📰 Isle DevBlog #43

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FTessaro - Lead Programmer
It's been another busy month spent working hard to release Gateway, which included several adjustments because some of the new mechanics weren't ready in time, so they had to be removed.

The remaining efforts were focused on moving forward with some new additions to the game, but also to have the first post-Gateway patch released as soon as possible. However, some work in progress systems are:.

  • Tyrannosaurus crush ability. It would be a mix of Pounce and Lunge, having different behaviors depending on the size of the target.
  • Burrowing. The mechanic has been updated with proxy meshes for testing and adjustment, some design decisions are to be made, but the mechanic should be finalized as soon as we set the final choices.
  • Mutations. Mainly the mechanic is done, but not all designed mutations were added, we can do that overtime so we have better balance applied to them. In that regard, we are allowing Server Owners to customize the values of each mutation, also enable/disable them all or just a few, all through server configs.
  • Pounce has received some updates to the new Grapple system (disabled for release), also some balance changes and an important change: Pouncing the front or the back of a big target won't connect (latch) anymore.Instead the Pouncer will perform a claw attack doing small damage. In order to latch on the target it needs to be attacked on the sides. This change applies to Troodon as well. Latching from the front was initially implemented to assist players having a difficult time landing successful pounces but we feel is not needed.
  • Balance Updates. In general more balance changes were made to several abilities and mechanics.
  • Several bugs were fixed including the ones reported by stress testers, not only QA.

Thanks everyone!

Ariel - Programmer
I started the month setting up the new migration and sanctuary scent icons. On the topic of scenting, it is now possible to do it when crouching or resting as well. I also did some experimentation on human weapons, but that's something that will be worked on properly a bit later on.

The diabloceratops also received some improvements to be more reliable and convenient to use. It has a sidestep action when sparring to quickly get around each other which was previously done by tapping a direction key, but we moved it to the spacebar to be more user friendly. I was also able to make the movement faster when locked together so pushing each other worked much better, it was quite challenging in a networked environment. The camera is also locked to the front now, it helps make it more focused on the interaction. I also started working on a new action, running into the side of another diabloceratops lets you push them around a bit differently. That one is still work in progress though.

I also made further progress on the herrerasaurus. The branch snapping system is being improved with more trees being supported and the movement working better in general. The jumping indicator also shows when you would break your legs from jumping now. Fracturing your legs is something you would really want to avoid, so it should be quite useful.

VisualTech48 - Environmental Artist
Humans. Yes. Humans. This month has been on humans and the extension of their presence on the island. Soon you'll find the new aquatic fences when they are finished up, which will be the start of shaping up aquatic gameplay..

As well to further the future human interaction and gameplay loop, I've designed our new keycards. This card is WIP and it might go through some changes.


Earlier this month, I also finished our new door kit, which consists of a wide array of door types, which represent proper indoor and outdoor doors, so you can distinguish them easier, just by their look and bulkiness.




Besides that I've been busy with small additions to our human environment which will be revealed as we populate more places with human stuff, so stay tuned for that!

That is it for me this month, see you next month!

Tapwing - 2D Artist
This month (outside of some icon edits) I've been working on designing two types of cloning tanks, one for large to medium specimens, the other for small and some splash art to showcase them. Full on large scale painted illustrations are intensive enough on their own, but these also needed to be layered in a way that different creatures could be easily swapped in and out from the tank without it looking like it was simply dropped on top of the canvas and where the lighting layers would still 'play nice' with any newer additions to the painting.

Not just a fun piece to look at but both will be getting their own design sheets as well so they can be turned into a 3d asset for the labs.

Bryan - Animator
Just capping off the last of the monkey gator animations this month before I move on to the next beastie. But in other news, Maiasaura got a nice rig update and we'll be able to spin up the big cow for some work pretty soon. Always liked working with Hadrosaurs, they're pretty satisfying to work with so I'm looking forward to that.


Wedge - Sound Designer
This month the majority of my focus was on sounds for Dilophosaurus' venom mechanic.
After concepting a few ideas for both the ambience and the sound to go with a hallucination dissolve visual effect, I compounded what worked into a singular design for both sounds. With the sounds designed, a large portion of the work was how the ambience was to be implemented. The ambience is split up into layers which are either introduced or removed as the victim progresses through stages of envenomation, becoming more claustrophobic as it reaches stage 3. The existing natural ambience is effected to compliment this feeling, with some ambience sounds still audible at stage 1 and slowly being removed until none of the original ambience remains at the final stage. Audio effects were set up, blending existing sounds such as the original ambience as well as vocals that occur while envenomated into the new venom ambience, helping along the spooky atmosphere created. To cap it off a sound which plays a random selection from an array of Dilo's vocals, mostly choosing from its shorter gurgles, hisses and coos as well as its distinct venom laugh, to replace the ambient one shots. These are processed with slightly different effects to sell the ethereal nature, blend with the final soundscape, and confuse its victim in turn ramping up the tension.

