Pine DevBlog #40 - Gesturing and Gliding

Posted in Weekly Development Blogs

Last week we wrote about what we call domestic animation sets and how they enrich the simulation. As before, the Cariblin is our go-to species to test these out, so we've been developing a few of these to let organisms visually communicate when they're performing simulational activities. They gesture things like "come here", "look at that" and more. These work-in-progress animations are simple but add a lot already!

More work was done on the data LODing, which some of you asked about after last week's blog. It turned out to be a pretty exciting field of development that we made quite a bit of progress in. It's now at a stage where it serves the simulation well and we're excited to enrich all organisms with this system.

In this example gif we see how it works - at the highest level of detail, we engage with the organism in a 'normal' way - the body is rendered, animations play, behavior and genetic data are loaded. But if we desire so, we can bring the GameObject to a lower level of detail, where we don't draw anything and actually even remove the GameObject, while the organism and its logic are still active. We keep their positions and states active.

This is a heavy optimization when having to simulate the ecology, as species on the other side of the island can still be going about their daily lives without us having to be concerned with the visual output.

Apart from data LODing and domestic animations, we've done some more work on one of the Outfindings in the game - the soaring sail! You might have seen it in the trailer before, but we're smoothing out the process of grabbing and gliding away.

This week we also did a ton of things that are harder to show:

  • We've written the full third sidequest that will feature in this fall's Pine demo. This allowed us to explore writing in general, set up systems for dialogue and localization.

  • We've designed all required components to let Unity's new Timeline feature work with our organism systems.
    Now onto building that!

  • We've discussed a lot of our plans on items, resources, gear and weapons, to see how we can best approach developing them and categorizing them.

  • We've textured and rigged our new critter - animations soon!

  • We've added Gamepedia links to the website, which you might have noticed - they go to the official Pine wiki!

  • The Fexel village is coming along nicely - sculpting separate parts first and then assembling them in their houses.

  • Some more simulational work on Cariblins moving around villages and getting food from sources.

Until next time!

Pine DevBlog #39 - Avians and AI-LODs

Posted in Weekly Development Blogs

Another week over! Progress is still going steady, as we already mentioned in our June recap yesterday.

A good addition to the island was made in the form of this new critter! It's a concept that had been lying around for a while and was easy to make - hence we decided to move forward to add a medium-sized critter to the island, which it was sorely missing. We had the Robin as a super small critter and the Alpafant as a much bigger one, but needed something running around in packs that wasn't as large. Check it out!

This little fella can't fly - it's an alternate evolution of the dodo. We don't have a name just yet. Here's a close-up - don't you want to cuddle it? Or... kick it? Both?

We also started planning out what we call 'domestic animation sets' for the species and critters, things they could be doing within the simulation and within their villages. To kick that off, we started with a fun one - the Robin. Simple animations, but important to get right.

The simulation work is going really steady. Of course it will be a matter of balancing it as much as possible in a later stage, but for now we're confident about how it's running.

  • Last week's task system was expanded with the option to give weight and timing to tasks, so that species get a natural flow of activity

  • We're working on data LODing for species - a really important optimization that comes from the fact that you don't need a detailed 'description' of an organism if it's far away. This proved to be a difficult task but a really interesting addition to the organism system.

  • We've finally put the Cariblin back in place, so are now testing the simulation with actual animations and a 'living' being again.

Lastly, all cave terrains are now set up for further development. To be able to see what the cave looks like and where it's situated, we created an 'x-ray' material of other terrains.

Until next time!

Pine DevBlog #38 - Talks and Towers

Posted in Weekly Development Blogs

This week, as mentioned before, was all about conferences for the bigger part of the team!

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we went to Unite Europe, Unity's annual conference for developers. Lots of cool people, great talks, and a lot of information on where the engine is going. We're can't wait to get our hands on the new Timeline and Cinemachine features to sequence our world and rework our cameras.

On Friday part of the team went to INDIGO, a cool indie conference with lots of games. We played the latest works by a lot of our friends, and we met up with Valve to discuss the future of Steam and get the latest on the platform.

But some of us stayed at home - and we did a full paintover of one of the Vaults in Pine. Here's a first look at the Dry Bay Tower! It's fully designed on the inside and we're trying out different looks for the outside.

That's it for this week, until next time!

Pine DevBlog #37 - Chores and Catapults

Posted in Weekly Development Blogs

Small blog this week! There are not a lot of visual assets we want to spoil now and we're preparing for some conferences next week and in the future.

A good update on the tech-side is a refactor of some simulational systems. To make the organisms more responsive and to build them very systemically, we've improved our task system to make every organism occupied with something while keeping the possibility of interrupting those tasks. It reminds us of the task queue system in the Sims, which also allows for prioritizing and interruption.

In this simplified example we see the organism has a task/chore at hand (a simple MoveTo here), but we can manually interrupt it to prioritize another task. We do this with very little overhead, so we'll be able to simulate many organisms with individual tasks and assigned priorities across the island.

We've worked some more on the HUD design, of which you might have seen an updated version in the Kickstarter video, and we're happy with where it's going so far. We'll have to test this ingame and in different scenario's, but the basics are there (main equipments, secondary equipments, health, ammo and stamina points). It's in the top left corner of the screen.

We've also been updating some of the older weapons, aside from making all the new ones. This one should be familiar: the slingshot! It's more organic and fits the style of other items in the game much better now.

Lastly, in case you missed it: we've added a donation button to our website! Read more about it here. Any amount is helpful for us - it might just buy us a cup of coffee, and it will always make Pine a better product in the end.

Until next time!