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An open-world action adventure game set in a simulated world that does not belong to humans.
An open-world action adventure game set in a simulated world that does not belong to humans.
4,091 backers pledged €121,480 to help bring this project to life.

May Recap - More to Do

Posted by Twirlbound (Creator)

Hey, dear backers!

Once again we are eager to share some cool stuff we worked on last month, and to tell you all about where we’re headed.  

We are now deepening out the final player mechanic, which means there’s gonna be more to do for the player. This is essential when building the questing system, so that we know exactly what options the player has. This is all building towards the content alpha milestone, which concludes our alpha phase at the end of this month.

Here are some highlights!

Puzzling in Vaults

An important part of the main quest comes in the form of Vaults, small designated areas filled with puzzles that hold the Outfindings (important tools). We’ve been working hard on our trigger systems, grabbable system and cutscene systems to fill the Vault blockouts with cool puzzles and interesting gameplay. We don’t want to spoil too much, but here’s a quick glimpse at the Dry Bay Tower (with work-in-progress visuals), one of the three!

New interns!

Give a warm welcome to Andréa and Félix, our new environment art and programming interns! They joined the ranks to make awesome art and tech for Pine.

Food pinning

A much requested feature in the game also made it in: food pinning! We didn’t like it much that you could eat in your pause menu, which takes you out of the game completely. With species also taking food ingame, we thought it only fair to give the player the same option. Check out the top left here:

Testing "energy" and Mixtures

A bit of an interesting thing we decided to try out is an energy mechanic. A very specific goal we had for this is that it was vital to not make it a grind, or feel like a survival mechanic. However, the purpose of it made it worth trying: we want to place the player in the simulation more. As species have to find food and rest all the time, it might be good if the player gets a sense of that loop too. There are a few states:

The changes made by the energy system are very subtle: jump height tweaks, running speed, sprint time, attack time, etc. By eating foods, you can regain energy (or even drain it as a tradeoff for health), and we’re also implementing a resting mechanic soon to let time of day pass too.

We’re currently testing out how it works. The last thing we want is to make it feel like a stamina system, or to make it too intrusive. It might not work out, but playtests will have to point that out.  

To boost up your energy even more, we also conceived the idea of Mixtures: potion-like consumables that can grant temporary status effects or boost your health or energy. Players craft these and can use them in preparation of situations ahead. More soon!

The swamps are getting denser

As one of the last areas that needed a lot of assets and setdressing is the swamps – specifically, the Soggy Fields! In May we took to fill that up, and it’s getting quite dense.

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 There are quite a few new trees for this:

 Next step is adding water over the surface, and adding a lot of this ground vegetation!

About the planning

Lastly, it’s time to give some less joyful news: now that we have planned the whole project out to the end, it’s clear to us that a Q4 2018 release for Pine is too ambitious. We’d like to take a bit more time to round things up better and give you a better game as a result. This is no huge surprise to us: the estimate made during the time of the Kickstarter was a rough one, with a lot of question marks about the content still. Also thanks to your feedback, the game has gotten a lot better and more focused since, so the end result will definitely be better for it. We hope you understand!

Importantly, we aren’t pushing the game back much – but more on that soon. In the upcoming month we’ll have a big announcement, so we’re really excited to share that soon. Here’s a hint of part of it…

As always, all feedback, questions and comments are welcome. Feel free to reach out through pine[at], on IndieDB, on Reddit, on our Discord server, Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for sticking with us! Love,

The Pine team

Brent, Dyonne Puts, and 54 more people like this update.


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    1. Tom van der Spek

      Again a very nice update! It looks like that this game is even beautiful if you only look around on this island and say to everyone you meet: "Hi, hello! Don't worry about me, I am only walking a bit!"
      And take all time you need, I am not impatient. Make Pine even more beautiful as it is already!

    2. amigacooke on

      A video game that misses its estimated date is so common that you can only draw the conclusion that developers are scared to put in a more realistic time frame from the start.

