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Saurian DevLog #13 – So-phisticated Techniques

This week we’ve got and update from Erin and I on map work, an early demonstration of some AI behaviours from Henry and Bryan has animated just the cutest little fluffy dinosaur I’ve ever seen.

During the last two weeks I’ve got the art-book text done and proof-read, and taken necessary steps to begin getting that put together. This is an exciting step as it is the last Kickstarter reward in need of completing. However, as it still requires some important artwork, it is not done just yet. Since then, alongside providing palaeo-consultancy to the team, I’ve begun on the prep-work required to get the game world set up for early access. Erin has made considerable strides on this already, so at this point I have been familiarising myself with the various tools (predominantly the Unity plugin Terrain Composer 2) so that once we have the final versions of all the plants from Jake and Chris L. all we need to do is plug them in and hit the “go” button to get the initial map set up. Below, and at the top of the post you can see some screenshots I have taken in a test scene I set up for an example of roughly how I’d like the environment to look in certain important areas of the map. The central section of the site on which our game is based was a long billabong surrounded by groves of horsetails within a great cypress forest. This is what I have attempted to recreate here. The screenshots are taken from the perspective of the player Dakotaraptor. The final map obviously won’t look exactly like this, some key components are missing (water plants, cypress knees) and we’ll have to play with density based on performance. We’d like as many people as possible to be able to run the game as possible, but thankfully we’ve gotten some good results with that already.

Since you last heard from the programming team, we’ve been busy with work that’s either a) not ready to be shown yet or b) not very interesting to read about unless you’re a game developer. As far as AI goes, one of my focuses has been steadily fixing bugs, balancing, and fleshing out the behavior for the animals. This is a very time consuming, often frustrating process — but all the frustration is outweighed by how awesome it is to see the dinosaurs doing their thing in the end. This week, I wanted to share a couple scenes I threw together, showcasing some new dromaeosaur hunting techniques, among other things.

Baby Dakotaraptor is fed with the hopes and dreams of orphans. It goes fast.

We are currently unsure of the final speed of the animation for the Dakotaraptor hatchling, the 100% & 90% variants seen in this video are probably too fast. We’ve sent it off to one of our consultant palaeontologists for his opinion on the subject.

  • Garrus on February 19, 2017

    @PaleoUintahBasin , regarding Anatosaurus: not sure how much I can share, but ceratopsids and hadrosaurids preferred different habitats. All fossil evidence suggests that Bone Butte was solidly ceratopsid country, but Anatosaurus does show up there as well.

  • Teleway on February 14, 2017

    I have a question. Will we be able to name our dinos in single/multiplayer?

    In The Endless Forest, for example, the “names” of the creatures come in the form of pictographs.

  • When is this game coming out, Jesus Christ! on February 14, 2017


  • Saphi on February 12, 2017

    The Dakotaraptor Hatchling is very cute, nice work 🙂

    I want to cuddle it 🙂

    Im really looking forward to play the game

  • SlashyMcStabbingon on February 10, 2017

    I know multiplayer is not top priority, and of course it shouldn’t be, as making a stable multiplayer is a huge drain of resources considering how damn hard it is (not a game dev, but look at other multiplayer alpha games. You can practically see the frustration jutting out of each lag spike), however I was wondering if it would be released before or after the other three playable creatures, or even before full release? If not, would it come before the other two playable dinos?

    • Estemmenosuchus on February 14, 2017

      So far, the debs have stated that all stretch goals will be implemented once the full game is finished. Don’t expect to see multiplayer anytime soon. Especially since it’s was pretty far back stretch goal.

    • Garrus on February 15, 2017

      Multiplayer is the second to last stretch goal we achieved, and requires a type of coding we do not have at present. We will not be implementing stretch goals before the base game is complete and we exit Early Access, and due to the above do not expect to see it until some time after the game is released.

    • Bodhi on February 17, 2017

      All kickstarter goals will release after full release

  • HeartOfUtah on February 9, 2017

    I think the 75% speed was good enough for a hatchling, but maybe a little less could be good too in my opinion

  • Mason on February 9, 2017

    Hey! Quick question! since this is online, will we be able to use a mic by chance? And I know people probably ask you about this all the time but, when is the official release date??? Have you guys decided on one?? Im overly excited to play and I was hoping it would be soon!



    • Garrus on February 9, 2017

      Nope. Although much about multiplayer is 2Soon2Tell, as I tell people on the Discord, one thing that is definite is that there will be neither a text chat nor voice chat support. The reason behind this is we want to maintain immersion and keep the multiplayer experience as close to the single player experience as possible. You will need to use vocalizations and body language to communicate in-game. I should also warn you that servers will be on the small side- we’ve discussed limiting servers to 10-15 people. Same reason as above.

