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📰 Isle DevBlog #38

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FTessaro - Lead Programmer
Most of the month was focused on getting 6.5 out of the door. It entailed an array of bug fixes, balance adjustments and subtle refinements to nearly every game mechanic. We also invested significant effort in server-side optimizations to bolster performance. With the update now live, my attention has shifted back to the main branch, where I am actively working on enabling the migration system for rigorous QA testing. Furthermore, I’m also working on new playable dinosaurs such as the dilophosaurus, which involves implementing mechanics and animations associated with them.

In addition, I’m refining the pounce ability to achieve a smoother visual when latching onto targets. Modifications are also being made to the pachy’s headbutt attack to enhance its precision when inflicting fractures. Looking ahead, our primary focus is centered on developing the next set of updates, which will introduce our new map, Gateway. Perks are in progress already and should evolve fast as the team convenes to finalize their design.

dmIV - Programmer
A lot of my work was for update 6.5, so there’s not much I can say about it you haven’t already seen or experienced. I made various finishing touches to the new dinosaurs, such as improvements to beipi’s buoyancy and animations, making the gallimimus forage frogs and crabs more reliably, adding a defense buff to the ceratosaurus when it’s chuffing around corpses. I’m really happy to see the update making its way to people’s hands. I enjoyed working on the beipiaosaurus in particular, so it’s great that the players are having fun with it as well.

Other than that I have been working quite a bit on the diabloceratops recently. There are several different interactions happening as part of the sparring system, so I have my hands full. It’s in a fairly rough state at the moment, but things are starting to take shape, so I’m excited to see how the community will feel about it.

I often record videos for internal showcases and I have some for the beipiaosaurus, which I thought would be interesting to show. You’ve already seen what the final product looks like, so here’s a behind the scenes look at how we got there:







Amar0k - Programmer
As the others have mentioned lots of work to get the 6.5 update out most of my work has been related to the engine update and improvements to the back-end services we use for our deployment pipeline. I have been working on easy anti-cheat and monitoring its performance over the last month. I won’t go into too much detail but I can tell you there has been significant improvement in this area and it’s working quite well. We don’t tolerate cheaters and we are doing everything we can to prevent them from ruining the game for everyone else.

I have been running some hotfixes this week to fix some issues with RCON, queuing and the server list. RCON has had some new commands added like being able to update the playable classes. Queueing is now live on all of our official servers and whilst it seems to be behaving for most people we are aware of an occasional issue where you might still get the “Server is full” message after joining. I have been working on a new server scheduler which manages our official servers and restarts. This system restarts the servers on a 12 hour cycle and will show a 5 minute restart warning.

Some more changes to AI and its base behavior has been well defined now. We will be rolling some more dangerous AI critters out with Gateway. I look forward to seeing that, it’s always a pleasure watching players fight Boars. Deer will start to spawn in small herds with fawns and will regroup together if they are separated during an attack. Rabbit burrows can be destroyed to bring out a hiding rabbit. We have noticed AI will tend to end up around the jungle areas making them difficult to find so I have been working on a new movement system for how the AI will traverse the map and flee from predators.

That’s about it for me this month. I hope you have all been enjoying the 6.5 update. It's been a blast for me. Till next time.

Wedge - Sound Designer
This month, aside from the work put towards polish of 6.5’s audio and with the majority of diabloceratops’ adult vocalizations complete, my focus has turned to dilophosaurus. A lot of time has been spent experimenting on this creature's sound design, aside from the signature low trill that the community all knows and loves, it did not really have much of a defined sonic identity beyond that.

To address this I first created something new and wholly unique and interesting for the remaining calls that I did not complete last month as these sounds would define how I approach the rest of dilo’s sounds. The danger and threat calls’ main elements consist of a variety of pitched down bird shrieks as well as piercing sounds created from source such as metal creaks, bowed styrofoam, Aztec death whistles etc. These shrill sounds are underpinned by gurgling roars and fluttery hisses, coming together to create terrifying screams that will cut through the night time ambience instilling fear into its prey. Like the broadcast and attract, the generic call has largely remained the same as its legacy version with the exception of being improved upon, accentuating the more alien qualities of this sound.

With its vocal identity clearer I was then able to use the ideas and source material laid out through the calls to aid me through the process of creating other sounds for it. It’s mellower sounds such as when drinking, courting and wallowing use the gurgling, squelching, chirping, trilling and clicking, while its more aggressive actions such as attacks and pain sounds use the shrill shrieking, piercing screams and gnarly growls to display this predators’ horrifying prowess. There’s still plenty left to do for the dilophosaurus but I’m happy with how this creature's sound is coming together.

