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Saurian DevLog #17 – Hurricane Clarissa

Hi everyone,

I’d like to start off this devlog by saying, yes, we are aware of the study by Carr et al. published today suggesting that tyrannosaurids had crocodile-like faces with armoured skin and sensory structures, not lizard-like soft-tissue as ours has. I need to state here that while the science is obviously very important to us, our #1 priority right now is getting the game into your hands. As Tyrannosaurus rex (as well as other animals getting cosmetic updates like Triceratops & Pachycephalosaurus) are already fully functional in the game, any scientific or cosmetic updates to these animals will not come until after the game is released, but they will come when time permits. I’d also like to add that our “old”/current desigs are still technically within the realm of “accurate” but are more speculative. Science marches on, and all our designs will one day be out dated, this is something to remember.

Been working on baby Dakotaraptor. New here is the ability to turn in place without actually moving from the current position. This allows the player and especially the AI to fine tune their heading in close quarters as needed. Some influence was taken from Erin’s Goslings which reside in the work room with us.

So its been a few updates since I’ve had a dedicated blog entry. My recent work has been present in other posts in the form of environment assets but for the most part I have been taking some time to learn the ins and outs of character rigging and animation. Bryan is of course very good at this, but now that we are getting closer to release I figured I could help with the massive animation workload. Here we have a very rough Thescelosaurus rig, I am still working out the kinks to this one. I was hoping to show you an animation this week but new skills don’t always come as quick as you’d like, especially when Henry is hiring foreign agents to create malicious photoshopped images of you and your family. Not cool Henry, not cool.

Programming Team
Today we have something special. We teamed up with Dr. Mario Mondaca from UW-Madison in an attempt to accurately recreate Bone Butte’s rain patterns through our in-game weather systems. A huge thanks to Dr. Mondaca for helping us compile and make sense of all these models and data.

Main Assumption – Brownsville Texas is representative of the rainfall patterns in Bone Butte (DePalma, 2010)

Following the WGEN Model (Richardson and Wright, 1984) we can imitate the weather from Brownsville Texas. The WGEN model uses a Markov Chain-Gamma Model which determines whether a specific day will be dry or wet; defined as rain amount greater than 0.01 inches or rain. For this application, a wet day is defined as 0.1 rain or higher, more on that later.
The first-order Markov chain is implemented by generating a random float between 0 and 1. Then, the number is compared to the probability of the day being wet or dry, (for example) given that the previous day was dry, P(W|D), and if true, the next day will be a wet day. These probabilities were based on past weather data and defined in Richardson and Wright (1984).

If a day is wet, a two-parameter Gamma probability distribution used to determine the amount of rain that day will receive. The probability distribution basically says which events are more likely than others. The parameters shape the curve and each month has a different shape to generate variability between months. The model generates a random float Z from from 0 – 1 and then uses these relationships to get a rainfall amount in inches. If the total rainfall amount is less than 0.1, the storm is defined as a 0.1 inch storm as that is the minimum value accepted by our model. The reason being that anything below 0.1 inches will not reflect visual in the rain simulator we are using so, while we could have a 0.01 inch rain, it would not be visible to the player.
The probability distribution function and cumulative distribution functions are:

The Gamma Function was estimated using a modified Stirling’s Formula and the identity:

The cumulative distribution was plotted as an animation curve and sampled rather than estimating it as it would require iterative summations to approximate it on the fly.

Which corresponds to these return period of the storms:

Every year we would expect the day to rain ~0.26 inches of water and every 500 years, the storm will reach 2 inches; each month has a table like this based on shape parameters developed by Richardson and Wright (1984). Then, using NOAA data (1961) on storm durations, return periods, and rainfall amounts, we estimate what is the storm duration most likely to fit the amount of rain expected for that day. However, since rain doesn’t fall at the same time and intensity, we used a Type III SCS storm to determine the storm intensity at different times (NEH Part 630.04 – Figure 4-24 & Figure 4-25). The SCS Rainfall Distribution simply shapes the storm intensity to distribute the rainfall through its duration. The strongest part of the storm is at the middle of the storm and it has lower intensities at each end. The 24hr-shape is reshaped to match the storm duration found in the previous step. Then, using the alternating block method with a 10-minute resolution, we obtain an animation curve which has rainfall intensities in 10 minute intervals. The total area under the curve is equal to the total rainfall estimated by the gamma distribution, but using this method we obtain rainfall intensities much higher than using an average rainfall method. Finally, we assign the storm to a random hour of the day.
We checked the model by generating 300 years worth of rain and we are happy with the variability of the rain between months and between years.

