Welcome to March’s development update!
The Prehistoric Kingdom team have been working consistently this past month to continue making our game the best it can be. With some revitalised energy, let’s get into one of the chunkiest updates yet.
March was a great month of consistent work that ultimately allowed us to make fantastic strides with implementing new assets, improve visual fidelity and tidy up the existing systems.
At this point in the time, we’re working on getting fences and terraforming (water/tree painting) completely polished. Ensuring that the process of building exhibits is a great user experience is one of our biggest priorities for the project.
Over the coming weeks, Matt will be developing advanced path and monorail systems while Mau adds in functionality for the Nursery in addition to a pretty new main menu. Once everything regarding creation itself is out of the way, we’ll be moving onto the animals in order to get them moving, roaring and needing!
We don’t like to gloat, but the next map is pretty hot. Roughly half the size of Tropical Wet, our Semi-Arid island is currently the smallest map in Prehistoric Kingdom. Despite this, there’s still a lot of space to build freely! We’re sure that players who enjoy a challenge will find the more limited size appealing to work around, not to mention the sunsets are gorgeous.
Moving onto further functionality, Matt polished up the vegetation painting so that it works across all climates and feels great to work with.
As a base, each climate comes standard with 8 types of paintable vegetation that can be individually placed or grouped together to quickly paint a large forest. It's super easy to use and the ability to change brush intensity for placement and removal makes perfecting your landscapes just that little bit easier.
Much to the delight of our Baryonyx and wetland lovers everywhere, water painting is here! Equipped with fidelity and three paintable types of water in addition to editable depth; what’s not to love?
The addition of water painting opens up an entirely new realm of creative possibilities for exhibit design that we cannot wait to see played with by the community. Keep in mind that it's a work in progress, but to "wet" your appetite, here's a little preview:
Selection & Demolition
After getting pushed back for a while due to more important programming matters, selection and demolition finally progressed further towards their completion. While removing fences and paths will come once they’re finished, Mau’s gotten buildings to function as intended.
Throughout March, we continued to tweak and refine various parts of the game’s visual fidelity. As you can see in the comparison between now and last month, we’ve made great strides in improving the shadows, foliage rendering and terrain shader!
With the combined efforts of Nathan’s modelling, Mau’s programming and Byron’s sound design, the Shipping Harbor is in the game! This is by far the largest building in Prehistoric Kingdom and rightfully one of the most detailed.
You can preview the cargo unloading effect below, currently just a simple visual effect that is eventually going to be linked up to shipping management mechanics.
For additional detailing, Nathan's buildings and plant pots received their various shrubs, bushes and trees from the selection of our climates so far. Although slight, the greenery amongst the structures is a definite welcome.
If you’re already following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Discord, you’ll be familiar with our recent species spotlights that are released once every Thursday (EST).
These infographics feature the animals inside their respective climate alongside the in-game environmental needs of the presented species. With four down and another forty-six to go, please enjoy this menagerie of some of our Semi-Arid and Mediterranean creatures!
Building & Vehicle Models
With the implementation of feeders in the game, Nathan has whipped up some new habitation assets that’ll certainly be of interest to all players. If there’s one thing that you won’t run out of, it’s fences!
Basic yet durable, the wooden chain link fence is a staple of any park tycoon’s first exhibits. Although suitable for quite a few creatures, we recommend upgrading along the way.
The concrete wall is a great tool for designing private exhibits and fleshing out your general park environment with alleys and walls. Including a glass panel variant, this wall is great for more skittish creatures, however its skinny nature might prove difficult in containing larger behemoths.
With three different texture variants (brick, sandstone, cobblestone), the stone will is a thick and sturdy ally for a secure park builder. As a bonus perk, we've found it to perfectly suit our semi-arid island.
A classic staple of any modern zoo, the electric steel pole fence is perfect for containing medium and large animals.
Although animals can drink from painted water in their exhibits, the small water dish and artificial watering holes are ideal for small enclosure designs and a necessary for creatures that aren't too fond of having water in their paddocks.
As the second of a few vehicles coming to Prehistoric Kingdom, the Ranger Chopper is essential in tracking down and subduing escaped creatures.
During March, Mau worked on animating the tall sauropod rig. Due to its colossal size, it was important to capture the sheer weight and enormity of these creatures.
