Ask a Developer Answers #1
With all the confusion in the past, what is the process of skin development and addition to the game, including the relevancy of Trello, Trello voting, and why certain skins do not make it?
So far we’ve given skin designers like Jurassic4Life and Senoba full autonomy when it comes to making skins. We’ve put a few restrictions on them- like making sure their overlay and mask textures are of a certain size or not using too many shader features at once (For example, the pattern system + hue shifting). We also encourage occasional variants to cut down on texture memory.
Trello voting combined with the comments give us a general idea on the popularity of a skin which influences our choices on rarity. Originally I chose the rarities almost arbitrarily, which resulted in poor feedback from the community. Since then I’ve consulted with several people in the community to refine my rarity choices.
The other thing that impacts the rarity choices is rarity distribution. This is especially important because of crafting- If the Novaraptor has 8 rare skins but 4 uncommon skins, we need to start filling in the uncommons.
Secondly, will Trello be more maintained, in consideration some skins come out much different than what we’ve seen before?
In some cases this comes down to perception, in other cases it’s last minute tweaks. For example, a few of the Christmas skins were seen as “cartoony” and were tweaked a bit before launch based on that feedback.
In a lot of cases though, I think this comes down to the way skins and the icons are taken. If a skin artist shows off a skin on Utility Base or Docks (Where the sun has a distinct orange tint to it) it can look very different from a shot of it on Forest Chasm (where the lighting is much more neutral). Additionally, the icons are taken in a special green-screen map with completely neutral lighting. That’s why the icons can look so different from the screenshots.
Finally, depending on your video option settings skins can look very different. If you’re running with lighting on low, the skin will look dramatically different from the skin artist’s screenshot.
Are old outfits/models for the humans still feasible?
Absolutely. We have 4 out of 5 of the original human skins ready to go, and we’d like to see these come out soon. Having models skinned to skeletons has always been something missing from our pipeline, and other stuff usually takes precedence over this.
How long do you guys think it will take to get different sounds for the Oviraptor, Tupandactylus, and Cryolophosaurus?
Dinosauriac has done a lot of work on these, but the problem comes down to the way we play sounds. Most of the sounds are played through animations- such as the Raptor slash sound being played at a specific time during the slash animation. In the case of the Raptor, Dilo, and Ptera- their animations are shared with the Oviraptor, Cryo, and Tupa respectively. To add in the sub-class specific sounds would mean an entire rehaul of the way we play sounds which is a considerable amount of work.
It’s still not out of the question, but it’s not our current focus right now.
Are there any plans for a universal melee weapon that all human classes can use?
It’s definitely possible. Currently the two melee weapons we have are the Stun Baton and Machete, which were meant for the Scientist and Pathfinder in the first game. We believe the community would be against having them go to any other class, so we’re going to keep it that way. There’s no reason that future melee weapons couldn’t be more generic and used by multiple classes, but it’s a decision we haven’t made yet.
Will you guys ever be interested in sound mods? (Implementing sounds from ‘Jurassic Park’ and the likes)
It’s something we’re interested in. But just like our issues with adding the sub-class sounds, this isn’t an easy task to do. In engines like Source, this was easy- if you added a sound with the same directory/name as the original in your base directory it would override it. You see funny workshop mods like the “Teletubbie” mod in L4D, where all zombies and zombie sounds are replaced with Teletubbie assets. Unfortunately stuff like this isn’t possible with Unreal Engine 3. The engine uses a package system that cooks everything down to a compressed format without a proper way of overriding the individual files.
Were the Pachycephalosaurus and Ceratosaurus removed from Trello because they are scrapped or just too early in development to warrant being there, or something else?
They aren’t completely off the table. We removed them because we recently re-structured our priorities. While we know the community would love to see more dinosaurs be added to the game, they’re probably the most resource-intensive and challenging things to add. Right now our problem isn’t new dinosaurs- it’s making the game fun and interesting to play. We think it’s a better use of time and resources to improve the existing game and classes.
In the editor mode, is it possible to implement new models as skins?