Below is a picture of the Rain Module in Unity. As pointed out before, the rain module, generates a personalized storm curve which is then used as a base to send rain values to Tenkoku.

In this example, by using the animation curve to control rain values we can make the rain start off slowly, gain momentum and then unleash it’s full power in the middle of the storm, to then wind down again and, finally, stop. This is all generated real time using the formulas and data provided beforehand. Yay Math.

– Hershfield, D.M.1961. Technical Paper No. 40 – Rainfall Frequency Atlas of the United States. Cooperative Studies Section, Hydrologic Services Division – Washington, D.C.
– Richardson CW, Wright DA (1984) WGEN: A model for generating daily weather variables. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, ARS-8. USDA, Washington, DC

  • mike on April 14, 2017

    Tom, so sneaky with those JP references

  • DarkShrimp on April 11, 2017

    Great job guys!You have my french congratulations :]
    Have a question: will dinosaurs will mutually help another specie (oh sorry I frogot name of that)? Exemple: will leptoceratops follow anky for protection, or this litle one bird walk on herbivore back?
    Im so sorry, Im french and hope you will understand :[

  • Henry on April 10, 2017

    I’ll…uh…take your word for it on the weather stuff. I’m sure you did a great job of it, even if I can’t even begin to understand what exactly you did. Also, that baby raptor, so, so, so adorable. My heart melted just a little bit more the longer I watched.

  • NathB$ on April 6, 2017

    When we start the game as a baby dinosaur, are we gonna spawn in a nest and there will be adults that will take care of us until we grown big enough? It would be really cool.

  • jelani on April 6, 2017

    i heard about the knew Daspletosaurus horneri and facial features and i feel like they should apply that to their tyrannosaurus. because they said that if they find anything new about their dinosaurs they would change it.

  • collard on April 3, 2017

    The Parasaurolophus would be a great addition for future DLC. It’s my favourite.

  • collard on April 3, 2017

    What are the chances to see one day an expansion for another time scale to see Iguanodon and Stegasaurus and Diplodocus ?

    • DarkShrimp on April 12, 2017

      for saurian i dont know but probably for The Archotek Project

    • DarkShrimp on April 12, 2017

      oh god wait! try to tip “saurian jurrasic coast” on google.

      • Joshua Lowrie on April 15, 2017

        Yeah, that’s fan art. Not official.

  • Dan da man on April 1, 2017

    Where be the April fools joke?

    • slimeywoodchip on April 6, 2017

      *rick roll*

  • david on April 1, 2017

    Could there be snow in hell creek

    • HMS Victory on April 2, 2017

      Most likely not. Although it could get pretty chilly during the dry seasons of Hell Creek (correct me if I’m wrong), it wouldn’t be cold enough for some excessive snow to start.

    • Barry on April 6, 2017


    • Joshua Lowrie on April 15, 2017

      Yes, there can, in certain areas. It would just be extremely rare.

  • Rick Timothy on April 1, 2017

    In later updates (after early access) is Saurian going to make their T. rex scaly-faced?

    • HMS Victory on April 2, 2017

      Definitely, based on the recently published article. T.rex having sensitive flat scales on it’s snout would have been very useful for touching things.

  • Jimmy on April 1, 2017

    Rex needs lips. Keep the lips. Dinosaurs are closer to birds than Crocs. They most likely had skin of a bird’s when their feathers are off the bird (Naked bird). But do research on the lip subject that is the only study involving no lips and it doesn’t go into the anatomy of the animal. So please keep the lips it looks better and it is more accurate that way.

    • i3LaZE on April 2, 2017

      Sorry to say, but you have mistaken the games. It’s not a fantasy game, which has to correspond to tastes of people in order to get sold ever better, but to be as accurate to reality as possible.

