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📰 Isle DevBlog #37

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FTessaro - Lead Programmer
This month, my main focus was on enhancing and resolving issues with various mechanics. We had several strange behaviors concerning physics and other various interactions when multiple abilities occurred simultaneously. Such as with the introduction of troodon, a new playable capable of pouncing, that brought forth additional scenarios that had the potential to disrupt existing mechanics. On the topic of pounce; I’ve made some significant changes to the aftermath of missing a pounce, now it does not “stagger” the pouncer anymore, allowing it to be more fluid, fast and more visually accurate. Moreover, with troodon, I developed a system where nearby troodons will emit specific vocal sounds whenever a target becomes envenomated. This feature aids in synchronizing attacks and will be further improved upon in future updates.

Pickup is another mechanic that has received some attention. We noticed some odd behaviors relating to both Organs and Meat Chunks, especially when their physics decide not to simulate properly. In that regard I also added a dynamic math that allows “Grab High” animations to play, when grabbing fruits, for example, from tall trees. I also fixed a bunch of smaller issues such as loading screen causing a crash, double calls issue, UI hints, the “pitch black skin” bug, vocal distance being short and much more. Overall I’ve squashed hundreds of bugs this month.

Fred - 2D Artist
I've been hopping around different types of assignments for a while now, one of which is returning to the environment concepts. Specifically, I’ve returned to finish the line of Underwater Environment Concepts.

After discussions about visuals and gameplay needs, I do what I always do and start looking for references and inspiration. A bit of a challenge was the visuals. Normally, when we think of coral reefs and kelp forests, we think of images like those from Blue Planet 2 & Planet Earth 2: beauty and serenity with all kinds of gorgeous colors. This would need to be toned down to fit our horror gameplay and visual style for the game. It can be pretty at times, but not always. I also had to take into consideration the types of terrains and biomes of the ocean and to hopefully create an interesting environment for players to traverse and explore.

So, as you’ve seen before in the “isle-phase-three” channel on the official discord, I started by making a simple study of how these biomes and formations will be loosely mapped out based on depth. As you can see below, we’ll start at the shallows with coral reefs, and as we get lower, we’ll see more rock formations. Kelp forests will be sprinkled throughout both. As rock formations become bigger, corals start to disappear. Eventually, at the barrier of the map, we plan on making it pretty desolate.


For the reef concept above I wanted to keep variations of color, but needed to make sure I didn't go too far to where it looked like an underwater paradise or a screenshot from ‘The Little Mermaid’. My color choice of rocks could’ve been better, but with the different forms and corals, I think it looks good. On the right, we see a rough sketch of Rock formations. We can look forward to placing them around the medium depths of the environment. What I have here is probably the largest these formations will ever get. Not only does this show how they will fill some open waters with interest, but how we can look forward to bridging the gaps between our underwater players and coastal pterosaur players above. Underneath the Rock formations, we have a scene of animals interacting at the edge of a Kelp Forest. Typical Kelp forests in documentaries look really beautiful and welcoming, with rich, full fronds of bright green or orange leaves. We probably won't be doing that and taking that opportunity to make them feel dark and claustrophobic. Hopefully that will be reflected in our lighting and assets.


Finally, after studying and planning, we get to the fully rendered concept above which showcases all the elements mentioned before. There was a lot of coral and rock to paint, as well as getting the right hues and colors down, but I’d argue this is one of the better Underwater Concepts made. I look forward to seeing this being built in game by our lovely Jace, and eventually seeing the player base take a dive and explore what we have planned.

VisualTech48 - Environmental Artist
This month has been a month with a variation of bug fixes and massive in global, but seemingly minor updates to the Modular Kit. We’ve now solved the stair, door, and all kinds of problems that were linked just by being modular. Not only that, the kit for now, features over 250 objects, making it the most granular kit we have so far, and it being new, and this granular allows us to do so many variations with the buildings.

This is by far the end of the kit, as the kit will now only get upgraded by new parts as we go on. Not only that we will feature a distinct and clearcut way of knowing which building serves what purpose, with various techniques.

That and the, in the works, new shader to support this level of modularity, should bring a lot of life to the island and the human environment and its effect on the world.

