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📰 Isle DevBlog #34

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FTessaro - Lead Programmer
This month the focus has been adding onto and improving all the new dinosaurs, but also fixing the enormous amount of issues caused by our migration to Unreal Engine 5. But not everything has been about fixing issues, we have new additions such as bee hives (with some very angry bees) and new vocals for the troodon’s venom pounce that triggers simultaneously for each group member of the attacking troodons, to give players a hint of when to apply the target with an additional dose of venom. Some visual indications may be added as well. The new ‘grab high’ animations were also added for all herbivores/omnivores, which are useful for grabbing from tall plants, etc.



dmIV - Programmer
My first task was some foundation work for the gallimimus mechanics. I extended our movement system with individual multipliers for each movement mode in each growth stage in a way that also changes the play rate of that specific animation. This basically lets us modify movement speeds without having to change the play rate for the related animations manually. It’s something I thought about doing before for other reasons, so I’m glad there was a good time to do it now.

Then I moved on to actually making use of the system with new mechanics. The gallimimus’ speed will depend on its diet; you will run faster if you take care of your nutrients. Group leaders with a good diet will also be able to have a positive effect on teammates’ speeds when traveling together. It’s also possible to give each other a speed boost using calls. This will all need to be tested and balanced for gameplay, but as you can see there are many different factors that contribute to the final speed of the dinosaur.

A change that’s been planned for a while is to use the “alt attacks'' automatically depending on your movement state. A few things had to be changed in the background, but it is now working as intended. This also helps controller players, since they had no access to these actions previously. I also added a new setting in the menu for those who prefer the old control scheme.

VisualTech48 - Environmental Artist
As you’ve seen, last and this month marks the end of the cages, which was the main starting point of the new year. These cages will be featured in various conditions, and will showcase something down the line. They are featured in 5 sizes, from the smallest transportation ones, to the largest that can house a sauropod.





Alongside that there have been some minor tweaks and a new variation of the crowbar, which now features a pointy end.


Starting from this month, I’ve been tasked with a large structure that will surely be a massive point of interest on Gateway which spans 15 km on its longest distance.



Tapwing - 2D Artist

This month was a slight change of pace for me.

We have a new dome in the works! With the kind of biome it’s supposed to contain it needed to be bigger than the aviaries and simply scaling-up the current domes/aviaries wasn’t going to look good. So a new design was called for. We took the opportunity to try something a little more industrial and generally simpler shape-wise with a hexagonal based angular design.






Once the base outer appearance was settled on, my task was to start conceptualizing entrances and interior aesthetics of the new dome with the guiding rule of ‘can it be made out of primitives?’(cubes, cylinders, etc)





If so, awesome. Because when making something large like this, you really need something as structurally simple as possible with details coming from the variations of the simple shapes it’s made out of.

Aside from the base structure, the tone of the interior was also drafted, with yellow tinted lighting and winding halls to create a sense of anticipation and unease as well as serving a technical purpose when it comes to something like load times to create that smooth transition from the outer world to the inner dome.


You mess with the bull you get the horns; It’s time for the trike (and not the kind you’d let your kids play with).

Being the largest of the ceratopsians, it doesn’t get to benefit from some of the features of its smaller cousins (burrows, speed) but it more than makes up for that by bringing the most formidable set of horns to the table.

Any creature that wants to target a trike will want to stay faaaar away from the face. Not only is it well protected, but at that point you are asking to get impaled. Likewise it’s not an animal you’re going to be able to toss around; that’s the trikes job. Yes those horns have many uses and like any frequently used tool, will need to be well maintained if you’re to hold onto those formidable weapons.

Wedge - Sound Designer
This month my focus has been to get ceratosaurus audio complete, designing every outstanding vocal sound necessary for both its adult and juvenile stages as well as implementing any foley missing for all animations of this creature. Now that ceratosaurus can be considered complete from an audio perspective, bar some polish and final minor additions, it is undergoing regular testing and iteration from me so that it is sounding as mean and fierce as we are envisioning, as well as making sure everything sounds correct across its entire growth cycle, which is quite an intensive task so regular time away from this creature is required so ears do not get fatigued.

