Prehistoric Kingdom DevLog #6


 

Welcome to DevLog #6!

We had an absolute blast this past month with some great progress across the board. All hands were on deck during June as we continued to chug along at a steady pace, making some very exciting advancements within programming, art, and game design. Without further ado, let’s get right into the development update.

 


June set us up with some great progress on building mechanics and terraforming, allowing us to finally start showing off the new systems (hurray!). Please keep in mind that everything shown here is a work in progress and is subject to change throughout the game’s development!


Fence System

Prehistoric Kingdom’s clever programmers have created the first rudimentary attempt at the spline-based fencing system. There’s not too much to say about it at the moment as it’s still being worked on, but the first stages of freeform and two-step placement is in.

Snapping angle and the rotation angle all works with the expected lovely curves that is made available through splines.


 

This progress on the fencing systems has made the team giddy at the thought of soon working on monorail building once all the kinks have been worked out…

Terraforming Demonstration

All of the basic tools are up and running so now it’s a matter of adding and refining terrain textures as well as hooking it up to construction in order to flatten surrounding land. It’s still a work in progress, so please excuse any wonky graphical artefacts. Here’s a look at some of the tools in action:



As you can see, Prehistoric Kingdom’s terraforming allows players to freely sculpt the terrain through a variety of methods and tools; the world is quite literally your canvas.



Players are able to paint the terrain freely by selecting ground types from the Climate Painter with the option of automatically painting rock or dirt in correspondence to the height of the terrain.






A cave sculpted out of a mountain.


Create natural archways, land bridges, mountain ranges, and even “volcanoes” by digging out mountain tops!

Unsurprisingly, the art team has been working hard at bringing the assets of Prehistoric Kingdom to life. For June, we’ve got a hefty assortment of goodies to show off.

Building Concept Art and Models

In this update we’re taking a closer look at the structures directly used by animals and guests including shelters, amenities, and attractions.


Placed as a decorative object, the Science Monument increases the land value of the immediate area. Key decorations and statues like Monument buildings help pretty-up your park and act as core locations for guests to hang out.


The wooden shelter is a large structure capable of housing most animals throughout their life cycle. Whilst quite basic in its material, this building will appease the majority of your creatures in its modest simplicity.


Harkening back to real world zoos, the metal viewing platform is a staple of any park due to its ability to get guests up close and personal with extinct creatures without getting caught in harm’s way. This beautiful attraction offers the chance to entice nearby critters to investigate the tiny mammals jumping around on the other side of the glass.

Tropical Wet Island Preview

After quite a bit of anticipation, this is how the tropical wet island looks from a distance! With players being able to terraform archipelagos from the seafloor, we can’t wait to see what everyone does in the future with our creative tools and map landscapes.


16km² of pure island goodness.

As you can see by the remnants of the large crater towards the north of the terrain, this island’s origins are volcanic – sprouting a small chain of archipelagos in its wake from the seafloor. The landscape is quite versatile, featuring cliffs, mountains, flat building space, and lakes.

We’ll be sure to show off more of our vegetation for this climate very soon, but until then, make sure to keep your plants on!

Both exciting and conversely terrifying, there’s very little interface designing left to do for the game. Of course there’s going to be tweaks as the project develops, but all of the base drafts and UI sheets for the first pre-alpha are eagerly waiting to be brought to life inside Unity.

Until we begin working on the second pre-alpha (which we are extremely eager to work on!) most of the interface work is going to revolve around polish and visualising in-game features.

Two words: editable signage. Ever wanted to name and theme areas of your park with custom signs and billboards? Look no further! Much to the dismay of long time zoo building players, a lack of editable signs and decorations in past titles has been sorely felt.

In Prehistoric Kingdom, however, the Edit Properties window on select decorations such as the vertical marina banner and the horizontal banner offer a range of bespoke graphical designs that can be swapped out by the player to better match their own park. Special decorations like the editable themed sign even feature a text editor that will display whatever is written into the input field. Cool, right?



To help get players right into the action, you’ll be greeted with small popups that provide a brief description of certain game features, mechanics, and interface explanations as you progress through the game. These can be toggled off permanently at any time, so rest assured that experienced tycoons don’t require unwanted help.
 

Sound Design Preview

Our sound designer whipped up a special new soundscape preview featuring some more familiar faces. Can you guess all the animals? Let us know on our Discord server!
 

Music

The team’s lovely and very humble composer (who is definitely not in charge of writing our devlogs) wrote a new track that will play alongside the ambience of your park’s bustling environment. Exploring the Park incorporates world instruments within our traditional orchestral setting, making use of rainsticks, bongos, congas, and African shakers to expand the sonic scope of Prehistoric Kingdom’s music. We’re super happy with how it turned out, and we hope everyone’s looking forward to hearing more from the soundtrack in the future.


