Alpha 23 – Tune-up 2: Islands, Ocean, Sea gulls, Grass, Wind, Optimizations

EtP_Release_Alpha_23_ENU

Hi everyone,

the new Escape the Pacific version ‘Alpha 23’ is now available.

For this update we were mainly focusing on adding some of the last engine changes: Bigger islands, Ocean waves depend on distance from the islands and each island can have its own sea gull flock. There is new grass and a new wind model added and many optimizations were done.

One of the two most visible changes that greatly improve the immersion with this update is the possibility to create bigger islands. They can hold up much more foliage, corals and animals and also due to this fact (not only due to gameplay) they are rarer, at most 0, 1 or 2 islands are spawned in an island cluster. The islands topology generator was also updated so the surface isn’t necessarily only flat – it is a little more elevated and there are some small tops on them. Please note: When some of the biggest islands is causing huge FPS drops try to lower the Environment quality settings or generate another world.

The next very nice added feature is the colored Pacific ocean. In future updates the color will change also based on the latitude the player is located on. In the actual state waves size, color, transparency and underwater blurriness are changing not only based on the wind speed but also on the distance from islands. In calm wind near shore the water can be very transparent while in strong winds between islands waves can be quite big making paddling a challenge.

There is a new – but not final – grass added which replaces the old bright green one. The new grass is lower, denser, nicer, consists of less triangles and generates less draw calls. The next important engine change was that every island which has beach rocks can have its own sea gull flock. This opens the door for more sea gull flocks per island and the creation of sea gull colony islands will be easier.

The new wind intensity model not simply and rapidly iterates between the minimal and maximal wind speed rates given for the actual day but also tends to stay in its minimal and maximal values for some more time. It is possible to happen that the player is left on the ocean with unchanging calm wind for about 1 ingame hour. This feature will be changing based on the difficulty setting in the future.

Besides adding these new features we decided to spend some time optimizing the game engine. The deeper ocean and the bigger islands caused higher CPU and GPU usage which we needed to address to keep the FPS high in as much time as it can. The optimization consisted of: Reducing the draw calls, optimizing the LODs, internal procedure refactoring, transform some code to parallel executing when that was possible. We will continue with code reviews and optimizations continuously to allow the game to be more enjoyable and to increase the possibility to make the world more detailed.
Changelog:

New features:

1. Added: Bigger islands
2. Added: Colored Pacific ocean
3. Added: Ocean water transparency based on wind strength
4. Added: Ocean water color based on wind strength
5. Added: Ocean underwater blurriness based on wind strength
6. Added: Ocean got bigger distance waves compared to shores
7. Added: Every island which is having at least one rock on the coast has its own Sea Gull flock
8. Added: New grass model
9. Added: New Wind intensity change model

General:

1. Fixed: Around 25 internal engine, procedural and graphical optimizations

We will continue to work on the Animal AI as there are some issues which should be addressed with higher priority. As most of the major engine changes are already implemented we will now focus more again on adding new content and gameplay elements. With the help of our best ‘external’ team mate Chris we are preparing a new Main Menu and UI. We will work also on solving the new issues and we will recheck some older issues too. Other new features will be added as implementing the planned features and fixing issues allows us.

Thank you for your patience and for your constructive feedbacks helping us to get rid of the issues as fast as is possible.

Please be aware that during early access phase game code could change as much as affecting gameplay when loading/saving savegames from earlier versions. To always be on the safe side make sure to start a new game with each update. Thank you!

G4GTeam.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to ask us. We will try to answer your questions in detail.