About this project
As lifelong dinosaur enthusiasts and gamers, there has never been a video game that lives up to all that we know about real dinosaurs. A game that merges scientific knowledge and entertainment in a way that appeals to both dinosaur enthusiasts and the general public. The only way a game such as this could happen was if we came together and made it ourselves. We named our project Saurian, and now we need your help to make it reality.
Saurian is an open world survival video game being developed for PC and Mac. Our goal is providing the most captivating and scientifically accurate prehistoric experience yet developed: living the life of a dinosaur. Players will take control of several extinct species in their natural environment and attempt to survive from hatchling to adult. Staying alive means managing physical needs while avoiding predators and natural hazards in an open world landscape reflecting up-to-date scientific knowledge of the Hell Creek ecosystem of 66 million years ago.
Saurian’s ultimate goal is to educate the public about the significant and expanding knowledge science is uncovering about dinosaurs, the lives they led and the world they existed in. We want the player to absorb this knowledge while they play the game; learning by doing without ever feeling like they are being educated. The public perception of dinosaurs is heavily influenced by pop culture that increasingly references itself rather than the accumulating knowledge that scientists and researchers continue to gather about these fascinating animals. Our intent with Saurian is to let fossil evidence, peer reviewed science and consultation with leading experts inform our game design. This decision has already proven highly influential; new scientific studies have revealed key aspects of each animal's behaviors and lifestyle that offer the potential to enhance gameplay. As an example, Raptor Prey Restraint (RPR) hypothesis increasingly appears to be a key component to understanding the anatomy and hunting behavior of raptor-like theropods. Indirectly, our approach also challenges the common perception that “real” dinosaurs and games based on unembellished scientific data are not interesting or fun to play.
We pride ourselves on our scientific rigor. We have engaged in extensive research utilizing both the scientific literature and consultation with leading experts, including Robert DePalma, Dr.Victoria Arbour, Dr. Denver Fowler, Dr. John R. Hutchinson, Dr. Matt Wedel, and Dr. Gregory Wilson. As a result, the mass, locomotion speed, jumping capabilities, and turning ratios of all the dinosaurs in Saurian are based on data and research. Skin texture and pattern in some cases are based on direct observation of fossilized skin. Even the animal’s color are based on their inferred ability to metabolize and generate certain pigments. Whenever possible, all aspects of Saurian have been vetted to ensure our animals and their world is up to date with the cutting edge of scientific knowledge.
Play as Dakotaraptor, Pachycephalosaurus, Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops and advance through multiple distinct life stages. Survive from hatchling to adult, each stage presenting its own unique challenges based on your growth and development.
Saurian invites you to experience diverse survival challenges, expansive open world adventures and the amazing experience of living the lives of dinosaurs. The core of Saurian's gameplay is managing your stamina, thirst and hunger without falling victim to the unrelenting environment or becoming another animal's lunch. Players will need to draw upon a variety of skills and abilities to survive; mastering Dakotaraptor's grapple and pounce to subdue combative prey, avoiding the sharp eyes and bone crushing jaws of Tyrannosaurus rex, and tracking potential predators and prey with keen senses. With our dedication to scientific accuracy, we have created an immersive and engaging experience like no other game you have ever played before.
From the shores of the Western Interior Seaway to the tangled waterways, cypress swamps, open woodlands and towering conifer forests, we’ve recreated a portion of the South Dakota’s Hell Creek Formation of 66 million years ago entirely from the available fossil record. Explore this historically astounding open world while encountering the many species of dinosaur and other Mesozoic creatures that prowl the thickets to learn your place in the food chain.
The player is not the center of the brutal Saurian universe. As in reality, every creature dwelling in the forest is trying to survive a thriving simulated ecosystem. The animals’ AI tethers them to the same challenges and survival needs as the player, adding a dynamic balance of priorities between the varying species. Other dinosaurs will fight or flee from you depending on what will best aid their survival. We suggest you do the same.
Saurian is a passion project. All of us are here first and foremost because we believe in the potential of Saurian as both an educational tool and an entertaining game. There are far less challenging and cheaper prospects to pursue if making large sums of money were our primary goal. It has taken us the better part of 3 years to push development to this point, working unpaid in our free time. All of us have invested substantial sums of our own money as well, to cover development costs up to this point. Our primary obstacle to completing Saurian has now become work time, and to overcome that, we need funding to allow team members to free more of their time for Saurian without putting themselves at financial risk. You can find a detailed breakdown of how Kickstarter funds will be spent below:
A successful Kickstarter will enable us to push Saurian’s development to the point that we will be ready for a Steam Early Access release. We recognize that some games in Early Access have a reputation for being unpolished, buggy and lacking in content. On Early Access release, our intent is to provide the public with:
- A fully realized game world featuring polished, final game assets
- One feature complete dinosaur (Dakotaraptor), fully playable from hatchling to adult
- A vibrant, functioning AI ecosystem
- Pre-release and ongoing optimization efforts to ensure maximum access
We will not consider entering Early Access until we can guarantee this list. We feel that an early access release allows us to mount a realistic, achievable Kickstarter campaign that will fully cover the core of Saurian’s gameplay and features. We will then be able to utilize income from sales to continue pushing Saurian to completion.
Risks and challenges
As a crowd-funded indie project, there will undeniably be unseen challenges during the course of development. Not all problems that will arise will result in delays or setbacks, but there is always the chance of something more dire that will rear its ugly head. While these delays are undoubtedly frustrating, both for funders and developers, a benefit of being a crowd-funded indie project is that we have no producer to answer to. We can focus on bringing the core features that we promise at the cost of a minor delay, rather than sacrificing those features and systems to meet an arbitrary deadline. Saurian has always been a project that has focused on quality; we want to do it well, do it right, and make a high-quality product.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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