As a true titan of the Jurassic, Brachiosaurus is one of the largest animals in Prehistoric Kingdom. With a neck that cranes along the tallest trees, this is truly a five star specimen.
In terms of sound design, Byron primarily worked with Mau to integrate new sound effects and variations for both the demolition system and vegetation placement. Since the demo, we've developed a heavy emphasis on including feedback and interaction sounds for the player's input and interaction with the world.
In addition to more feedback sounds, we began implementing ambience for all maps and climates. Thanks to a lot of nifty programming from Matt, the game is able to recognise dense foliage and play the forest sound of a painted climate if it's thick enough! Areas close to the ocean will of course sound like an ocean (now with 100% less seagulls) and a flat prairie will sound as expected.
Presenting the player to the creatures of Prehistoric Kingdom, Creation was written specifically for the animal selection menu that appears right before entering the island in challenge mode. What kind of park will you create? The choice is yours.
Cindy painted up the last few new skins for our more toothy bestiary; theropods! There's still some additional animals to go after this month, but please enjoy Ceratosaurus nasicornis, Carnotaurus sastrei and Acrocanthosaurus atokensis.
In addition to its larger cousins, Dilophosaurus received a much needed update to its default skin and model!
Home to most of Prehistoric Kingdom’s bestiary, North America holds a total of 31 different creatures (including alt. species). From terrible tyrants to longhorn bison, this continent is the go-to place for dinosaurs and mammals.
Since we’ve last spoke about animal habitation and enclosures, quite a lot has changed! Whilst everything here can be disabled in sandbox, it’s important to consider the environmental conditions of a given species within Challenge mode.
To begin, every component of animal habitation makes up an individual’s total exhibit satisfaction. By doing this we can ensure that purposely ignoring something like foliage density for the sake of paddock design will not cause an animal to rampage by itself but will contribute to lowering the mood of the creature.
Paddock Size & Population
Every animal species has its own minimum recommended paddock size. Within the UI, players can also see the enclosure’s population ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬“ a percentage that fills up as creatures of different sizes are added into the paddock. If the player exceeds 100%, the exhibit will be deemed too small and its inhabitants will try to escape to find more space given enough time.
Foliage & Water Density
Foliage and water density allows us to better represent an animal’s unique environment or living conditions despite sharing its climate with the modern world. From a gameplay perspective, it’s the difference between a swampy mediterranean for Baryonyx and the drier, coastal mediterranean of Plateosaurus. As developers it allows us to present a unique challenge to players for every creature whilst still offering creative flexibility in designing the paddock.
Within the context of the game, an exhibit’s foliage and water density will always be calculated in direct relation to the size of the paddock; something that’s visible to players while terraforming.
UI Concept Art.
The social group of an animal corresponds directly to its own species, nothing else within the paddock. If an enclosure is larger than its base value, the social group tolerance of a species will scale alongside it to compensate ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬“ meaning that groups will retain their original herd size regardless of exhibit space.
Juveniles/offspring are not included in the social group until they reach sexual maturity or need to counted in order to satisfy the group needs of a lone adult.
To calculate privacy, an exhibit accounts for the fence types used and any attractions that may be placed in, alongside, or through the paddock. If a player builds their enclosure with a highly visible fence and includes an attraction such as a safari tour, they’ll need to satisfy the independent privacy value of an animal with sufficient shelter coverage, better fencing or intelligent attraction placement.
Placing an elevated path over a paddock will also lower the privacy within an exhibit.
If an animal’s security recommendation is less than or equal to a fence’s security value, it’ll be able to escape the paddock when rampaging or stressed. Always consider the materials you’re building with to ensure the safety of your park.
Thermal Modulators are a minimalist range-based enrichment object that can be placed to raise or lower a paddock’s temperature to better match the preferred climate of any creatures within the enclosure. By default, an exhibit’s temperature is set by the climate of the map the player uses, meaning that the more extreme a map is the more challenging it’ll become to maintain upkeep from Thermal Modulators.
Animals are able to live within a temperature range from their preferred climate that’s visualised by a thermal falloff in the UI.
UI Concept Art.
Thank you for reading March's Devlog!
We all worked incredibly hard this month, but there's no time to rest: we look forward to polishing existing features through April, as well as adding ulterior functionality to paths and monorails. Stay tuned!
The PK Team.
Past development updates can also be found on the official Prehistoric Kingdom Blog or Kickstarter.