      It’s highly unlikely that those lips are consistent with the idea of the game.

    • David on April 7, 2017

      and wich bird has lips? crocs nor birds have lips, now i agree with you (rex needs the lips). but i dont see what your trying to say by saying their closer to birds than crocs.

    • JJ Giesey on April 8, 2017

      The rex has lips and so does the dako, and the trike and pachy appropriately have cheeks.

    • PaleoUintahBasin on April 10, 2017

      No animal in the game will receive any trait with evidence to support otherwise. This game is about total accuracy, not about someone’s fantasy preference. Carr’s study supports a toothy grin, and until a study comes out to debate that I’m going with the evidence.

  • Falcolf on April 1, 2017

    Loove the baby raptor! The animation is just gorgeous, I adore it when games have proper turn cycles and I love how the infant has baby blue eyes, sooo adorable!

    • slimeywoodchip on April 6, 2017


  • John Keane on March 31, 2017

    So… will the rain have an effect on the environment or just be cosmetic? It would be cool to see flash-flooding and extra-dense foliage after a few rainy days. Also, will there be a need to find shelter from the rain or else catch hypothermia?

  • Cilone on March 31, 2017

    So this would most likely be something that isn’t implemented much later into the game or at all. But with the more accurate weather patterns you guys have for rainfall. Would flooding or water levels rising and falling during very wet periods and very dry periods be brought into the game? I know that would be an excruciating amount of work to get in place. I’m just curious if that is something you’ve thought about.

  • i3LaZE on March 31, 2017

    I was thinking, how much of a real time it will take to pass a whole day in game’s time, and, how many in-game days it will take to pass a whole in-game year. I am also curious about the aspect of sleeping, how it will work, how sleeping dinosaurs will look, because as far as I know, nobody can really guess it accuratelly.

    About the time aspect, I was thinking that 24 minutes of real time would be a good amount for in-game day, and about 30 in-game days consisting of a whole in-game year. It would mean that an average gameplay from birth to natural death of about 15 in-game years would take about 180 hours, which I think is okay. Not too short, not too long.

    • Joshua Lowrie on April 15, 2017

      We do know what sleeping dinosaurs looked like because there has been a fossil found a little guy who died in their sleep. Just search up mei long.

  • Blue on March 31, 2017

    OMG BABY SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Einiosaurus on March 31, 2017

    I think the current rex design is still well within the realm of possibility, although having not read the paper yet my opinion is just that, an opinion. From what I have gathered it seems that the evidence only supports keratinized coverage of some sort, and not something directly comparible to what is found on modern crocodilians. So if the covering on the current rexs snout is at least somewhat keratinized I think is still fits the bill.

  • Magpie on March 31, 2017

    I looked into the Daspletosaurus study. I’m quite skeptical for a few reasons and have talked to a bunch of others who feel the same way; overall the arguments for croc face were not abundant or strong imo. As far as I’m concerned, lizard lips until we have more evidence.
    Of course, I am a commenter with an opinion, who has nothing to do with the time and effort taken to create this game. I’ll just be sitting here with my hands folded patiently.
    The weather stuff was pretty crazy, though. And the lil raptor gives me life.

  • Regole on March 31, 2017

    No complaints on the rex (or any other) cosmetics—I wholeheartedly agree that with all the work done so far the important part is getting the game out. But I do appreciate knowing that you know, even though all I’ve really ever expected is the most accurate data at the time of creation; if the rex weren’t updated, I wouldn’t weep much (but by all means, update as time permits!).

    Loving that baby raptor animation. That’s something I figure everyone has noticed in games at least once—that the “turning animation” is often actually a stationary walking animation, a slow-speed walking animation, or no animation at all other than a spin (or no spin and just an awkward, abrupt change in position) to follow the camera. There are plenty of reasons why those are done (money, mainly), but a more accurate animation is exciting.

    No comment on all the math, other than, “Wow.” I don’t pretend I understand any of it besides that it relates to the intensity increase/decrease of the rain. Because that’s something else I’ve noticed in games—either it’s pouring down rain or it’s not—and I’m definitely looking forward to a more realistic storm pattern.

    You all are amazing. Please keep up the great work!