After finishing the venom ambience I moved on to Herrera vocals, where I have the majority of its pain reaction and attack sounds done as well as a few other supplementary vocals. Designing as much of its sound palette as possible will be carried forward into December as my sole priority.

Aside from my main two tasks this month I also managed to work on a few smaller improvements and additions. I did another design pass on Diablos threaten call, improving all the vocal layers as well as adding in an impactful snap of its beaks. Sounds were added to Dryosaurus' new directional attacks; however its vocal sound is likely a placeholder until a bespoke sound can be designed. The pulsing bees sound I made a few months ago have also been added in, initiating when dangers to animals that have taken sanctuary are near. Finally I also made use of the system that changes footstep sounds based on terrain to also do the same for body impacts, this not only applies to body falls from knockdowns but also landing from jumps or falls as well. And of course plenty of bug fixes to go along with all this too.

hypno - QA Lead
This month QA have been hard at work continuing to test Diabloceratops, Dilophosaurus, and Herrerasaurus. The latter two are nearing completion. All we need to do is a bit of balance testing, add a few assets and fix any lingering major issues, then they'll be prepped for release.

One of the more interesting bugs that has occurred is the dilophosaurus' head growing to a massive size when dragging a corpse. Here's what that looked like…


Herrerasaurus seemed to be very keen on throwing itself head first into the mud pits until recently as well…

Diabloceratops definitely needs to work on its cardio…

KissenKitten - Producer
Hmm, mostly been bug fixing, polishing some outdated concepts/content and a ton of reviews. Stegosaurus mechanics got approved so that's nice. Grapple has a framework. I think we touched on it before but the TLDR is size doesn't mean everything.

We're glad to see how you all are taking to migrations and sanctuaries as a whole. Which largely has been accomplishing their intended goals. Expect to see more sanctuaries as we planned way more than what we released with. The concentrated sanctuaries as a test have yielded valuable information. Naturally, the features we release will require edits and review as we continue fleshing out the experiences we want players to have. There have been some changes to stamina that you'll hopefully be seeing soon. But don't get too excited. While the stamina regen is indeed heaving hitting, as was intended and although we will be making adjustments to it, stamina is going to remain an important resource in The Isle that needs to be managed well. Sprinting everywhere is not what we want. These changes have slowed things a bit and we are pleased with that aspect but still need to work on finding the sweet spot.

The herrerasaurus and dilophosaurus are shaping up nicely for their eventual release. Just needing some polish in a few places to get them fully tested and play ready. The herrera may get a few placeholder sounds if it ends up running too long production wise. So glad for big features to be less common all at once.

For myself I have enjoyed being able to work on ironing out some animation inconsistencies that have been long standing to help improve the smoothness and feel of the characters. I've been working on some ground based locomotion for the pteranodon in preparation for some changes it's likely going to undergo playstyle and overall thematic wise. Pteranodons were supposed to be dogfighting and stealing from each other originally. Among other things.

The deinosuchus has also needed some love. The swimming is not nearly as smooth as I find acceptable so I've also been able to touch on some of that. It has been a long time coming for me to personally have time to devote to those kinds of additions/changes so I am just glad to be entering into more of a polishing era for once rather than plowing through a stack of animation sets across the roster. So expect to see some things altered, smoothed out or replaced entirely.

The maiasaura has had some establishing poses made and the animation team is about to begin chipping away at it. I enjoy working with hadrosaurs the most as they are usually by far the easiest to work with and you can't have a game with dinosaurs and not have a hadrosaur. They really are painless. Hopefully not famous last words because we would like to preserve the biped/quad swap and that may end up being a lot of work. So we'll see.

The diabloceratops is still in testing. We really want to hit the nail on the head with its mechanics and all the animations it takes to make it pop. Upside being as soon as we do finalize that animation list and the functionality, the triceratops will already have its path laid out. We're trying to hit multiple ceratopsian birds with one stone.

As a general PSA please keep in mind, room needs to be made to have something to work/build towards. Some baselines are going to feel rough because they are but may have ways of mitigating them through proper gameplay. Building a digital ecosystem is challenging and it takes time to fully see the impacts of sweeping systems. That's pretty much the month as a whole. I'll see what I can do as far as getting replay polished up for the next update but don't hold your breath on that cause we do have a fair amount of bugs to tackle and loose ends to tie up before break. We don't want to leave you hanging for the holidays if possible. Anyway, that's all for now. Toodles!

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