📰 Isle DevBlog #44

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FTessaro - Lead Programmer
After a quick break we started working on fixing the main issues present in the latest patch, but that didn't stop us from working towards overall progress of the game, below are some of the main things that I worked on this month:

  • Skin Creator has been updated with a new UI design to provide more room for the new rendering camera. This new camera isn't based on a 2D texture anymore, allowing it to look and perform better:

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  • In addition I also added access to the Skin Creator from the Main Menu so you can create your skins freely without having to log onto a server first:

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  • Global chat will be brought in as an optional setting for community servers. This won't be enabled on officials, but server owners now will be able to turn it on.

    For server Owners:
    bEnableGlobalChat=true

    It is disabled by default, so in order for it to be enabled it needs to be added to the TIGameSession within the Game.ini file of the server.

  • Several balance changes with the introduction of the new stamina regen system, but more to come such as new diets combinations, new growth times, hunger and thirst decay adjustments, migration and food availability.

  • Overall progress on some new dinosaurs like Triceratops and T-Rex.

  • Overall progress on the latest burrowing prototype.

  • Bug fixes

  • Pounce to pin is still WIP, requires several new animations and extensive balance tests.
Those were the main topics excluding a few small things. See you next time.


Ariel - Programmer
I started the month focusing on fixing bugs that came up during the break. Some of the most important ones include the one where players lost the ability to rest and had to reconnect to fix it and hypsilophodon's blind effect not being clearable if they applied it again while it was being cleared. I also prevented herrerasaurus from being stuck latched to the air when there is some lag, it should not find the wall it was supposed to latch on to. It can also die from falling now, we wanted it to survive falling from higher than normal, but it accidentally went a bit too far.

I also made various background improvements like reorganizing some of the damage dealing system to combat some of the hacking issues that have been popping up, hopefully that will make the game more fun for everyone. I looked at some saving related bugs as well and reduced some hitches caused by loading on the server. It's difficult to track down issues where saves are lost, as I can't just go back and look at what happened exactly after it already happened, but I found some cases that should be handled now.

Later in the month I moved on to the newer mechanics and dinosaurs. I improved the alignment of the diabloceratops while sparring, which can be a challenge to line up in a multiplayer environment. Then I made some visual and polish improvements to herrerasaurus that I didn't have time for last year, these are mostly visual ones for a bit of extra polish. I'm currently working on a new, powerful attack coming to the stegosaurus, but it's in quite early stages so I cannot get into the details for now.



Bryan - Animator
Trike has been a pretty good way to get started in 2024, just got the first round of locomotion for the adult and juvenile Triceratops out the door today and now it's on to the injuries. I always forget how much longer quadrupeds take to do for all the left/right plus the body, leg and combination thereof variants, it'll be nice to move on to something with just two legs again.

Once this guy makes it out to a build you'll find the run to be very familiar, it's essentially a remastered version of the run from Legacy. On the other hand the walk and trot are all new and convey Triceratops' unique swagger a bit better than they did before.

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Wedge - Sound Designer
This month my first focus was designing outstanding sounds for Herrerasaurus that did not make it into this public release for this creature.

Firstly, I designed vocal sounds that were missing for both its adult and juvenile stages including mechanics such as pinned, pounced, eating, wallowing, resting, blinded and the hatchling beg vocal. After implementing the rest of Herrera's vocal sounds my time has been spent updating the climbing foley sounds to encompass dirt, rock and metal surfaces and sounds for its slide mechanic that is performed by holding ctrl. With the addition of the slide loop, the implementation and design for the placeholder latch sound will be altered (a pain point I've noticed from the community in relation to this creature), improving this creatures stealth capabilities whilst still giving a realistic sound representation and opportunity to be caught out if not choosing your jumps carefully!

