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Author Topic: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank  (Read 3185 times)

Occams Razer

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Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« on: February 04, 2020, 09:56:12 pm »

Outerra Anteworld promises to be big, both spatially and in scope. While the engine handles the former, the latter relies heavily on good game design. Not only will the game need to be programmed to handle all the systems in play, but they will also need to be balanced and paced properly to result in a coherent and satisfying product.

Now, we as the community can't develop Anteworld, but to gauge interest and generate discussion, I'd like to know what it is that the community hopes to see come about in specific. What kind of game do you want to see? What features do you want to see, and what don't you? Is online play something supplementary to the main game, is it coop-enabled, or is it an online-only title, á la MMO RPGs? Is there an objective that the player is striving for, or is it a choose-your-own path kind of thing?

Some ground rules and disclaimers:
  • This topic isn't addressed to the devs, nor is it a question about their plans or capabilities. This is more for community discussion about game design theory, though naturally devs are welcome.
  • This topic is in regards to Outerra Anteworld specifically. Other ideas you have about games that could be made in Outerra, say with a neolithic or medieval setting, aren't relevant to this discussion.
  • This is purely discussion and theory. Don't take anything discussed as impending, even if you like the sound of the idea. Conversely, don't be taken aback or claim plagiarism if an idea you come up with is used in the final game. For all you know, the devs may have certain ideas planned as-is.
  • Complaints about the lack of Anteworld progress are not germane.

Now, for those who aren't familiar, the narrative premise of Anteworld is that human colonization of distant planets became possible in the distant future, but when colonizers return to Earth from a distant star system, humanity at large seems to have vanished. So there's your starting point.


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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2020, 04:16:26 am »

Hi Occams Razer
It seems that 2020 will be an important year were more focus of modders and developers will be placed on the gaming side of outerra rather than ever more detailed graphical upgrading of the world rendering engine.
I come from flightsim and I like a lot the "choose your way" approach of simulators. Still there should be challenges you encounter and requires some kind of skill to accomplish what you have choosen to do.

I know the orignal idea of an outerra game was this Anteworld concept where you find a world empty of civilization...or maybe with only some remains of ancient civilization . That would be more interesting than a purely virgin planet..giving also a touch of history/story to the whole thing...and it could for instance suggest places where it is convienient to build new cities !

Then there was that idea that you could build your settlements, cities and that it would be all shared online by all players..like all were playing in the same world. I still I wonder if all this is realistically achievable. If it is it would be great. So just for the sake of discussing it , suppose it is.

Then it appears it would be like a planet-wide multiplayer city-skyline kind of game, where every player builds its detailed 3D model cities..that probably need some kind of "life" as well, at least in the form of some simulated economy. In that case the terrain and rivers/seas should have their importance in facilitating setting up a new town like it is for instance is in songs-of-the-eons (https://demiansky.itch.io/songs-of-the-eons) .

Then as players come into conflict wanting to occupy the same spot with their cities..there need be some "battle modus" (either military or economic or political or all of them together) to decide who will get the "rights" to build in a certain place. So it will need some "strategy game" programming as well. Trade should be also part of this to promote player collaboration. So the planet will also need resources modelling, with each place having specific resources or lacking them so that trade makes sense.

As the world is empty initially it will be peacefully watching how different towns pop up around the world. As more players join to build new cities at some point conflicts and/or cooperations may arise and we will be able to see which players or player teams get the upper hand..so nations of player teams may rise, occupying certain places, and combat will start.  That's how I could imagine this "Anteworld" concept.

Finally there should be possible a "voyager/explorer" modus for players that just want to travel around this world without having any intention to build their cities. Eventually these players can signal resources to other players and get bonuses for successful collaboration with other players so that they "can make a living" in a wild and hostile anteworld

All this seems very very ambitious ..and maybe not possible at all...but as we are here just to "dream" lets do it :)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 05:44:39 pm by fly77 »

Occams Razer

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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2020, 01:57:13 am »

I'll admit on the online/single-player spectrum, all of my favorite formitive games of late have been single-player (STALKER and Subnautica in particular leap to mind), so I'm biased toward that conclusion. It generally requires fewer resources, the product can continue to be used after servers are taken offline, there's no need to perfect anti-cheat, and modding is much easier to support. I agree that online play is preferable, but for personal reasons I'd limit it to client-client connections with a dozen or so players, rather than client-server connections with ~2000.

To me, one of the bigger challenges for the game is defining the gameplay to best make use of the engine's features: your typical FPS doesn't need 100 square kilometers of play space, let alone a full-scale planet. But your typical RTS or city builder doesn't need centimeter-level detail and individual blades of grass. Even with aircraft, single-unit gameplay probably can't use a worthwhile portion of the space provided, and traveling from one region to another would take horrendous amounts of time without fast-travel or time skips.

My idea is that the player will, after establishing their initial home base around their randomly-positioned colonizer ship, discover a network of teleportation gates. These would allow the player to move to wildly different corners of the Earth without needing to travel there in realtime. As these gates can only facilitate transport of people and small vehicles, it's not always a perfect shortcut, but should allow the player to move to remote locales without taking away agency, or making the player too mobile early on.


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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2020, 02:06:50 am »

Land vehicles is what I'm most keen on and I've never been one for using fast travel (unless maybe I can't stand the idea of doing a straight return trip in a game).  Hell... a bit a go I took some roadtrips in the dang tatra through a couple/few countries in the game (actually traveled to airports as well because they couldn't be reached by road from where I started each trip).  Still would like to see more of those buildings, though.  Sadly, evening sunlight still tanks my framerate and I suspect buildings will be bad.  :(  But I want them a lot.

