Friday, 29 January 2016

DevBlog #5 The Arcade Plaza

Hello and welcome to the latest issue of the DevBlog. We’ve got some pretty big news to share with everyone. Over the last couple of weeks you’ve seen how our team have been working on bringing The Bowling Alley to Atom Universe...but that’s not all they’ve been working on.

In fact, they’ve been finishing an entirely new area which houses the Bowling Alley. This is known as the Arcade Plaza!

In this spacious area, you’ll be able to hit the Bowling Lanes for a game of 10-Pin Bowling and, depending on how high you can score, you’ll win Atoms for your Avatar; you’ll also be able to unlock a variety of different bowling balls to help improve your game.

If bowling isn’t your thing then fear not: you’ll be able to take your Avatar to the Dancefloor. Here you can dance the night away with your friends and meet new people to hang out with. This visually stunning Dancefloor is in the heart in the Arcade Plaza, with glowing floor tiles, smoke machines, lasers and a giant disco ball - let dance fever take over your avatar!

All partied out? Want to chat with your friends in the comfort of your own booth? There is plenty of seating available around the Arcade Plaza and within the booths your Avatar will be able to view the mounted displays.

And so to the big question - When will this content be available? 

Well, PC users will be able to explore and take in all the activities when we transition our Steam version over to the Early Access phase of development over the coming months. We can't announce a specific date as yet, but you guys will be the first to know and we will bring this to you as soon as we possibly can!

PlayStation users, hang tight! We will be shifting our focus to Early Access for a small period of time, but fear not this will allow us to squash all the nasty bugs and allow us to create a better experience for all.

Wait, there’s more! 

The Arcade Plaza represents the first stage of the final phase of production and we are releasing it early in order to test out all of the core components which are now in the game - user accounts, logins, chat, avatar actions, games and Atomz a-plenty. The plan is to then roll out regular content updates, each month adding more games and features - you might even see some clues as to what’s coming soon around the Plaza. ;-)

We’re very excited to be able to welcome lots of real users to Atom Universe!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

DevBlog #4 Merging Design, Programming and Art & SKY JONEZ, bringing Hip-Hop to Atom Universe

Hello and welcome to the latest addition of the DevBlog, over the course of these entries we’ve been following the team’s progress with the Bowling Alley as they took us through design, coding and balancing process. This week, things are starting to fall into place and our CEO Tanguy Dewavrin will be giving us some details adding the Artwork into Atom Universe. We’ll also be taking this opportunity to write about Sky Jonez an American based Hip-Hop producer who has kindly allowed us to feature some of his music within Atom Universe.

“This week I’ve been integrating The Bowling game into the Atom Universe world, our level artist Paul Rance has created this amazing space to house the Bowling Alley and our Programming and Design team have created the mechanics.

My role in this is to take what the Programming and Design team have worked on and merge it all together within the environment that Paul has created. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time improving the textures on the bowling assets so they look photorealistic and more detailed, in-line with Paul's environment and Atom Universe's high fidelity graphics."

“While merging everything together I need to match everything up, so a lot time goes into fixing collisions, replicating and scaling content so it fits nicely into the environment. I’ve had a little bit of trouble with the scene lighting, as you can imagine in a real life bowling alley there is a lot of lights. Trying to recreate this in Atom Universe mean that there is quite a bit of complex geometry to go through and this is causing some errors trying to replicate the light in this vast environment.”

“Overall the Unreal Engine is powerful enough to give you all the tools to troubleshoot the issues. And I also am getting great help from the team, who help me with technical difficulties. We just have to tackle issues one at a time, and ask around for help from the Unreal support team and forums. It takes time and a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it in the end!”

SKY JONEZ, Bringing Hip-Hop to Atom Universe!

SKY JONEZ (Albert Martinez) is the latest addition to join the roster of music that will be highlighted in Atom Universe! Original known as CHI, SKY was a member of Rhode Island rap trio ‘Dark Skyz’ while under the CHI alias SKY released ‘The Forecast’ along with some of his own solo projects ‘All or Nothing Vol.1-2’, ‘Stand Out’ and ‘1 0f 1’ (produced by WHOS RICH FLAIR BEATS). Currently signed to the indie label ‘TEAM FLAWLESS ENT’, SKY has released his first official studio album ‘Want More Do More’.

We're extremely happy that SKY JONEZ has allowed us to use the following tracks: Stars featuring Flawless and Chris Watson, Dreamer featuring Flawless Real Talk and Found My Way featuring Issa Pointer expanding Atom Universe music roster into the Hip-Hop genre.

For more information about SKY JONEZ, You’ll be able to him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and ReverbNation.

Special Thank to J.F.C & The Virtual Community for helping to arrange this!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Atom Universe DevBlog #3 – The Art of Balancing & Community Competition

Welcome to the latest issue of ‘The DevBlog’. Previously, Alex was working on The Bowling Alley’s scoring system and told us how he overcome one of the problems that he’d encountered with the final round of bowling.

