Saurian DevLog #57
First we’d like to report that we’re currently on feature lock-down for the patch, so expect to start hearing about that very soon!
As you’ve probably seen from our last few DevLogs, we’ve been working on a bunch of new animals and systems, so we think this is going to be a really meaty one.
I've been topping off the animations for the Anatosaurus for the better part of the last few weeks. This process included the creation of a new locomotion set, which we made with the help of some hadrosaur trackways.
Special care was given to the stride length and the foot placement to ensure that it all lined up well with what the fossils show us. You may have seen some of this already if you follow me on twitter, but here is a never before seen running animation for the big honk boy.
After finishing the Anatosaurus animation set, it also became apparent that the male skin for the anato had not yet been completed. Though these materials weren't necessary to start implementing it, they do make for some nice added variance between the two sexes. Take a gander at our ultra bright and colorful male Anatosaur!
What, you want more? Fine. I also finished up a series of stealth-based animations for Dakotaraptor and the AI species that will be making use of our new hiding system. The improved stealth mechanics also include a "stealth-walk", since theropods cannot hold a squat for prolonged periods of time these animations aren't crouches so much as lower profile idles and walks. This new movement state for Dakotaraptor will make it easier to sneak up on prey and is part of our effort to make the hunts feel more like actual hunts and not just death duels. To continue the theme of hunting, I've also started work on some assets that will be ultra-vital to tracking. Here is a sneak peak at some footprint decal assets. You'll be learning more about the implementation for these at a later date. That is all I've got, see you all at the next Dev-log!
Additionally, last Friday we did a twitch stream which showcased the creation of the Sub-Adult Tyrannosaurus. Until the ontogeny morphs are created it cannot be colored, but the high poly sculpt is looking gorgeous. I've taken the liberty of creating a time-lapsed version of the process and putting it on YouTube. Check it out!
While much of the programming work in the last week has been on optimization and refactoring to systems such as spawning, there are a couple visually-oriented things we can show. First off, adult Anatosaurus AI is in-game! Their socialization will be limited for their first iteration due to other programming priorities, but you will be able to see herds of them walking around as of the next patch. Here's a quick clip previewing what that might look like:
Secondly, in accordance with the new hiding system coming in the next patch, we've implemented a set of sneak-walk animations that Jake threw together for us, so that you can more effectively ambush animals. While in common video game terminology, this would normally be called 'crouching,' we've avoided calling it that for dinosaur-related physiological reasons, but if y'all want to call it a 'crouch,' we'll allow it.
Recently, I’ve been working on animating Dakotaraptor for our in-progress nesting system. Reference this time around evolved a lot of nest-digging rallid birds, especially the Australian Brush Turkey, Alectura lathami. Something in particular I noticed was that they’d consistently do a flurry of digging, then stop and do a little head tilt, probably looking around for potential threats. I definitely wanted to imitate this behaviour with our Dakotaraptor, and I think I got it looking pretty close. This will be used in-game while constructing your nest, and we’ve managed to get the sediment on the margin to raise up in sync with the digging, which I’m happy about. I’m currently awaiting some nice scratch-scratch-scratch sounds from Xico.
Note that this is still a work in-progress. I’m currently agonising over trying to get that leg not to clip into the wing, which is proving to be a very difficult task! This still gives you a good look at how it will work mechanically.
Lately I’ve continued my streak of doing really boring sound stuff, which will make a difference down the line. I’ve selected and got rid of some sounds that didn’t fit certain actions as well as I thought (water movements, foliage contact sounds, etc) and replaced them with new material. I’ve recorded and created many more foliage contact sounds (there’s 84 of these bad boys now), for different types of plants that will make our soundscape feel more realistic whenever you or any other animal touches it.
Another thing that has been driving me crazy, is creating a new sound mix for Saurian, where I’m trying to strike the balance between realism, immersion but also aiding the player in detecting important gameplay elements without sounding too videogamey. Since we have hundreds of sound events, this hasn’t been an easy task. Balancing so many audio tracks, effects, bus tracks and other little things, without resorting to tricks like sidechain compression or volume automations, which I’m not a big fan of, is a test to my sanity but I can confidently say I’ve reached something I’m very happy with already! And you guys are gonna experience it very soon.
Asides from the boring stuff, I obviously have been working on some super top secret shizznits that some of you already heard on our Discord. And there’s more to come!
That’s all for this week. See you in a couple more!