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Patterns brings physics and triangles to a new game inspired by Minecraft

Patterns brings physics and triangles to a new game inspired by Minecraft

Linden Research has released a trailer for their upcoming sandbox construction game, Patterns.

Freely admitting that they were inspired by Minecraft, Linden Research devs feel like they have the formula for the next big game in the sandbox genre. Unlike Minecraft, it’s being built from the ground up with a large audience in mind, and while the core gameplay—explore, gather resources, make things, survive—are pulled over from the indie hit, it’s getting the benefit of an established development team. It was only a matter of time before we would get to see what happens a when a larger video game studio puts their entry into this genre. I wasn’t expecting Linden—known mostly for their hit massively-multiplayer, open-world game Second Life—but looking back, it actually makes the most sense. I was expecting Valve, Blizzard, or even EA to take a crack at it, but Linden has experience with giving players a place to hang and letting them cut loose on it without reservation.  That’s something those other studios would have to learn.

Sandbox

What does this experienced team bring to the sandbox table? The game—which is still in development—will have more scalable graphics than the game we’re used to, which will help bring in a lot of people who were turned off by Minecraft’s low-fidelity. The world itself will be more granular. The bits of the world and its resources will be composed of malleable triangle plates, which can be fitted together to create different 3-dimensional shapes (patterns) in the world. The big thing, however, is physics. The game will feature a physics engine for all constructions, and every trangular plate will be affected by gravity, pressure, and impact—resulting in a more dynamic and challenging world.

In one example given by the developers, a Patterns player could take his/her clay triangles, and turn them into hollow cubes, then stack those cubes like in Minecraft. Unlike in Minecraft, however, a tall stack will become unstable, and likely will fall over. If enough blocks are added to the stack, the weight of the blocks above will eventually destroy the blocks below, causing the whole thing to collapse, with the blocks at the top gaining enough speed in their fall that they also shatter upon impact with the ground.

The video shows some really great examples of all this in action. Though everything still looks rather rudimentary, one can see the track they’re on pretty clearly:

That one can construct a ‘wheel’ of sorts, and roll it around in the world, suggests a lot of possible machines that would work within the engine. There is also the promise of challenge elements like  monsters, and additional physics elements—like flowing, volumetric, weighted fluids.

Linden has swiped Minecraft’s development process as well: For $10 anyone can get access to the alpha version of Patterns, which is planned to release on October 5th, 2012. That $10 delivers access to all future releases and upgrades. It’s already avalable for pre-order over on the game’s newly launched official website.

Comments

  1. RyanFodder
    RyanFodder This looks really cool.
  2. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven I signed up for the beta. I like the addition of things like material durability and the eventual inclusion of sane liquids.

    Can't wait to get my DL.
  3. Thrax
    Thrax Garry's Minecraft.
  4. midga
    midga Holy buttnipples, Batplug. I'm in like something that rhymes with in.
  5. Theironhand
  6. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum I see no mention of multiplayer, only sharing via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  7. midga
    midga I'd imagine if there's plans for multiplayer (and consider who's doing it I'd say that's very likely), they'll be doing that later. That is, if I was doing this, the alpha sure as hell wouldn't be multiplayer right out of the box cause one problem at a time. I'd be surprised if it wasn't multi sometime during the beta phase.
  8. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven Pretty sure multiplayer is in the plans. One of the articles I read about it (TechCrunch, I think, but I can't find it ATM) mentioned it.

    Also, it's Linden Labs (SecondLife), so if it's not multiplayer, that would be a huge oversight.
  9. Bandrik
    Bandrik Not sure how this will do. I like the idea of physics, but part of the appeal of Minecraft (at least to me) is its geometric simplicity. Adding the complexity of polygons may render the game too cumbersome for most casual gamers.

    Even my 10-year-old nephew quickly picked up Minecraft. I'm not sure if the masses will dive into this.
  10. drasnor
    drasnor Is that 10 USD or 10 L$?
  11. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven Depends on the exchange rate of L$ to $USD. I paid $10USD.
  12. CB
    CB
    Not sure how this will do. I like the idea of physics, but part of the appeal of Minecraft (at least to me) is its geometric simplicity. Adding the complexity of polygons may render the game too cumbersome for most casual gamers.

    Even my 10-year-old nephew quickly picked up Minecraft. I'm not sure if the masses will dive into this.
    I don't think the polygons will be a turn off to many. 10-year-old nephews are not really the target demographic. The addition of physics and discrete objects is really a big deal. As much as I like Minecraft, the blocks don't really make a world. Building isn't a challenge. It's no more difficult than drawing the building in a rudimentary drawing app. In fact, that's what lots of the buildings ended up being: Sprite mapped illustrations. The only challenge of the game was finding the resources, and that eventually becomes trivial as well.

    Patterns makes the act of construction part of the challenge. Think about how you would have to go about building something as simple as a sprite-art tower when you have to worry about structural support?
  13. CB
    CB
    I see no mention of multiplayer, only sharing via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
    The developer mentions that multi-player, procedurally generated worlds (it's currently a set starting world), and avatar creation are on the list.
  14. BHHammy
    BHHammy Nuked my original post because it has to do with the developer, and not the actual game itself.

    Linden Labs lax policies on getting their devs to bugfix things don't inspire a ton of confidence in myself, but the game looks good. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.
  15. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum
    Mojang lax policies on getting their devs to bugfix things don't inspire a ton of confidence in myself, but the game looks good. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.
    It works both ways.

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