Saurian DevLog #19 – They’re Lethal at 8 Months
As with last DevLog, these later stages of pre-release development don’t provide much work that we can show off, but luckily Henry came through with some cool stuff for you. We’ve thrown in a few more screenshots as well to sweeten the deal.
For the last couple weeks I’ve been mostly concerned with integrating AI into the environment and working on setting up Dakotaraptor families.
Getting AI to work in a world the size of ours isn’t a trivial problem, largely due to the memory cost of storing navigation grids or meshes corresponding to such a large landmass in RAM. Luckily, Unity and the fantastic Apex AI libraries have made dealing with this issue much more easily manageable than it would have been in the past. Rather than making one large grid to represent walkable areas on the terrain, I replaced it with many smaller, interconnecting grids. After these grids are baked, we use a tool called WorldStreamer to load/unload the grids within a certain radius of the player’s position. Once the grids are taken care of, I spawn in the dinosaurs. Right now the spawning system is fairly simple — animals are chosen probabilistically based on data extrapolated from the frequency of fossils in Hell Creek and Bone Butte specifically. For now, they simply despawn when they get far enough from the player. Eventually we will be looking into persistent, off-screen simulation of AI to really make the ecosystem feel alive, but for now here’s some footage of AI inhabiting Hell Creek!
Second, I dusted off the cobwebs from my shelved work on family dynamics that I described waaaaay back in DevLog #1 to get our Dakotaraptor families working. While that DevLog described some of the behaviour between mutually-bonded family members in Pachycephalosaurus, Dakotaraptor have a much looser family structure — hatchlings will bond to their parents, but parents will not bond to their children or partners. This means that Dakotaraptor hatchlings will generally try to follow one of their parents while simultaneously searching for food and water, while their parents will mostly ignore them and go about their business. Players can rely on the presence of their parents to help defend from some certain threats, but the parents won’t hesitate to abandon them if they are threatened. At a certain age, the hatchlings will start to see their parents as threats, and their parents will see them as food, so they will part ways. Before that sad day arrives, though, there is much adorable baby raptor scampering to be had:
See you next DevLog, Saurian fans!