February Recap - A Tapestry of Growth
With a lot of cool Pine content waiting to be implemented, we’ve been spending just a bit more time on our intricate low-level simulation systems in February again. It’s shaping up to be an extremely sophisticated system of commanders, organisms and performance-considerate calculations, and we are making sure it supports Pine’s full experience well. Here are some highlights of what we did this month!
Villages and villagers have become more intelligent and organized
By far our biggest challenge this month was to work on commanding villagers (the species) to do the proper things in proper company, while making villages look AND work dynamically. Quite a handful of considerations!
On the visual side, we’re now allowing our artists and designers to place points of interest, place ‘potential’ sockets and dynamic fencing around different tiers of villagers. This all combines in our dynamic ‘slot system’, where we basically indicate ‘potential’ village layouts and let the system do the rest based on species, location, tier, wealth and more. Variation everywhere!
Organisms now gather in groups, wait for each other and the village defines tasks for each. You can have a gathering group with a few traders, or a trading group with a couple of ‘soldiers’ to defend them.
On a much larger scale, we’re working on optimized, low-level simulation that runs in the background. This is perhaps the most intricate step – bringing the organisms you can see and feel to a data-driven level where battles, trades and affinities play out, even without your involvement. We’re happy to say that step is going well, and we’re managing a low-cost layer of simulation to be playing at all times, on the whole island!
This remains a behemoth task that we’ll work on lightly in parallel for the rest of development, but we are making sure to get the basics down now.
More options for species, balancing them against the player
We’ve re-evaluated the options that species have with regards to player interaction and traversal, and decided to add a few basic actions to each of them in order to balance things out a bit. This includes a jump…
…and throwing small pebbles at the player when they’re in an unreachable position, like on top of a house.
We’ve been testing cinematic and cutscene logic
For story-related events and smaller cutscenes, we’ve been testing how the logic would be in Unity, also in combination with our animation-heavy 3D models. Turns out it’s extremely quick using Unity’s new Timeline and Cinemachine features!
The Gobbledew is being animated
We’re making good progress on the Gobbledew’s behavior and animations.
We've moved offices!
Twirlbound moved into a new space after an opportunity arose, and we took it with both hands. Our small office didn’t allow for any expansions to the team, so luckily we can now get a bit more help on Pine and even move freely in between working!
We have an Instagram account now!
If you’re one of the millions of people to scroll through Instagram every day, we have some good news: you can now get updates through there as well!
We’ve done much more than that behind the scenes – as always, we have the weekly blog to share a bit more of that. We’re also still working on a few things we want to keep a secret for a little while longer – exciting things that will really make the experience more worthwhile for a lot of players. The upcoming month will be an interesting and important one!