      As for an official release date, once we are ready to do so we will announce it across all our media well in advance of the actual date. We are not there yet.

    • Garrus on February 9, 2017

      Furthermore, remember that our priority is the single player experience. Multiplayer was achieved, but only as a stretch goal. It is not our first priority.

    • DarkShrimp on February 9, 2017

      February or mars 2017.This is all we know…

      • John cena on February 24, 2017

        Well be on mars by the end of 2017?

  • Rickey Landry on February 8, 2017

    will it be a open alpha? or will you have to pay/ sign up to get in

    • Georgia on February 9, 2017

      you must pay for the alpha in in the kick starter menu lucky it is very cheap for a game like this

    • Garrus on February 9, 2017

      For Pee-Release access, the deadline has long since passed. Since our Kickstarter ended, to be exact, since that was part of the $60 USD reward tier. Once we release into Early Access on Steam, you can just buy the game. It will not be free to do so, but buying an Early Access game on Steam means you also get all the free updates for the title as well, much as you would a regular title. The difference is that free updates to EA games tend to have more content added throughout, since the game is not technically finished when it is released into Early Access. And yes, I’m using the term free update, but that is because it is almost 3 AM for me and I cannot think of a better term to denote content that will be part of the final game anyway, without any DLC.

      • Georgia on February 16, 2017

        For pee-release?

        • Garrus on February 16, 2017

          Like I said, I typed that up at 3 AM. Errors were made.

          • Blue on February 21, 2017

            can’t stop laughing at this

  • slimeywoodchip on February 8, 2017

    what would theoretically happen if I were to aggressively dropkick a dakotaraptor?

    (realistic question 10/10)

    • Garrus on February 9, 2017

      You’d be killed. This animal can literally look down on you and is one of the largest known dromaeosaurs. You might as well ask what would happen if you tried to drop kick a kodiak bear.

  • david on February 7, 2017

    I dont like the noise the tyrannosaurus makes have you ever heard a redtail hawk call. Also id like a tyrannosaurus that had black or perple feathers like barney

    • John cena on February 24, 2017

      That’s not realistic, they aren’t your slaves dude.

  • Palaeofansrock on February 7, 2017

    Is there going to be a separate game for multiplayer and singleplayer? I want Saurian, but I don’t wanna use multiplayer. So much as clicking on it.

    • Garrus on February 8, 2017

      Most likely not. However, as with most games, there will likely be an option in the menu for “single player” and “multiplayer” as separate options.

      • david on February 9, 2017

        Id prefer a co-op option have 3 friends join your game and hunt together or form a wierd pack/ in dead rising 2

        • SlashyMcStabbingon on February 10, 2017

          I’m sure there will be ways to have private servers with passwords, although you will have to purchase the server. Probably not gonna be able to host co-op, at least not at first (knowing that multiplayer will also not be there “at first”)

      • Palaeofansrock on February 11, 2017

        That’d do! Thank you!

  • david on February 7, 2017

    Will a dakotaraptor care for its young for the first stages like a crocodile or untill its adult syage like a bird or will there be no perental care at all. Will you have to scour the map wich i hoping is as big as red dead redemption to find food and bring it back to your chicks to feed them

    • marina on February 8, 2017

      I think Dakotaraptors eat their young.

    • Garrus on February 8, 2017

      Our map is sixteen square kilometers. I have no idea how that stacks up against the Red Dead Redemption map, but do keep in mind you have to traverse the map entirely on foot and there are no roads to guide you. Regarding Dakotaraptor, there is an extremely short period of parental care, which the father provides. After that, you are on the menu. The animals are all capable of looking after their own food needs from birth, non-avian dinosaurs were extremely precocial with only a few exceptions. None of the playables fall under those exceptions.

      • InfernoZola on February 10, 2017

        Just did some research and math.

        Red Dead Redemption is 72 square kilometres. Saurian kinda looks like Skyrim compared to Daggerfall when you think about that 😛

        ARK: Survival Evolved’s landscape is 36 square kilometres, so take ARK’s map, cut it in half and that’s about the map size. Again, while we are dinosaurs, the only truly fast way of moving in ARK is to use a Pteranodon or one of the other flying dinosaurs.

        We won’t be trigger happy sprinting either, so we won’t be going anywhere fast. The 4km2 is much better than 2km2, because compare 16 square kilometers to 4. 4 is just dinky, haha.

      • InfernoZola on February 10, 2017

        Well, there appears to be differing opinions. RDR is either 72 or 41. I haven’t played it, so I wouldn’t know.

  • Georgia on February 6, 2017

    The hype is real!! the Alpha is being released soon super pumped( butt I don’t have high expectations because the bugs are bad with the flying meat

  • Tom on February 5, 2017

    Will dakato raptor onay be pLayable in the early access?