Finally, I've returned to working on Diabloceratops' audio, with a priority of working through vocals for the juvenile stage. I initially did a pass over its adult stage vocals as it had been some time since working on this creature, familiarizing myself with its sonic palette and ensuring all sounds are up to a completed and presentable standard. Then I started altering these vocals to work for its younger growth stage, pitching them up and then altering, removing and/or adding new layers to create an appropriate design and sound aesthetic for this animal at its smaller growth. I've completed over half of the vocal sounds needed for the juvenile Diablo and will be continuing the work on this creature as we move into February.


hypno - QA Lead
QA has been focused on playtesting this month in order to verify some of the more consistent problematic behaviors for each species. While the following will not be a full list of everything we have planned to address, this should give you some insight into what they've been looking at recently and which areas we're looking into adjusting and/or monitoring over the next few updates:

General
  • It is unsurprising that the majority of players exist in the north east migration zone right now due to the number of species that it was assigned and a spawn zone overlap. Some species have been unassigned from this migration and the spawning zone has been moved into the jungle.

  • The stamina changes that have been made are still a large focus for all species. Time spent resting is still within acceptable range, but we are looking to further reduce the stamina costs of actions and the ability to regenerate stamina during certain states of locomotion based off of a player's current stamina.

  • Hunger and thirst times were not adjusted for Gateway to see how they would fare with Spiro values. As expected, these needed to be increased due to the larger map size and has been done so accordingly – these will be in the next update. Players will now be able to more comfortably traverse the map for their needs without feeling undue pressure.

  • Growth times were adjusted across the board in accordance with the new hunger/thirst times and diet system changes. All times were made longer but the bonus from each of the diet tiers was also increased, to further discourage players from becoming malnourished. This should allow players appropriate time for foraging and hunting with a noticeable payoff for maintaining diets.

  • The diet system has been adjusted to include new "tiers". We believe that the system was far too lenient on players that would fill their diet slots with just one type of nutrient, and not adequately rewarding players who had two or three nutrients of their preferred diet. Without revealing the raw numbers, having a mixed diet will now yield the best bonuses and possessing all three nutrients will greatly increase growth speed as well as wield the bonuses from other dietary combinations. There have also been additional considerations on how this can be applied to older dinosaurs when the elder and mutation systems arrive.

  • We're currently working on a way for players to manually alter which nutrient slots are being filled as we know it can be annoying for them to fill a slot you did not want to.

  • Health regeneration seems quite slow as a whole at the moment which requires further investigation.

  • Smaller characters have difficulty with visibility in even the normal grass. We're currently looking into adjusting the grass so that this is less of an issue.

  • Various issues with fog result in player visibility becoming too difficult to navigate and affecting other systems such as envenomation highlights. Fixing the fog has been a big priority as of late.
Otherwise, I just wanted to post a quick bulletin of some of the problem areas currently under investigation for each of the species we have focused on so far:

Carnotaurus
  • Lipid options for the carnotaurus do not feel adequate.

  • Charging as a mechanic can feel a bit clunky due to how it's currently set up.

Ceratosaurus
  • The ceratosaurus is currently in a weird spot where it cannot receive nutrients outside of its diet unless the corpse is rotting. While this is currently intended, we are aware that it falls short of a fully enjoyable experience and often is poorly impacted by players awkwardly waiting for corpses to rot.

  • Attempting to be stealthy as a juvenile can prove problematic with the auto-chuffing around corpses, oftentimes resulting in the player's death.

  • Likewise, chuffing at group members is something that is also being considered for removal, for the same reason. This will require further discussion as it was intentional as part of the character's design.

  • Auto-chuffing can be a nuisance for players that are trying to scent or eat. We will allow players to override the chuff by performing these actions in future.

  • The charged bite controls and auto-slide during attack feel counterintuitive and will be altered.

Deinosuchus
  • We have altered the deinosuchus growth so that the character starts exceptionally smaller. What was once considered a large hatchling will now be its starting size. Its growth curve as a whole will also feel different as it is no longer linear. Players will reach the physical morph (~80%) of an adult much sooner in their growth than before, which removes the appearance of massive deinosuchus juveniles capable of running down victims on land. There is also an excessive increase in growth time from that point onward as the deinosuchus grows to full size. This will result in a more difficult growth cycle for the character and surviving to adulthood being much less likely.


  • Undisclosed solution to remove "stegosaurus fishing" because that's awful.

  • Schooling fish have appropriate caps for food and size scale and can no longer sustain an average deinosuchus.

