VoxEdit Beta release

The Sandbox
Feb 6, 2020 · 7 min read

The biggest VoxEdit update to date is out, and here’s what’s new!

Over a year has passed since the first alpha release of The Sandbox free voxel editor, VoxEdit, back in December 2018, and after thousands of downloads and assets created by amazing artists from our creator fund, we are finally launching the biggest update. There are dozens of new features, new tools, and a totally new interface that will help you navigate the different options you’ll encounter to create amazing voxel models and animations within VoxEdit. Read on to see the key developments added to our software.

VoxEdit’s new version is now out for free!

Get it here: https://www.sandbox.game/en/create/

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Although you can find in this technical article the full changelog and the lists of all the new features and tools, this article will cover the most remarkable features and developments added in this Beta version that will enable the use of better methods for creating voxel models and animations. We’ll also list some of the exciting additions planned for upcoming updates.

Remember that you can also join the discussion and get help from the artists and creators that participate in our communities. Join us!

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/vAe4zvY

Telegram: https://t.me/sandboxgame

Modeler

From the last (0.3.15) VoxEdit version released last October, the modeler has received plenty of new features that will enable artists and creators to design detailed and quality voxel models that can be used in The Sandbox game maker or exported for use in other software.

Features & Tools

Orthographic Camera

The orthographic camera is one of the main new features added that provides better insights when creating models from scratch. The camera provides up to four different perspectives of your models that can be used to draw, paint, and modify different parts of your model while taking into consideration the overall look. It’s a helpful tool to keep track of how your changes are affecting the design of your model without needing to turn the camera around to see the modifications.

Pen and line tool

Combined with the new orthographic camera angles, these essential tools can provide an easy way to create amazing assets using voxel art methods. The pen and line tools work as intended, one being a freestyle pen that enables creators to draw with voxels while the line tool allows selecting an anchor point in the canvas area — and then extending it as desired in order to create a line between the selected points.

This new addition can introduce pixel artists to voxel by allowing them to create by drawing with voxels on a flat surface that can later be given volume and details.

Select tool

The select tool will enable the selection of any part of your creation to be moved or deleted as needed. This tool comes in handy while adding the final details of a model and will let the creator select and move certain parts of the asset without having to remake them.

In a future version of VoxEdit, this tool will also allow selecting parts of a model to break it apart into different models for rigging and animation purposes.

If you want to start modeling your first voxel models on VoxEdit, here is a helpful article on how to begin covering all the basics.

Animator

This essential element is a pillar of VoxEdit allowing the creation of skeletons of voxel models that can then be animated straightforward tools, providing quality and fluid animations that can be later be exported in different formats.

Features & Tools

Ghost rig

This important feature is related to the creation of animations and rigs for models that take place on the animator section of VoxEdit at first. However, if a part of your rig, such as the head of an avatar, for example, needs to be modified, you’ll have a full faded preview of the skeleton over the animator to keep track of how the changes made on a single model can affect your rigged model.

Skeleton nodes mirror

The selection of pivot points that will serve as joints for a rigged skeleton in order to design animations is one of the most important parts of the process of creating an animation. This process can take quite some time in order to fit everything in place to produce a fluid animation. Thankfully with this latest addition, the skeleton mirror feature allows mirroring any created node into the different axis points selected. This will not only duplicate the rigged nodes, but also duplicate and mirror the models inside the original node group.

Templates

In order to maintain a clear style when coming up with assets for The Sandbox metaverse, we decided to offer a variety of rigged and animated templates that can be modified to create your own assets when accompanied by a couple of animations. This will allow you to experience the possibilities of the editor without having to start from scratch.

In addition to the guidelines we provide when creating assets for The Sandbox, the templates help ensure the overall style that our first game experiences, dioramas, and assets available on the marketplace follow a similar path in voxel art. While we cannot create a template for everything since we are a user-generated content gaming platform, the idea is to cover the basic entities that can be created to showcase the correct uses of the tools within VoxEdit. These can later be used by creators to either design amazing assets or create new templates from scratch that can be used by others.

Block Editor

While its main use is meant only to design the terrain that will be used for game experiences and dioramas, this new element of VoxEdit allows the creation of blocks following the sizes for The Sandbox game maker. Since such blocks are not designed to have more than the game maker’s fixed size (32´3), this section of the software will be limited to painting with the different tools found in the modeler. However, bigger blocks with different surfaces can be created normally on the modeler.

Coming up in VoxEdit

In addition to the current developments for this Beta release of VoxEdit, the list of tools and features to improve the overall experience for creators and artists runs into the dozens. With the upcoming Game Maker and public marketplace for The Sandbox, VoxEdit is also developing the tools creators need in order to design assets to be sold for cryptocurrency as NFTs and used in-game experiences as entities in The Sandbox metaverse.

Here are some key developments coming up later this year.

Inverse kinematics

While talented artists behind our creator fund are working on game assets and templates that will be available for everyone upon our game maker release, the idea behind the UGC aspect of our platform is that everyone has the opportunity to be a creator. Inverse kinematics offers the tools that experienced artists can use to design quality and fluid animations within VoxEdit. New creators will have an easier time working with this tool since it relies on the nodes of the skeletons that serve as joints in order to move every model attached to it, providing a simpler way to animate all together instead part by part.

This tool has plenty of different ways to use it as it can limit the degrees in which a skeleton node is able to move to prevent undesired movements. This means animations should be easier to create with this tool, enabling new artists to create more easily using VoxEdit.

Avatar system

Being one of the most important aspects when it comes to showcasing the freedom of UGC and possible customization on The Sandbox metaverse, the avatars that each user will be able to display in-game experiences are a key development coming up for VoxEdit. By providing everyone the tools to create quality avatar models to showcase in-game and not only rely on experienced voxel artists, but we also ensure a rich and populated marketplace of user-generated content that can be created by everyone.

The Sandbox

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