Cubic voxel-based games have been striking a chord for me since I discovered them; and let's not fall for the hipster complex -- for most of us, that came with the popularization of Minecraft. But that interest grew past the 1m3 scaled sandbox world; the mere retro-looking style of games like Voxatron or the upcoming Cube World made me rethink my perception of quality graphics. In a sense, the simplistic, minimalist voxel styling is a potential revival for pixel-art, in a 3D fashion, and I feel like it isn't being exploited. Or at the very least, not enough.
A lot of game developers saw Minecraft as an opportunity to capitalize on voxels, leading to abhorrent commercial ripoffs and the like. But a significant amount of indies, lacking the financial incentive behind, seem to have "moved along" the voxel train, seeing how merely developing the framework to sustain and optimize the graphics was a pain. There was and still is a technical barrier in developing voxel games, which, in my opinion, hinders creativity and keeps a lot of indie games from ever seeing the light of day.
If that barrier were to be abolished, voxels may finally be perceived as they are -- a stylish rendering and interaction pattern that encourages creativity, for developers and players. They would no longer be the core element of the game, but merely a design choice, like using toon shaded graphics, for instance. That is, without losing their interactive benefits. We could start seeing voxel platformers, tower defenses, top-down RPG's, etc. The developers could finally focus on the game. And at the end of the day, that's the only thing that matters.
So today, I've finally decided to start concretizing this vision. I've started developing (or rather, at this stage, planning) a bare-bones voxel engine called Voxel Populi. Here's a link to my blog. It's the first time I'll keep a development log, and I hope it'll help me getting through the occasional lows of motivation I usually suffer from.
Why post this here on Leadwerks? Well, if you read the post about the development environment, you'll see that I intend to use Leadwerks (2, until 3 is out) as the rendering and physics pipeline for testing. While the library is meant to be engine, platform and language independent, this does still imply that it'll be fully compatible with Leadwerks out of the box. Also, I'm hoping I can get some occasional feedback from this community, if the project interests you.
That's pretty much it! I might keep you posted on Werkspace from time to time, but I'll mostly be updating the tumblr and Google Code page. Try to keep an eye on it!