Dual Universe is a gigantic multi-planet universe where players are free to invent their collective destiny: player-driven events will shape the course of History, civilizations will rise and fall, everything that happens matters in a persistent single-shard universe. We are pushing the limits of what is technically possible today to open the door to what we believe is the next generation of MMO games.
Earth has been destroyed by a massive cosmic event. Prior to the planet meeting its doom, the United Nations started the "Rebirth program" to send millions of citizens into the far reaches of the cosmos aboard colonial ships - called “Arkships” - to ensure Humanity's survival. You are one of these survivors, waking up from your long cryosleep to rebuild civilization in the new galaxy you find yourself.
Many gamers dream of a game where they can immerse themselves into a virtual world of endless possibilities where they are free to do anything they like, build anything they imagine, become anyone they want. The original concept and technology prototyping for Dual Universe was started by AI & Robotics expert JC Baillie in early 2010’s. Many of the scalable and cloud-based technologies necessary were not yet available to support a project of this size, but we believe that the time has arrived now to make this dream come true.
We call it a “boundless MMO”: a persistent single-shard universe, from the player's perspective, is a single game world where there are no levels, zones or instances. “Continuous” means you can move in it freely and seamlessly. The "persistent" aspect highlights the fact that the game world is evolving over time, changes made by players accumulate and the environment is never the same. From a technical perspective the underlying technology of a single-shard is that all concurrent players are evolving in the same game world.
Dual Universe is a Massively Multiplayer Online game that definitely has a Sci-Fi context, where many players will roleplay with each others and/or pilot from tiny (solo) to huge (multi-crew) spaceships, or simply remain grounded on a given planet of your choice. It will be possible to play as a trader, or a political leader, or be a space explorer, or an industrialist, or a pirate, or a miner, or indeed due to the sandbox nature of Dual Universe there are no charcter classes, only self determined roles.
Dual Universe is an ambitious, long-term project. We aim to have a playable Alpha version open to a limited number of people in the second half of 2016. There will be different ways to be selected, see the forum for details. Typically a game of this size will take 12-24 months from alpha to full launch. You can expect a Beta phase for the second half of 2017 and an official release in 2018. After the release, development will continue as the idea of Dual Universe is to create a lasting game that will evolve with its player base.
It‘s too early to outline exact specs. We plan to provide
high-quality graphics in Dual Universe. To have an editable voxel
game with a realistic look (with Physically Based Rendering)
will require a medium range nvidia GFX card (or ATI
equivalent) to play with basic graphic settings, or, a current high range
graphics card for high settings.
Keep in mind the time until release, a current high range graphics card today might well be a medium range graphics card tomorrow. In a nutshell: a high spec computer of today or a medium spec computer of tomorrow should suffice.
Oculus Rift was one of the main reason why we decided to go for the “First Person” view. We are looking at all new technologies that will favour immersion. Exciting things are on the way with the increase of interest in virtual worlds and we aim to cater for this market as well as the more traditional technologies. On a side note, we are considering to implement Third Person View as we know a lot of players prefer this view when playing MMO games, but this will be put on the roadmap after all the main gameplay mechanics are implemented and early editions of Dual Universe will be First Person.
We are using the render engine Unigine 2, as well as home-made shaders. After testing several other engines, we came to the conclusion that it was the most adapted one for our project (planetary simulation among other things). If you want to know more about this engine, you can find some additional information on our devblog post here.
We expect the game to suit the mature audience as players will roleplay good guys (and gals) as well as bad ones. In this context, players incarnating space pirates will hardly talk and behave like well mannered people (there will be some limits in the EULA: a player playing a baddie will have to keep all the acting in-game. No personal attacks on real life will be tolerated).
Dual Universe will be exclusively Online and Massively Multiplayer. It will be possible to play the game without interacting with other players. However, expect that some activities requiring huge amounts of resources and play time (like building an orbital station or a stargate) and this will most likely need you to team up!
We are still currently looking at several options. One of the ideas we like are game time coupons. You can buy these coupons to extend your game time (more or less like a monthly subscription), or trade them with the in-game currency. Very active players who are able to gather enough in-game money to afford the game coupons will essentially play for free. This is their rewards for contributing to the in-game economy. For more details, you can read this DevBlog post
Novaquark is the company developing Dual Universe. It's a video game indie studio based in Paris devoted to bring this crazy game to life! The team is experienced and the founder, Jean-Christophe Baillie has already created other companies, in particular those rooted in AI & Robotics. Novaquark is a one game company, the entire team is dedicated to the development and production of Dual Universe.
