Coo with me at the fanciness of this in-development voxel engine

Cyberpunk ninja slasher Ghostrunner has a sequel in the works

I hope you’re ready for some more cyberpunk vibes over the next couple of years, because publisher 505 Games have announced Ghostrunner 2 is on the way.

I understood polygons. You knit a bunch of triangles together, they make shapes, right. Now everytime I open Twitter there’s someone posting an intricately detailed 3D model and writing “actually, this is just a sphere” above it, or posting a fully animated 3D character and saying, “this is really just a shader.”

But today’s graphics marvel is the voxel. I previously thought of them as betamax to polygon’s VHS, but voxels have had a resurgence of late via various indie games. And I’ve never seen anything voxelly as intricately detailed as an in-development engine by a programmer called John Lin. Watch a video of it below.

Subnautica: Below Zero has left early access

Set two years after the events of the first Subnautica, Below Zero plunges you into a frostbitten new region with new creatures to discover.

There’s an older video on Lin’s channel which shows building tools, water and fire effects, and physics. That video is taken from a first-person perspective, with some man-made architecture to walk through, and it’s immediately easy to imagine the Minecraft-style game that might be made with this toolbox.

I don’t long for Minecraft-but-proper-voxels, though. I just long to move really close to a flower or tree or some grass and have it look as detailed as this. Not photorealistic, mind, but as if you’ve stood close enough to a cartoon character to reveal their pores.

Teardown is a good, recent example of a destructible voxel world used to more interesting effect than just a Minecraftlike. I wouldn’t say no to a prettier Teardown, but truthfully, I don’t know what game I want made in voxels. Smarter people than me are making engines like this and I trust smarter people than me to find applications for it. I just like watching the video and cooing. If you want to coo more, I suggest following Lin on Twitter.

The voxelly Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is out this month

The voxel spin-off of the Earth Defense Force shooter series is coming out real soon on May 25th 2021