Bryan - Animator
It’s been a busy month for sure. Couple tweaks here and there on the ceratosaurus alt attack to make it more responsive, the last few animations on dilophosaurus and also finishing up herrerasaurus attacks and locomotion.

However, the time has come for tyrannosaurus and triceratops. I’ve been looking forward to working on trike again and giving it a real nice tune-up. First thing first though, it needs a rig update, those puppet strings haven’t been serviced since before Legacy if memory serves, so it’s getting a thorough update before we dive into animation. Rex got the same treatment already and it is a real terrifying chungus.

No, I won’t be streaming the rex, but I’ve already completed the new locomotion for its different growth stages. I’m super happy with how it’s turning out and I think you’ll find it to be far more interesting than its Legacy counterpart. Next time you see the rex it’s probably gonna be chomping you down, so don’t get too eager.

VisualTech48 - Environment Artist
Gun Month. And bug fixing. That is the overall summary of this amazing month. I’ve been tasked with getting our beloved humans some weapons, starting with our own version which mostly is based on the M24, a lever action bolt rifle, with a vast amount of attachments.

As I’ve been tasked with making weapons, we’ve set some standards regarding both rails, and the attachment system overall. The rail size will be uniform, meaning in the long run, that any attachment that makes sense will be interchangeable with weapons.

Back to the rifle, it's been designed to hold those attachments, and grant you a 8x scope that will help your “hunting.”




We also have a pistol that is a combination of a few designs overlaid on the framework of a P226 derivative. Now this is still in the works and is subject to changes, but here is the progress so far:





And that is pretty much it besides an array of bug fixes, and getting some stuff in order.

Tapwing - 2D Artist

What if baryonyx was bigger and had a pelican jaw? Well you get The Isle’s version of suchomimus.

With it being one of those animals that shares so many design features with other dinosaurs of ours, it was tricky coming up with unique scenes for sucho. At the end of the day I decided to focus on two main features: A wading lifestyle and its pelican pouch of a mouth.

Navigating more freely through shallow water and muddy terrain, Sucho could utilize mud as a defense against egg stealing creatures, rendering the would-be thieves into an easy to catch snack. Now when it comes to sucho’s jaws, while they might not pack the biggest punch, they can really pack it away. Holding extra food or carrying water over to give hatchlings a worry-free drink, those jaws allow it to carry more than most.

So keep your distance if you're smallish in size. What suchomimus can scarf down might surprise you.

KissenKitten - Producer
This month has flown by and as the others have mentioned it was 6.5 focused. It is currently live and in your hands at long last. Definitely took longer than we would have liked. Engine upgrades and Murphy’s law saw to that. But we’re over that bridge and now preparing to cross the next one. There are new playables on the horizon in the Diabloceratops, Dilophosaurus, Herrerasaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Each at varying stages of completion and each ushering in some new mechanics we hope you’ll enjoy as much as you’ve been enjoying the most recent additions. We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure when you play as these creatures, it feels impactful, immersive and an experience unique to The Isle. Do keep in mind the Tyrannosaurus Rex is currently planned to be available as a playable on community servers only, not officials.

As was mentioned when we first made the hard decision to recode the game from scratch, essentially making a second game, we wanted to focus on mechanics before playables. To avoid bloating the roster and forcing us to retcon them all to fit each new mechanic. Which can take far longer, end up being severely watered down and in many instances, become impossible to do (see: Legacy). So a few years, a lot of hard work, heartache, dedication and a pandemic later and we’re finally ready to start implementing more playables. It is not lost on myself or the team as a whole that regardless of any reasoning or justifications, you guys want playables. Period. Straight like that. Now that we’ve gotten what we needed mostly out of the way, playables you shall have.

The animation team has grown a fair amount over the past few months with each new member learning the ins and outs of what it takes to make a creature for the game. From the artistic eye necessary to create the motions, to the technical limitations we have to abide by, to the creative drip that’s demanded to make a creature shine in The Isle. They’re soaking it all in and exceeding my expectations. So I am personally excited to get more playables in your hands and see what types of experiences you are able to craft with them and how they stack up to the already established roster. Be on the lookout for the new roadmap that will be coming soon and shed more light on our plans for the future as we shift our eyes towards Gateway and the reality of the original vision for The Isle taking shape. Bye for now.

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