Gonna really need GPS routes though.  I was using Google Maps on my mobile device as best as I could, lol.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 02:13:42 am by Jagerbomber »
"Perhaps this speaks to some larger trend within society today...  A prevailing desire on the part of indie developers to recreate the entire world into one where you can charge more than $15 for your game design degree coursework." - Yahtzee ;) :P


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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2020, 04:20:21 pm »

An interesting question Ocam,

I understand your focus on Anteworld (as a question) ......what's it gonna be...

But I never thought it was going to be anything, least of all a game... it's more bait to modders, to entice them onto the hook.

I'm an Online player of combat flight sims, WWII bomber crew experience being my thing.... I also have a slight hankering for tank and submarine crewing... the theme here is that I like having multiple people talking to each other on intercom in a single vehicle... A Friday night, a bottle of red wine and a good chat and experience as we all crew a B17 to Schweinfurt can't be beaten to my mind.. (it's not for everyone I know).

But Outerra mods have the ability to be something to everyone... the trick to my mind would be to link them up such that although separate mods catering to their own fanbase of players within a genre, there's a cause and effect link.

Lets just say that I'm not a great fan of the 'Total simulation' but instead a more focused approach that satisfies the player of that particular mod and doesn't leave them thinking 'well it's ok, but there's too much... this that and the other getting in the way'

Outerra does have a great future... I hope they revolutionise the online gaming industry by engaging 110% with moders..

that's my 1 pence anyway
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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2020, 07:49:30 pm »

I honestly hope if Outerra's going to have multiplayer, that there's both singleplayer and multiplayer options. For multiplayer, it can be like Blockland, where a player can host their own server and password it or make it public. If possible, the mods that the player are using can be downloaded to some cache file also like Blockland, as opposed to making all of the people who join said server download all of the mods being used.

As for players themselves, I think the playermodel customization should be like a mix between Garry's Mod and Saints Row.
There can be 2 options:
1. The player can customize a character and change their clothes/look/hair/skin color/eyes/etc similar to in Roblox/Saints Row/GTA Online.
2. The player can import a model, similar to in VR Chat or Garry's Mod.

Another thing is placements of objects in the game. Yet again, like Blockland (and also Garrys Mod), object placements (and hopefully some day vehicles) can be saved to a file, and cleared, and loaded again at a later time by the player. (like if i wanted to make alternate versions of some city) A thumbnail can be displayed on the save file, and if possible, show the mods it uses and the bounds of the save on a map (pretty much a box around where all the objects on it are)

Next up, it'd also be nice to see weapons in the game. Guns, melee, etc. As well as tools, but i think these are obviously going to come anyway, so.

Last but not least, while likely not possible yet, it'd be cool to see AI in the game, and have animals in the forests, people and cars on streets, trains on rails going by at random, boats sailing up a river/ocean, etc.


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Re: Anteworld Game Design Think Tank
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2020, 06:31:55 pm »

It'd definitely be cool for city building. Like, I genuinely lose sleep thinking about how much I need this.

You wouldn't have the whole world accesible at the one time, but you could fly to a place in the world and 'choose' that region (like a big big square) and build your city there.

Something so many city builders lack, that only Simcity 4 really did to its max potential - region size. Not neccesarily map size, but the ability to really stack up towns and cities from different parts of a continent and have them all exist together, just as a visual thing. To know that more exists than just the tile you're working on.

With an Outerra based city builder, you could have your main city in some continent, fly up high in the air to see it from up there, then fly down to another valley many kilometres away to start building a satellite town. Then, the sheer joy of creating a winding highway to connect them, creating a train network to join up all your little towns and hamlets and satelite cities you've made.

So it's less about map size, (CitiesXL and Cities Skylines both had pretty big maps) and more about the *world* being there, being on earth, being on this continent, being in this region. Makes such a difference. No other game does it to it's biggest potential.

Outerra already has the ability to handle thousands of roads and buildings, so it's definitely capable of handling a city to an extent, and the road-building system is quite good.
Just watch this video Cameni posted and tell me it wouldn't be possible to take it a step further with much bigger selection of models, a few more road types, and connecting those buildings to a population :)

 So it's definitely the most interesting long-term possible 'game' for me. I know so many people would appreciate and lust over. The idea that you could work on your region for many many years, slowly working your way over the continent to other places.

To deal with the challenge of rendering multiple cities, when you want to fly up to see them all, I thought of a solution. I'd say every half hour or so, the game takes low res aerial 'pictures' of each population center from 1k up, 5k up, 10k, 100k etc. And just stores them. So that when you fly up above the corresponding region and want to see all the city growth together, it can load in those aligned pictures underneath the atmosphere, without rendering a single little building.

This is SO possible. I know traffic logic and RDI is a pain in the ass to figure out in a realistic way, but that's barely the most important thing to me. I really just want to do what Outerra can already do, but with various road types, various house and building types, a few ways to draw parks (the way CitiesXL handles parks is great). Not to mention Outerra already offers zooming down to street level, walking around the beautiful natural world with bird sounds and wind. Imagine doing that but you're surrounded by neighborhood houses with laneways and parks, a suburban train line nearby.

The most immersive, grand-scale city builder of all time.