December & January Recap - Simulating Roles
Hi there, dear backers!
A lot happens in two months! Not only did the year change, we made a lot of good progress in Pine. As usual, in 2018 we’ll keep you up to date with what we’re doing – here’s what we did in December and January!
We launched the Fall Demo to Falconer tier backers and up!
Mid-December we thought it was finally time to fling the latest build of Pine into the world and gather some feedback. Feedback we got – you wrote over 30 full pages (!) of feedback for us on trading, movement, combat and more. Thanks so much for that!
We’re also really glad that pretty much all testers really liked it – more than we expected! It sure has some rough edges, but traversing the world, exploring and gathering seemed to be good for everyone. We got a lot of positive comments on trading, while combat was definitely roughest with a lot of amazing feedback in that area. Time to work on that some more soon!
Swimming across Albamare
An important part of traversal was still missing from the demo, and that’s swimming! To prove that it’s coming, check out this cool swimming animation.
The main quest was laid out, with some character work already done
We’re getting really pumped about the main story of Pine, which guides you through the island and gives you a real purpose to spend enough time with the species you want to appeal to. There’s also a bunch of characters you meet – one of which sits on these Alpafants, fully packed:
The dunes have been blocked out and shaped
The Dry Bay, Arid Canyon and Dusty Springs are important areas on the Eastern side of Albamare. It’s a bit dry, but still a very fruitful area for completely different types of vegetation and food. Check out some progress:
Roles and Goal Oriented Action Planning
By FAR the biggest task of the past two months is a really important one to highlight. It’s an ongoing process, but definitely at the core of the game. We decided to revamp the way we think about our simulation and implement a system often seen in bigger games – goal oriented action planning. It’s a structure of algorithms that decides the species’ actions in the simulation, while allowing for interruptions and different ways of execution.
For Pine, it’s an extremely efficient and solid base for guiding all these organisms to a goal through several sensible actions.
To match this system with a sensible design, we looked more into something we call roles. Organisms of a tribe will have a role, something to do for the tribe, which they pick up at their chief’s house. Once the role is collected, they perform whatever it is they have to do. We want that to be very visible to players, so we’re creating outfits and animations that match their roles. Here’s a Litter-trader:
Here’s a scouting Cariblin:
To ensure this system works well for a lot of organisms, we’re loading everything asynchronously, which basically means some organisms will be waiting/queued while others already start their tasks. Because this is Pine, we’re visualizing that too – species could be thinking about their next actions!
Lastly, progress has been made on the Gobbledew!
We’re getting very happy with Albamare’s latest species, which you named during the Kickstarter! We’ve done a lot of iterations, and constantly looked at their backstory – as we have one for every species – and ended up with a Greek/Egyptian Aristocrat style for their appearance and architecture. Check it out!
We’re currently working towards more important updates, including another new species, a long-awaited update on the Human character and a production update – more on that soon! For now, we’ll go back to dev-ing away on Albamare. It’s shaping up to become quite special indeed.
The Pine team