Welcome to the July Development Update!
Over the past month, we’ve been working hard on our animal overhaul and Update 8 as a whole. In this blog post, we’ll be providing a quick status update on the release and talking about how our new AI integrates with our future plans.
To keep it brief, our biggest ongoing task is developing animal AI. We’ve got a great plan going behind the scenes, and quite a bit of the data side has seen a lot of work. For those unfamiliar, this is going to be an expansive and highly dynamic tree of decision making that needs to support future content like hunting, fighting and the potential for more behaviors.
Rather than incredibly discrete, rigid behaviors, this new AI figures out the best action to take by using its Brain™.
The “brain” manages an animal’s physical needs (hunger, thirst, temperature, etc.) against its emotional needs (contentment, boredom, fear, sociality), leaving a lot of room for emergent behaviors as we add more complex features in the future.
For example, perhaps a freezing Triceratops (low temperature!) may try to fight a T. rex out of desperation (low contentment + high fear!) to get to the nearby heater. In any other circumstance with high contentment, maybe the Triceratops would avoid a T. rex.
Mockup: animal fighting is not planned for Update 8!
In this iteration of the animals, a huge amount of effort has been put into improving performance over the old AI while making it more dynamic. These new animals will run better, think quicker and make far better use of your hardware.
After Update 8 is shipped, the team will begin working on the animations needed for our eventual combat and hunting mechanics. It’s too early to give you concrete examples of exactly how it’ll work, but know this; our goal is to keep the animals as dynamic as possible. It mightn’t end up ultra-cinematic-hollywood movie quality with highly synchronized predetermined dueling animations, but we’ve designed something that we think perfectly fits the needs of PK’s varied sizes and species.
In addition to animals, we’ve also made a ton of fixes, tweaks and added pathfinding improvements for guests.
Alongside smarter path dispersion, a new queuing system prevents hordes of guests from swarming your facilities, allowing only a few visitors to standby and wait for service!
The Management View overlay for guests has also seen an update. High concentrations of dissatisfied guests will now appear red in a heatmap, updating as visitors resolve their needs and move around the zoo.
There are many more improvements we’d like to make, but in a lot of cases, you should definitely feel and see a difference in Update 8.
Created by luci257.
Created by Krisu.
Created by Emilie.
Thank you for reading July’s dev diary!
Once we begin wrapping up development on Update 8, we will provide the community with a release window and give an extended look at the upcoming animal overhaul.
It’s taken a little longer than we had hoped, but it’s all coming along very well. Update 8 is going to be one of PK’s cornerstone updates and we cannot wait for you to play it! Thank you all for your patience!
- The PK Team