1. What are the system requirements to run this engine?
The engine is GPU-centric and requires a DX10-class graphics card with OpenGL3.3 drivers and 512MB of GPU memory.
As the minimum should be considered an Nvidia 8800GT. Although the engine can run on lesser cards, it can affect the overall smoothness. Alpha builds don't contain all optimizations yet so this recommendation will likely change for finished product.
2. How does Outerra engine work?
It takes elevation data with arbitrary and optionally also varying resolution, that it further dynamically refines using fractal algorithms. The fractals try to mimic natural processes, generating fine, believable terrain with high resolution. The world is also being dynamically textured and populated with vegetation using predefined land type material sets and the computed terrain attributes.
3. What is the format for in-game models? Can I use Maya/Lightwave/3dMax to create models and import them within the engine?
Engine uses its own format optimized for the rendering, but Collada files can be converted to it using a separate tool.
4. What physics are employed by the engine?
The engine currently integrates Bullet physics library for general physics and JSBSim library for flight dynamics modeling.
Practically any library can be used as long as it's able to cope with spherical worlds and huge terrains and has an interface capable to handle dynamically generated terrain in an effective manner.
5. What about water? Rivers, lakes and oceans.
In development. Vector data will be used for rivers and lakes.
6. Will there be weather? Clouds ..
7. Will there be particle effects?
8. Will terrain be destructible?
Destructible terrain is possible; dirt roads can be seen as an example of this too. Heavier modifications are not a problem as well. We have been thinking also about having destructible trees, this may be possible too once all other more significant issues are resolved.
9. Will there be artificial planets, asteroids or moons and other star systems
Support for artificial planets will be added later after maturing the Earth and close bodies - Moon and Mars.
The process will work by employing a generator in place of the external planetary data. The generator will mimic the characteristic patterns of topographic features on a planet - continents, mountain ranges, water drainage networks, volcanoes etc. generating them randomly but keeping them believable and natural for given planet type.
It will be also possible to combine this approach with the data-driven planet creation. With procedurally generated planets you could still want to influence the shapes of the continents or to place/move the mountains or to define the climates so that it all lines up with the game setting. You should be able to mod specific locations by smaller height field patches as well.
10. Will interplanetary travel be possible?
Yes, the engine is designed to allow this.
11. Will underground caverns and tunnels be supported?
Underground caverns will be supported by employing a tunnel/cavern generator, that will be using vector data to generate the geometry and blend it into existing terrain.