Saurian DevLog #76
This week our programmers have sealed themselves off in their den work on Triceratops, when I approached them for material I was met with only hisses and lashing of claws, so this will be an art-focused DevLog. Get ready for lots of pictures!
The last few weeks I've been on a roll with some of the smaller vegetation for the swamp biome, finishing all but one of the total plant species needed for the swamp. Being relegated to plants may sound like boring work, but it'll pay dividends towards the fidelity of the environments, as well as their functionality. Hopefully with a new UI scheme and a fresh, dramatically improved environment, we can change the look and feel of the game for the better.
Specific efforts have been made to define distinct layers in the forest ecology. One of the things that necessitated a plant overhaul was the impending inclusion of herbivorous playable species which needed edible plants. For performance reasons it wasn't feasible to make every individual plant instance interactable, so we have designed large enough ground flora with interactability in mind. In addition to the plants being edible, they are also designed to be large enough to occlude significant portions of the player making them function better for our stealth mechanics than the plant assets presently in the game. Here you can see our interactable foliage for the swamp biome, several variations of male and female osmundaceae, a cluster of Zingiberopsis and a large species of Equisetum:
This also made it an important design decision that any plant too small to be interactable had to be visually distinct enough to not be confused for an interactable plant. Non-interactable ground litter is going to be exclusively tiny plants and seedlings. They won't occlude the player and visually they won't appear like they should. Here we have an assortment of small plants; a second smaller species of Equisetum, an adult and juvenile Symplocarpus, a juvenile Zingiberopsis and a seedling generic conifer.
We've started some tests of the plants in a scene together, which has produced some very impressive results both visually and technically. Once this vegetation overhaul is complete the game should run better than ever while also getting a much needed visual upgrade.
Hi everyone! I haven’t had anything to share with you in a while, but that is changing now. With the new playable dinosaur, Triceratops, we introduced a new call system that was not found in the game before. It was my job to design the UI for this system. First I came up with the wheel system that you see in the last DevLog. Now that our wonderful programmers have that implemented, I had to design the little icons, so we don’t just have white circles anymore. You can see these below, as well as getting a look at what some of your contact options will be. The mating and group contact icons will probably stay the same for all the playables, but the others will get a unique design for each dinosaur.
After doing these it made me think that our in-game graphics would now be inconsistent, seeing as Jake designed all our ToolTips a million years ago. So I had him send me the files and I redesigned them to match the aesthetic of our new contact-wheel icons. Here is a preview of those:
Everyone agrees that the sleeping one is the best. Some of these, like the Palaeosaniwa one in the image, will be re-used for Trike, but we will have a whole bunch of new ones we’ll have to do when its implemented.
I’ve wanted to do a redesign of the game’s menu for a long time now, and with all these new graphics plus a new dinosaur, and prettier plants, I thought this was the perfect opportunity. It is difficult to make something as human as video game UI fit in thematically with our game, which does not have any people in it. I think that rougher edges and a more handwritten and hand-drawn aesthetic fits in a little better than what we currently have in the game. Here is an example I whipped up:
Ignore the background photo, these are placeholders for now until we can do something more fancy, it looks like you could find Bigfoot (who is definitely real) in this one. Ideally we’d first have a nice render of our environment in the background, but in the final game I eventually want to have an environment loop with animated plants and maybe animals. But for now it doesn’t hurt to give the UI a bit of an upgrade for now.
Thats it from us, enjoy some lovely art and screenshots from our community:
Header image by VyLet.