This week at the Atom Republic Tower, we’re continuing to progress though our workload with The Bowling Alley and we’ll be looking at more in-depth area of game design… ‘Balancing the game mechanics’. Finding the right balance can either make, or break a game. Our Product Manager, Jamie, will be taking us though his process of finding the perfect balance.

 “No matter how great a designer is, it's almost impossible to design the perfect system at the first time of asking. Because of this we add in as many flexible parameters as we can so that we can tweak (and usually tweak over and over!) them up and down until it's right. 

With Bowling the most important parameters that need tweaking are the power and hook - how fast a ball moves and how far it can spin. There are loads of parameters underneath which dictate this (the friction of the lane, the weight of the ball, the power of the bowler etc) so each of these is set up so that it can be refined. 

Less obvious are other aspects: the sound effects, the speed that the camera moves, the special effects when you get a strike... the shininess of the ball even! 

Luckily, in this case we have a real world equivalent - with this we're essentially trying to mimic real-life things, so we have lots of reference to work with. It should feel just like a real bowling alley.” 

“Sadly there's no magic wand for this. It's a hard thing to know for sure, and you get better at understanding it with experience. You learn it from playing a lot of games over a lot of years. 

You know how you have a favourite temperature in the shower and you twiddle the faucet until it's you find that right mix of hot and cold? And how happy it makes you when you do? 

It's that. That's balancing.”

Atom Universe Community Competition

Calling all trivia fans, between January 14th to January 20th, we'll be hosting a competition on the Atom Universe Forums.

The first five members to give a correct answer to that day’s question will receive a number of point’s dependent on who is the fastest to answer. Only those five fastest members will receive points for that day. (Even if you don't receive points on one day you can still play another day, points are cumulative.) The top three scorers in total number of points after 7 days will each receive a alpha key code.. 

For more information on how you can take part in this competition, please visit the Announcements section on the Atom Universe Forums.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New Investors Join Board Of Atom Republic!

Nick Scott, a partner in Capitalise Assets, and Pip Burley, CEO of Excelsior and the man behind TV hits ‘The Darling Buds of May’ and ‘A Touch of Frost’. Burley and Scott have joined CEO Tanguy Dewavrin, Alex Grona and Patrick O’Luanaigh on the board.


As an early investor in nDreams, one of the world’s pioneering developers in VR, Burley is no stranger to the industry. “I have been hugely impressed by the team’s creativity and commitment as they perfect ‘Atom Universe’ pre-launch. It is already looking spectacular and getting better by the day.” “It’s exciting to be coming on board at this time,” said Scott. “I have no doubt that gamers are in for a major treat. ‘Atom Universe’ is going to be absorbing and compulsive.”

Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO of nDreams and a non-exec director of Atom Republic, said: “They are building a fantastic team and it is good to have Pip and Nick in there. Having worked for years on Playstation Home, I think ‘Atom Universe’ represents the next evolution of the virtual word and I’m really excited to see how it is progressing.”

‘Atom Universe’ Early Access is due to be rolled out in Q1 2016.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Atom Universe DevBlog #2 - The Bowling Alley scoring system, New YouTube Channel and PayPal donations

Hey Atomz,

We’re officially in 2016 and we’re happy to bring you our first DevBlog of the year! This week we’re going to have a little catch up with Alex (our CTO) and see what he’s been up to this week, we’ll be sharing some news about our new YouTube channel and we’ll be wrapping things up with information about the PayPal Donations. 

Previously, Luke gave us an insight into his workflow by introducing The Bowling Alley. Today, we’ll be continuing to look at The Bowling Alley with Alex’s work. Over the course of this week, Alex has been in the zone working his way through Atom Universe’s C++ code looking at implementing the in-game scoring system.

“This week, I've been working on the bowling scoring system. It is quite a complex process requiring a lot of C++ coding in order to get the system working correctly within the Atom Universe Bowling game.  Before I even started on the coding I needed to research 10-pin bowling, by playing the real game and studying the maths”.

“One of the challenges I faced was with the final round of bowling for example, the last round may require bonus rolls after a combinations of strikes or spares. There was a small issue that was causing the last round not to add up the score correctly.”

“Overcoming this issue required me to design some automated test scenarios that would check the code to make sure that it’s implemented correctly. By adding the testing code into the C++ we’re able to test for all possible outcomes that the player my come across and if we come across any broken code, we’ll be able to fix it”. 

Welcome to Atom Republic’s official YouTube Channel

A new year, a new YouTube channel. As Atom Universe continues grows, we thought that it would be for the best if set-up an official channel for Atom Republic. Over the course this year, we’ll be using the newer account to share new and exciting content with you.

PayPal Donations have officially ended.

At the beginning of the year we posted across our social media channels, we would no longer be accepting PayPal donations. What this means is you’ll no longer be able to donate money to us to gain access to the Alpha version, or to upgrade your Kickstarter pledge level.

We feel that this is a crucial step we must take as we start to approach the next stage of development (more news to come on this in the near future). We’d like to give everyone a huge thanks you for support and passion, without you we couldn't make Atom Universe an reality. 

That's all for this week, stay tuned for the next edition...