Post news RSS CHKN v0.4.1: Creature AI Update is Here!

Our latest update is now live! Check out the smarter creature AI, new senses, life-like animations, & a bunch more.

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Updated animations (like this chicken reaching down for food in a more life-like way) are new, too!

It’s patch day! We’ve got some major overhauls to creature AI and the animation system, to make creatures more intelligent. We’ve set the foundations for matching gameplay to our big vision for CHKN - make the world really come to life. We want to give players full control of their creativity to build anything they want and discover new behaviors and abilities along the way based on YOUR choices of which Life Blocks you use and how you put them together. A chickpigocrab will cluck, eat anything, and have dangerous pincers to protect itself, exactly how you imagine it would. Today, with this update, creatures are smarter, more responsive to you (the player) and the world around them, and look more life-like.

The full patch notes are just below. We’ve also got details on what’s next on our roadmap at the bottom of this post!

Patch Notes

  • Animation System Improvements:
    • Tween-based animation added: Animations are smoother, more life-like, and better portray a creature’s behaviors and emotions.
      • Since the animations are tied to the AI, this helps differentiate a creature’s behaviors so you can more easily make sense of its intentions. Is it curious about a sound it just heard that needs investigating? Or is it angry and about to charge and attack? These are good things to know when you’re trying to survive!
      • To start, creatures will now strike and flinch, which are responses to anger and fear. They can also kneel to reach food or go to sleep (which is super cute, btw). Future animations are now easier to add so more animations, including part-specific ones like pinching crab claws, are on the way!
      • Creatures now have different ways to orientate their necks. They can position them up right and face what they are looking at or move them in closely to reach. They will use the reach mode to eat food and to get close to things like the player as they approach.
      • Spines and other connected blocks will now move more naturally and react with the feet. Feet are also now better connect to the ground, making walking animations look much more natural.

Flinching, better neck movement, and threat assessment… all new in this update!

    • Independent “chain” control: Chains are a row of blocks linked together, like in a neck for example. Each chain can now move independently, so chains with eyes on the end will look while chains with mouths will eat and strike. This means even individual blocks with eyes attached can now rotate and look around, making it much easier for you to tell what your creature is paying attention to!
    • Initial posturing added: This is a fancy way of saying that creatures look and move at different speeds if they are relaxed compared to alert. A creature wary of nearby enemies will look around more quickly in an alert state compared to a mellow creature snacking on a burger.
  • New Creature AI:
    • New & Improved Sensing System:
      • Hearing added! Creatures can now hear and react to sounds, like other creatures coming up behind them or rocks thrown to distract them while you sneak by. Shhh…

Before: The creature has no idea what might be going on behind it.

      • Sight has been greatly improved, now taking into account exposure, lighting, and movement. Some creatures have a harder time seeing at night, while others like the cat, will have better vision at night. This new sight system also makes it possible to do things like hide from aggressive creatures in tall grasses under the right circumstances. Sneaky!

What a dragon’s senses look like to developers! The yellow “cone” is what the dragon can see with its eyes.

    • Improved creature decision making:
      • Creatures take in all that new sensing info to recognize more of what’s happening around them and react to it intelligently (or not; some creatures will be smarter than others!).
      • This means better, more precise interactions with the world, objects, and other creatures!
      • This will also allow us to add more intelligent (and surprising) behaviors in the future! An elephant will see a fire, recognize that it’s dangerous, and then react on its own to put it out without needing your command.

Instead of limited, hard-coded behaviors, creatures now have brains and make their own decisions.

    • New pathfinding system: This improves creature navigation as well as performance throughout the game. They can follow you and find their way around terrain more easily!
  • Smarter Creature Attacks + Player Dodge = Improved Combat:
    • Creature striking added: leveraging the power of the new animation system, creatures will now prime (pull back slightly) and then strike to attack!
    • Added creature flinching: Dealing enough damage in a single attack will cause a creature to flinch. Flinching will interrupt a creature’s attack!

He really, really didn’t expect you to interrupt his attack.

    • Dodge player ability added: Now that creatures can strike, it’s only right that you be able to avoid it... if you time things right. ;) Tap the Sprint key ([SHIFT] by default) to roll in the direction you’re moving and avoid damage.

Or dodge fire. Dodging the fire is always a good idea.

