Welcome to the June Development Diary!

In case you missed it, Update 11 is out now on Steam! This is by far our largest update and adds a bunch of exciting changes to better the future of Prehistoric Kingdom. Staff are finally here alongside an entire logistics system, reworked human art, two beautiful genus of dinosaurs and lots of other changes. The patch notes are absolutely massive, so if you’ve got time, be sure to give them a look!

For users on Epic Games, we are currently trying to resolve unexpected issues with the Epic Games delivery process. This has been frustrating for us as we want everyone to be able to play Update 11, regardless of platform, but we’ll issue a statement on our socials once the problem has been resolved.

For the remainder of this post, we’ll be talking about what’s next for the game and going over the improvements we’d like to make based on player feedback!

Thoughts on Update 11

Overall, we’re very pleased with the response to Update 11 and are glad to see players enjoying the direction we’re taking management in. As stated above, this was a really big update for the team and it’s sort of surreal to finally see staff walking around the parks. It’s helped build a lot of systems for us to improve and we’re excited that both staff and visitors will only get better from here. 

Developing alongside the PTB (Public Test Branch) proved to be incredibly useful in reducing the amount of critical stability issues experienced at the launch Update 11 and is definitely something we’d like to do more of in the future. We weren’t able to catch everything, but what did slip through appears to impact a smaller subset of players and are mostly bugs related to things like the guest queuing system which came back online a day before release (oopsies). 

In terms of balance, things aren’t quite where we’d like them to be. The feedback we’ve gotten over the last few days has been very valuable and the team have been thinking of ways to improve both the short and long term impact of staff and logistics. While some things can’t be addressed until Update 12 at the earliest, we are working on quality of life patches to improve the game’s flow in the meantime.

Upcoming Improvements

These are some of the most immediate changes we’re looking into to help improve Challenge Mode:

  • Increase starting cash across all difficulties

  • Add the Loading Bay and Staff Center to new saves by default (these can be moved or deleted)

  • Increase the human movement speeds (both guests and staff arrive at their destination quicker)

  • Reduce the amount of time individual guests spend in the park to improve the flow of ticket sales (the main source of income)

  • Reduce the construction and upkeep cost of Park Service buildings (Animal Nursery, Fossil Depot, etc.) 

  • Split the building category ‘Park Infrastructure’ into Park Services and Park Logistics to make searching more convenient and better support future logistics modules

  • Show the travel time/delay on modules that need to be stocked, indicating how long it actually took for a staff member to arrive

  • Show the staff efficiency, indicating how many tasks they’re able to complete before going on break

  • Add a ‘Convert to Sandbox Game’ button in the options menu, allowing players to rescue Challenge games that are struggling

We are also working to reintegrate notifications and give them a more defined role, serving as a way to communicate unlocks, changes within excavations, or any other one-off events that may have happened.

Anything that’s actually wrong with the park would instead get sent to the Park Issues screen, a comprehensive list of persistent problems that need to be solved. This is where you can easily find empty feeders, dirty habitats or find out which modules are inaccessible to guests. Clicking on the item, staff or animal will take the player directly to it.

Since the issues are all labeled, this menu should also address players not understanding certain state icons!

We believe that these two additions alone will drastically improve gameplay clarity and reactivity, especially with excavation events changing month to month.

WHEN ARE THESE CHANGES EXPECTED?

They’ll be scattered across a few smaller patches rather than coming later in one big update. The earliest patch which includes sandbox conversion, human speed buffs, small balance changes and a bunch of fixes will be arriving in the next few days!

Larger additions like notifications and park issues are trying to be finished ASAP, but will take more time.


The Future

Update 12

Beyond further improvements and support for Update 11, the team’s now beginning to shift to Update 12 and beyond. To kick off this next phase of development, we’re giving you another glimpse at one of the previously revealed dinosaurs for Update 12, the majestic Brontosaurus

Arriving as an alternate genus to another Update 12 addition, Apatosaurus, this thunder lizard is sure to wow guests with its extravagant patterning and dorsal spines. Our Brontosaurus features a set of large keratinized spikes running down the sides of its neck, with the park scientists believing that they might’ve been used during disputes with other herd members.

PARK RATING IMPROVEMENTS

One of our goals for Update 12 is to revisit a few systems like the Park Rating to see where it can be tidied up. With this proposed update to the management view, the park rating will display a clear breakdown of its components and current progress towards the next goal.

ADDITIONAL GUEST VARIATION

One of the things we didn’t get time to add back into Update 11 was clothing variation! Update 12 will correct this by not only including alternate outfit colors, but introducing props for visitors to use like hats and phones.

