DinoSystem: Survival & Ecology Sim
DinoSystem: Survival & Ecology Sim
An uncompromising survival and ecological simulation inspired by games like SimLife, Don't Starve and Notrium.
An uncompromising survival and ecological simulation inspired by games like SimLife, Don't Starve and Notrium. Read more
About this project
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DinoSystem is a survival game set in a simulated ecosystem.
Every element of the world is emergent and evolves according to physical and biological rules: plants grow with sunlight and fertility, animals need for food, water, sleep and mate. Weather, temperature and day length depend on seasons. Lakes form or evaporate, and terrain become fertile or arid depending on a miriad of simulated variables.
In God mode you have complete control over the ecosystem, while in Survival mode you join the ecosystem and fight for your life.
The setting is the Hell Creek Formation (North America) during the late Cretaceous period. The game features the possibility of a massive disaster, marking the end of the age of Dinosaurs: will you survive the neverending winter?
DinoSystem will be released for PC, Mac and Linux, and, if the stretch goal is reached, it will be also ported to smartphone.
"The ability to take on the role of a human trying to survive amongst and against dinosaurs is an interesting concept – especially measured against the realism of the game world where weather, health, body temperature and physical activity will affect the growth of your character."
Simulated ecology: the game tracks everything from plants, animals and weather, to seasons and day/night cycle. All living things, and even the soil, change over time. Nothing "spawns" from nothing: kill all animals or plants of a given species, and it will become extinct.
God mode: introduce new animals, alter the weather, create barriers to isolate a species or lay destruction with calamities. See how the world adapts to your godly whishes, or set the starting rules and just watch how things evolve.
Human Survival mode: join the ecosystem as a survivor; you require to eat, drink, sleep, stay warm and protect from predators. Build a shelter, gather fruits, farm or hunt: how you survive is up to you. You'll see long-term changes to your body and skills depending on your virtual life-style, even your metabolism, body muscles and fat will adapt!
Dinosaur Survival mode (STRETCH GOAL): if the stretch goal is met, an animal mode will be implemented, with the same depth of the aforementioned survival mode, but without any technology and human activity (of course)! You'll be able to mate and pass on your genes in order to continue playing as your offspring.
Realistic temperature: the character temperature model is very realistic as everything is taken into account; from proximity to fire, being soaked, wind chill, sun exposure, and even physical activity and being idle/sleeping. Air temperature is influenced by season, time of day, weather and humidity.
Stats and skills: a dynamic, rewarding and unique skill system that allows to adapt to the things you need to do on a daily basis. Stats like strength and athletics depending on character muscle and fat mass, metabolism, weight and general condition.
Breed dinosaurs: get familiarity with the ancient beasts, learn how to handle them, steal an egg and raise your own triceratops! There is a genetic pool that each animal inherits from its parents: this generates a principle of natural selection (and thus small-scale evolution), and gives you a reason to breed a particular animal.
Open-ended gameplay: the game has no fixed purpose to fulfill. Play as long as you like, experiment, see how far you can go and how fat you can get, survive the asteroid and its aftermath, or die of dysentery and starvation! The world keeps changing and you with it.
Archivements: non-linear, open-ended gameplay doesn't mean you won't get rewarded: the game tracks your archivements as you bring your ecosystem to glory or successfully survive as part of it.
Watch how the world changes troughout 3 years of simulation:
- Lakes form and evaporate according to rain, humidity and temperature.
- Soil becomes fertile if certain conditions are met like the presence of water, organic materials, and mild temperatures.
- Aridity expands into huge deserts separating islands of lush forests and oases.
- Ice forms and melts according to temperature and snow.
Weather is not regulated by pre-determined events, but emerges from real variables like air humidity, pressure and temperature.
Weather generated by those variables are unpredictable, and its emergent nature contributes toward making the world feel real and producing different scenarios.
- Rain & snow
Fauna & flora:Plants and animals have complex life cycles. They grow, spread seeds or mate, compete, hunt, lay eggs, protect their youngs, get old, die, decompose or become food. Nothing "spawns", but everything comes from a (virtual) seed, egg, or womb.
Animals in the game represent the late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation fauna. Most of the species are dinosaurs, but there are also mammals lurking in the shadows, pterosaurs ruling the skies and anfibians ambushing underwater.
- Deinosuchus (crocodile)
- Didelphodon (mammal)
- Azhdarchid (pterosaur)
In God mode, you have direct control over the ecosystem. You can "create" the kind of world you want to live in (in Survival mode), or you can use it as a learning tool and see how predator-prey interactions work in a simulated ecosystem.
Things you can do in God mode:
- Insert, move and destroy animals, plants, water and map obstacles.
- Alter fertility/aridity of the soil (and thus its appearence).
- Alter air temperature, humidity and pressure.
- Directly alter the weather elements (rain, snow, wind etc).
- Inspect animals and watch how they survive.
- Trigger devastating calamities (hint: 12 km wide rock).