To break up my workflow, I’ve moved on to working on the gallimimus alongside cerato. Galli's calls have remained the same as most will recognise them, but have been processed to improve the overall mix and I’m now facing the challenge of expanding its palette of sounds based on its core vocal aesthetic. I have already got a full sound suite for its pain sounds i.e. regular, extreme and death, as well as some in progress sounds for its secondary attack, its various eating animations and some generic sounds that will be peppered in to fill gaps and give this animal some vocal character accompanying its more understated movements.

hypno - QA Lead
With the upgrade to UE5, QA have had their hands full mostly with bug reporting, since a lot of issues arose during that transition. We had to go back to some of our older processes such as regression and adhoc testing in order to locate as many of these issues as possible and escalate them to the programmers. A lot of the issues were seemingly random, for example the corpse physics started to become very “floaty” simply from upgrading. Over the course of this upgrade and the past 3 months, our voluntary QA team has reported close to one thousand unique reports! Do be sure to show them some appreciation if you interact with them, they’ve more than earned it.

Troodon testing is really starting to come along now. As some of you already know, its venom pounce ability was causing the client to crash a few weeks ago, caused by the group vocals that Filipe mentioned in his post. I’m happy to say that the crash is and has been fixed for a couple of weeks now. That being said, we did run into some other particularly annoying issues with it… See below:


Unfortunately, at this time this issue is not yet fixed. Luckily, this is one of the few issues left for troodon before it’s ready to be stress-tested.

With most of the issues for troodon fixed now, playtesting and balancing is underway in QA and I am very excited to see how you guys perform with it. The troodon is very much a horde playstyle – it is too small to be able to comfortably take on the likes of an omniraptor alone, so it must group up in order to be its most effective (though it’s perfect for killing juveniles!)

The application of the venom pounce is similar to an omniraptor but it takes it a step further: you must work with your group and time your pounce correctly in order to envenomate your target - if you attack too soon after another troodon, it will reset the venom state and you will have to start from the process from the beginning. The design of having to better work with your group has led to some interesting encounters already and we have quickly discovered that it could be the deciding factor for if your group survives the attack or not. Better get practicing! 😉

Fortunately, the troodon being as small and fast as it is means that any encounter is easy to survive – simply run the other way and don’t look back.

KissenKitten - Producer
Needless to say based on the entries above and below, this month has been quite a stir for the team. The majority of this month for me has been meetings, formulating documentation and finalizing systems which have been mentioned in various ways within this devblog by other members of the team. I get to keep this one short and sweet due to the director's commentary but I’ve cooked up an animation or two for you to feast upon as penance.

Director’s Commentary –

Hello islanders,

As many of you have already guessed, one of our first orders of business upon returning in 2023 was investigating the possibility of moving The Isle to UE5. Upon initial viewing it became clear very quickly that the ‘if’ we upgraded to UE5 was simply ‘when,’ so the process fully began earlier this month.

Though everyone in the editor has been working diligently to ensure a smooth transition to UE5, there have been some small technical hurdles we’ve had to overcome. I am acutely aware of this extra time it has taken and the restlessness is understandable. For your patience, 6.5 has been more than slightly altered from what was on the roadmap. The troodon will not be the only animal stepping forward in the update and more details will follow along shortly in Phase Three tomorrow.

(Note: Speaking of, we are attempting another route with Phase Three content. It will no longer be restricted to a weekly Wednesday, but all posts will contain context and detail attached, much like a single developer’s contribution to the devblog. This may finally put an end to the “pun and done” image drops.)

The assets seen on Gateway have been moved over to Nanite and the map itself has been converted from world composition to world partition. In the coming days it will be rolled out to stress testers to start benchmarking performance but I suspect the public will see the map in Update 7.

This leads me to the roadmap itself. Update 6.5 has been drastically swelled and Gateway doesn’t even exist on the roadmap whatsoever. It’s safe to say that it’s more than outdated and a checklist approach is not one we wish to continue with. A more traditional roadmap will roll out alongside 6.5 that will reflect the additional content that has been in the works.

Diabloceratops had its first round of prototype animations created for its unique mechanic, sparring (along with dusting off some of the more outdated animations). As it is in its infancy, I’m not able to say exactly how it will work, but we do have a very promising heading as a posture based mechanic. The objective here is to have some fun ways for ceratopsians to engage with one another in a non-lethal manner, but still have this feature capable of being a very lethal response when necessary whether to predators or an opponent. I am hoping this will answer the overwhelming desire most diabloceratops players have expressed to fight one another without having to kill one another… unless they really wanted to.


There’s a lot more I could go into purely because I rarely contribute to the blogs now, but I’ve jawed enough. You’ll see more of my contributions in Phase Three soon.

As always,

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