Thank you for making Prehistoric Kingdom a reality! Kickstarter campaigns can swing a lot of ways, and very few of them end in smiles. You shattered all of our expectations and sent a shockwave over the Internet announcing that Prehistoric Kingdom is going to hit the tycoon genre like a meteor. To keep the success rolling, we have even more exciting news to share! There’s a lot to cover, so get comfortable!
Our success on Kickstarter was the fundamental foundation to get Prehistoric Kingdom up and running as a project where we can pay our team for their efforts and push the game forward. Without you, our backers and fans, we wouldn’t be making this announcement today.
We are excited to announce that we are teaming up with Crytivo, a new indie publisher that is all about putting fans first and fighting against the shady business practices that are currently plaguing the industry. Alongside our Steam release and other distribution channels, we are adding our game to the Crytivo Store. The Crytivo Store only sells games that meet Crytivo’s fans-first criteria, which states that full-priced games cannot also sell microtransactions, loot boxes, or launch with impactful paid DLC (only cosmetic items). We share their views and want to show our support for all of you, just like you showed your support for us.
Crytivo will be helping us with the back-end, technical, and business side of game development – ultimately pushing us to a number of new platforms and venues that we could have only dreamt of achieving by ourselves. Because of their involvement, our consumer outreach has increased astronomically, the game will be translated into six different languages, previous fantasies like console ports aren’t entirely out of the question, we have a booth at numerous conventions, and we now have a close relationship with people that have an equal passion for the project. As developers who are also working on the fantastic Universim god-game, we couldn’t think of a better pairing! You, our backers, are what’s making this game and opportunities like this possible.
What does this mean for us? With Crytivo’s help, we know that we can make Prehistoric Kingdom even better! We also want to assure you that nothing is changing with the game’s direction. Creative control remains solely with us, along with the IP and all Kickstarter funding. With your feedback and suggestions, we’re going to make a game that’ll take the world by storm.
Crazy enough, the good news doesn’t end there. Prehistoric Kingdom is going to be at PAX South! We will be at the Crytivo booth (#10447). Stomp on by to play the Jurassic Patch early, chat with Crytivo, and forage for some free stuff. It’s going to be a great time!
If you want to learn more about Crytivo, head on over to the official site at www.crytivo.com. Our devs and those at Crytivo will love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!
So, where to?
Right now, we’re crushing bugs and trying to tame the new dinosaurs introduced with the Jurassic Patch. As this will be the final update to the pre-alpha demo (excluding bug fixes) we want to make it a special one. We will continue to support it with hotfixes and smaller patches for a little while longer, but most of our attention is going to be drawn to the full game from here on out. For now, however, let’s discuss some things!
Firstly – optimisation!
The heavy hitter at the moment is foliage and trees. While the current foliage lineup is very modest with polycount, LODs, and billboards, the problem itself lies within the Unity engine and how it handles rendering. Thankfully, we have found a solution that we will be implementing post-Jurassic Patch to help keep performance high in the future. While we experiment and work with this new system, however, we urge users to play around with the graphical settings (particularly shadows and mesh quality) to reduce any immediate issues once the Jurassic Patch drops.
Secondly – game design and development.
As much as we love the animals, a functional and interesting game is paramount to us. At the moment we’re drafting up the first iteration of the game’s core management and creative features so that production isn’t hindered by any conceptual roadblocks that can arise from a lack of effective planning. So far we are pleased with the direction of the project and can’t wait to sink our teeth into the essential parts of Prehistoric Kingdom’s building and zoo management experience – beginning with some creative tool overhauls and the introduction of basic management.
We’re expecting the alpha development phase to be quite lengthy, so if we do go quiet for a little while, don’t fret! The team is extremely active on our Discord server and interact with the community on a daily basis.
Thirdly – backers.
We will begin creating private channels on our Discord server to organise backers and their requests once funding has been received from Kickstarter. Rewards not relating to a copy of the game, beta, or alpha will be fulfilled after our Early Access release for the sake of time management and efficiency. Special request tiers can be discussed with developers and noted, but also will not be completed until after launch. This was stated on our Kickstarter page, but it is worth reiterating for maximum transparency.
Last post we revealed the new Nursery menu and had some great feedback regarding the layout and design. To continue our push for a more user-friendly experience, we’ve gone back and gave a few of the important panels some much-needed loving. To start, let’s take a look at the brand new Animal Selection window:
As you can see, there are now two additional panels viewable per animal; habitat, and statistics! The habitat window provides a summary of the requirements of the selected animal in its current exhibit, as well as the current enclosure name, whereas the statistics panel shows a detailed report of a species breeding age and an individual’s real time stats like length and weight.
These are especially useful when designing the perfect paddock for a creature! If you’re having difficulty with figuring out what a creature needs, the toggleable suggestions window can be a literal lifesaver. And to top it all off, the little arrows at the top let you switch between animals of the same species quickly!
One of the biggest issues we saw from fans playing the demo was a lack of feedback when pausing the game. As some of the systems depend on the game’s “time” not being paused (e.g. animal breeding and terraforming), this lead to some confusion amongst players. To reduce this, we’ve added an automatic pop-up and red-outline to the screen when a user has paused the game.
Looking at the full-game, there’s a lot of UI that needs to be designed. Starting off simply, we’ll be touching up the main HUD to allow for future functionality and user feedback. You can see the current design for yourself above, complete with a handy little breakdown!
It isn’t too much of a departure from the current layout as we know that a lot of players find it relatively simple to use. With that said, we won’t be integrating this design with the demo as it’s not needed just yet, but be sure to be on the lookout for it in the future!
Likewise, we’ve also started making concepts for a few of our “quality of life” features that’ll be worked on during development.
Camera Mode is an optional tool dedicated to – quite obviously – screenshots! This small but welcomed feature has been an enjoyable aspect of zoo games in the past, and we are happy to offer this to players in Prehistoric Kingdom. Although you won’t be wrangling loose critters with it, the goal here is to offer in-game tools that allow users to show off their park, animals, and designs in the best looking way possible without having to jump into photo editing software. Photography missions, anyone?
Now, how about animals? At a distance, it may be hard to tell what a creature is doing without clicking on it or watching it chase after tiny, defenceless humans. Thankfully, Animal Moods™ are easily viewable with the push of a button!
This design is expected to change drastically when we’re able to experiment more in-engine, but it’s a start! You can see an extremely early version of this in the demo by holding down the ‘C’ key – displaying an animal’s name from a distance. Eventually this will display a similar graphic to the image above, highlighting the current activity and mood.
For those who may have missed updates during our Kickstarter campaign, here’s a brief overview of everything that we had previously covered and shown off.
Foliage and Color Update
Mediterranean Island Improvements
Soundtrack (Demo Music + More)
It’s been quite some time since we did one of these! However, as always, the community has created some standout designs and screenshots since we launched the pre-alpha demo.
And to tease you all just a little more, take a lot at these floating islands made in the Jurassic Patch by one of our testers!
We are incredibly thankful to each and every one of our fans who have supported us during Kickstarter and since our beginnings back in 2014. While we prepare for PAX, make a trailer, and add some sprinkles to the Jurassic Patch, it is time to reflect on how much the game has grown and how vastly the community has expanded. Our team’s skills have improved, and we grow increasingly excited for the future every day. With support from Crytivo and our backers by our side, the sky’s the limit.
Thank you. <3
The PK Dev Team.