    • InfernoZola on February 5, 2017

      It will be the only playable one when Early Access is first released. As the dev team update the game, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus and Pachycephalosaurus will be added. After the full release, they will add Anzu and Ankylosaurus.

      (*still moping about Anatosaurus*)

      • Nicolas.Stagg on February 7, 2017

        Yeah me too since it was extremely popular in the public but didn’t get the support by most of the backers 🙁 Hope they add it in a update after the release someday

        • Garrus on February 8, 2017

          As it turns out, we run into a problem with making Anatosaurus playable. Namely, it is not a permanent resident of Bone Butte! So for the record, making it playable is looking less and less likely, and the chances already were not good for us to do that.

          • InfernoZola on February 9, 2017

            Ah, very understandable. Keep up the good work anyway!

          • PaleoUintahBasin on February 10, 2017

            Wait, Anatosaurus wasn’t a “permanent resident”? Like seasonal migration or change in distribution later in geologic record. Don’t need specifics. Saurian seems to have a lot of unpublished theories in action but I still want to know a bit about what’s going on.

        • InfernoZola on February 8, 2017

          Yeah, they have the full life cycle included as they play a huge role in the game’s ecosystem. After Anzu (I was glad it got in) and Ankylosaurus (Not so much) are out, if the demand is high enough, they could possibly include it as playable.

          After all, they admitted the entire life cycle is going to be in the game, and from what I know, it is the only non-playable dinosaur with it, so it would just be a matter of programming the controls and reprogramming the AI to work with them, as well as putting in an age advancement system. I won’t be asking for herds of 100 strong, maybe around the same number that the AI quackers will spawn with. As long as we get a hadrosaur I’ll be perfectly content with this game.

          If not…. I’ll still enjoy it. Just be disappointed in the backers for choosing Gordon Ramsey’s dinosaur form over a dino my favourite childhood dinosaur family next to the albelisaurids. Hadrosaurs and abelisaurs. I was a weird wee lass back in the day.

    • Hayden on February 6, 2017

      Yes, it will go in the following order for Early Access: Dakota raptor, Pachy, Triceratops, T-Rex, and the 2 voted animals in the final game.

    • Georgia on February 6, 2017

      I wanted to play as the Dakota-raptor anyway!

  • Wolff Jaw on February 4, 2017

    Looks amazing! As always of course! 😉

  • slimeywoodchip on February 4, 2017

    the first speed of the dakotaraptor was probably faster than me lol, and at that stage it’s pretty much just a murderous pidgeon

  • Luke on February 3, 2017

    I like the running, do you have any plans for a preening animation or hatchling’s first molt?

  • DarkShrimp on February 3, 2017

    But… Dakoraptor always eats dakoraptor ???
    They should fignt fo territory or somethingelse, but… eating its neighbour…

    • slimeywoodchip on February 4, 2017

      well, guess dakotaraptors like cannibalism

      • DarkShrimp on February 9, 2017

        Oh.They arent so friendly lol

  • Clarke on February 3, 2017

    Will we be able to look forward to a comprehensive list of the dinosaurs set to be in Saurian any time soon? I’m excited to see the biodiversity.

  • Turtledragon on February 3, 2017

    Great devlog! I love how the map tests look so far, I’m excited to see how the final map looks. It was cool to see some AI. The baby Dakotaraptor is really cute, too bad we’ll see a lot of them get eaten when playing. What music is that in the baby video?

  • Seagulls eat everything on February 3, 2017

    The animations look pretty good, great work teeeeaaammm

  • InfernoZola on February 3, 2017

    That Raptor Prey Restraint (probably butchered the name) is looking good! Can’t wait to play as one, they were going to be my first choice anyway.

    • InfernoZola on February 5, 2017

      I may as well add this as a question. When it comes to creating our dinosaur, with the genetic variant skins, does that mean we get to customise from a (reasonable) variety of colours and patterns?

  • Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus on February 3, 2017

    Very beautiful animation work, I love the progress here 🙂

  • Magpie on February 3, 2017

    If you could please include an option that plays the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack whenever the baby raptor runs, that would be great

  • Vreckan on February 3, 2017

    It’s great to see how everything is coming together. Seeing the games creation in stages via these devlogs really shows how much work goes into every aspect of the build. You’re making something amazing here.

  • Sethmerlin666 on February 3, 2017

    Bonus points for Black Flag soundtrack. Hardcore hunting!

    • SubAtomic on February 4, 2017

      1) really cool stuff keep it up guys
      2) nice song choice but
      3) I was really on edge for a moment because that song was sampled in a Death Grips song and I was halfway expecting MC Ride to bust in

  • Wbc on February 2, 2017

    Any thoughts yet on the min video card requirements (for us non-hardcore gaming folks running this on our work media computers)

    • Garrus on February 3, 2017

      We’re working on making this game as accessible as we can. It is STILL too soon to tell what the minimum requirements are, however.

