Tomorrow, the highly anticipated Rain World is finally launching. In this DevBlog Highlights, I want to go back to one of the longest and most impressive development blogs that you can find anywhere. Created by the main dev, Joar Jakobsson, the thread spans now just over 5 years and over 500 updates on the development of the game. Fans of Rain World need to checkout the TIGSource forum thread where it all started to see how far it has come.
In his earliest posts, Jakobsson described the game in a much smaller scope than what the game is now launching with. Initially the game was even called Maze Runner. Before the Kickstarter campaign it was written in an entirely different engine and scripting language. The game only bears resemblance to its earliest renditions because of its player character, the slugcat. Even in the first few posts slugcat is referred to as the ‘bear’ creature among the three planned. The other two being the fly and the croc. Looking back, the feature that stood the test of time was the procedural animation.
From Maze Runner to Rain World and Bear to Slugcat
Most of the early blog posts focused on the pathfinding of the enemy AI. Jakobsson focused on developing a dynamic lizard creature set on hunting the player slugcat. If the creature saw the player it would track a path to ambush the slugcat. Eventually different types of lizards emerged each with a different attribute and coloring to their head. Some are slower and less aggressive than others, while others are developed to track the player more prominently. In a later update the white lizard was shown with a new attacking style, utilizing a long stretched tongue.
“Can Not Survive the Rainfall”
It only took two months of the dev blog in order to debut the current name, Rain World. In this same post, the games core idea of escaping the rain is introduced.
“The art doesn’t really give away anything you didn’t know already, I figure. The current title is “Rain World”, and it’s set in a very rained down place. Do you remember when I said that the game will be about hunting as much as possible in a limited amount of time? The premise is that the player creature can not survive the rainfall, and has to come out to hunt on the rare, short occasions when the sky is dry.”
Even the development tools were subject to drastic change. Initially, the game was developed in Macromedia Director and Lingo. Production was focused on squeezing as much out of the engine as possible. Because of the limitations of the engine, only a handful of creatures could appear on screen. It wasn’t until the success of the Kickstarter campaign that everything took shape. Feature development stopped for a few weeks while Jakobsson figured out which engines he wanted to focus his efforts on porting his game into. Now the game is running on the Unity3D engine. It was in update #143 the procedural animations began to appear in the new engine.
Set for release tomorrow, Rain World is shaping up to be one of this years biggest indie hits. Check it out tomorrow on Steam and PS4.