Dilophosaurus
  • For our first pass, dilophosaurus was given its maximum duration that we wanted for the envenomation timer. After playtesting, we found this to be overkill and unnecessary for the character. Instead of the envenomation recovering after 5 minutes, it takes just 1 minute for the cooldown to kick in and start the regeneration process for the prey.

  • Dilophosaurus swim speed seems to be abnormally slow, so we'll be looking at speeding it up a bit soon.

  • We are aware of player's exploiting the hallucination ability by standing near water to prevent the AI from spawning. Luckily for us, we never decided that the only hallucination a dilophosaurus could spawn was another dilophosaurus. Standing near water could prove to be far worse than out in the open in future. 😉

Herrerasaurus
  • The hunger drain for herrerasaurus was dropping far faster than its nutrients did. This has been addressed, so that the player does not find themselves in an awkward position of needing to eat to avoid starving but being forced to take on a nutrient that they did not wish to consume.

  • Herrerasaurus' mobility in trees feels far too slow for the average player to ambush from. Locomotion adjustments while clinging to a surface are currently underway.

  • There are a number of trees that are deceiving at the moment on whether or not they can be rested on and will be getting updated collision or visuals.


  • We have a solution ready for the pterodactylus AI knocking herrerasaurus out of trees that will be implemented in the next update.

  • The "latch" icon when aiming towards a water source causes it to go beneath the water. We will be adjusting it so that the icon collides with the water plane, making it easier for players to aim their drop attack.

  • Herrerasaurus ambush attack animations (and the fallover bug) were causing players to be locked in place, effectively punishing them for playing the herrerasaurus correctly. This has since been resolved.

  • The directional attack currently feels unreliable due to the nature of the animation, causing players to miss smaller targets. We will be looking into adjusting this.


KissenKitten - Producer
It's good to be back. This month has been heavily focused on bugs, meetings and more bugs. But it has also consisted of a lot of continued R&D and production of new playables and interactions. So far things have been going well on that front but there's no rest for the weary.

I'll focus a bit on playables for this devblog. Thus far we've been moving along at a nice pace in getting the tyrannosaurus, triceratops and maiasaura functional. Tyrannosaurus and triceratops are on pace with one another development wise. Pretty much being as evenly matched in production as they're likely to be in-game. Once spar testing for diabloceratops is solid, the giants will get their sparring animations done and then they can battle it out in testing before we unleash them upon you.

For the sake of interest, I'll explain a bit of how things work when we're introducing a new playable. Particularly one that is a legacy port. Maiasaura is the first hadrosaur coming to Evrima and due to that, it is likely to set the stage for what to expect out of a hadrosaur. We start with concept art, design discussions and multiple prototypes to get a feel for the character then out of those discussions emerge the core thematics we want to explore.

For example, stances and what they mean for the maiasaura and what they mean, if anything, for the family at large which includes the parasaurolophus, shantungosaurus and eventually corythosaurus. We also need to decide what stances mean for the other playables as well. To understand how they will function if they have stances of their own and understand how they will fare against an opponent that has a stance when they don't have one.

When a new creature is being worked on, these exploratory discussions and prototypes help us unearth what we can and cannot do as well as what we want to and don't want to do. Often those are all very different. We also decide how far we plan to push the characterization, gameplay and mechanics forward and how possible it all is with the time and resources we have and also when to execute on them.

Hadrosaurs are largely depicted as little more than walking lunch boxes. Lacking horns, a sharp beak or noteworthy claws. They are pretty much just mass. However, that doesn't prevent us from delving into abilities that allow these animals to mount a sufficient defense against the other inhabitants on The Isle without them feeling generic or low effort. All animals are interesting and hadrosaurs being one of the most iconic families of all dinosaurs should be no exception.

Here's an example of what a bipedal stance for maiasaura may look like and what attacks and abilities performed when in this state may be like. Things like flailing kicks, stomps and throwing a little weight around as well as reviving legacy concepts of greater speed during a bipedal stance vs a quadrupedal stance.

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Some examples of what the quadrupedal stance may allow us to do. From headbutts, stamps and more.

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