- Nutrition: calories are needed to keep you alive and active, excess calories can increase your stored fat and help you survive starvation, the process is amplified by resting/sleeping. Check this video for more info.
- Proteins: proteins are obtained from certain foods and allow to build muscle mass, if some physical work has been performed and calories intake is sufficient. The process is amplified by resting/sleeping.
- Water: keep your body regularly hydrated! You'll waste water in a myriad of ways, also by sweating...
- Fullness: how full your stomach is; you can be full and malnutrished at the same time, so what you eat is important, nutrient density/filling ratio plays an important role.
- Stamina: there are several factors that influence the rate at which you get tired, and several actions affected by your stamina level.
- Breath: capacity to run, jump, sprint, attack and generally perform physical work. Maximum breath is connected with stamina and the overall condition and body statuses.
- Health: player "life bar", which also relates to wounds and illness. The maximum health is dynamic: a healthy character not only has a full health bar, but his/her health cap is higher.
Variables influencing the character:
- Temperature: see the "player temperature" section below.
- Cover and isolation: being surrounded by roof and walls (or boulders). Player will be able to build shelters to be safer.
- Wind and sun exposure: directly related to the above status, alters temperature perceived. Being exposed to sun and wind also allows to get dry faster.
- Wetness: being under rain, into water or sweating. Reduces temperature perceived, expecially if you're exposed to wind.
- Muscle Soreness: certain physical actions increase muscle soreness, which along with resting, proteins and calories, increases the muscle mass. It also makes any physical work harder and decreases overall strength, so regular resting is essential either to be efficient and to build muscles, just like in real life.
Dynamic body features:
- Metabolism: player metabolism determines the speed at which his/her body changes over time, the metabolism becomes quicker or slower based on plenty of conditions and actions. Check here for a diagram of how metabolism works.
- Body Muscle: player muscle mass changes according to workout performed, calories intake and proteins. It affects mainly strength, weight and body shape, and helps to survive starvation by converting muscles into calories when starving (catabolism).
- Body Fat: player can get or lose fat depending on calories intake/outake and physical activity. It also affects a variety of other variables, like the body weight, shape and strength, and helps to survive starvation by converting fats into calories when starving.
- Body Weight: player has a dynamic body weight which depends on body composition; fat, muscles and stomach fullness. It affects mainly running speed, jump height and the breath consumed when moving.
- Strength: Strength determines the effectivness of some actions and the power of melee and ranged attacks. As already mentioned, it depends mainly on muscles, but it's also largely affected by your general condition.
- Gathering: the ability gather resources from plants and stone deposits.
- Butchering: the ability to collect meat, pelt and tendon from animal carcasses.
- Firemaking: the ability to light a fire.
- Crafting: the ability to craft tools or build structures.
- Zoology: the ability to assess animal stats (age, health, stamina, etc).
- Melee: the strength of melee attacks, pushback inflicted and the chance to cause bloodloss with cutting weapons.
- Ranged: the strength and accuracy of ranged attacks.
- Athletics: the character moving speed when running or sprinting, jump height and the chance to stumble when walking backwards.
- (planned) Toughness: the proficiency to endure extreme conditions and physical damage.
- (planned) Medicine: the ability to heal wounds by applying bendages or using medical herbs.
This is the temperature felt by the character, not its body temperature, so it can drop below 0°C without instantly killing you. It is related to the air temperature, but it also depends on several other factors:
- Sunlight exposure: determines the level of sunlight the character is exposed to, can be reduced by seeking cover under a roof/tree, or even better inside a shelter.
- Wetness: as already mentioned, reduces character temperature, is caused by being in water, sweating or under rain.
- Wind: as already mentioned, amplifies the decrease in temperature from Wetness, can be reduced by seeking protection near walls/boulders, or better inside a shelter.
- Physical actions: running, fighting or performing work raise your temperature. Being idle or sleeping reduces it.
- Proximity to fire: this one is a given!
- Clothes & shelters: increase temperature depending on their type and quality.
The music in DinoSystem is dynamic: there are different tracks for different situations: when the last track is ended, the game picks a track best suited for the current situation (a thunderstorm, a rainy afternoon, a quiet night, etc).
Our composer, Marty Meinerz, is extremely talented: here some samples of his current work on the DinoSystem soundtrack:
Daniele Ferraro (game designer, programmer)
- To hire a professional artist, to make DinoSystem as visually awesome as possible.
- To continue developing the game full time until its completion. Although we'll continue to expand and improve it even after the official release.
Project costs are relatively low, because we don't need money to create fancy gadgets or tons of content: one good thing about emergent gameplay is that the game mechanics themselves produce variety, not necessary additional levels, monsters and weapons.
Risks and challenges
We've reached this point with very little money, and we are extremely committed to bring this game to the highest possible level even without funding, but imagine what we can do with proper funding!
The game is already here, although not in a complete state, and some people are already having fun with it. Also, even if the team consists of few members, all the essential work (programming, design) is made by Daniel, who would NEVER quit the project, since it is his childhood dream.
Completing DinoSystem is a matter of time and quality, not a matter of "if".Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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