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April 13th Livestream: The Aftermath

Truth in advertising is a beautiful thing isn’t it? On April 1st, we posted the above picture on our Facebook page announcing Dakotaraptor as our newest playable dinosaur. As luck would have it, due to some unforeseen issues with Twitch, we wound up with a livestream recording that resembled our picture a bit more closely than we intended…We’ve also had issues with uploading to our Youtube account and unfortunately, we won’t be able to post the stream. We apologize for the inconvenience, but you can still check out Part 1 and Part 2 on our Twitch account for the next week or so.

Enough bad news, on to the good stuff: Playable Dakotaraptor! As we revealed in the livestream build, Dakotaraptor will be completely replacing Acheroraptor as the first playable dinosaur available to the public. We did not come to this decision lightly, but ultimately, everything we wanted out of Acheroraptor‘s gameplay was possible with young Dakotaraptor, with the added benefit of much greater interactive potential with the entire ecosystem as an adult. There are technical and performance issues behind this decision as well; as we showed in the stream, an adult Acheroraptor is dwarfed by most of the foliage, meaning that we would need to commit to very high detail plant models and textures to retain a high quality visual experience for all playable animals and their growth stages. While we are capable of this, it would very possibly result in very high minimum spec requirements to play Saurian, something that we want to avoid. In sum, the decision to focus on Dakotaraptor makes sense on several levels, and we’re excited to continue working to bring the Ghost of the Floodplain Forest to life.

Dakotaraptor showing off mad climbing skills on the Column of the Cretaceous. gif provided by Discord user Crockodille

Dakotaraptor showing off mad climbing skills on the Column of the Cretaceous. gif provided by Discord user Crockodille

And here's the dismount...nailed it! gif provided by Discord user Crockodille

And here’s the dismount…nailed it! gif provided by Discord user Crockodille










We also shared some of Francisco’s sound design work for Dakotaraptor:


We haven’t neglected the other animals in Hell Creek. Here’s a short list of some of the work we’ve done recently:

  • Acheroraptor, Dakotaraptor, Pachycephalosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus are all complete enough to be usable in current development builds. Thanks to Bryan, Pachycephalosaurus and Triceratops are effectively complete in terms of animations.
  • Borealosuchus and Basilemys have both been rigged and animated and are awaiting Henry’s fine touch with AI
  • Jake continues to make progress bringing Tyrannosaurus growth stages to life. We’ve started referring to them as Jane (subadult), Jordan (juvenile) and Chomper (hatchling), based on the specimens each primarily references.
    WIP shot of our subadult Tyrannosaurus rex, Jane. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

    WIP shot of our subadult Tyrannosaurus rex, Jane. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

    WIP shot of our hatchling Tyrannosaurus rex, Chomper. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

    WIP shot of our hatchling Tyrannosaurus rex, Chomper. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

  • We’ve been working with ankylosaur expert Victoria Arbour (go check out her blog too!) to improve our Ankylosaurus and Denversaurus models. She’s given us invaluable insights into their anatomy and armor, and we’re excited to show off some neat ideas she’s been willing to share with us.

    WIP shot of new Ankylosaurus model, with new armor arrangement based on correspondence with Victoria Arbour. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

    WIP shot of new Ankylosaurus model, with new armor arrangement based on correspondence with Victoria Arbour. Sculpt by Jake Baardse

  • Anatosaurus, the Hell Creek Ornithomimid, Thescelosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus sp. and Leptoceratops models are all progressing nicely. Expect reveals of several in the near future.
    Male Leptoceratops final concept by Chris Masna

    Male Leptoceratops final concept by Chris Masna

    Female Leptoceratops final concept by Chris Masna

    Female Leptoceratops final concept by Chris Masna

We continue to bring the world of Hell Creek to life. Some of the map details we shared during the livestream:

  • The current map is approximately 2km x 2km. While this might seem small, we only utilized about a quarter of the map during the stream. It feels much larger than it sounds. Tom is working on designing a larger 4x4km map, but for now we are focusing on the smaller space for current development.
  • About 1/3rd of all the planned foliage types are currently implemented, and our new environmental artist Chris Lomaka continues to add new foliage types, ensuring the final map has very distinct biomes that will stand out from one another while also feeling like a natural transition from coast to floodplain.
  • The map is based on a very specific fossil site known as Bone Butte. (Henry enjoys calling it Bony Butts. Oh Henry…) In addition to its fantastic and highly detailed preservation of the ecosystem, Bone Butte is the discovery location of Dakotaraptor. We’ve worked directly with the site’s discoverer and describer, Robert DePalma, to make our Bone Butte as close a representation of the real site as possible. We’ll be detailing Bone Butte and all its awesomeness in future blogposts.
  • We’ve made use of some AAA quality programs, including Suimono, TrueSky and SpeedTree to achieve our visuals.