There is no single goal, each player may have their own objectives. Dual Universe is a true sandbox game that will have many different game loops and paths of progression depending on the player's choosing. Whatever you choose to do, each step of the way should feel like an achievement.
Thanks to procedural generation algorithms, there is no limit to the number of planets and star systems we can generate.
As the game grows, so will the Universe, players will
discover planets gradually as their spaceships take them further and further from the Arkships. So to answer the question:
the Dual Universe is as big as far as you can travel.
Planets may range from a few hundred to thousands of kilometer in radius, so even exploring the surface of just one planet is a big task and would takle a long time to circumnavigate without the right equipment.
Dual Universe will be a massively multiplayer game. Using our Robotics and AI experience we have developed our own technology to allow hundreds of thousands (even millions) of players to interact within the same game world. This technology is also aimed at making large scale gatherings (for battles or urban activities) of players in the same area at the same time possible.
In a virtual world like Dual Universe combat becomes an important aspect of risk versus reward gameplay. However, we understand that not everybody likes to get shot or have their work destroyed. We are working to provide a system of safe-zones in the game where players and their work will be protected. These safe-zones will provide infrastructure, commodities and consumables for the players who dare to venture the hostile areas. Meanwhile the players who roam the hostile areas will provide resources, protection, trade and expansion for the safe-zones, so hopefully both PvE and PvP can coexist peacefully (the irony).
New players will emerge from Arkships into what we call the Arkship Safe Area(ASA), this zone will protect new players as they make their first steps without fear of trouble, as we understand it's never fun to be attacked by experienced players or griefers when you are just discovering the world and learning the game mechanisms.
(what follows may be subject to changes during iterative development)
You won’t lose any skill point. However, what you had on your character at the time of his death will be partially destroyed and partially dropped on the ground where he died.
In Dual Universe, unlike many MMORPGs, Player characters don’t have a level. Moreover, a novice player will be able to do any basic activities an experienced one can do (mining, building, crafting, building, piloting, etc). Experienced player characters will just be better at doing it. If you want to specialize your character in one skill related to an activity, it will be pretty quick to get experienced: you can expect to get 80% of the bonus given by the skill in 20% of the time necessary to max it (in short, the more you are nearing 100% of the bonus, the more time it takes to reach it).
Yes. But you will only be able to improve skills on one character at a time.
There will be animal NPCs to hunt, breed or fight, and probably also space creatures or ships attacking players in the long term game (but these will not be in the alpha). There will also be trading NPCs acting on the in-game markets to help bootstrap the economy, but not to give quests like in “themepark” MMORPGs as we want to favorize social interactions between players.
(what follows may be subject to changes during iterative development)
Dual Universe players and the civilisations that arise will depend on commodities. The first step to obtaining commodities is the harvesting of raw materials. Every player is equipped with a Nanoformer, this tool enables them to extract material from the game environment and into the players Nanopack. To do this efficiently players should obtain a scanner first and locate where the good sources of resources are. The rarer the resource, the more difficult it is to find and extract. There will be different scanners for differnt material types and scales(in terms of distance), scanning itself will be an artform and be an important game play mechanism.
Voxel Technology will enable you to build pretty much anything you want. There are two types of builing; "Planet" and "Construct". Planet is where you modify the surface of a planet, you can deploy and extract materials to shape the environment around you to a sensitivity of around one metre. A Construct is where you build on to a "Core Unit". Core Units are very versatile and can be manipulated to a scale of 25cm, they also allow you to attach "Elements"(eg Engines, Cockpits, Control Units etc) so you can build spaceships, bases or anything you can imagine and make it truly unique.
(what follows is described for the purpose of the alpha and due to change as the game progresses)
The economy will be a market economy primarily based on buy/sell orders of raw materials and elements. Prices on the market will be determied by supply and demand.
Unique items, such as a well crafted and constructed spaceship will go to auction, we hope players can reward and appreciate builders and architects, whilst those with no desire to build their own crafts can still access sophisticated constructs.
The passion behind Dual Universe is to have an emergent economy with minimun intervention by the developers. The Arkship will have rudimentary market with trading NPCs who will buy and sell various items and resources to provide early stage gameplay and bootstrap the economy. But other than that it will be up to players to build and manage market places. These will inevitably compete against each other (“market PvP”) and fuel other aspects of a civilisation; security, logistics, accessability etc.