    • Tomozaurus on March 31, 2017

      Actually the exciting part about “all the math” is that it is as close a match to the actual rainfall patterns of the fossil site our game is based on as we can get!

  • Eggsandham on March 31, 2017

    Guys, since the new article has come out and you are interested in updating the skin at a later time – is there a chance you’d give your audience a choice between the current version and the later version? Or would the new version just overwrite?
    This science develops in such dramatic turns time to time as well as going back and forth…

    • Garrus on March 31, 2017

      Any updates will be overwrites.

      • InfernoZola on March 31, 2017

        My question is, however, will it definitely be changed?

        I dare say that I hope it will remain how it is.

    • InfernoZola on March 31, 2017

      They said that they wouldn’t. The game is meant to be as scientifically accurate as possible and I don’t think science gives a rat’s arse about our opinion.

      Personally I hope this study is false. It doesn’t seem likely that it will be true, seeing as we have a Tyrannosaurus skin impression on its abdomen that is naked skin instead of scales, which its feet has. As well as this, most, if not all of Tyrannosaurus’s relatives have the fluffy feathers. Why would we go from something like Yutyrannus to a hulking, armoured, two legged, featherless Tyrannosaurus?

      • HMS Victory on March 31, 2017

        I’m pretty sure (from what I read) that the “crocodile-like scales and extremely sensitive nerves” are limited to the snout of the animals. This does not seem to counteract the fact that bare skin impressions were found on the central part of the body.

        • InfernoZola on April 8, 2017

          Ah, I see, I took the “crocodile-like scales” as in “It had scales all over its body” akin to how it is portrayed like in popular media

          Hope that clears it up a bit.

      • i3LaZE on March 31, 2017

        “Personally I hope this study is false. It doesn’t seem likely that it will be true”

        How is that so? Some studies are fine and automatically true, but others are not, if it doesn’t fit yours worldview? Seems a little bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

        “Why would we go from something like Yutyrannus to a hulking, armoured, two legged, featherless Tyrannosaurus?”

        Because such analogy is a logical fallacy? It was only giving a little bit more of a probability to correspond with reality, but as it seems from the newest researches, it’s not even giving a higher probability chance anymore. Same will inevitably happen to this whole silly “feathered dinosaurs” theory in the next few years.

        • InfernoZola on April 8, 2017

          “Same will inevitably happen to this whole silly “feathered dinosaurs” theory in the next few years.”

          Sinornithosaurus and every other dinosaur fossil that has been found with feather imprints say hello. I will take your thoughts into account, but I can’t take that last part seriously with how you presented it. At least a few dinosaurs had feathers, all of which being therapods (unless I missed something). As many tyrannosaurids have feathers, I personally believe that there is a very high chance of t. rex also having feathers. I didn’t say that the study wasn’t true, just that it wasn’t likely with our current evidence.

  • HiIamdinofan:3 on March 31, 2017

    Cooooool! I love dinosaurs and there are like no dinosaur based games out there with realistic dinosaurs, so I can not wait for this.

  • MD on March 31, 2017

    Okay this weather blurb is so cool and interesting… thanks for sharing! It’s so cool to see the inner workings of something you might not even consider. Of course the weather is a thing that needs to happen so why not model it on actual data! Very neat.

    That tiny baby is ADORABLE. *____*

  • Hunter1324 on March 30, 2017

    I’ve became incompetent at tracking the updates. The baby is cute and in spite of studying meteorlogy in high school (not my career, though) I can’t make sense of those calculations 😛

  • Juliano A. Jeronimo on March 30, 2017

    I’m very excited about Saurian, but one thing has been worrying me lately…
    Can the game run on a 32-bit system?

  • slimeywoodchip on March 30, 2017

    *goes on to saurian*

    *see’s numbers*


    (rip math skills) (good devlog by the way)

  • MikeMc9797 on March 30, 2017

    So you guys will update yourt rex model like will it still have the features and so you guyz are working on the rain storm will there be also wildfires?

  • Garrus on March 30, 2017

    After the shenanigans of the past week, I now loathe buckets almost as much as I do Harambe memes. You are not innocent, Jake.

    • slimeywoodchip on March 30, 2017

      filthy buckets…

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