The other major announcement from our stream is a direct result of all the updates we’ve just shared with you: We are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign during the latter half of May. We have finally reached a point in development that, with funding to devote more time directly to work, we can bring Saurian to market by the end of the year. A successful Kickstarter will enable us to push Saurian’s development to the point that we will be ready for a Steam Early Access release. We recognize that some games in Early Access have a reputation for being unpolished, buggy and lacking in content. On Early Access release, our intent is to provide the public with:

  • A fully realized game world featuring polished, final game assets
  • One feature complete dinosaur (Dakotaraptor), fully playable from hatchling to adult
  • A vibrant, functioning AI ecosystem
  • Pre-release and ongoing optimization efforts to ensure maximum access

We will not consider entering Early Access until we can guarantee this list. We feel that an early access release allows us to mount a realistic, achievable Kickstarter campaign that will fully cover the core of Saurian’s gameplay and features. We will then be able to utilize income from sales to continue pushing Saurian to completion.

The best part? For a $15 pledge, you get a digital copy of the game in perpetuity. If you want to provide more support to Saurian, we have some great rewards to offer, including a digital Original Sound Track (OST) and digital and physical copies of the field guide artbook being put together by Tom and RJ which will feature work by RJ, Chris Masna and Saurian inspired illustrations from a number of other paleoartists. We have even more cool rewards for our more generous backers that we’ll be revealing a little closer to the actual campaign. And if everything goes really well, we have numerous stretch goals for the community to push for, including:

  • Character Customization, where you can tweak your dinosaur with unique physical variations based on actual fossils and genetic variation within a population.
  • Dynamic Environmental Events, making floods, wildfires and severe storms a regular part of life in Hell Creek.
  • Post Impact Survival: The Mesozoic is over, and death is inevitable. This is how you died…
  • New Playable Dinosaurs
  • Multiplayer

We have a lot of really awesome things we’re looking forward to doing with Saurian, but how many of them we can ultimately accomplish is up to everyone reading this and your network of friends. Now is the time to spread the word and get people hyped. If 1/3 of the people following Saurian on our various media pages donate $15, we’ll make our goal. Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to update our progress, and you can reach us any time on our Discord channel or catch development livestreams on the Saurian Twitch channel.

Hold on to your butts, Saurian fans.

  • Shadow Lord on June 1, 2016

    Is this going to be available on as an app, because even if it was a very limited version, it could spread a lot farther than as just a computer/console based game. I know that if you use the cloud and push data from there than you can still have very high quality graphics. Check out the game The Unmaking to see what i’m talking about.

    Just on a side not, I love what you guys are doing here. Most dinosaur games are really sucky, and this would provide a huge relief to the countless Dino lovers out there. Thank you.

  • Drew on May 13, 2016

    I know extreme/weird color variation is probably off the table, and obviously I prefer it that way… but will there be an option to have Leucistic, Albino, Melanistic, and other similar genetically derived color variants? I dare say being a VIOLENTLY WHITE Triceratops would equate to nature’s hardmode.

  • irondune on April 30, 2016

    I’m still wondering about one thing:
    How much diversity will the water have?
    I saw the beached Mosasaurus, but how about some sharks, generic fish in the rivers, rays, plesiosaurs like Elasmosaurus(?).
    Not that it would matter a lot since most of the stuff will be happening on land.

  • momosaur on April 29, 2016

    ;o; so is this kickstarter not up yet? and if I understand correctly, a donation of 15$ (or more) will get you a digital copy of the game? cries

    • Garrus on April 30, 2016

      MAY, not April. 🙂

  • Altair on April 28, 2016

    I will support, and pledge for sure! This game is my dream come true! As soon as your kickstarter campaign starts, I’ll spread the word to everyone I know!
    Only one thing so far that makes me raise my eyeborows is the dinosaurs sounds. Since many dinosaurs have more in common with birds than crocodiles I personally believe, in my humble opinion, that they should make a larger variety of sounds other than roars and hisses. I’d take into consideration the sounds of ostriches and cassowaries as the closest examples of living dinosaur relatives. Here are a few sounds samples, if they help:
    I believe the low frequency booms and rumbles are sounds that theropod dinosaurs could have produced aswell.

  • Vishal on April 22, 2016

    The models look great, but I have several questions.

    1) Should the T.rex have pterygoides muscles similar to a crocodile due the fact that reptiles with high bite forces have large pterygoides muscles?

    2) When the game is released, will their be updates whenever a new animal is discovered in Hell Creek?

    3) Will you have the corresponding animals in the game: Avisaurus, Anzu, and cimilodontids?

