New Combat game mode and Spider AI hunting!
With the addition of a new gameplay mode "Combat Survival", this is the perfect time to show off DoN's Spider AI in action! I'll talk more about the new gameplay mode below, but first check out these AI Jumping Spiders wreaking absolute havoc on our poor little pollinator friends!
Why add a combat game mode?
I think it's important to explain this change in direction and what adding a combat focused game mode means for the larger dream of a grand nature simulation.
Nature simulation truly lies at the heart of this game and the ultimate goal is for DoN is to successfully portray large, varied ecosystems while doing justice to both flora and fauna. Fauna need complete lifecycles (metamorphosis for invertebrates and life-stages for birds/reptiles/mammals), hunting and survival struggles, mating rituals, reproduction, spawning and so on. Flora need lifecycle management (seed to sapling to maturity), nutrient management (soil fertility/sunlight/water), reproduction (pollination for flowers/similar thing for spores) and most importantly robust seed/spore dispersal for maintaining a healthy and active floral population that fauna can co-exist with. Add to this custom ecosystem creator / species creator / level editor tools for users and that's a lot of stuff to develop.
So hopefully you can see why it will take a really long time before I can bring the game that far, that too by working as a solo dev as I am right now.
That's where the combat mode comes in.
It allows players to jump straight into the game even while the simulation is still being developed. Different species battle against one another in short timed matches with simple victory conditions (eg: survive the match as prey, catch all prey as predator). This immediately allows two nice things: 1) I can rapidly onboard new species of animals and plants into the game without having to worry about how they'll fit into the nature simulation puzzle (which will be worked on alongside). 2) Multiplayer now becomes a real possibility. Multiplayer for the core nature simulation would have been a humongous technical feat to accomplish, but with just the combat mode it becomes a lot more viable.
Finally, this allows me to move DoN onto Steam Greenlight and beyond at a much faster pace than I could otherwise manage. Obviously I cannot continue developing the game forever without either a revenue stream or sufficient interest from more gamers, so all of these are constraints that I am cognizant of while moving ahead.
To that effect, I've started working on main menus, HUDs, SFX and BGM for the game so I can bring a playable build to you as soon as possible.
Feel free to comment with your thoughts on all of this! If you like the idea of this game please tell others about it. Knowing that even one person wants to see a game like this made is what sustains the most difficult phases of development! It's been a long hard journey so far, I hope the game does well in the coming days.