Prehistoric Kingdom is a zoo management game that gives players total control over the creation of their extinct animals and themepark.
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May 1

DevLog #4 - April



Welcome to April’s DevLog!

This month we had a heavy focus on the art side of Prehistoric Kingdom’s development – spending most of it on buildings, sounds, music, animals, animation, concept art, and designs for the remaining alternate skins. Some team members were busy with their personal lives, but in the end we pulled through just in time for another update – how about that?



Our tasks from last month will be carrying over into May as they’re quite large and will require a lot of time to be dedicated to them.





For the most part programming during this part of the development cycle is pretty boring. Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait until next month to start showing the terraforming in action as most of the work has been done in the back-end, but there’s still some things to talk about.

For starters, our new camera is feeling great! It’s more responsive, flexible, and overall feels way more polished. With our new camera system we’re aiming to make following animals feel way more dynamic and personal as well as respond better when building.



The artists in the team have been working madly this month to keep chipping away at all the art assets required for the game, both for buildings as well as animals. While we can’t show everything as it will spoil some pretty cool things that will be coming up Soon™, here’s a look at some of the best parts of April’s development.

Building Concept Art and Models

The collection of buildings and structures of Prehistoric Kingdom continues to expand as we delve further into security, animal care, and guest amenities.



Food Stash

The Food Stash is a basic feeding structure that is suggested for small-medium animals. Don’t worry, however, as the food items going into the game will not be as large or odd as they are in the concept art – this is only to clearly illustrate the contents of each basket type. While most animals will be satisfied by basic plant feed or red meat, more specialised creatures may require fruits, fish, and insects!



Ranger Station

From the Ranger Station, trucks and cars can be dispatched to transport guests to the safety of protective bunkers, as well as carry staff to the last known location of an escapee. A small helicopter based atop the structure makes this building highly advised when wrangling dangerous animals who aren’t afraid to get a little defensive.



Fast Food Kiosk

With a customizable menu and pricing options for guests to choose from, the Fast Food Kiosk works perfectly on the side of a path or in the middle of a plaza due to its multiple entrances.



Emissive maps allow us to create lights, signs, and other objects that mimic their real world counterparts (not to mention it makes buildings look awesome at night). Speaking of which, check out all those illuminated screens and surfaces!

Animation

This month we took the time to begin animating our Edmontosaurus to experiment with new ideas and work on bringing our dinosaurs to life. A handful of other creatures also received a helping hand in learning how to walk but they’re not quite ready for their public debut. It’s still a work-in-progress, but please enjoy the first look at the walk and run cycles for our Edmontosaurus.

https://youtu.be/SQFFMpuLJRE
https://youtu.be/SLZQgDd07_Q
https://youtu.be/zNLLyTdNkks
https://youtu.be/mHTcrlNOx0Q

One of the other neat things we worked on was setting up a system that allows us to dynamically move the eyelids of an animal through animation or inside the game itself. This means that animals will feel just that little bit more alive by being able to close their eyes while sleeping, threatening, and blinking at random intervals. You can see this in action with a few of the animations above.



Status & State Icons

In our original August demo our status pointers for building resources looked something like this:



To better support the evolving complexity of Prehistoric Kingdom they’ve been revised to not only look better but also provide a quicker visual response to the player with colour information. While the icons themselves will be implemented in a way that doesn’t make them obstructing or annoying in-game they can be disabled from the options menu for players that are looking for less of a helping hand.



New Building, Path, and Fence Toolbars

Continuing the theme of upgrading, revising, and overhauling, the three building toolboxes have gotten some much needed love. We experimented with a few different layouts to greatly improve upon the design featured in the demo, and we hope that you enjoy the first look at the new tools and building options coming in Prehistoric Kingdom. For us, we want customization, creativity, and flexibility to go hand-in-hand when building the park of your dreams.


Building icons are not representative of fence types. Sorry Timmy, but you can’t use toilets as fencing for your Tyrannosaurus.

Players can select objects to be placed on top of paths automatically through enabling the Path Objects window. From here you can pick between bins, seating, and even change the color of lighting that’s placed at a frequency determined by the player. We aren’t 100% on the design and layout yet, so don’t be surprised if it’s changed the next time you see it.

For those with a keen eye, you might have spotted some scary looking sliders to control how paths and fences are built. We’re going to go into a detailed breakdown of what they do once our spline-based fencing and path solution has been implemented, but the main thing to take away is that players will have an extremely precise amount of control in regards to the curvature, angles, and placement of both fences and paths.



