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[Interview] Outerra: A Playable Earth


Have you ever heard of Outerra? For those of you not in the know, it’s basically a game engine that creates a nearly 1:1 scale of planet Earth you can explore.  It’s still in development and the team is moving quick to implement new features such as a back story, game modes, better lighting and everything you can expect.  While being geographically similar to Earth, it’s not pinpoint accurate.  But it still gets the point across well enough.

We caught up with one of the developers for Outerra, one Brano Kemen.  Here’s what he had to say to our questions.


What do you hope to carry out in the end? (How do you want the “full version” of this game to end up?)

Brano: What we are developing is a 3D world-rendering engine, usable in many games and simulators. The development takes some time, and to satisfy our fans we decided to pre-release our planned game “Anteworld” early in alpha state, as a sandbox game where they can explore our planet in its raw state, build roads and place buildings. People who bought the alpha are getting access to regular updates with new functionality and will also get the full game.

Ultimately the game is meant to be about recolonization of the planet Earth at some point in the future, with players selecting their unique spot and trying to rebuild the infrastructure, being able to visit locations of other players and trade with them. Kind of a slow running civilization game.

Who are the masterminds behind this project?
Brano: We are a small independent company based in Slovakia, comprised of programmers and a couple of people cooperating externally. Since we are doing most of the world creation procedurally, we don’t need so many artists as other teams.

How long has this been in the works?
Brano: Several years, hard to get an exact number. Originally it was a hobby project, but after the huge potential started to show up we decided to go for it full-time.


 In regards to multiplayer: how will it work?

Brano: Outerra itself as a rendering engine doesn’t address networking, as it’s game-specific.

Anteworld game will be primarily singleplayer when it comes to FPS gameplay within the evolving game world, and online when talking about the economy – trade, transportation. But there will be also different game modes that will allow multiplayer sessions for things like races and some FPS gameplay later.

Have you run into any technical limitations coming up with this? If so, how did you solve them, if you solved them at all?
Brano: There are plenty of technical limitations when trying up to come with a whole world rendering, but perhaps the most frustrating were the ones that we could not handle by ourselves. Such as the graphics driver issues; we have submitted more than dozen bug reports, most of which were showstoppers and we had to wait until they were fixed by graphics card manufacturers.


How are you planning on carrying out quests?
Brano: Quests will be procedurally generated, but they aren’t meant to be the primary gameplay style here.

There are a countless amount of cities, towns, and villages on Earth. How in-detail are you going to go?
Brano: The game will be about recolonization – players will build their own cities, the game is not planning to recreate present-day Earth.

Alright, so imagine this: Exploring the sea, you go deep underwater. Right place and time, you see Cthulhu. That would be an awesome (and terrifying) Easter egg. Any chance of this happening?
Brano: The game is not going to be without some similar tension bringing elements and surprising encounters. However, these will be more tuned towards the specific game setting, it’s not meant to be a world viewer with some sci-fi elements, these are going to be consistent with the back story.

What kind of support have you guys had for this game/engine? Monetary, spiritual, or otherwise? Is there anyone you’d especially like to thank?
Brano: Well, mainly our families who have supported us when we decided to jump into this and fully focus on the development of the engine. And of course our fans, the community that kept with us for a long time until we finally could give them something to play with, relieving their fears that technologies like this may not see the light of the day.

Excited yet?  Here’s to hoping that the game eventually gets to the point where player-generated cities aren’t just a pipe-dream; where you can toil like ye old peasant on a farm till you get enough kinsmen to become a lord, and then levy off to war against another group if needs be for resources. Harvest wood and build yourself a home, then stone and build a keep.  And then burn the thing down just for laughs.

[Outerra- 3D for seamless planet rendering from space down to the surface [5]]