New Creatures

This month marks the long awaited redesign of our Allosaurus fragilis in all of its fearsome Jurassic glory. Alongside our carnivorous “friend” three new animals are ready to be shown off: Coelophysis bauri, Sauropelta edwardsorum, and Guanlong wucaii!







Ontogeny Sequences

Our laboratory hatched another four new babies this month (they grow up so fast…) and we’re not sure if seeing baby dinosaurs will ever not be completely adorable. For June, please enjoy our little spike nugget, noodle-neck,  two angry lizard boys.








 

Alt. Skins

Much to the pleasure of our creature design concept artist, all Early Access animals finallyhave their alternate skin patterns, colors, stripes, and dangly bits designed for our texture artist to realize on the 3D assets.

Since there’s a total of 150 skins going into the game (excluding all genetic mutations like albino and melanistic variants), we have officially only revealed around 91 up until now and will continue to trickle them out over the next few months.












Resource management in Prehistoric Kingdom was first seen in its most basic form back in 2015 with the original tech demo and has been a staple part of our park construction and management since.

Reading about our gameplay plan isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with our road map laid out in our last blog post we felt that discussing one of the largest components of the game was extremely important.

Your Island and You

The first thing to understand is that almost every map in Prehistoric Kingdom offers a gameplay challenge due to the weather patterns that correspond to the climate. Although some climates such as semi-arid don’t suffer from drastic changes, others like subpolar and tropical wet maps experience blizzards and violent seasonal thunderstorms that must be considered to effectively build the ultimate park.

One our biggest design philosophies is to ensure that players feel engaged and like they can influence the world they’re building directly. Stay on top of your park and its environment and you’ll be rewarded with efficiency and successful profits. Ignore the needs of your guests and you’re doomed to fail.

Generating Power

In Early Access, players will be able to construct six utility buildings that are used to generate power and water for your park:


 

Each of these structures offer a positive and negative trait within their role as a producer in your park, with the negatives often directly correlating to weather or their effectiveness over time as the park expands in its scope.

Due to the sheer size of maps in Prehistoric Kingdom, specialised utilities like water towers and solar panels can be placed in areas without high amounts of wind or surface water to maximise player building flexibility.


Making Connections

All major structures, amenities, attractions, and infrastructure require a connection to electricity and water. As the space available for building on our islands and mainland is extremely large, the second pre-alpha will introduce underground piping and cables to setup infrastructure beneath the terrain.

To avoid micromanagement and monotony, pipes are automatically constructed beneath pathways as players build and expand their park. Originally we had discussed power lines and water pipes as separate objects but felt that it would take away from the aesthetics by having large, ugly pylons decorating exhibit sides and land space.

For players who want the freedom to place infrastructure pipes separately from paths, they can be freely drawn out at anytime to connect new power sources to the grid!

Disaster Strikes

So, your park is thriving and electricity production is off the charts… but you didn’t check the weather forecast.

Once a thunderstorm hits the island or mainland, structures like the wind turbine will automatically shut down to prevent damage to the rotor. Depending on how the player is equipped to respond to this situation, there are a multitude of potential outcomes that are influenced by park layout, security, and back up utility buildings. Everything you’ve worked for is suddenly at risk in the blink of an eye, but there’s still a few options to pursue during this scenario:

  • Whilst not as effective in poor lighting conditions, an array of solar panels may just keep your park above water while you wait out the storm. They’re not as cheap to maintain as wind turbines, but guests are also less disappointed by the sight of them.
  • The Water Power Plant is expensive and has a high upkeep, but allows the player to push through the rain and lightning while pumping water and electricity from one location. It’s the most expensive option, but almost guarantees consistency.
  • Setting the park into emergency mode while the storm passes may effect ratings, but will ultimately protect guests from unexpected danger in the event of a power outage. Send your patrons to the security bunkers and hope for the best…

Remember, a cloud-free day keeps the danger away!*

*Safety on cloud-free days not guaranteed.

 


Screenshot by kanniballistik.


Created by kanniballistik.


Created by Lumi.


Created by Toth’s Hippodraco.
 

And to finish it all off our good friends over at The Isle made this awesome crossover piece featuring their own animals and designs! How cool is that?

Another month, another development update.

We’ll be back again in July to show more progress on the project. Keep an eye out for our mid-month updates, and be sure to follow us on our social media platforms if you haven’t already!

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