I read the description (I think), saw the screenshots, watched the videos, browsed the discussions/blogs, subscribed/follow updates, etc and the only thing I can come up with on what it actually is, is just a couple of descriptions of what it can do.
I-Novae Engine can procedurally generate planets, galaxies, and universes in 3D and run/view them in real time without the need of loading screens to transition between large spaces. It can also render these graphics alongside other models with appropriate lighting. I also read a post from another user here that it does some kind of physics, but I don’t know how much/what kind or anything about that.
Is that everything? [Planet generation/Universe generation/rendering/physics]
Is it it’s own game engine, allowing you to create whatever you want within the system’s capabilities (such as in other game engines like unreal/unity/etc), or is it just a library/plugin/extension kind of thing that handles these 3d elements, but utilizes another engine for the game itself?
The I-Novae Engine is our custom game engine, similar to Unreal Engine or Unity, except it specializes in massive environments on a galactic scale in seamless real-time (no loading screens). It is 100% standalone, home grown tech that allows us to create whatever we want. For example we could just create a standard FPS, RTS, puzzle game, or any other type of game with it instead of planets and galaxies if we wanted.
Does it allow people to make their own terrain? Like the engine generates all the environments initially, correct? If so is the developer able to sculpt on that environment to get their own personal landscape?.
Such as the engine generates some grassy hills but I want a bunch of spiky rock mountains there with a crater and a cave with a bunch of grass inside. Would the engine be able to do that alone or would that require something like hiding what was generated and then create those things in some other development package?
I heard it enables users to “leverage elevation data”
I’ve also heard Keith make remarks around your other questions (like caves). From what he said last, they were open to the future, but I’m sure they’ll be extensively usable by the game artists. I think that’s probably the greatest paradigm change Keith has brought since I-Novae was founded over Infinity: The Quest for Earth and its foundations set by Flavien. As he’s recognized its potential for funding, Keith has been pushing for 3rd-party adoption very intensely ever since he joined Flavien.
As much as I know, I don’t remember him commenting on whether caves or embedded structures will require 3rd-party tools.
Yes the engine allows you to create your own terrain however we haven’t built tools yet that allow you to do this in an easy, visual sort of way like Unreal. Our procedural algorithms are currently incapable of generating caves or any sort of overhang however you can easily create those sorts of things using other methods or even using a 3rd party tool and then importing it into the I-Novae Engine - particularly if you don’t need entire planets.