We share a summary of the past month of development on Pine, our action adventure game that evolves with you. This month was all about building Albamare, the island on which you play and where the species live.
2016 has ended. What a year we’ve had – we officially started pre-production and production on Pine, made demos, went to conferences, moved into a new office and even won awards. We made a small demo in the hope that it would catch on, and frankly, things couldn’t have gone better for Pine.
This month we thought we’d do something new. We update frequently, in a lot of places, but we can’t expect you to keep track of all that – so here’s a nifty little recap of what happened this month. Because it’s the first one, we’ll also give some context on Pine’s general status.
1. We’ve been busy with figuring out all the details and interlinking mechanics of the full game.
The Mountain Demo, which many of you have tested (for which we cannot thank you enough), was only a showcase of some basic combat and a test for our evolving AI. The rest had been on the drawing table for a long time, and now was the time to link it all together (on paper, but still).
2. Our main focus has been on building the island, Albamare.
Albamare is roughly 4km2. We’re building Pine in Unity, which has some great terrain tools, but considering our mechanics involving streaming, evolving and procedural placement, we wanted full control over everything – hence we’re building our own terrain.
It’s challenging, but we’re really getting somewhere. We have extreme control over its 16 splatmap slots, which are linked to procedurally placed grass, and with some basic elevation and lowering tools we can shape the ground for our level design needs.
We have full control over the streaming and LODding now, so that you never see a loading screen. At least, that's the idea - we're trying hard to make this happen when assets and species are loaded into the game.
3. We’ve been working on 4 of the creatures living on Albamare.
To get a really good grasp on the pipeline of making species, we decided to take on multiple different ones at the same time. It all went faster than expected – we made two species and two critters (low-level species) game-ready.
The Fexel, a fox-like species using a lot of tools and flasks:
The Krocker, a rather heavy, aggressive predator using bones and teeth:
The Alpafant, a harmless horse-like critter you can spot anywhere on the island:
The Mannoth, a huge, lonesome and almost mythical creature you’d be lucky to spot on Albamare. Hunting these down will be a real challenge.
As for that pipeline, we were positively surprised. By taking on multiple characters, everyone on the team always had an occupation, rather than waiting for animations to be complete or a model to be finished.
5. We’ve been selected to go to Casual Connect 2017 in Berlin for the Indie Prize Showcase!
We’re thrilled to show Pine to an audience as large as CC’s. See you in February?
6. Lastly, we’re announcing that 2017 will bring us two big milestones early on: we’re going to Greenlight and, more importantly, to Kickstarter.
We’re working hard on an amazing trailer for both these events, so more about this soon.
All in all, it’s a lot of core development work, rather than creating the final game experience. But that’s ok. With everything we do, we take into account scalability, production value and (of course) evolution. This makes for a solid foundation on which we can build the best game possible later down the line.