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AtVoxel Terrain Release


neojac
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There's an alarming lack of information on specifics of the tool and how it performs in a client-server setting. Here are a few questions that immediately sprung to mind:

 

1. Who's the developer of AtVoxel? Is it NeoJac? I was under the impression that this was a tool being made by another company and you were integrating it with Atavism? Judging by the name, it looks like this is an in-house tool.

 

2. Can AtVoxel be used independently from Atavism? If so, how is the functionality exposed for use by other applications/platforms?

 

3. What sort of load testing has been done to determine feasibility of voxel terrain synchronization across client and server? How many voxels can be realistically managed by a server and with what machine specs? What are the client processor and memory requirements to accommodate receiving all the voxel synchronization data? What about connection bandwidth requirements?

 

4. Where can we find more detailed information about the tool, its features, its technical requirements, etc.?

 

5. Is there a demo world that we can log into to see firsthand how the voxel terrain functions?

 

$200 is a lot to ask without a lot more information and proof of the tool's feasibility.

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1. The tool is being developed in co-operation with us by another person. Its not so much just being integrated as it is being actually build for Atavism.

 

2. I am not totally sure if it can be used separate from Atavism, but it might be possible. Like I said its being developed at the moment for Atavism usage.

 

3. I will get you more specs on this but can say that at them moment its still not totally optimized but know for a fact that it does run faster and better than Everquest Next Landmark as I have tested both AtVoxel as well as their game and our frame rate compared to theirs runs 4 times faster. Like I said more information will be released by next week.

 

5. The last update we released for Neos Land showed the voxel system and game play, but a more detailed video will be released end of next week. Here is the link to our last update video:

 

Like I said we will be releasing much more information in the coming weeks, but just to do a comparison on pricing. VoxelFarm which Everquest Next is using costs $100,000 to get basic license compared to $200 for a engine which will be able to do exactly the same thing or very close to it I think its priced pretty good.

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I'm in the Landmark alpha as well, which is part of the reason why I'm asking for a lot more detail on AtVoxel before even thinking about investing in it. If a multi-million dollar developer has had that many issues with the alpha version of their voxel tool, I'm very leery of an indie developed one without seeing a lot of convincing evidence that it works well. Not to say that it can't be done, but it seems like a very difficult task to accomplish.

 

You say AtVoxel is faster, but what load testing with concurrent client logins have you performed to validate that that speed is maintained over many simultaneous connections? How many voxels were you synchronizing? Is the server truly authoritative when it comes to editing the voxel terrain?

 

Just thinking from a processing perspective, it seems like you'll need a powerful server and/or some sort of cluster or federated computer to manage both the voxels themselves and the constant updating of the terrain to the clients. I'd like to see a lot more about how that all works, so that we as customers know exactly what we're getting into if we choose to use AtVoxel for our games.

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Also, I'd really like for a demo world to be setup that we can log into to witness how the voxel terrain tool works. Videos are well and good, but allowing potential customers to actually use the tool and see how well it runs for themselves is much better at eliminating doubt. I think it's a very reasonable request, as $200 is a lot to ask for from this audience.

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Yip, that's why we are doing closed alpha testing of Neos Land which uses AtVoxel system at the end of this month. As you know we can only do so much testing on our side and it does require actual people to test it thoroughly so I hope to see you in Neos Lands Alpha which you will be invited to seeing that you are a pledger. To be honest I was really surprised and a bit disappointed with Everquest Next, the way they did their voxel system. When I was looking into VoxelFarm I did expect much more than what I saw in their system, especially as I know how AtVoxel works.

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The Neo's Land alpha will be a good way to test AtVoxel. I had forgotten about it being used by your game, so that's a good call. It does make me want to wait and see how your alpha turns out before buying AtVoxel on my own, just to make sure.

 

I'll be interested in seeing more details as you release that information. Knowing more about your server setup and internet connection bandwidth for Neo's Land alpha will also be helpful to benchmark what we would need to have to run a game using your voxel tool.

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Yip that's the big reason we are making a MMO game along side of the Atavism engine so we have a actual game to test and show results. I think that's the only way to make software to make a game with as you can see in action what is needed for other developers to make a game and not just think you know whats needed.

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The texturing looks really bad in the videos as well as very jagged edges on edited areas. I would expect a lot more from a $200+ plugin. I also agree that more information would be nice as you first were saying around $100, then $160 and now $285.... with little information on what is does.

 

Does it auto generate grass and trees as well? I mean Voxeland looks much better and is a LOT cheaper.

