Saurian DevLog #1
As we at Saurian work towards our planned early access release in January, we decided it would be a good idea to keep you, the fans, updated on our progress. So for this purpose we will now be putting out these “DevLogs” every 2 weeks. In each DevLog, a few of the Saurian team members will provide a little explanation of what they have been working on along with some images. We now have our BackerKit set up so people who missed the Kickstarter can donate (you can find this here). Voting for the two additional playable dinosaurs are still coming in, we will reveal these results to backers once all votes are in. For the team, finances post-Kickstarter are being sorted out and all hands are on deck pushing towards release.
Over the last month or so, the art team has been making an effort to pin down a complete list of environment assets needed for the initial release on early access. For the most part I haven’t been working on the usual fauna (which will resume in force down the road) but have been helping Chris with the variety of flora needed to finalize our map for the game.
However, I have also been focusing on completing the ontogeny series for Dakotaraptor, which will be very necessary for the development of its gameplay. The models in this render lack any alpha planes which will add important details like wings and break up the silhouette to sell that fluffy feathery look. This whole process was recorded as part of our weekly live streams. You can watch saved replays on our twitch page and join me for a stream every Friday here.
Using an Unreal-turned-Unity plugin called LAM (Landscape Auto Material), we have been able to achieve a smooth 50-60 fps experience on high quality settings in a dense, mock-Hell Creek type forest. LAM will enable us to make an even better Hell Creek environment than what was shown in our Kickstarter video and previous showcases while being even more efficient and performant. It achieves this by reducing draw calls (a main performance eater when lots of vegetation comes in to play in video games) by “batching” them into groups, so the engine doesn’t have to keep track of every piece of vegetation as an individual, while allowing them to remain interactable (collisions and such).”
I have been busy programming code underlying the diverse array of family dynamics our animals will exhibit. In the screenshot below I’m testing out my code with a family where there are parent-child bonds and sibling bonds. Animals with bonded family units will constantly be evaluating whether or not to stay within a certain distance of their bonded family members, or going off on their own to deal with their needs or other animals. This system is still in its beginning stages, but I’m stoked about it anyways, and you should be too, because there ain’t no fam like dino fam! (P.S.: Those “baby” Pachycephalosaurs are just adults that have been shrunk down, but real super cute baby Pachys are on their way!)
I’ve been finishing out the common small trees. I made some new dead branches for all our trees, so eventually I’ll have to go back and incorporate them into the canopy trees already done.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this first DevLog, thank you all for your continued support as Saurian comes to fruition. Continue to follow us on our social media for more updates as we complete the game. As we said, more DevLogs will be coming every second Thursday to keep you undated on the inner workings of Saurian. Thank you!