Saurian Devlog #38
We're still chugging along with progress on the next patch, and are currently polishing the new features and dealing with a good number of their accompanying bugs. Before anything else this week, we have an update on our OSX build of Saurian.
We have successfully tested a terrain texturing system that will be compatible with Mac's Metal API which will hypothetically grant up to a 50% improvement in performance. However, while textures do render, they don't quite do so correctly, and we are currently in close contact with the creator of this texturing system finding a solution. Once this is done, we will need further testing and to write a few new video options for lower-end users, at which point the OSX build will be ready for release. We thank you again for your patience, as we want to make Saurian feasible for as many users' hardware as possible.
With that said, here are some flashier updates!
I've finished up working on this photoscanned log. From pictures, I get a really nice base. Since this is a tree, I hand-sculpt the broken ends and paint them in to match. From that one log, I make some branches we can use on their own, and deform the mesh so that we can use it not only as the one log, but also a broken tree trunk, and a collapsed tree.
You can't fool me Chris, that's not Hell Creek! This is actually a peek under the covers of our terrain. First, we've had enough playtesting to feel pretty set the map's borders, so it's time to pretty up those edge cliffs. That's nice, but what's with those white lines in there? Well (this is exciting to me because I'm such and environment artist nerd), since the landscape is set, I can generate flow data from it. This will give us more realistic transitions between biomes as I can adjust the borders with how water flows through them.
What you see here is specifically is where the water goes so much that you just wind up with mud that not much will grow in. The potential for this one mask is pretty big. Not only am I using it to add variation and help direct the player around, when it rains we can potentially turn these tracks into flowing rivers. This mask will also provide the basis for us to explore adding game trails throughout the land - trails of less vegetation caused by animals constantly travelling through. Now pull those covers back up, it's cold out here!
We recently decided that we'd like to expand our plans for the climbing system a bit more before the feature is released, so for the last couple of weeks I've been iterating heavily on our previous attempts and have some footage to show for it:
One difference you may immediately notice is that the player can now climb around virtually all surfaces on the tree, and can now move horizontally (in addition to vertically) on the trunk--all while conforming to the rotation of the tree's mesh at any given point. This was a tricky system to write since I wanted to avoid using any computationally-expensive mesh colliders. I ended up writing an algorithm that extracts, processes, saves, and searches through the mesh data on individual trees (using custom meshes supplied to me by my muse, Jake Baardse) which allowed me to avoid some memory and performance costs that would have accompanied mesh colliders.
Another change is that now, when you are perched on a branch, you can shimmy left or right to find that perfect perching spot. This also required new animations from Bryan (who knocked them out almost instantly) and some more custom meshes from Jake for data extraction, which we immediately realized would look very odd without any explanation.
So far I've been having a lot of fun writing it, and our QA seem to enjoy it too, so I've got my fingers crossed that y'all are gonna dig it.
That's all for this week. See you in two more!