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I'm still waiting to see Atavism deliver which makes me really hesitant to buy in to another alpha test. There are so many things that are shown in the Atavism videos that were there when I bought in back in January that is non-existent in the program. Why should we buy in from another video on another product? And $200/285? Why should we pay that for a non-existent product on promises when there are already voxel products available for under $100?

 

I agree with the other comments here as well.. How well has it been tested? What type of load has it been tested with. I'm sure it will run better than EverQuest Next with only one or two players on it. How did your terrain compare in size? How many were logging into the EverQuest Next server compared to how many logged into the AtVoxel world?

 

I think it is great that we will get to see it in action in the NeosLand alpha, but that doesn't help us now. While it might be worth it once released, personally I don't think a promise of what it might be is worth what you guys are asking now. :( You can compare it to a $100k product all day long but the truth of the matter is, most of us are indie developers and are comparing it to what we can get in the Asset store for $100. And with those products, we pay our money and get the product immediately. We aren't paying for a promise of something that isn't finished yet... :(

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I Might be wrong to think this way but here it goes. :blink:

Minecraft ( with its crapy graphics ) runs a voxel system. I know a guy who has 100 people on his server running from his house.

 

Jarid from realm crappy crafters made a sdk voxel world and ran it from there crappy system. ( not saying much there.)

 

Esenthel Engine has the Ineisis they built. I had 35 people running in that. Its like what Atavism is doing where you can add blocks dig down etc... I had no issue and could of had more players just couldn't find them lol...

 

With how good Atavism server run and this being built specifically for Atavism, As Neo stated getting great frame rates. My best guess is its not going to take a super computer to run it.

 

I could be wrong not really knowing how its built, but it stands to reason.

 

EQN Ran pretty good for me. They thought they had a perfect launch and lifted there emu agreement.

I think most of there problems were them not having enough servers or land space. Also did you know some players had 5 claims!!! I was like WTF... So they had some bugs and fixes but it's an Alpha...

 

I think Voxel is the way of the future to be honest. I'm waiting for Blizzard to announce there big new Voxel Wow.. LOL.

 

So anyways I think this is a great deal. I jumped on it the second I seen it posted and saved $85 bucks on top of it.

 

I think what everyone needs to remember that this is an Alpha and your getting a special rate to test and help improve it. If Atavism was release in its current state I could see everyone getting upset. But to be honest were getting updates all the time and things are improving. The voxel system will be the same.

 

Anyways its good to ask all the question. I'm very optimistic about it as you can tell... lol.

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Minecraft and Ineisis voxels are much bigger than EQN Landmark, and probably AtVoxel's as well. The surface blending and other features that allow you to make really nuanced shapes, along with the smaller voxel size, can increase the processing requirements exponentially, so you can't do a direct comparison with those other games.

 

I honestly think you're too optimistic at this point, Dakora. For me, there's way too little that's proven about both AtVoxel and Atavism in general for me to invest more into these products until we get more evidence of progress. I really want this engine to succeed because of what it could mean for us little guys in game development. Unfortunately, there's still a lot more that's been promised than what has been delivered to us in alpha so far. I would much rather pay $285 later for a product I know works than $200 now for something that is extremely questionable at this point in development. That's the risk of buying into a product early, I guess.

 

I'm not a good programmer by any means, but my profession has afforded me a lot of peripheral exposure to both software development and IT infrastructure support. The questions that I've been asking (as well as other folks) are legitimate concerns and requests to really vet out this software. The product page for AtVoxel has so little concrete information, and the video shows only one person manipulating voxels. Multiply that by 100 simultaneous connections, and things could get very bogged down potentially.

 

Like I said, I would love to see this engine deliver on all its promises. I guess time will tell if that happens...

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I can see to where your coming from. Especially from the fact of other engines with there false promises.

 

I see Atavism being a different breed. I think Neo and he team are not out to take us for all were worth.

I think there trying make a new standard in small indie devs. Think about it. They have been building a MMO and on top of that working on making a game engine. That is a huge undertaking. This last patch they set up a system so we can now patch our servers and do not need to start all over. We are having Uma problems so Neo is looking into hiring a coder to work on just UMA so we can have the newest and best Uma experience ( clothing and all ). They put out a road map and have given Great tech support. I even had Sooms look at my Uma stuff with team viewer, I don't know any engine dev to do this. And he is so busy I was just floored.

 

 

I understand your concern and I think you should wait and see how it goes. I'm all for alpha's and I know there are bugs. I payed eqn a ton of money for there Alpah just to see what it would be like. $200.00 is a great deal and I think there being very honest about all of this.

 

BTW there are not 50 seats left... a ton have been sold. lol.

