Michel Thomazeau is the founder of Cubical Drift studios, the masterminds behind the video game project Planets3. With an engineering background, Michel first started working in the area of professional software and remained there for 9 years before quitting everything last year to dedicate himself 100% to Planets3.
Michel first started playing video games when he was 11 and soon discovered RPG/adventure games were his favorite – they remain so even today – Secret of Mana, Zelda, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy saga are some examples.
Cubical Drift was started in October 2013 by 3 co-founders, who made sure they were able to solve the main technical challenge in Planets3’s development before founding the studio: the large viewing distance.
Today, Cubical Drift is part of “Paca Est”, a company incubator giving the studio its support and providing financial help for some aspects of the project. In addition, the French town of Cannes is welcoming them into its brand new enterprise seedbed project: CréaCannes.
Planets³ is a voxel-based (3D pixels) RPG game. Its storyline and Non Playable Characters (NPCs) will drive players through an adventure that will lead them from planets to planets. In the game’s storyline, Aliens that look like humans crashed on Earth some years ago. Players will then embark involuntarily on an adventure that will lead them to discover why the aliens crashed and to help them get out of troubled situations. Thanks to spacecraft they’ll build themselves, players will travel from planets to planets, each of them being different from one another by its landscapes, fauna and flora. Each planet is wide enough so that players get a feeling of gigantism while remaining small enough to encourage them to leave and discover other planets.
The Planets³ community asked Michel some questions and below are his answers:
How is Planets³ like Minecraft?
Minecraft was the game that generalized voxels. If Minecraft had not existed, Michel and his team would probably never have had the idea of creating Planets³. It is therefore natural to compare Planets³ to Minecraft or event Cubeworld, since these games are based on voxels (Minecraft being the reference). Minecraft was one of the influences that inspired the studio, along with games like Skyrim, Zelda, Mass Effect but also sci-fi movies like Star Wars or even games like Lego.
However Planets³ is not a sandbox game. It is above all an RPG whose main appeal will be its storyline. The game will also have a “creation” mode that will allow players to play without following the storyline.
In terms of art direction, the blocks in Planets³ are smaller than Minecraft’s (25cm2) and different forms allow a real diversity in the world’s creation.
The world is consistent: landscapes depend on their locations on the planet and on their altitude.
In the storyline, there will be dungeons and quests. As the game will encourage players to build vehicles (including spacecraft), there will be a real land and space exploration to it.
The building aspect will be important and integrated in the story. Some quests will require building elements – homes or vehicles – for example, while respecting the “rules” of construction, i.e. placing parts in the right places (for example the wheels of a vehicle must be linked to the ground and to the vehicle itself).
What can you tell us about NPCs?
NPCs will be essential to the players’ progression. Some NPCs will be “found” while others will be rescued. It will be more convenient for players to gather all the NPCs in the same village (built by the player himself!). The numerous NPCs available in the game will help him/her by teaching new crafting methods amongst many other things.
Is multiplayer an important part of the game?
This is indeed one of the main appeals of the game. Cubical Drift will focus on the cooperative aspect in the first opus. Several players will be able to play the story mode simultaneously.
Why do a KickStarter?
We attempted the « classical » approach through private investors, but it didn’t work out (in May 2013) which lead Cubical Drift to turn towards crowdfunding through KickStarter especially because it is the number one platform in this domain.
KickStarter is not only a way to raise funds, it is also a good tool for measuring the market and creating a community around the game.
How did you come up with the $250, 000 goal?
Cubical Drift has estimated in great detail the necessary budget needed to create the game and concluded that this is the amount we need to make the game we are promising. This budget includes the development of the game, the salary of the team (9 members) and the development of specific tools to create the game (i.e. the software that models the planets / the software that manages the progressive vision).
Thanks for your interest in our game. If you haven’t already, we invite you to support our cause before it ends on April 5th! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1247991467/planets3