Sound Preview

Our sound designer has created the main soundsets for all 50 Early Access animals which includes our dinosaurs and mammals. While individual calls, roars, and grunts will be showcased in our upcoming animation previews, please enjoy this short soundscape that was designed using five of our animals! Can you guess what they are?

http://prehistorickingdom.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/PK_Soundscape-Example.mp3?_=1

Music

This month our composer started working on some new themes that will reoccur throughout Prehistoric Kingdom’s soundtrack. Two other pieces were written in April, but enjoy the first look at one of the herbivore theme variants going into the game. It has more of a whimsical quality that is sure to compliment the player as they release their first large herbivore into its paddock!

https://soundcloud.com/byronmckay/gentle-giants-herbivore-theme



New Creatures

Most of April ended up being dedicated to pushing out the last of our alternate skin designs as well as setting up some ontogeny for a handful of animals. Before we get to them, however, say hello to Ouranosaurus nigeriensis, Oviraptor philoceratops, Miragaia longicollum, and our revamped Styracosaurus albertensis!






Ontogeny Sequences

With a new batch of critters come their ever-adorable life stages! This month it’s a glimpse at a tiny crocodile, rhino, and… a duck?





Alt. Skins and Concept Art

We got through a lot of new skin designs this month. As we’d like to save some for the next DevLog, here’s half of the recent concept pieces done during April.











This months gameplay discussion is more conceptual in its explanation as most of the art and mechanics behind it are yet to be complete. With that said, those of you that enjoy reading about our ideas and understanding the game will enjoy this one!

Shipping and Storing

Large and infinite quantities of food is not something that just magically appears, right? Especially not on an island in the middle of the ocean or in an isolated part of a mainland continent. For an enormous zoo or theme park housing extinct animals that are a multitude of sizes you’re going to need to ensure that animal feed is shipped to your park on a near monthly basis (depending on how many creatures you own).



On an island, a Shipping Harbour is placed to transfer food from the mainland to your park. From here you can check the current food stock, order more, and check the remaining time until your shipment arrives. If a player is using the mainland to start their prehistoric zoo the same system applies but now with a Shipping Depot instead of the harbour. More trucks, less giant cargo ship.

By default the Shipping Harbour and Depot have storage facilities built into them, allowing for a small but suitable amount of feed to be kept inside to help out with the early game. With an ever expanding list of hungry creatures to be satisfied, however, any excess food is going to need to be stored in an external Storage Warehouse. For players on smaller and more challenging maps or those with a mass-overpopulation of animals, this provides an interesting balance of space, population, security, and money management that should be considered to efficiently run your park.

Feeding Time



Food can be accessed by animals in two ways; placing feeders in their exhibit or by finding plants/carcasses in the world (let’s hope you have more plant life available in your park than corpses, yeah?).

By default feeders placed inside an exhibit by the player are empty. Instead, the food type is automatically assigned and filled based on the animal groups that are dropped into the paddock to cut down on the time needed to try and find a specific type of food dish. Pick a design that works best for the paddock, animal size, and aesthetic that you’re going for! If for whatever reason you don’t like the assigned food type it can be manually changed by selecting the feeder and editing its properties to closer fit what you had in mind.

All food dishes are refilled by keepers who must travel on foot or by vehicle to reach the exhibit. A keepers experience will directly tie into how an animal will react to their presence, so technology such as automated feeding cranes may be a wiser implementation when dealing with the more… ravenous bunch.

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That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading April’s DevLog. Make sure to keep an eye out for our frequent Twitch streams, join our Discord, and follow our social media accounts to keep up to date with the game (links down below).


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If you would like to check out our past blog posts, you can head to the official one here!
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March 31

DevLog #3 - March



Greetings, everyone, and welcome to this months development update!

The team has been busy working on new Early Access material and beginning the process of rebuilding our core systems and foundation to improve upon our user experience and ensure that Prehistoric Kingdom is ready for new features and content. Much love and effort is being put into crafting a unique gameplay experience that will feel challenging and rewarding for tycoon veterans and new fans of the genre.



On March 4 we released the Jurassic Patch to our pre-alpha demo and were simply blown away by the sheer creativity that our community has shown us! While there were issues reported on our Discord server and Steam forums, we took note and pushed out a hotfix as quickly as possible to address the majority of large issues that our players were experiencing with the AI and other things.

For our OSX community, we’re pleased to announce that the demo is available on Steam for you to play around with! We’ve learned a lot over the past few months, and we cannot wait to get the full game into everyone’s hands.





March was extremely successful as we managed to achieve everything that originally set in February. While certain components will be continued through the next few months, here’s a glimpse at what’s to come!





