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.
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.
- 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.
- Anatosaurus, the Hell Creek Ornithomimid, Thescelosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus sp. and Leptoceratops models are all progressing nicely. Expect reveals of several in the near future.
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
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.