Not to put pressure on you but are you sure? :evil:

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First things first, I own ever single voxel system that's on the Unity Asset store as we tested them all before we had to look for other options. Original building videos was done with Terravol as that was the nice terrain you could make. After we asked certain things from the publisher to be added, he did a update with the building functions like snap to grid as that was what we already added to his package our self's. We needed it to save and load properly and even while he stated it could do it we found out that it was not actually saving the voxels in the scene so you could never use it with a game building in real time. He did fix that but then two things which was very important for a MMO game came into play. We needed a terrain that was massive to load up fast as you walked through it and the saving and loading needed to be done a certain way before it can work. Once again the problem is a developer making a product and not knowing how it should perform in a game environment because they are not making any game with their product. When you ran with his terrain you had a few second of lag to load up the new chunk's and delete the others which is bad as that should not happen in a game, secondly his loading and saving system works on actions so after 100 actions your information you transfer in file size gets to be so big it will not work for a game let alone a MMO game.Thus all the $100 voxel system you are talking about are no options for a MMO game system or any game system I would want to build and can not at all compare to AtVoxel as it does all those things at a frame rate that is viable to use with a MMO game.

 

Comparing it in terrain size, once again like I said I was very disappointed at what I saw from EQN where their terrain size was very small compared to our test we did with AtVoxel, where ours currently is infinite, although we will scale it down in size because of the fact that its a MMO game and you need players to be able to find each other, it will still be 5 times if not more in size when we do testing with Neos Land. Now I am not saying it will be perfect as it is a alpha version but certainly will hold a candle to a $100,000 engine. Yes the voxel size you are seeing is bigger in the video but it has already been optimized more after that video and the size has gotten smaller. Only difference in terrain textures is that we haven't added normal maps onto ours yet which will be added very soon i was told.

 

Only reason we are releasing the early alpha version is because some people has been asking to start to play around with it and we are not stating that its a final product at all we are just giving those people the opportunity to get in on it earlier. If you are hesitant then for sure wait till beta comes along or more information is given. If by that time there are still seats available then and you are happy with what you see then good. There is no reason that you have to buy it now.

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It's good to hear you've done your research on existing voxel terrain solutions. Sometimes if you want something done right, you just have to do/build it yourself.

 

I do think it's a bit unfair to criticize the EQN Landmark alpha so generally, especially this early in their alpha. There are five worlds with over 40 zones apiece, and they are all full of claims. Since players are (finally) restricted to one claim per account, even just a rough estimate by math shows that there are tens of thousands of players in the alpha already. I doubt you'll get anywhere near that sort of load testing in the Neo's Land alpha (it would certainly be awesome for the company if that were to happen :)), so to claim that AtVoxel runs better than VoxelFarm/EQN Landmark isn't necessarily a fair comparison just yet.

 

Also, Dave Georgeson has already stated that the small islands approach is very temporary until they optimize their system further and can support much larger terrains. I would assume that means a similar paging system concept, where terrain blocks are loaded and synched to the client based on proximity, with those blocks distributed over multiple cell servers.

 

At any rate, I'm very happy to wait until more information and demonstrations are released before making a purchase. Looking forward to more updates and feedback from those who buy into the alpha.

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I think your expectations on what their alpha was supposed to be like are unrealistic. SOE has been very upfront since the beginning of this process in saying that this is a true alpha, meaning only some of the features are implemented, and almost nothing is finalized. Pretty much every previous big budget MMO was only opened up to the public during a late beta phase, when everything was already implemented (or were close to implementation), and players were brought primarily for bug fixing, balance, and polish.

 

This is, as far as I know, the first time that a big developer has brought in the general public before all those decisions have been made, which means the community can weigh in on the direction of the game, at least to a larger degree than they’ve been able to on a AAA MMO in the past. That does seem to be a bit more of a trend, with crowdfunded MMOs becoming more commonplace nowadays, as people seem more likely to pledge to a game for which their opinion on its development matters.

 

So just like with Atavism, there's still a lot that is unoptimized and unfinished in EQN Landmark (which is not the full-blown EQN even, just to clarify). Having a bunch more money or people on your game doesn't mean you don't go through the same development hurdles and rough patches. If anything, it's even worse with a "big" game, because there's far more complexity with that type of project.

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Our (Greed Monger) Alpha is coming up as well and we will be including the Voxel Terrain so that will be another test for the Voxel System. We won't have as many people testing as EQ:N has but we will have 700 people in our Alpha Test. That should be a pretty good test of the Voxel System. We really don't want to wait another month to launch our Alpha though so we may launch it with out the Voxel Terrain and then add it after we gain access on the 15th.

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