    • Added creature-to-creature collision: Creatures will push each other around based on their mass. You might want to strategize if your smaller creatures are going up against a larger one!
    • Added attack knockback: Based off the amount of damage done, a creature can now be staggered into a direction.
    • Added creature dashing: Creatures can now dash forward or back in order to get into a good attack position or avoid an incoming attack. Beware!

Dash and dodge.

    • Updated creature damage detection: This is now physically accurate and takes other things (besides the target) into account, so objects like trees and other creatures can get in the way of an incoming attack. Run for cover behind your creature to shield yourself from damage!
    • Third-person camera improvements: The camera is now locked in the direction you’re facing when in combat, making it easier to keep your eye on enemy creatures and any incoming attacks. This also improves aiming with ranged weapons. (The camera remains in free orbit as usual when out of combat.)
  • Multiplayer Improvements (Live for Testing):
    • You can now turn “tethering” off in the options menu! When turned off, multiplayer clients can roam away from the host and wander the world. This is one of the biggest requests we’ve gotten so we’ve done some research and optimization to allow this option.
      • Warning: You may experience FPS drops and lag when traveling far from friends, especially flying around in Creative Mode. Please send us your feedback! We will continue to improve performance in the next update.
      • If you have any framerate issues or you just like keeping everyone together, you can turn this back on whenever you like in the options menu.
    • Increased tether range when active
    • Updated to latest version of multiplayer framework to improve stability
    • Players’ heads will now rotate in the direction that they are looking
    • Reduced max players to 4 to help improve performance
    • Added support for multiple saddle riding on one creature!

Dragon riding is better with friends.

  • Performance Optimizations:
    • Additional chunk loading optimization
    • Cached terrain detail optimizations
  • Bug Fixes:
    • Fix to relic floating: it will no longer get stuck in the air or underground if built over
    • Fix to a bug that prevented resurrecting creatures in beams in some cases
    • Fix to “unlimited items” crafting bug after canceling an item’s progress mid-craft
    • Fix to mono runtime, which would cause game to crash when a chunk unloads
    • Fix to angler fish lure’s dynamic physics
    • Fix to removing structures by nuke for clients
    • Fix to placeable entities not appearing for clients

Coming Soon on Our Roadmap!

Now that creatures are more intelligent and the animation system is ready, we can add more variety and creature enhancements. Our next task will be giving all 140+ current Life Blocks unique tuning stats and hidden abilities, while keeping recognizable traits from their inspirational animals, so you can experiment and find meaningful combinations. Then we’ll add EVEN MORE Life Blocks and creatures. We also want to focus on Adventure Mode and the overall look & feel of the game.

Some big updates coming this year:

  • Creature Intelligence: New creature behaviors will take the experience to a full ecosystem.
    • More animated behaviors, and skills (stealth and camouflage top the list thanks to your feedback, plus unique creature skills like dogs hearing really well and spiders shooting webs, etc.)
  • Player Controls: New intuitive controls and UI will improve usability.
    • Creature building upgrades: easier life block selection and building, improved camera, more rotation options
    • Action hot bar replaces item shortcuts
    • Improved UI for inventory and item storage, toolbox, off-hand items
    • Full Controller support
  • New Introduction to Adventure: Story, progression, and content!
    • The mysteries of CHKN will be illuminated by playing Adventure Mode. New lore and characters will unlock features and items for you as you progress.
    • First 2 new biomes with new look and feel for environments and starter creatures
    • New Biome progression and art. Biomes will blend naturally and contain creatures and items that are integral to those environments. (ex: Palm Trees, crabs, and crab hybrids will only be found on beaches.)
  • On-going: performance improvements and, of course, your feedback! We’re also looking at the Workshop for your ideas and where we can add support for your content creation, too.

We won’t stop there, though. You can see even more of what we have in store for CHKN on our Roadmap. And if there’s anything you’d like to see in the game, please feel free to share it with us! Hearing your feedback and suggestions really helps make CHKN even better.

Don’t forget to join us for this week’s developer live stream over on Twitch on Friday at 1PM EST.

Make sure to subscribe to our CHKN YouTube channel! You can check out the latest gameplay videos, and playlists featuring some of our favorites from SpyCakes & Beautiful O.B, Holly Huntress, Ariona Gamer, Ryland & PolemicGoblin, and more. Just click subscribe to get updates from CHKN.

We hope you enjoy this update! Until next time...

- Team CHKN

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