Masters once you’ve gained their trust. These same people will later help you out in the game and also play a vital role in the entire plot of the game. What are Job Masters you ask? Think of them as your crew, you’ll need them to progress further in the game and storyline since they can provide assistance in many different ways, like crafting new recipes or making you god like weapons to one shot everything in sight and turn you into the mass murdering lunatic you are… in-game ofcourse. “They can research new recipes for you, help build new structures, repair broken items, dismantle objects to learn how to reproduce them; they can also harvest crops for cooking, and of course, fight by your side against any enemy… Job masters can be blacksmith, goldsmith, engineer, fighter, cook, builder or farmer.”
According to their kickstarter page, the very first Job Master you’ll meet will be this guy:
From what I understand of this system is that it replaces crafting, or the higher tier of crafting anyway. Instead of crafting everything yourself and being magically good at everything, there’ll be specific people who you’ll need to go to in order to build or help build some of the more intricate things in the game. It seems like a nice change of pace if you ask me.
There is free roam in the game as you can imagine, since this is a free roam game. However, “Planets³ is split into zones, which represent different levels of difficulty and mark the progression of the player in the story line.” The latter part of the sentence has me worried, since I’m guessing that some areas will be gated and you’ll have to progress through the storyline in order to open the magical cube shaped world. The devs say that you’ll be able to level up your character and obtain skills by doing almost anything. Even running or jumping gets you skills, such as being able to run faster or for longer and jump higher. Using heavier weapons or tools will improve your strength apparently and you’ll be able to use them better.
Each zone will have it’s own unique resources available to it. As you travel from one zone to another, you’ll need to acquire these resources as your Job Masters will require them to build you upgrades and… stuff. Your Job Masters can also dismantle weapons and tools so that you can recreate them later as well. An interesting feature in this game is that NPCs won’t just drop random loot, they’ll drop what they’re wearing and/or holding. For example, if you encounter and kill an ogre who was wielding an axe and wearing leather armour, it’ll either drop an axe or leather armour or both! At least, that’s my understanding of the system anyway.
Mobs in this game aren’t pushovers either. Apparently they won’t just blindly zerg you but will rather work cooperatively and hunt you down and make you cry while at the same time aiding each other. This is good since most games just has mobs with very limited AI, and they just charge at you without any regard for their life. Special attacks and abilities do change the gameplay a little, but mobs with good AI and special abilities can do so much more.
There’ll be boss NPCs in this game as well, and frequent ones from what I can make out. You’ll find several dungeons in the game and each dungeon will be filled with mobs and a Boss at the end of it. The boss will be guarding some sort of treasure chest which will be filled with unique… stuff.
Combat also seems quite intriguing to say the least. You can adopt different fighting styles to play the game. You can either be a heavily armoured warrior or a stealthy ninja. And since this game will support multiplayer, you and your friends can combine your different styles of combat to take down bigger foes that you might find difficult on your own. The only thing missing probably is some sort of skill tree like in Skyrim or other RPGs. Add something like that, and this game will be gold!
The crafting area is where the game gets really interesting and creative. For one, there is no definite tool or weapon in the game. Every weapon or tool is made up of different parts or “subparts” as the devs are calling it. These different subparts will not only look different but will also be made of different materials as well. All objects, excluding resources that you can gather, are made up of subparts. One of the ways you can acquire these subparts and craft them as well, is by dismantling weapons and tools that you get as loot. The possibilities of this game’s crafting system is very huge and makes me wonder why there aren’t any other games that follow similar crafting mechanics. I say this because not everyone will be wielding a diamond pickaxe by the end of the game that looks similar to each others’ but rather, everyone will have their own version unique version of a diamond pickaxes.
The crafting system does not limit itself to just tools and weapons however, it goes way beyond. You can even craft your own vehicle and transportation system. Such as a bike, a car or even a whole spaceship like in Starmade.
The crafting system when it comes to building different forms of transportation does seem a tad bit on the complicated side of things though. My views on this is entirely from the video of the game that was released by the devs:
The game will also include an editor if the stretch goals are reached, and if not, you can always customize the universe of Planets³ however you want using the xml file.
Let’s go over the features of this game once more shall we?
- Main storyline and annex quests
- Original NPCs and Job Masters playing an important role in the story
- Planets divided into zones of different level
- Dynamic character statistics evolution
- Freedom to choose the combat style
- Dungeons with bosses and treasures
- Secret places where you can find unique items
- In game vehicles construction with blocks
- Item crafting by assembling subparts and choosing their shape and material (which influence the crafted item’s statistics)
- Procedural generation of coherent landscape with integration of handmade areas
- Coop multiplayer mode for the story
- Client/Server architecture (not MMO)
- Customization of almost everything and possibility to share constructions with the community
All in all, this game looks crazy ambitious and sounds like it may just be the next Minecraft if they can pull it off. They even have a Top interesting features list:
- Marked progression, with clearly defined zone levels
- Scalable UI: you craft what you need (a map, a watch, radar…)
- An ‘In Game’ vehicle construction system to build your transport solutions
- Natural elements taken into account, such as planets alignment, because all the planets are in motion!
- Realism, with features like pipelines to transport resources, different smelting furnaces for metal, electric circuits management, farming and animal husbandry
As if the long list of features stated before wasn’t enough. The game is currently on kickstarter (Their kickstarter page contains a shit ton of information, so give it a look if you want to know more about the game), so if you have a couple of extra $$$ lying around, go ahead and donate to these guys. And follow them on Twitter if you wanna. Maybe even give their Facebook page a like?
You can get a digital copy of the game by donating a mere 15$ and for people who donate $20 or above, will get beta and alpha access to the game.
The game will be available first on PC. Mac and Linux versions will be available if the stretch goals are met. There’s also a stretch goal to make the game available for PS4 and Xbox One. All beta and alpha version will only be available on PC and not consoles. Alpha comes out sometime around Fall 2014 whereas Beta comes out during spring 2015. The game will officially launch on Fall 2015.