Architecture Setup

For the last two weeks our programmers have been working on Prehistoric Kingdom’s architecture to improve the game development process by redesigning all of our systems to be future proof. This entails things such as creating new user interface prefabs, loading systems, and making the addition of new buildings or animals to the game as easy as possible. By going through the laborious process of rebuilding old systems from the demo, we can greatly improve the functionality, performance, and feeling of the game.

This enhanced approach to our workflow means that programming conventions and general engine work within Unity should be far more comprehensive and welcoming to each team member when working with the game’s deep and complex systems.



During March we looked deeply at the game’s art style and aesthetics to recognise trouble spots regarding consistency and how we can make Prehistoric Kingdom both look great and run well. In the future, we have plans to redo some of our older creatures and art assets to bring them up to par with recent additions to our growing catalogue of models, textures, animations, sounds, and designs.

Shader Updates

Something we’ve wanted to look into for a while now is a revamp of some of our custom shaders in Unity. While it’s certainly not finished, we’ve been testing out a decal system for body damage when an animal has been attacked or wounded. In conjunction with this change, our animals will look far more detailed than previously seen before.

It’s not perfect as we’re still experimenting, but so far the results have been promising:



Similar effects can be applied for to visually assist features like disease. We gave our Tyrannosaurus a quick skin inflammation to test it out:


Issues like skin inflammation will play a vital role in maintaining an animals health. More diseases will be revealed in the future!



Mediterranean Isle & Tropical Wet Foliage

Our resident level designer, programmer, and tree connoisseur, Victor, has been up to some ever so lovely things recently. Now that we’re looking to improve our art assets and quality wherever we can, here’s an early look at our Mediterranean Isle inside World Machine. It’s not quite ready to go in-engine yet as we won’t be touching maps for a while, but we can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s there!



If you haven’t caught our daily streams (check out our Discord server for notifications, hint hint) Victor has also been growing a collection of our Tropical Wet plants, trees, and general foliage assets.



Building Concept Art & Models Preview

We recently added a concept artist to help out with building designs and realize our expansive list of structures that will be featured in the game. Here’s the first look at some of our buildings:


The Fast Food Kiosk is a small building for your guests to purchase meals and drinks set by the player. It’s been designed so that visitors can access cashiers from four different sides depending on path access, meaning that the kiosk can be placed both within a plaza or on the side of a pathway and still be fully functional.


A Restroom is required for when your guests need to, you know… go. The internal trash can and recycling bin mounted to the outer wall along with solar panels attached to the roof makes this building worthwhile even when alongside its larger counterpart.


The Animal Nursery is the birthplace for all of your prehistoric animals before moving them out into the park. We felt that the original design didn’t quite fit its purpose and opted for a larger modern aesthetic. Additional foliage and greenery will be added in-engine.


The Thermic Modulator alters the temperature of an exhibit while retaining the chosen climate. To keep its design relatively hidden from guests, its outer texture adapts to the ground texture beneath it.

Buildings are something that the team has wanted to see for the longest time and we hope that you’re just as excited as we are to reveal new building types each month. Remember to supply your structures with sufficient water and electricity, or else you might just find yourself in a predicament!



UX/UI Improvements

While not strictly linked to the graphic design side of development, our UI designer has been working with our programmers to ensure that the future of Prehistoric Kingdom is as nice to play with as it is to look at. A smattering of concepts were created during March to compliment the on-going game plan and feature design, as well. The interface for selection, demolition, animal selection, and terraforming have been finalized along with some tweaks to existing sets to name but a few.


Expanding upon our previous two state cursors from the demo to cover a wide range of activities!

Besides a handful of other improvements such as new mouse cursor states and button feedback/responsiveness, we’ve added a collection of charming phrases during the loading screen to make waiting just that little bit less tedious. We might even throw a few easter eggs in there – who knows?


Loading screen backgrounds will change depending on the map. All 50 Early Access animals can be viewable as the animated creature based on chance.


A small sample of the 20+ game-related phrases and easter eggs. Revolutionary? Nah. Neat? Definitely.



New Creatures

That’s right – even more animals to show! These critters might not come as a surprise to those who have been following the live streams but here are the new creatures (and alternate skins) of March. Say hello to Ankylosaurus magniventris, Baryonyx walkeri, Carnotaurus sastrei, and Edmontosaurus regalis!









Alt. Skins & Concept Art

Last month we showed off our Pachyrhinosaurus. Today we’re revealing its two alternate skins; Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis and perotorum!



Alternate skin designs for Carnotaurus, Deinonychus, Edmontosaurus, and Styracosaurus:






And finally; artwork for Prenocephale and all the remaining mammals!