Kind of. There’s nothing stopping you from creating a model, texturing it, rigging it, and importing it into our editor. You could create cinematics with it or share it with the community. But you wouldn’t be able to create a new class and run around as that dinosaur. It’s not out of the question that we could create a method to let people do this, but it won’t work that way initially.
When it comes to creating new skins (an actual skin, not model) you won’t be able to add it to the game. You would submit it through a workshop curation system, where people vote on them and developers would be able to approve them.
Theoretically you could create a dinosaur model and submit it to curation (Maybe a cosmetic replacement to the T-Rex with feathers, for example) but in order for it to work it would need to be skinned to the respective dinosaurs skeleton. In order to do that we would have to release those skeletons publicly- which we may or may not do. We’re interested in working with individuals that have the talent, though.
Are there still plans for a secondary attack for the Tupandactylus?
We’ve experimented a bit with an air ram and a few other things. It’s something that’s always in the back of our heads, but it’s not currently on the timeline for the next couple months.
Will you ever bother with Oculus Rift at any time, maybe for a future game or something?
Unreal Engine 3 doesn’t have native Oculus support. On top of that, there’s quite a bit of work that would need to be done to give the “true” VR experience (such as fully body awareness). The dinosaurs are also third person, which has even more challenges.
Because of the rising popularity of VR, if a future game had a proper use for it and made sense then I don’t see why it wouldn’t be considered as a feature.
Will you hire a person that is focused solely on bugs/balance? Is there already one?
Hiring someone for this specific purpose doesn’t make sense right now. It’s something all the developers chip in to do.
With Open Testing and the recent Discord channel, we now have the ability to quickly get feedback and information on issues in the game. Since bugs/issues, balance, and small features has been our current focus we’ve been eliminating as many of these issues as possible.
Will we be able to put custom music or at least pick what music will play on maps made with the editor?
Yep, you can. Unlike the class sounds, the music is controlled solely by the map. A map-maker can replace all class music and even the win/lose music.
Are there any plans to increase advertisement and so on to potentially gain a larger paying audience?
Depends on what you mean by advertisement. TV ads, busstop ads, billboards and the like are far outside the financial scope of pretty much any indie developer. You only really see AAA games do this.
What we currently do is the best thing any indie company could do, and that’s contacting streamers and YouTube channels. Those platforms are the best ways of reaching gamers.
Will the currently altered skins, such as Peacock Oviraptor and Crystal-Eye Oviraptor (among others) be fixed to their original designs?
The reason why the Ovi and Tupa skins recently changed was the completion of the skin base system. Originally, skins were made by taking the original color texture (such as the default raptor skin) and using the 4-color system with a mask to get the look you wanted. This worked but obviously wasn’t perfect. Now we use a blank base with just the shape and detail of the dinosaur and use a separate 512×512 to overlay the color/pattern we want.
Here is what the Oviraptor base looks like:
And here’s what the Oviraptor Blue-Jeweled overlay looks like:
With the completion of the bases system, the original 2048×2048 Blue-Jeweled skin was removed. Quite a few of the Oviraptor skins used that texture so I did my best to fix them up. Since then I’ve refined them and they look almost identical to the originals and will be out in the next update.
If there’s still any issues with these skins, contact me or make a thread and I’ll take another pass at them.
Will most of the skins that were made from the 4-color system be remade into the new unlimited system?
Probably not. As discussed earlier in this post, we’ve had a bad habit of changing these skins after they’ve been released which pleases some and annoys others. It’s difficult if not impossible to re-make these old skins and make them look identical. Unless there is a technical problem with a skin, from now on we aren’t going to be making modifications.
Are community contests going to be a regular thing, or something that happens once in a blue moon?
We’re very interested in turning community contests into a regular event. We loved the recent art contest and it received a lot of good feedback from the community. We definitely want to look into a level design contest when the editor comes out, and the community have made several suggestions from a writing contest to a comic contest. The only thing stopping us is coming up with some enticing prizes, but we’re already working on that. I doubt the Winter Carnage Art Contest will be the last.