  • Red on February 2, 2017

    I started laughing suddenly in my dead-quiet office at that last eating animation. The screaming and twitching of the dinner, and the globs of floating meat gibs, were just too much.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am looking forward to more videos of glitches and animation accidents. That’s one of my favorite parts of game-making.

    • Garrus on February 3, 2017

      Lemme see what I can do…

  • david on February 2, 2017

    I think that sometimes if you find an orphaned dinosaur it might inprint on you even if its not even your species imagine if you see a tyrannosaurus and its hanging out with a baby triceratops so cute

    • John Keane on February 3, 2017

      I think it more likely that the tyrannosaurus would eat the triceratops, but maybe a pachycephalosaurus living with some triceratops’ or a baby tyrannosaurus living with a dakotaraptor pack/

      • NublarRex on February 3, 2017

        Dakotaraotos likely didn’t form packs as well as other dromeosaurs and would see juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rexes as prey rather than a playmate.

        • Garrus on February 3, 2017

          Dakotaraptor has every reason to kill every Tyrannosaurs juvenile and subadult it can. They compete for much of the same prey, so expect the interaction between Dakotaraptor and Rex to be like that between wolves and coyotes. As in, the former will kill the later every chance it gets, with the difference that they switch roles as rex ages. Also, our Dakotaraptor is mostly solitary.

        • david on February 4, 2017

          Dromiosaurs like the velociraptor were generally kinda stupid a 6 foot long turkey indeed . A dekotaraptor probably hunted mainly alone but in packs they can tackle larger prey. Scientists have evidence that juvenile tyrannosauruses formed age segregated packs so im sure a dekotaraptor will have a hard time actually catching one with the others near by.
          Also i dont think a tyrannosaurus and a baby triceratops is is all that unbelievable. A paleontologepaleontologest found tracks of a jiggernaughtasaurus traveling along with an argentinosaurus.please dont tease my spelling i do have a mental condition 🙂

    • Garrus on February 3, 2017

      Nope. Almost certainly not gonna happen. AI is meant to simulate the living animals, but the far out there cases are… well, out there for a reason.

  • DinoDash on February 2, 2017

    Hmm… What esrb age rating are you guys aiming for?

    • Josh Cotton on February 3, 2017

      I have the same question about ESRB rating … I’m almost 30, but I stick in my game-play from the E to (soft)T range. Obviously this is a dinosaur game and eating/violence is just a part of how life is in nature, but as a gamer I would really appreciate either a low blood/carnage level in the portrayal of those situations, or at least the ability to turn it off in the settings.

      • Tomozaurus on February 3, 2017

        We have been talking about including gore reduction options, but nothing is set in stone just yet. As for what the base gore “level” will be in the game, our internal rule is that if it is okay in a mainstream nature documentary then it is ok in Saurian, but nothing more extreme. Nature is violent, but there is no reason to be gratuitous in our opinion.

        • Josh Cotton on February 3, 2017

          That’s a good philosophy; thanks for considering the issue!

  • slimeywoodchip on February 2, 2017

    *dakotaraptor exploding into random sasuages*


    me- 🙁

  • DiscordRaptor on February 2, 2017

    Baboo raptor’s gotta go fast. Just curious, but will the hatchling Dakotas use WAIR (even if they can’t get far)? And speaking of getting far, will Dakotaraptor hatchlings ever be in a situation where they need to sprint? Will they ever be that far from a parent?

    Can’t wait for the game, keep up the good work! Still want that Gerry Ornithomimus skin, if it ever becomes a thing.

    • Tomozaurus on February 3, 2017

      Hatchling Dakotaraptor are planned to be capable of WAIR, yes.
      If I were you I’d be sprinting away from your parents unless you have a deathwish. For more information I’d suggest hovering your mouse over the “About” button at the top of our page, selecting the “playable animals” option from the drop-down menu and having a read of Dakotaraptor’s section.

  • Mario on February 2, 2017

    Hi! Aproximately, when is the game going to be released?
    Thanks in advance, and great job!

    • Wow Mario on February 2, 2017

      Wow, mr Mario. Just be patient.

  • Hunter1324 on February 2, 2017

    Finally, the thing we were all looking for. The Chamops model has been revealed!!

    • Garrus on February 3, 2017

      … I honestly have no words. This was the one comment I never expected. Well played, Hunter, well played.

      • Hunter1324 on February 3, 2017

        How would I forget about what might be one of the most important animals in the game’s ecology?

        With no Chamops (or few others small vertabrates) you would starve to death as a juvenile Dakotaraptor or Tyrannosaurus 😉

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