Exotic Matter – Pre-Alpha Preview

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It won’t be long before reality is converted to voxel-based engineering. I’m kidding, I made that up, but it would be a pretty awesome way of looking at a more modular civil layout. Most players of games (I can’t bring myself to call anyone a gamer) know how to think in voxels. I’m not going to reference the game you thought of the moment you first laid eyes on Exotic Matter, we all know what the other is thinking. But there’s something beautifully strange in this particular title that’s already been established in the pre-alpha I explored, despite the fact that NPC’s and combat have yet to be implemented. I’m talking about the all-important atmosphere the game world conveys. One of the most important things a level designer can accomplish is telling a story without actually writing anything down. Now there are computer consoles that keep a sort of log where the player character keeps a personal record of their experience after their ship crashes. And being the sole survivor of a crash-landing on an alien planet, they’ve got to suck it up and move on without their crew if they want to stay alive.

When you wake up in your pod, you’ll want to explore your ship in search of supplies before you leave. The last thing you’ll want to do is exit the ship without your beam drill, because you won’t be able to harvest anything without it. My first game save, I accidentally activated an elevator while standing half on and half off, and I fell through the ground into the wilderness without my drill, and had to start a new save. Pre-alpha builds are fun in this way, because it’s a more intimate exploration of a work of art. But we’ve all been there… Avoiding this fate in my second save file, I discover a sort of tutorial course through the ship, which is only in place should you really choose to follow it. BUT DON’T FORGET THE DRILL. Looting the cargo of the ship will find you geared up with some door switches, light fixtures, and synthetic materials that can build you a nice little shelter when you make it out to the strange planet surface. I would like to tell you this is where your adventure begins, but there’s nothing I can say that will prepare you for what comes next because that’s it for the pre-alpha!

I’m here to report what I’ve seen in Exotic Matter that’s already been constructed. Biomes aren’t entirely constructed, but there are bodies of water, foliage and random supply crate drops that spawn in the world. But what are you really looking for in this game? Yeah it looks like that one game, with a UI like that other game, but what can I expect? Apart from this seemingly lonely existence where you’re trying to find your way back home, you’ll have plenty of distractions that will detract from your main goal. Discover the culture of an extinct alien race, run missions in a procedurally generated world, maybe you’ll find that you’d rather not go back where you came from anyway. Perhaps you’ll build a new life here among the cool, relaxing (and maybe hostile) planet of Xcylin.

If I’m not as good at writing as I thought, and you had trouble visualizing what I’ve described so far, I’m going to make it simple with some references that I’ve avoided this entire article: Minecraft world with a Starbound UI and you have to dig through a sweet planet and its ancient history. BUT of course in a unique design that excellently emulates the “I’ve crash-landed on a strange planet, I’m alone and must survive on my own” vibe. Grab that beam drill and let’s start making some cute alien crypts! Well, you’ll have to wait until the early access later on this year. There’s no official word on a release, but from the sounds of things, it’s looking like the goal is late spring, early summer, so keep up on the Steam page for updates!

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