Tutorials

Tutorials have been a hot topic amongst new and returning players for some time now, and so we’d like to finally discuss our approach for the future. 

First, let’s talk about the requirements. We need a tutorial system that is easily accessible, walks the player through mechanics at their own pace and that can be easily expanded or changed at any point in development. For this reason, we’ll be pivoting to a system that can be accessed during a Sandbox or Challenge game.

The idea is to have guided tutorials accessed through the Help menu, covering small chunks of the game to keep it digestible. These tutorials would be text based, highlighting buttons or elements on the screen to guide the player. The tutorial box would be movable so that it never covers an important UI element. 

Below is an example piece of concept art showing how a tutorial might progress:

We don’t have an exact ETA for this, so for now we recommend reading the newly updated Help menu included in Update 11. We’ve written a bunch of articles that should help players wrap their head around the new mechanics. Most articles include shortcuts to quickly build specific modules or jump to another page!

WHAT ABOUT THE TUTORIAL SCENARIO?

As nice as it was at the time, the original tutorial scenario became increasingly buggy with each major update and was quickly outdated as new mechanics got introduced. To fulfill the needs of today, it’d have to be rebuilt from the ground up.

We aren’t opposed to revisiting scenarios again in the future (we love them just as much as you do!) but the dev time required to build and maintain them isn’t on the table right now. Realistically, it makes the most sense to try again once the game has left Early Access and things aren’t in flux.

Official Prefab Redux

We’d like to quickly mention that we’ll be cleaning up and improving the game’s official prefabs. Looking forward, we would like our prefabs to feel unified, easily accessible and ensure that all the themes are represented across the guest amenities and viewing attractions.

We understand that there are players out there who may not enjoy modular building or simply find it too overwhelming, so in redoing our prefabs we’re taking this opportunity to create something that we hope is more appealing for that plug-and-play experience.


Bloopers

To wrap up this dev diary, let’s take a look at some of the hilarious (and somewhat terrifying) things we encountered during the human art update.

We experienced everything from the creepy first draft, to incorrect texture assignments and the classic floating heads. The prop system introduced a load of fun issues to resolve, but at least it gave us the Great Wheelbarrow Derby of 2024!

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Created by ThatOneGlitch

Created by Pombo agiota

Created by Krex


Thank you for reading June’s dev diary!

It’s been a big month for the team, so we hope you can forgive the shorter dev diary. We’re eager to read more of your thoughts and dish out further changes to Update 11.

- The PK Team

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A lil somethin somethin: You can find the details for this event on the announcement page here.
18 days ago - Blue Meridian - Direct link





Welcome to the June Development Update!

In case you missed it, Update 11 is out now on Steam! This is by far our largest update and adds a bunch of exciting changes to better the future of Prehistoric Kingdom. Staff are finally here alongside an entire logistics system, reworked human art, two beautiful genus of dinosaurs and lots of other changes. The patch notes are absolutely massive, so if you’ve got time, be sure to give them a look!


For the remainder of this post, we’ll be talking about what’s next for the game and going over the improvements we’d like to make based on player feedback!


Thoughts on Update 11


Overall, we’re very pleased with the response to Update 11 and are glad to see players enjoying the direction we’re taking management in. As stated above, this was a really big update for the team and it’s sort of surreal to finally see staff walking around the parks. It’s helped build a lot of systems for us to improve and we’re excited that both staff and visitors will only get better from here.

Developing alongside the PTB (Public Test Branch) proved to be incredibly useful in reducing the amount of critical stability issues experienced at the launch Update 11 and is definitely something we’d like to do more of in the future. We weren’t able to catch everything, but what did slip through appears to impact a smaller subset of players and are mostly bugs related to things like the guest queuing system which came back online a day before release (oopsies).

In terms of balance, things aren’t quite where we’d like them to be. The feedback we’ve gotten over the last few days has been very valuable and the team have been thinking of ways to improve both the short and long term impact of staff and logistics. While some things can’t be addressed until Update 12 at the earliest, we are working on quality of life patches to improve the game’s flow in the meantime.

