Some time in the making, this is our biggest feature release for the game thus far and focusses on expanding gameplay, polishing the experience to allow for more immersion, and adding more opportunities for interaction with the world.
Sound, graphics, gameplay, there's improvements in every domain with this patch. Read on for all the details.
A couple PSAs before we start off
❗ Disconnection issues
We're aware of and monitoring an issue where folks sometimes get disconnected by the server. We're running with increased logging to track this down. If it happens to you, please report it in the discord with the server you were on and a timestamp when it happened.
❗ Emote wheels for Allosaurus and Parasaurolophus
The radial emote wheels for the new playables are still missing and are coming shortly. Meanwhile use the various shortcuts for your calls.
❗ Turn in place
Turn in place did not work out yet as well as we wanted to, and we recommend for now to turn it off in the controls.
❗ Server owners: reset your world config
For server owners, we recommend resetting your world json config for this patch, a lot changed and it would be best to regenerate it.
Allosaurus has been added as a medium sized predator. Rend your foes with your claws, or tear them to pieces with your bite.
Parasaurolophus and herbivore gameplay
The patch also introduces herbivore gameplay to the game. The first herbivore— Parasaurolophus—is able to smell foliage fields that have blooming flowers, and sustain themselves on the plant matter. The foliage rotates through different fields on the map, decaying over time and forcing players to migrate between them.
We're still working on finetuning this new gameplay mode as we build on the foundation the patch lays.
The old smell system had to be overhauled to integrate it further with gameplay while maintaining acceptable performance. The set-up is still being iterated on, we're aiming to make it bring back the more natural feel of the old system, while retaining the new improvements to clarity, trail diversity, and performance.
To sum up, the main changes are:
- Performance and clarity improvements
- You can now track over a much longer distance
- Scent trails for AI and other players now conform to the path they walked, instead of pointing directly towards them.
- Going into water breaks the scent trail for a little while, and you'll need to find a fresh trail after crossing yourself.
- You can now also track team members through scent (with a light pinkish colour). Note that scent points directly towards team members, and is not interruptible by natural barriers such as waterways.
- Your team's nest is now also smellable, displayed as a yellow colour.
As detailed in the last blog post, the old map has been replaced with a new map. We've built it from the ground up with all the lessons learned from the first map.
A basic implementation of temperature gameplay effects also makes its introduction with this patch. The system is still unsophisticated and not very involved, but you'll notice some areas of the map are too hot or too cold for your animal. This lays the groundwork for more in-depth systems in the future.
Character control & locomotion
Smoothing out character control is one of our highest priorities and this patch brings a couple improvements. Beyond various bugfixes and general polish for the character handling, there's new locomotion audio (detailed below) and we've now also added terrain alignment, meaning characters will conform better to the terrain it below their feet.
There are also new dynamic camera effects such as a slight movement bob, shakes, and fov changes. In case these make you feel uneasy, this feature is off my default for the moment and opt-in through the controls menu.
The turn in place and its accompanying movement mode have gotten its share of fixes and polish, but we felt it's still not entirely there so we've reverted the default to the old movement mode. It can of course still be turned back on in the controls.
More to come in this area.
AI got various improvements in this patch. They no longer stop as much while fleeing (still needs some work), and correctly match the terrain now so they don't feel as floaty.
Fish and other aquatic animals are temporarily removed on official servers. We want to put these back, but they currently weren't contributing much to gameplay yet and were costing performance we wanted to spend on other things in the new map. Community servers can still choose to turn them on.
We've also added more environmental effects like birds that sit on the ground and fly away. You'll want to avoid these, unless you don't mind giving away your position. Snakes are another addition, watch out for their venomous bite!
Nesting has been simplified to remove the dirt filling step (dirt digging itself has also been disabled), and nests can now only be built on surface where you used to be able to dig. We're intending to bring this back in some fashion in a later patch.
One of the game's core pillars is providing an immersive experience and we've made big efforts with this patch to take this to the next level.
Locomotion has been improved, the audioscape has been overhauled with new locomotion audio and contextual music, and a new map with all-new biomes has arrived to explore.
Graphics got a big step up—from map detail like having actual proper trails, new foliage, volumetric fog effects, new lighting, new weather types, to smaller things like updated blood effects.
Sound & Music
Another large component of making the world feel more responsive is iterating on the game's soundscape. To do so, we've made a couple large improvements for this patch:
Transitions between ambient audio areas have been reworked and should feel a lot more natural. Ambient audio now also correctly responds to weather conditions, fading out during storms and precipitation.
The first improvement we've made is the locomotion audio. Footstep sounds (including during vaulting) have polished to make the materials feel more vibrant and impactful, and various bushes now also have interaction audio. We're iterating on this further.
Allosaurus has also gotten a dynamic breath system, that speeds up as he gets more exhausted and exerted, and calms back down as he catches his breath. This feature will also be rolled out to other characters.
Dynamic music and combat sounds
Beyond simply adding more tracks, music selection happens a bit smarter than before and is more contextually appropriate to better fit what's going on in the world. A storm feels better with dark and gloomy music, the bright rays of the early morning are a great time for some hopeful melodies to celebrate making it through the night. The track selection now responds to world location, weather, character health, and time of day. More hooks and refinements are planned.
Lastly, we've also added combat music to amp up the tension a bit.
Bugfixes and miscellaneous changes
- Hit detection fixes for strafing characters
- Various fixes and polish to locomotion
- The game now includes DLSS support
- Expanded customisation options for Deinonychus with extra patterns
- Fixed various weather audio playing underwater as if above water, now distorts. We still a couple improvements to make in this area.
- The aurora feature had to be removed during the lighting overhaul and is currently unavailable.
That wraps up the main changes for this patch!
Thank you for being here, we're excited to move into the next phase of development where we further iterate on the new features and expand gameplay even more.
Join us on the Discord for smaller, more frequent updates.