Greetings, everyone and welcome to this months update!
The team has been busy working on new Early Access material and beginning the process of rebuilding our core systems and foundation to improve upon our user experience and ensure that Prehistoric Kingdom is ready for new features and content. Much love and effort is being put into crafting a unique gameplay experience that will feel challenging and rewarding for tycoon veterans and new fans of the genre.
On March 4 we released the Jurassic Patch to our pre-alpha demo and were simply blown away by the sheer creativity that our community has shown us! While there were issues reported on our Discord server and Steam forums, we took note and pushed out a hotfix as quickly as possible to address the majority of large issues that our players were experiencing with the AI and other things.
For our OSX community, we’re pleased to announce that the demo is available here for you to play around with! We’ve learned a lot over the past few months, and we cannot wait to get the full game into everyone’s hands.
For the last two weeks our programmers have been working on Prehistoric Kingdom’s architecture to improve the game development process by redesigning all of our systems to be future proof. This entails things such as creating new user interface prefabs, loading systems, and making the addition of new buildings or animals to the game as easy as possible. By going through the laborious process of rebuilding old systems from the demo, we can greatly improve the functionality, performance, and feeling of the game.
This enhanced approach to our workflow means that programming conventions and general engine work within Unity should be far more comprehensive and welcoming to each team member when working with the game’s deep and complex systems.
During March we looked deeply at the game’s art style and aesthetics to recognise trouble spots regarding consistency and how we can make Prehistoric Kingdom both look great and run well. In the future, we have plans to redo some of our older creatures and art assets to bring them up to par with recent additions to our growing catalogue of models, textures, animations, sounds, and designs.
Something we’ve wanted to look into for a while now is a revamp of some of our custom shaders in Unity. While it’s certainly not finished, we’ve been testing out a decal system for body damage when an animal has been attacked or wounded. In conjunction with this change, our animals will look far more detailed than previously seen before.
It’s not perfect as we’re still experimenting, but so far the results have been promising:
Similar effects can be applied for to visually assist features like disease. We gave our Tyrannosaurus a quick skin inflammation to test it out:
Issues like skin inflammation will play a vital role in maintaining an animals health. More diseases will be revealed in the future!
Our resident level designer, programmer, and tree connoisseur, Victor, has been up to some ever so lovely things recently. Now that we’re looking to improve our art assets and quality wherever we can, here’s an early look at our Mediterranean Isle inside World Machine. It’s not quite ready to go in-engine yet as we won’t be touching maps for a while, but we can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s there!
If you haven’t caught our daily streams (check out our Discord server for notifications, hint hint) Victor has also been growing a collection of our Tropical Wet plants, trees, and general foliage assets.
We recently added a concept artist to help out with building designs and realize our expansive list of structures that will be featured in the game. Here’s the first look at some of our buildings:
The Fast Food Kiosk is a small building for your guests to purchase meals and drinks set by the player. It’s been designed so that visitors can access cashiers from four different sides depending on path access, meaning that the kiosk can be placed both within a plaza or on the side of a pathway and still be fully functional.
The Nursery is the birthplace for all of your prehistoric animals before moving them out into the park. We felt that the original design didn’t quite fit its purpose and opted for a larger modern aesthetic. Additional foliage and greenery will be added in-engine.
The Thermic Modulator alters the temperature of an exhibit while retaining the chosen climate. To keep its design relatively hidden from guests, its outer texture adapts to the ground texture beneath it.
Buildings are something that the team has wanted to see for the longest time and we hope that you’re just as excited as we are to reveal new building types each month. Remember to supply your structures with sufficient water and electricity, or else you might just find yourself in a predicament!
While not strictly linked to the graphic design side of development, our UI designer has been working with our programmers to ensure that the future of Prehistoric Kingdom is as nice to play with as it is to look at. A smattering of concepts were created during March to compliment the on-going game plan and feature design, as well. The interface for selection, demolition, animal selection, and terraforming have been finalized along with some tweaks to existing sets to name but a few.
Expanding upon our previous two state cursors from the demo to cover a wide range of activities!
Besides a handful of other improvements such as new mouse cursor states and button feedback/responsiveness, we’ve added a collection of charming phrases during the loading screen to make waiting just that little bit less tedious. We might even throw a few easter eggs in there – who knows?
Loading screen backgrounds will change depending on the map. All 50 Early Access animals can be viewable as the animated creature based on chance.
A small sample of the 20+ game-related phrases and easter eggs. Revolutionary? Nah. Neat? Definitely.
That’s right – even more animals to show! These critters might not come as a surprise to those who have been following the live streams but here are the new creatures (and alternate skins) of March. Say hello to Ankylosaurus magniventris, Baryonyx walkeri, Carnotaurus sastrei, and Edmontosaurus regalis!
Last month we showed off our Pachyrhinosaurus. Today we’re revealing its two alternate skins; Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis and perotorum!
Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai (left), canadensis (middle + far right), peratorum (middle-right).
Alternate skin designs for Carnotaurus, Deinonychus, Edmontosaurus, and Styracosaurus:
And finally; artwork for Prenocephale and all the remaining mammals!
With the conclusion of our last livestream, the remaining Early Access base meshes have been completed! All of our beautiful animals will be moving onto sculpting, texturing, rigging, and animation over the coming months.
Terraforming is a key part of any great zoo building game which is why we’re looking into completely overhauling the system currently implemented within the pre-alpha demo. The details provided here may be altered as development continues, but here’s the general idea of what we’re looking at.
With the user interface getting an extreme makeover, we would like to focus our terraforming systems around voxels due to the hundreds of creative possibilities that can be accomplished with them.
Up to three different water colours can be chosen (“salt”, “fresh”, or “muddy”) when painting water into a paddock. This is complimentary feature the main tools – raising, lowering, flattening, and smoothing the terrain.
We’ll do our best in researching and implementing a voxel terrain system due to the ability to freely sculpt caves, arches, and overhangs from the terrain. The creative power that comes with something like this has the potential to be truly amazing, so we’ll be sure to report back on our progress in the next few DevLog’s.
Climate painting in Prehistoric Kingdom offers deep customization for hardcore builders as well as simple tools for players who would rather not get into the detailed side of exhibit design.
Players will have the option to paint both ground textures and make use of the ‘Quick Design’tool simultaneously, enabling or disabling the automatic placement of rocks, ground clutter, and foliage during the painting process. Rocks and trees can be individually placed by lowering the brush size to its minimum value or painted directly onto your terrain through increasing the size and intensity of your brush.
Overall, terraforming will feel far more integrated into the game. Some of you may recall having to use a separate foliage removal tool instead of demolition when experimenting with the demo. Not only will trees, rocks, and clutter behave like the rest of the structures and objects in the game, but their functionality will be, too. Clicking painted objects will activate the editing gizmo – allowing for a more streamlined exhibit building experience.
The Jurassic Patch gave the community a lot of creative freedom with the addition of new rocks, foliage features, and of course four more animals. This month the team nominated a handful of their favourite screenshots and builds to show off to the wider fanbase! Thanks to everyone on Twitter and Discord for submitting their pieces!
Screenshot taken by Fallen23.
Screenshot taken by Birdskull.
Screenshot taken and edited by Toasted.
Created by mr. closed mind.
Screenshot taken by Red.
Created by Пневматический Рептилоид.
Screenshot taken by War Bear.
Created by White.
And that concludes March’s DevLog!
We will be continuing our daily streams as well as posting a few more times a month on our social media pages so there’s less of a content drought in between blog posts. With that said, we hope you enjoyed reading and we shall see everyone in April!