Upcoming Improvements


These are some of the most immediate changes we’re looking into to help improve Challenge Mode:
  • Increase starting cash across all difficulties
  • Add the Loading Bay and Staff Center to new saves by default (these can be moved or deleted)
  • Increase the human movement speeds (both guests and staff arrive at their destination quicker)
  • Reduce the amount of time individual guests spend in the park to improve the flow of ticket sales (the main source of income)
  • Reduce the construction and upkeep cost of Park Service buildings (Animal Nursery, Fossil Depot, etc.)
  • Split the building category ‘Park Infrastructure’ into Park Services and Park Logistics to make searching more convenient and better support future logistics modules
  • Show the travel time/delay on modules that need to be stocked, indicating how long it actually took for a staff member to arrive
  • Show the staff efficiency, indicating how many tasks they’re able to complete before going on break
  • Add a ‘Convert to Sandbox Game’ button in the options menu, allowing players to rescue Challenge games that are struggling
We are also working to reintegrate notifications and give them a more defined role, serving as a way to communicate unlocks, changes within excavations, or any other one-off events that may have happened.


Anything that’s actually wrong with the park would instead get sent to the Park Issues screen, a comprehensive list of persistent problems that need to be solved. This is where you can easily find empty feeders, dirty habitats or find out which modules are inaccessible to guests. Clicking on the item, staff or animal will take the player directly to it.

Since the issues are all labeled, this menu should also address players not understanding certain state icons!


We believe that these two additions alone will drastically improve gameplay clarity and reactivity, especially with excavation events changing month to month.

When are these changes expected? They’ll be scattered across a few smaller patches rather than coming later in one big update. The earliest patch which includes sandbox conversion, human speed buffs, small balance changes and a bunch of fixes will be arriving in the next few days!

Larger additions like notifications and park issues are trying to be finished ASAP, but will take more time.



The Future Update 12 Beyond further improvements and support for Update 11, the team’s now beginning to shift to Update 12 and beyond. To kick off this next phase of development, we’re giving you another glimpse at one of the previously revealed dinosaurs for Update 12, the majestic Brontosaurus!


Arriving as an alternate genus to another Update 12 addition, Apatosaurus, this thunder lizard is sure to wow guests with its extravagant patterning and dorsal spines. Our Brontosaurus features a set of large keratinized spikes running down the sides of its neck, with the park scientists believing that they might’ve been used during disputes with other herd members.


Park Rating Improvements One of our goals for Update 12 is to revisit a few systems like the Park Rating to see where it can be tidied up. With this proposed update to the management view, the park rating will display a clear breakdown of its components and current progress towards the next goal.


Additional Guest Variation One of the things we didn’t get time to add back into Update 11 was clothing variation! Update 12 will correct this by not only including alternate outfit colors, but introducing props for visitors to use like hats and phones.

Tutorials Tutorials have been a hot topic amongst new and returning players for some time now, and so we’d like to finally discuss our approach for the future.

First, let’s talk about the requirements. We need a tutorial system that is easily accessible, walks the player through mechanics at their own pace and that can be easily expanded or changed at any point in development. For this reason, we’ll be pivoting to a system that can be accessed during a Sandbox or Challenge game.

The idea is to have guided tutorials accessed through the Help menu, covering small chunks of the game to keep it digestible. These tutorials would be text based, highlighting buttons or elements on the screen to guide the player. The tutorial box would be movable so that it never covers an important UI element.

Below is an example piece of concept art showing how a tutorial might progress:

We don’t have an exact ETA for this, so for now we recommend reading the newly updated Help menu included in Update 11. We’ve written a bunch of articles that should help players wrap their head around the new mechanics. Most articles include shortcuts to quickly build specific modules or jump to another page!


What about the tutorial scenario? As nice as it was at the time, the original tutorial scenario became increasingly buggy with each major update and was quickly outdated as new mechanics got introduced. To fulfill the needs of today, it’d have to be rebuilt from the ground up.

We aren’t opposed to revisiting scenarios again in the future (we love them just as much as you do!) but the dev time required to build and maintain them isn’t on the table right now. Realistically, it makes the most sense to try again once the game has left Early Access and things aren’t in flux.

Official Prefab Redux We’d like to quickly mention that we’ll be cleaning up and improving the game’s official prefabs. Looking forward, we would like our prefabs to feel unified, easily accessible and ensure that all the themes are represented across the guest amenities and viewing attractions.

We understand that there are players out there who may not enjoy modular building or simply find it too overwhelming, so in redoing our prefabs we’re taking this opportunity to create something that we hope is more appealing for that plug-and-play experience.



Created by ThatOneGlitch


Created by Pombo agiota


Created by Krex



Thank you for reading June's dev diary!

It’s been a big month for the team, so we hope you can forgive the shorter dev diary. We’re eager to read more of your thoughts and dish out further changes to Update 11.

- The PK Team