    3. Twirlbound Creator on

      @Time Warden: Not quite... a bit simpler than that! Check out some previous devblogs for hints. :D

      @Flatfingers: Thank you so much for those thoughtful comments! Allow me to briefly reply to them.
      1. For sure! We have locked everything to do a while ago and hopefully will maintain the pace and current spacing in our planning. Indeed, a lot of small things pop up when multiplying systems in particular. But we now know what to make and are locking that down!
      2. Very nice way of putting it, and that's exactly what we're afraid of. As Lars mentions too though, we want the energy system to be a way of preparing yourself for something you see, and act as a bonus, rather than a punishment for exploring. Nonetheless we do see the risk and will carefully examine if it works!
      3. Duly noted. Same as with the energy system we hope to see the wanted behavior from players, which is not that they're constantly hunting for this, but do appreciate that they can prepare in certain ways. If anything, it should be a layer for players to learn that they can influence something more effectively through preparation in the core loop, rather than it being an exploration goal on its own. We'll keep you posted! And thanks again :)

      @Lars: Thank you! Very good to hear. :)

    4. Lars Hoffmann

      Take your time! Nothing is worse than a "could be cool if polished"-game. And Pine looks to good to fall in that direction.
      The energy-system looks promising. I specially like the intention of: "if you don't want to, you don't have to. It just provides you a bonus." (Like Yakuza 6) And I really like to hear, that you are testing that mechanic to the bone.
      The swamp looks really good. The light, gras an trees. Reminds me of The Witcher 2.

    5. Flatfingers on

      Another very nice update. Thank you for these!

      Overall you seem to be making progress toward specific, defined milestones. That's the main thing; Kickstarter project estimates are understood to be SWAGs. ;) That said, some minor thoughts:

      1. Making a game of any size usually generates a lot of tasks that weren't obvious when you started. Very systemic games, that support interactions between systems, produce even more of these "whoops, one more thing!" moments. So it's particularly important in games like this to keep a hard limit on "wouldn't it be cool if..." feature additions. Unexpected systemic tasks plus feature creep are the shortest path to a badly broken release schedule. I generally like the features you've announced, and there does need to be some room to incorporate good ideas as you go... but as you get closer to alpha, it's ever more important to say "no" and stick to it. If you're doing that, I'm happy.

      2. "Energy" systems tend to work against the fun of exploration-oriented games. If your goal is to encourage exploration, then it's important not to add features that interrupt the perceive-hypothesize-test loop that is what's fun about discovery... but interrupting this kind of fun is exactly what survival-like features tend to do, no matter how cool they seem to gamers (and game developers) who enjoy excitement fun more than exploratory fun. (Minecraft is not an exception to this; exploration can be maximized by turning on Peaceful mode.) You've said the energy concept is tentative based on playtest reactions, so let's see if your test results agree with my comments or not.

      3. I'm really not sure about Mixtures, which from your description is clearly just your word for buffs. Buffs are the crack cocaine of computer games: eventually some players get addicted and spend all their time looking for materials to score their next hit instead of just _playing the game_. Again, this is the kind of feature that sounds nice from an excitement-fun perspective but that in reality interferes with exploration-fun. *Finding* materials to craft situationally useful objects is nice; *feeling like you must hunt for* necessary materials is disruptive to the enjoyment of exploring an interesting world.

      Again, overall this latest update describes some very cool features and plans. My comments here are just some minor (though not irrelevant) observations. Continued good luck to the Twirlbound team!

    6. Time Warden on

      Looks like an alternate main character, or a co-op partner.

    7. Twirlbound Creator on

      @Guerric: Thank you! Awesome to hear.

      @Mark: That's lovely to hear. We've been super lucky with our backers as well, you are all too kind. :)

    8. Mark Shaskey

      Definitely excited for this one and glad to see that good progress is being made. I'd definitely rather see the fully envisioned game come out when it's ready rather than meeting an arbitrary deadline. The potential for this game is very high and short changing it for the sake of a few months isn't worth it. The team has been consistently providing awesome updates and following a clear roadmap, I think that's what keeps most backers happy through the process. We want the game to be successful and awesome just like Twirlbound does.

    9. Guerric Haché

      The game is looking wonderful! I especially love the look of the swamp, you're doing some really quite varied environments. Pine is high on my list of games I'm looking forward to!

    10. Twirlbound Creator on

      Thank you, all!

      @Candy: close, but keep guessing!

    11. Candy Beauchamp

      Ooohhhh... female Hue??

    12. Missing avatar

      Dyonne Puts on

      I'm glad to hear you're taking the time to finish the game the way you want it, instead of rushing for the estimated release date! The energy feature sounds like a very nice addition to the game, and the swamp vegetation is looking great! I'm looking forward to this big announcement :)

    13. Kevin on

      Every months update is a joy to read and see. Can't wait!