Pine Monthly Recap May - More to Do

06-06-2018 Posted in Development Blogs

Hey all!

We are eager to share some cool stuff we worked on last month, and to tell you all about where we’re headed.

We are now deepening out the final player mechanic, which means there’s gonna be more to do for the player. This is essential when building the questing system, so that we know exactly what options the player has. This is all building towards the content alpha milestone, which concludes our alpha phase at the end of this month.

Here are some highlights!

Puzzling in Vaults

An important part of the main quest comes in the form of Vaults, small designated areas filled with puzzles that hold the Outfindings (important tools). We’ve been working hard on our trigger systems, grabbable system and cutscene systems to fill the Vault blockouts with cool puzzles and interesting gameplay. We don’t want to spoil too much, but here’s a quick glimpse at the Dry Bay Tower (with work-in-progress visuals), one of the three!

New interns!

Give a warm welcome to Andréa and Félix, our new environment art and programming interns! They joined the ranks to make awesome art and tech for Pine.

Food Pinning

A much requested feature in the game also made it in: food pinning! We didn’t like it much that you could eat in your pause menu, which takes you out of the game completely. With species also taking food ingame, we thought it only fair to give the player the same option. Check out the top left here:

Testing “energy” and Mixtures

A bit of an interesting thing we decided to try out is an energy mechanic. A very specific goal we had for this is that it was vital to not make it a grind, or feel like a survival mechanic. However, the purpose of it made it worth trying: we want to place the player in the simulation more. As species have to find food and rest all the time, it might be good if the player gets a sense of that loop too. There are a few states:

The changes made by the energy system are very subtle: jump height tweaks, running speed, sprint time, attack time, etc. By eating foods, you can regain energy (or even drain it as a tradeoff for health), and we’re also implementing a resting mechanic soon to let time of day pass too (mockup):

We’re currently testing out how it works. The last thing we want is to make it feel like a stamina system, or to make it too intrusive. It might not work out, but playtests will have to point that out.
To boost up your energy even more, we also conceived the idea of Mixtures: potion-like consumables that can grant temporary status effects or boost your health or energy. Players craft these and can use them in preparation of situations ahead. More soon!

The swamps are getting denser

As one of the last areas that needed a lot of assets and setdressing is the swamps – specifically, the Soggy Fields! In May we took to fill that up, and it’s getting quite dense.

There are quite a few new trees for this, as you can see in the previous blog. Next step is adding water over the surface, and adding a lot of this ground vegetation!

About the planning

Lastly, it’s time to give some less joyful news: now that we have planned the whole project out to the end, it’s clear to us that a Q4 2018 release for Pine is too ambitious. We’d like to take a bit more time to round things up better and give you a better game as a result. This is no huge surprise to us: the estimate made during the time of the Kickstarter was a rough one, with a lot of question marks about the content still. Also thanks to your feedback, the game has gotten a lot better and more focused since, so the end result will definitely be better for it. We hope you understand!

Importantly, we aren’t pushing the game back much – but more on that soon. In the upcoming month we’ll have a big announcement, so we’re really excited to share that soon. Here's a hint of what is included...

As always, all feedback, questions and comments are welcome. Feel free to reach out through pine[at], on IndieDB, on Reddit, on our Discord server, Facebook or Twitter.