📰 PrehistoricKingdom Dev Diary: April 2024

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Welcome to the April Development Update!

In this bite-sized blog post, we'll be providing more information about the Update 11 PTB (Public Test Branch) and showcasing some important changes to the fence system. If you'd like to learn more about Update 11 as a whole, be sure to check out last month's development diary!

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To keep it brief, development on Update 11 is going well! The logistics system is essentially complete but pending integration with staff and more UI elements. Staff themselves are coming along with a lot of work being done on their models and animations. Although staff and logistics won't make the initial PTB release for Update 11, we're pleased with how they're developing and look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Update 11: PTB Features


The first version of Update 11 will be hitting the Steam PTB on May 10th. This build will contain the following features:


  • New species: Leaellynasaura


  • New modules


  • New basic/backstage props


  • Improved fences & staff gates


  • Improved Excavations system


  • Improved GUI flow

We'll be rolling out logistics and staff related gameplay to the PTB as their development continues. In the meantime, players will have access to the new staff related modules such as the Loading Bay, Staff Center and Fossil Depot to prepare parks and create custom prefabs.

One of the other changes we've made is to the Animal Nursery. Like the Fossil Depot, there will only be one Animal Nursery module per park, with the menu now accessible from the Park Services menu. The current module designs will eventually be converted into props, with a new building and Nursery UI revamp coming down the line.

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The current Nursery menu will be found in the same place as Excavations, Research and Finances!

As always, the PTB will include experimental changes and won't reflect the final Update 11 release. The team will be working to add more content, polish and progressively finalize the update. This year, we're aiming to utilize the PTB more frequently so that players can check in to see what we're up to, even if it's in-development.

Update 11: Fence Rework

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Over the years, fences and enclosures have accumulated a lot of tech debt due to having some of the oldest code in the game. They were so old, in fact, that they actually predate the modular building system! With staff needing to access enclosures pretty soon, we had two options:


  1. Bandaid gates onto the old code and rework fences down the line.


  2. Rework fences now but delay Update 11's PTB to May 10th.

We chose the second option, and in a little over a week, our awesome programmers not only rebuilt the fence system from the ground up, but improved performance AND added support for modular staff gates. On the technical side, these new fences are way less rigid to work with and have allowed the team to add some excellent quality of life improvements for our users.

For example, when placing fences, they'll now collide and snap to existing sections rather than clipping through them.

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The maximum segment length has been increased, making it easier to create circular habitats. There's also a new line indicator that appears once the max length is reached.

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If touching an existing segment, angle snap now uses its local direction, rather than defaulting to the world grid. This means that if you've been building fences at a strange angle and decide to use angle snap (e.g. 45°, 90°), the game will automatically account for it.

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When replacing fence designs, the preview is now real time! You can see an example below (ignore our debug dev material).

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Modular staff gate modules can be attached to fences, updating in real time (temporary gate art). These will eventually allow staff to pass into enclosures once they are included in Update 11.

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All of this is on top of fences not only rendering faster, but taking up waaay less memory too! Thanks to this new infrastructure, it's going to be so much easier for us to tackle things like fence maintenance and animal breakouts in the future. These improvements have been needed for a long time and we couldn't be happier to finally get it out of the way.

Update 11: Basic Theme Props


In Update 11, we're adding a bunch of new backstage props as part of the basic theme. With staff coming soon, we wanted to provide a few more items to help make the zoo feel more real!

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The Future


Looking to the immediate future, everything discussed below will not be available in the initial Update 11 build coming to the PTB, but will instead be added progressively.

New Species


During the Update 11 PTB, a new sauropodomorph will be marching its way into your parks! Please welcome the broad lizard, Plateosaurus.

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Unlike its younger relatives currently featured in the game, this Triassic dinosaur was bipedal, featuring short forelimbs with sharp claws. Our scientists have observed extreme size variation in adult specimens of Plateosaurus, making this species a particularly diverse bunch to look at!

Plateosaurus will be released later in an Update 11 PTB patch.

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Animal Nursery Revamp & Paleopedia


During the Update 11 PTB, we'll be overhauling the Animal Nursery with a fresh design and new behavior.

Our goal is to move away from showing a general or 'default' specimen and aim to instead display the actual individual that'll be bred. This means that you'd be able to see potential mutations, size and skin variation prior to creation. Each time you create an individual, the next one will appear different.

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As you can see in the UI concept art above, all of the habitat stats are missing! That's because everything you need to satisfy your animals has been moved to the Paleopedia, an upcoming database that can be accessed from anywhere in the park.

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Since a lot of the species descriptions are currently being written, we'll be adding them into the Paleopedia at a later date. Here's an early look at how that looks, though!

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Created by Incog

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Created by luci257

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Created by gemini98



Thank you for reading April's dev diary!

Don't forget that the initial PTB for Update 11 goes live May 10th! We're excited to have you with us on this journey and look forward to continuing development on Update 11.

- The PK Team




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