Placement preview is now working for all 38 shapes and 24 rotations! There’s a sample over there at the right.
So, yeah, like any sandboxy voxel world game, you can place voxels in the world. In the case of SteamShards, voxels aren’t just cubes, however; there’s 38 different shapes. Cubes, half-cube wedges, this angular shape you see in the screenshot — and 35 more. Each shape can be rotated in 24 different ways. This shape you see see, outlined in yellow, is called an “outside ramp corner”. Ramp corners let you join two ramps together smoothly.
Shapes like this can be rotated lots of ways. In this case, this corner has a clear bottom, which takes up a whole voxel face. The shape could be rotated so that the “bottom” face is actually any one of the six sides of a voxel. In the second image, you can see a brick post with 5 stone spikes at the top. Each of those spikes is the same “shape”, just rotated in different directions.
The engine treats these shapes as if they’re part of the terrain. They’re not “objects”. They can be placed and removed just like any other part of the terrain, and otherwise they just sit there, not consuming any processing power.
Creating detailed and cool-looking structures should be a lot easier with these new tools, although there will also be pre-built structures — as well as terrain, trees, and whatnot — built by game designers and the engine itself. I’m looking forward to seeing what players create using these tools!