Saurian DevLog #4
To start off our DevLog this week: RJ received a pair of meter tall, 30 kilogram boxes of replica Dakotaraptor claws that a large selection of our backers will be receiving as a reward. They look amazing, even better than we expected, as you can see above. Big thanks to Robert DePalma for sorting these out for us, that was great of him to do. These are the first set of replicas of this animal’s claws ever produced so the backers who pledged for this are receiving something really special. I need to note here that while we have the claws now, these will not be shipping out immediately. All rewards will be sent out together some time in the future.
After the unveiling of the new Psittacosaurus model we decided to take another look at our Pachycephalosaurus. When taking another look at my Pachy concept art it was very clear that it needed significant updating, not to mention our model has the orbit in the wrong place (stupid Jake). So I spent a lot of time reworking my Pachy concept art, including paying extra close attention to the osteoderms and ossified scales on the skull to make it far more accurate. I also added a keratin covering to the dome as opposed to the crocodilian-like face skin it had before. All of the proportions have been altered to be more accurate, including an unfortunate slimming of the tail. I’ll be working on the younger Pachycephalosaurus designs now that the adult has been properly updated.
There are over 20 species of plants to be recreated in Saurian’s Hell Creek ecosystem, and each one must be differentiated from the others not only by its overall shape, but also from elements such as their bark, and leaf shape/structure. Now that the concept art is done, I’m creating the textures that the New Chris will work with for the 3D models.
One of the coolest programming developments to come from the last month is courtesy of our resident bird-wizard, Xane, with his Vitas, Biota, and Praeda systems for representing information related to bodies, combat, and more. This has allowed us to begin the (long!) process of fleshing out combat in Saurian to the degree that we’d like to. With these systems, animal bodies are represented as collections of body parts, each with their own external layers (scales, feathers, osteoderms, etc.) and internal layers (flesh and bone) that constitute to the overall injury level of the animal. When you attack a specific body part, you degrade its external layers until they are destroyed, at which point you can damage its internal layers. This makes the targeting of your attacks very important during combat. Different external layers also have different types of interactions with different types of attacks, too–for example, a bite may be more effective against feathers, but less effective against osteoderms.
Using all of this, I’ve been able to start doing some pretty cool stuff with AI combat behaviors, such as making animals strategically choose body parts on other animals to attack rather than just attacking in their general direction. I’ve also been working quite a bit on writing and balancing combat behaviors (charging, retreating, circling, etc) and when they are engaged by AIs, and am happy to see them starting to look much more natural than they have been thus far. While I don’t have time to summarize any of the other tasks I’ve been working on, here’s a little something extra from the last few days:
Some untextured birds taking flight to evade a Dakotaraptor. Note: Dakotaraptor‘s AI doesn’t exactly know how to handle hunting a bird in flight. Yet. Please ignore Jake and Nick’s mindless dribble in the background.
While these birds may not have the largest role in Saurian’s ecosystem, writing their AI has given me a base to introduce other volant species with, including Quetzalcoatlus sp. Get hype!