Greetings minions, and congratulations on surviving the incomprehensible eldritch horrors and repeated global memory wipes of the last couple months. You’ll be happy to know I have big plans for the future, and even happier to know a small number of those plans are not convoluted schemes to take over the world.
The next update will be something of a milestone, where Species moves away from our little rockpool on the shoreline of the internet and we attempt to put the game onto Steam. Steam is new territory for me, but Mike has experience with releasing games onto the platform, so I’m optimistic about our chances.
In the interests of full transparency: in the months leading up to the game’s launch, I’ll be taking Species 0.10.0 off the site so that everything can go through Steam. The steam release will mark the boundary between the Free Alpha and Paid Beta versions of Species ALRE, and the end of the free alpha versions. Everyone who pre-ordered the game will have steam keys sent to the email address they provided via paypal.
Don’t worry though, I’m not planning to move into the paid beta without making it worth your while! These are the major features planned for Species ALRE 0.11.0:
Who wants to evolve creatures under the sea, perhaps in a residence resembling some type of tropical fruit?
- New underwater food sources. Kelp and Coral will provide essential food for species that choose to venture into the oceans. I’m also planning to introduce a new simulation mechanic: “shoals”. These clusters of small, indistinct creatures will be a valuable source of meat for carnivores, exploitable only by those creatures fast and maneuverable enough in the water to catch them.
- Swim physics. A creature in the water will move differently from how they move on land, based on their body parts and shape. Their buoyancy will also have an influence on whether they swim close to the surface or walk along the ocean floor.
- Oxygen. A gill/lung dichotomy will determine how well a creature takes in oxygen from their environment, which will in turn affect their stamina and speed. Simplistic creatures, like P. specium, will rely on an anaerobic metabolism that allows them to survive in both environments, but at a significant efficiency cost.
- Body parts to support these new mechanics! We’ll need a variety of fins, tails, legs, feet, and head types to properly support aquatic and amphibious animals.
It’s time for the species in Species to forgo their ardent individualism and start acting towards the greater good. The greater good.
- Co-operation. Creatures will call when beginning an action, notifying other creatures in their vicinity of their intentions. This will cause other creatures with high co-operation and similar unmet needs in their vicinity to join in, whether this be to hunt as a pack, graze as a herd, or huddle together for warmth as a… flock, I guess? Yeah, flock. Because penguins.
- Altruism. Creatures will also call when in need of help. Altruistic and/or closely related creatures whose other needs are met will be able to respond by feeding starving creatures or moving in to defend creatures that are under attack. And I guess huddling for the benefit of freezing creatures? Because penguins again.
- Aggression. Social behaviors go both ways. In real life, creatures fight over food, mating rights and territory. I don’t believe I have the infrastructure in place for the latter two behaviors yet, but I do think food fights could be implemented.
Cross Platform Support – Mac and Linux
How hard can it be?
- Moving up to Mac and Linux means upgrading the game’s framework to XNA 4.0, and from there to Monogame. This is an engine change that I sincerely hope will allow me to provide cross-platform support.
- I’d best note here that I can’t actually promise Mac or Linux support for 0.11.0. While it’s a goal, and upgrading to Monogame is a major step in the right direction, I don’t know for certain that it’ll be functional by then.