Saurian DevLog #74
Here we are again, and Jake is back from his slumber! He does not come baring dinosaurs today, but he did bring some real nice looking trees. Henry & the gang have still been trucking away on Triceratops, of course, and brings a tantalising glimpse for our eternally patient Mac users.
Since last devlog I've been working on a variety of different problems, most of which aren't very visual in nature, unfortunately. For one, I have improved the way the reputation system judges player actions by keeping a memory of all non-herd interactions with animals, which are then evaluated after a set amount of time. This will be particularly useful in multiplayer, where herbivores may post threats to each other in ways they don't usually in single player -- the herd will wait to see if a flagged herbivore actually poses any threat before modifying your reputation. Another feature of this is that it takes damage taken / given into account. If your herd gets into a fight with a T. rex and you end up doing the most damage to it, your reputation will, in kind, be raised more than your other herdmates who didn't inflict as much damage.
I have also been working on refactoring our collider setup, since herd members moving in close proximity means the player will generally see much more clipping than usual otherwise, and dynamic unit avoidance can only get so far in mitigating that problem. I have been experimenting with an optimization that will allow much more thorough collision without a performance drop, and so far it's looking promising. This has been an issue fans have wanted addressed for ages, and it definitely improves game feel, so I've got my fingers crossed this solution will work out until Xane and I can do a more thorough refactor in the future.
In addition, I've been working on group idling / resting behaviors. Right now, I'm using the heuristic that the average stamina of the group should determine when the group idles and rests, rather than any individual member's status. This may have to be something we experiment with well into play testing, but it seems to be working okay so far. Here's a picture of some cuties lounging around together:
Lastly, in news for our OSX fans, we hear you! We are still working on it, albeit slowly given our limited resources and large to-do list, but we have overcome most of the major hurdles that were holding us back before and are now working on squeezing as much performance as we can out of it. While future hurdles are basically inevitable, so as usual we won't be making any promises or giving ETAs, we're hoping that we've dealt with the bulk of them and are getting close to a release-ready state. Here's a screenshot of Saurian running on OSX:
It's been a little while!
What have I been up to? Oh you know the usual, secret stuff. But in addition to secret stuff I've started organizing references and preparing resources for the vegetation overhaul. I don't know if there is anyone who is as excited about plants as I am, but a face lift is sorely needed and some new plant assets will really help update the visuals of the game, as well as improve performance.
I've had to run through the vegetation several times as we've gone through several different systems and every time we've gone species-to-species, randomly adding in new trees and shrubs as needed. Instead this time we will be going from biome-to-biome, starting with the swamp. This way we'll ensure that each biome will have the assets needed to sell their individual personalities.
To showcase the kind of detail we'll be looking at, here is two different root systems for the Bald Cypress, the most iconic tree of the swamp in my opinion. Here we have a variant between a tree that has grown in standing water and a tree that has grown on land. Cypress that grow in water are the ones with the very charismatic large bulbous buttresses, where as the ones on land will look more like your typical conifer. That's all for now, but in addition to some new critters, I hope to be sharing some more environment work in the near future!
Our Discord community delivered some more great screenshots this week. Our header image is by NathanChe, and can also be seen here:
I normally try not to double-up on people, to give everyone a shot, but I had to put in a couple more by our screenshot queen Aleeyrose.