  • Nick Turinetti on April 22, 2016

    Regarding Anatosaurus:

    We will be writing a blog post about Anatosaurus to go along with the model’s reveal in the near future. Whether you refer to the Hell Creek edmontosaurin as “Anatosaurus” annectens or “Edmontosaurus” annectens is, at the moment, largely a matter of your personal generacrometer. The fossils tell us that, while they are closely related, there are substantial differences between the two, more than between other dinosaurs that have been named as separate genera and are treated as such routinely, like Parasaurolophus and Charonosaurus.

    • Garrus on April 22, 2016

      Interesting. I shall be looking forward to the blog post with great anticipation! Always nice when I can expand my knowledge base… and all of your paleoposts have done exactly that!

  • Garrus on April 22, 2016

    I thought Anatosaurus was a nomen dubium, with all the species under it now assigned to the two species of Edmontosaurus. So, we are getting Edmontosaurus, not Anatosaurus, correct?

  • Stroopwafelman on April 22, 2016

    Did I hear you say Anatosaurus? Wasn’t that guy lumped into the Edmontosaurus genus ages ago?

  • Cameron Dillon on April 20, 2016

    I am just curious about the triceratops that you made, since a dinosaur called tianyulong confuciusi which I heard is the ancestor of the triceratops and that they are very feathered. Could triceratops be changed to having more feathers than the old one like you have done to the Tyrannosaurus rex, I honestly think dinosaurs are cooler with feathers and it has the animal feeling

    • Garrus on April 22, 2016

      Thing is, we have some good skin impressions of Triceratops. At best, it some quills (which even then would have been extensions of the scales), but most likely? It was scaly.

  • Weli on April 19, 2016

    In gameplay, as a hatchling, will we recieve support from our dinosaur’s parents, at least in one of the four species? A year or two ago I believe it was said that Tyrannosaurus likely cared for their young, but I haven’t updated myself on more recent discoveries.

    Anyway, just a question i’ve been asking myself the past few days. I’m super excited for Saurian’s progress and will definitely offer my support!

  • Andrew Stuck on April 18, 2016

    WOW! Congratulations; I’m so excited you’re finally getting to the Kickstarter stage! A word of advice though from a pessimist : make absolutely sure you’re not underestimating the time you need just to get us excited! We’ve followed you this long, we don’t mind if you have to take another half a year longer or so as long as we get that knowledge up front. Once a date is out there, and it isn’t met, that’s when people start to get angry or worried about the game’s completion.

  • babehunter1324 on April 18, 2016

    Great blogpost, I try to do whatever is in my power to pledge at least 15$ to this prject.

  • Kenneth Johnson on April 18, 2016

    Post Impact Survival: The Mesozoic is over, and death is inevitable. This is how you died… this sounds like a stretch goal I’d really like to see. It reminds me of all the different documentaries where they show the different individuals they were following last moments which lead to their final resting place where they were found, their legacy a glimpse into the past and rule for the imagination of people of all ages.

    This also gives me a thought of a death screen where the landscape changes as you body is covered and ages pass, only to end with a dig site, and a single fossilized jaw. Though that might be a bit much to make, unless it was done with digital, or traditional art rather than rendered in game.

    I am looking forward to the Kickstarter, and letting out the little kid that I hope everyone has in them that gives a sense of wonder at the beauty of these creatures and their world before our time.

  • Constant Warfare on April 17, 2016

    My heart broke when I saw multiplayer. In the stretch goals.
    At the very bottom. Is Saurian going to be a single player experience?

    • Nick Turinetti on April 18, 2016

      In a nutshell, yes, at least initially.

      Multiplayer is something we very much want to make a part of the Saurian experience, the challenge is the enormous amount of resources required to make a multiplayer game of Saurian’s complexity work RELIABLY. It’s a difficult decision, but ultimately it comes down to a choice between making the game a reality, and hoping that a campaign goal at least 2x as large as our current one can be met, potentially jeopardizing the whole project.

  • Wesley Root on April 17, 2016

    I’m so damn excited! Consider that $15 pledged!

  • Darned troodont on April 17, 2016

    Awesome! I do have one concern, though. You can’t pledge on Kickstarter without a credit card, so what happens if someone wants to donate but doesn’t have a credit card? Are you considering other options besides Kickstarter, since this may impede some possible backers to help fund Saurian?

    • Nick Turinetti on April 18, 2016 Kickstarter requires a debit or credit card associated with Visa, Discover, MasterCard, or American Express. An easy option for someone who doesn’t have either would be a prepaid debit card.

      Kickstarter is significantly larger than any other crowd-funding community, we have the potential to reach a much larger audience than through IndieGoGo or other options.

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