Welcome to January’s Development Update!
After a wonderful holiday break, the team returned mid-January to continue working on Prehistoric Kingdom. In this time, it turns out we crossed a rather exciting milestone… we’ve shipped 100,000 units since launching in April last year!
With your ongoing support we want to make 2023 a more consistent and even bigger year for us, targeting meaningful gameplay additions and improvements with our usual sprinkling of modular pieces and creativity. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us so far!
To start the year off, let’s dive straight into development progress and take a look at some of the things we’re cooking up behind the scenes.
Where We’re At
Good news! The next patch is almost ready to drop. This one is mostly focused on addressing various issues found in the last update, including a bunch of bug fixes as well as huge performance improvements during nighttime thanks to our new light impostors.
Though this patch does address some trouble spots with visitor navigation, we’re going to continue working on this aspect of guests. Seeing them dance on tables and disregard common decency is humorous, but it’s a side effect of modular pathfinding that requires a more complex solution.
Simply removing walkable areas above a certain height or steepness can include a number of knock-on effects that would make some player builds inaccessible to guests. We will continue to research and develop a robust solution to combat this, but in the meantime, we’d like to thank you for tolerating our hooligans.
Moving on to new gameplay additions, the research system is almost done! We’ll be shipping it as soon as it’s ready for release after the next update.
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Throughout the year, we will be including new types of items, modules and mechanics to expand upon the initial selection of researchables. This is a system that we want to grow and foster over time, evolving the progression of Challenge mode as the game expands during Early Access.
After the research tree is released, we’ll be shifting most of our attention to the animals. There’s a lot of work to be done in polishing and developing them further with new features, so, let’s talk about that!
What’s in the Pipeline?
In 2023, we want to do a lot more for our animals, introducing new gameplay features alongside a number of exciting species. This upcoming roster has a great mix of familiar and lesser celebrated faces, highlighting the diversity of prehistoric life on this planet.
To start, let’s take a sneak peak at two animals coming this year. If we told you too much about them, it might just spoil the theme of our next big update! We can’t wait to read all your speculation.
Beyond updated locomotion and new ways for the animals to interact (e.g. herding, chasing/fleeing), we also plan to tackle everybody’s favorite Hollywood moment, animal breakouts.
These escapes will cause your park rating to plummet and spark fear in guests around the park. We’ll have more information on breakouts in the future!
Genetic mutations are coming to Prehistoric Kingdom in 2023! The team has proudly developed a semi-procedural approach that allows us to create albino, melanistic and leucistic variants all through shader.
An albino and melanistic Tyrannosaurus.
A huge benefit of this approach is that every skin can mutate. Rather than using a generic “albino” or “melanistic” texture, we came up with a powerful solution that is both memory efficient and highly variable.
The procedural nature means that there’s an astoundingly high degree of individuality and randomness. Note the extreme difference in brightness, color and pattern visibility on these two albino T. rex!
The effect of this variation is especially present in leucistic specimens, adding a unique splash of shading to otherwise familiar skins. Cookies and cream, anyone?
A leucistic Tyrannosaurus.
Some art is still required for this system work as intended across all our current species, so genetic mutations will be arriving later this year. Stay tuned for more information!
GUEST ART UPDATE
For the last few months, we’ve been working to design a more appealing and cohesive art direction for our guests. We sat down with our concept artist, Ida, to talk a little about the process and what we ended up settling on.
“The basic idea was that the guests should be pleasant and fun to look at. They’d need to appear interesting and diverse when looking at them directly or from afar as a crowd when you’re trying to manage other aspects of your park.
It was also important to us that the guests look expressive and are able to emote in a way that’s easy for the player to interpret.
I tried out a lot of different styles, from realistic to very stylized, just to get a sense of what would fit in-game with the dinosaurs and assets we already have made. We ended up settling for something in-between that will hopefully make the guests feel way more lively while still fitting the world.”
— Ida, Concept Artist
Below is a concept sheet showcasing our collection of male/female presenting faces as well as some of their outfits. Depending on which map you’re playing on, guests will enter the park wearing clothes best suited to the environment.
Please note that as this is a concept sheet for our 3D artists to reference, the guests below do not feature any hair. We will also be removing all handlebar moustaches from the game. Not sorry.
The guest art overhaul will be coming later this year alongside new animations and audio to truly enhance the crowds of Prehistoric Kingdom. A number of interactions like sitting on benches, throwing trash away, and of course, animations when using kiosks or seeing their favorite animals are on our radar, too.
Created by Extinct Bricks.
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Created by Blue Raptor.
Thank you for reading January’s dev diary!
As always, we will continue to release our monthly dev diaries, keeping the community informed and up to date with where we’re headed and what you can expect to see.
If you would like to provide feedback and report bugs during your experience, please head over to our official Discord or use the in-game report tool. For now, please enjoy the next update and we’ll see you in February for the latest dev diary!
Until next time,
- The PK Team