Keep in mind these images are still work in progress and do NOT feature the new shader, and is one of many possibilities. This is just a very rough showcase of what we can show, without any detailing done to the buildings.




While waiting for the magic shader, and before we proceed to new textures to encompass it and make it fully functional.

That is it for this month!

Wedge - Sound Designer
Main priority and the majority of my time this month has been occupied with fixing as many bugs as possible, as well as making improvements and addressing any missing or incorrect audio cues where possible.

Other than any work that I’ve done this month to go towards the polish of audio in 6.5 I’ve also made some more headway on some Diablo sounds, however the focus on the new update has slowed this progress slightly. I have the majority of Diablo’s adult sounds designed or at least undergoing iteration and finalization, only a handful remain to create such as courting, sparring and some generic or filler vocal sounds for use in idles, resting and filling in gaps where necessary etc.

I’ve started bringing dilophosaurus’ calls up to the quality bar we are setting with Evrima, with its attract and broadcast vocals already complete. These two calls are revamped versions of the original legacy calls, retaining the sonic quality and character of the existing sounds but bulking them out with a bit more presence and weight using various additional layers and some cleaning and processing techniques on the existing raw files. The other three calls are going to need more work and some deviation from the original concept to get to a similar standard.

I’m also working on a new sound that will be used in place of the broadcast call for gallimimus’ mobilize ability, a brief honk with that signature gallimimus flavor effectively clearing some space in the mix so it's not a barrage of long and noisy calls.

Seiza - Video Editor
My focus in the last weeks was completely on finishing the release trailer for update 6.5. Since the new species bring many new mechanics into the game, there is again a lot to explain in the trailer. While the trailer starts relatively calm with the beipiaosaurus, the atmosphere gets more and more stressful. At the latest when the troodon is introduced, you notice the horror aspects of the game, because this is the first time I used night shots for a trailer.

I also got inspired in the stress test, so I was able to try out the game mechanics myself and thus better represent and explain them in the trailer. As always, I'm staying rather abstract in explaining the mechanics, but I hope it's easy to understand. The presentation of the gallimimus mechanics was the biggest challenge in this project, as he has to keep moving all the time. However, I found a smooth solution that shows the mechanics well. In the coming days I will finish the final touches.



KissenKitten - Producer
This month has been rather weighted to be honest. Got the stress test cranked out which has greatly assisted in helping us track down bugs and refine mechanics. So thank you to all that participated! It has been fun to see how the new playables are being wielded and all the new strats that are emerging with each. Especially how they fare against the already established animals. Each new creature changes the island's dynamics and that is very interesting to observe. Once we iron out the kinks we’ll be in a good spot to release update 6.5 which is much larger than we originally intended but in a good way. So thank you for a thousand years of patient waiting. It has definitely taken a bit longer than we would have liked. But we want to get you in on the fun as much as you want to have it and want it to be as solid as we can get it. So hang tight.

The team has also grown and will be growing further still. Lots of new talent swirling around, keeping me on my toes. The animation team has been expanded by several artists which are performing spectacularly. I’m crazy proud of their strides! The diablo, dilo and herrera are well on their way to being the next creatures you’ll see running around on the map, decimating your hp and adding to the soundscape. When their unique mechanics are a bit further along I’ll try to slip some content of them to you so you’ll have an understanding on what they will play like and be capable of. Following in their footsteps will be the Tyrannosaurus Rex which enters production fully next week and boasts some interesting adjustments I’m sure the keen-eyed will notice. .

All in all, this month has honestly been a bug hunting slog but we’re clawing our way to the surface and seeing the light at the end of the 6.5 tunnel. I am very excited to turn these creatures loose on the general public and affix my gaze on Update 7 which I personally have been anxiously awaiting forever and the team is probably tired of hearing my talk about. Also, alongside the release of Update 6.5 or very shortly after will come roadmap changes as previously mentioned which will alter the way we disseminate information and how we update the game as a whole. Aiming for something that suits us better as a development team and is better for you all as well. With the media embargo lifted, I’m sure there’s a lot of 6.5 content to snack on while we rev this bad boy up! Bye bye for now!

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