Base Mesh Completion

With the conclusion of our last livestream, the remaining Early Access base meshes have been completed! All of our beautiful animals will be moving onto sculpting, texturing, rigging, and animation over the coming months.





Terraforming is a key part of any great zoo building game which is why we’re looking into completely overhauling the system currently implemented within the pre-alpha demo. The details provided here may be altered as development continues, but here’s the general idea of what we’re looking at.

Terrain Editing

With the user interface getting an extreme makeover, we would like to focus our terraforming systems around voxels due to the hundreds of creative possibilities that can be accomplished with them.



Up to three different water colours can be chosen (“salt”, “fresh”, or “muddy”) when painting water into a paddock. This is complimentary feature the main tools – raising, lowering, flattening, and smoothing the terrain.

We’ll do our best in researching and implementing a voxel terrain system due to the ability to freely sculpt caves, arches, and overhangs from the terrain. The creative power that comes with something like this has the potential to be truly amazing, so we’ll be sure to report back on our progress in the next few DevLog’s.

Climate Painting

Climate painting in Prehistoric Kingdom offers deep customization for hardcore builders as well as simple tools for players who would rather not get into the detailed side of exhibit design.



Players will have the option to paint both ground textures and make use of the ‘Quick Design’ tool simultaneously, enabling or disabling the automatic placement of rocks, ground clutter, and foliage during the painting process. Rocks and trees can be individually placed by lowering the brush size to its minimum value or painted directly onto your terrain through increasing the size and intensity of your brush.

Overall, terraforming will feel far more integrated into the game. Some of you may recall having to use a separate foliage removal tool instead of demolition when experimenting with the demo. Not only will trees, rocks, and clutter behave like the rest of the structures and objects in the game, but their functionality will be, too. Clicking painted objects will activate the editing gizmo – allowing for a more streamlined exhibit building experience.

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And that concludes March’s DevLog!



We will be continuing our daily streams as well as posting a few more times a month on our social media pages so there’s less of a content drought in between blog posts. With that said, we hope you enjoyed reading and we shall see everyone in April!


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If you would like to check out our past blog posts, you can head to the official one here!
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About This Game



Prehistoric Kingdom is a zoo management game that gives players total control over the creation of their extinct animals and themepark.

Become the ultimate tycoon by taking charge of your very own prehistoric zoo; designing unique exhibits, hiring the required staff, and ensuring the safety of your guests. Choose from a wide roster of classic and lesser-known extinct creatures, each with their own detailed growth process and individual needs.

Extensive Creative Tools


Make use of an array of creative tools to build the park of your dreams: curved, interactive paths and fences, a fine assortment of buildings fitting many visual styles and modular placeable decorations. Customization has no ends!

Create enormous mountains or deep trenches with Terraforming! Edit the terrain height, paint lush vegetation, rocks, and ground textures from our eight climates, and make rivers or ponds with the water brush.

Wide Range of Extinct Animals


There are many extinct animals in Prehistoric Kingdom, and choosing which ones to breed in your park is entirely up to you! The game features scientifically accurate prehistoric creatures, each one with its own distinct growth process, behaviour, and unique looks.

Unrestricted Management


Lead your zoo to success: experience challenging, detailed, and enjoyable management mechanics that will immerse you even more in the very world that you built.

  • Get the science up to standards: unlock animals through fossil hunting, and research new services and buildings with Science Points!

  • Take care of your park: ensure a steady income by catering to your audience, plan your creation ahead by shipping resources and materials, employ workers for various tasks around the park, while keeping everybody's safety and health in check adopting different security measures.

Different Ways to Play


The fun doesn't end here! Prehistoric Kingdom features 4 unique game-modes!

  • Campaign:
    Traditional tycoon gameplay! Extract DNA, research new technology, battle against the weather and natural disasters, and efficiently manage your finances to build the prehistoric park of your dreams.
  • Scenario:
    Select a mission from a diverse range of premade scenarios - from capturing rampaging animals, to ensuring the quality of themed exhibits!
  • Sandbox:
    Go wild with freedom! Sandbox features unlimited resources, customizable settings, and unlocked content to let players build whatever they want from the get-go.
  • Staff Mode:
    Get up and close with the creatures of Prehistoric Kingdom, taking the role of a keeper within your park.

Demo features

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 64bit
    • Processor: Intel i5-2300/AMD FX-4300
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia GTX 560 (2 GB)/AMD Radeon 7850 (2GB)
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 64bit
    • Processor: Intel i7-4770/AMD FX-8350
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia GTX 980 (4GB)/AMD R9 380 (4GB)
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
    • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel i5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
    • Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel i5 or higher
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
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