Here we have the last
Major Content Update for 2022, bringing bug fixes, map changes, a new sex scene and void cosmetics! After we’ve covered that, I’ll give you an update on our UE5 progress, art and environment updates and an insight on what we’ve been working on that’s not ready yet.
Centauress SceneWith this update Eleia becomes interactive after the quest and is now receptive to the advances of futa players (we have other scenes planned for male and female forms).
Given her size and strength we also have some more acrobatic interactions in the works to make further use of her assets… among other positions.
This update has been a technically challenging one as we work to improve some of our minor systems – in this case we’ve approached the way we handle jiggle physics differently for the female Centaur.
Void Daughter UpdateThis update brings the new
Void Daughter player form. This replaces the old Void Spirit form and differentiates our demonic ladies from their as-yet-unseen matriarch, the
Void Mother. They’re not yet fully featured, so only one horn variant is available.
The Void Daughters also feature the first test of piercing cosmetics, something we’ll consider rolling out to other races if they prove popular.
Liquid Gold Bug Fixes
This update brings with it a bug-fixed version of Liquid Gold that features additional choices. We’ve also snuck in some of the mysterious ibis-masked Aethio, though they don’t yet have anything to do in UE4.
The Aethio are the mysterious matriarchal order responsible for childbirth in Sabu. Also colloquially known as “Storks” by the populace, the Aethio arrive at the moment of birth to whisk new-borns away from the accursed sands of the desert kingdom. Those of you who choose to get pregnant, or make others pregnant, in the UE5 build will see more of the Aethio first-hand.
We’ve also included some needed bug fixes with the map, clothing, some DSS scenes and inventory issues which were reported by the community.
UE5 Schedule UpdateIn September we did a Community Poll and asked if you would prefer us to continue to split our efforts between our UE5 update and continuing to make UE4 content or to focus on UE5.
The community voted overwhelmingly for the move, with only 2% wanting to keep both UE4 and UE5 going in parallel. Once we make the move we’ll keep access to the final UE4 build via a separate Steam branch, along with access to the UE5 version.
I would also like to address this first, unfortunately UE5 is not coming in 2022, we hate to let you down and this decision was not taken lightly, but we always want to be transparent with you all and it’s for a number of Major Reasons:
- A move to UE5.1 – at the end of the Day, Unreal Engine 5.0 was not ready for production game releases and the huge number of necessary improvements that 5.1 have been great and will increase the production value of the game but it’s meant that we’ve had to wait for Engine Plugins to be updated and change our workflow for some environment art and fix bugs caused by the move. An example of some things that have been added from 5.0 to 5.1 are water reflections, Huge Nanite/Lumen performance/Quality boosts, Nanite Foliage and more.
- Change of Scope to the Map/Areas for the original release:
The two main zones we had planned to release in the initial UE5 build were Tal-Senet and Mehden Island. There is a third zone involved, but that area is a brief “introduction” zone, doesn’t really impact development, and is essentially complete.
Tal-Senet is an island covered in the ruins of an ancient library complex. It houses the only “authentic” Lybossan Taberna to be found in Sabu, and is home to a range of artisans and tradespeople. Our first in-depth romantic interest, Damaris, also calls the island her home.
Mehden Island is a larger landmass to the west of Tal-Senet, though it too is separated from the Sabuthi mainland by the Euphoris river. The island is a microcosm of Sabu proper, with both wealthy estates and rural farmsteads. River-based trade with a nearby Minoan-run city allows several metalworking smiths to ply their craft. As with other regions of Sabu, Mehden is built atop relics of the past, with many tombs and other forgotten dangers lurking beneath the sand.
So what exactly is the issue?
Tal-Senet is almost complete, perhaps ~90% if we were to put a number on it. Mehden Island is not. The topography of the zone is mostly implemented, however many art assets/cinematics are not ready and the new mechanic to enter tombs is not fully functional (nor are the tombs assets entirely ready).
There are two (very brief) new quests which take place before arrival at Tal-Senet, however these are really only intended as flavour quests and don’t constitute much gameplay. The three (full length) new quests require travel to Mehden Island at some point.
With the initial UE4 version of CI, all the way up to the most recent builds, we made sure to push gameplay content no matter what. We saw this as more important than anything else, as it ensured there was something for you to get your hands on asap. It did however cause problems. As time went on we hadn’t finished an area, or an NPC, and quests began to encroach on each other and it became increasingly difficult to keep content as planned.
We do not want to repeat this mistake with UE5.
We essentially had two options;
Edit the quests to take place fully on Tal-Senet and release that area sooner.
Delay further and release with both Tal-Senet and Mehden Island completed.
We chose to delay to have the initial release of the UE5 build be a more complete experience and we hope you support our decision.
- Staff Sickness & Parental Leave, for much of the last 3 months we’ve had issues with a core member of the team(me) being unwell with Covid & Health issues which has really impacted our Ability to get gameplay features up and running and complete. Along with that, another team member had their first baby recently and they’ve taken some time out for that important time 🙂
It’s simply the continued impact of having one less member of the team due to parental leave, along with sickness and general development hiccups – we made our best estimates of the impact on development but we have limited experience of operating with one less person; it’s not as simple as 1/5th less work hours.
We’re taking proactive steps to prevent this happening again but we are a small team; we have finally managed to convince another former colleague to ditch their 9-5 industry job and take the plunge/join the dark side. It’s taken a lot of time, including countless instances of singing “The Other Side” from The Greatest Showman at them, but they join the core team in February. In terms of skills they bring with them several overlapping disciplines, including both technical and art, meaning that the team will be far more resilient to staff absence going forward.
In the words of Shigeru Miyamoto; a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever, Now onto what we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes…
The Library Tal-Senet, a location you’ll become very familiar with in the first chapter of the game.
“The Aadi are curious beasts to be certain. I for one became quite fond of my mute travelling companion. She was as keen to traverse sharp crags as to make haste over the open dunes. Unlike many beasts used for transportation, Aadi are also kept for their meat. When offered such a meal, in the tent of a Felian cobbler, I must admit that, despite the silent protestations and mournful glances of my steed, I devoured the entire bowl of well-spiced stew.”
Ehkos, A Guide to the Desert Kingdoms
Introducing the latest creature to stride the dunes of Sabu,
The Aadi. This trusty beast will be your starting mount as you set forth to explore the world. It’s unclear what the ancestors of the Aadi once were, countless ages of exposure to the aura of the desert kingdom have resulted in this unique animal; warm blooded but covered in scales and sporting bony plates.
Heavily armoured across its back and neck, Aadi still make easy prey for the larger denizens of the dunes such as
Drakes. They’re also extremely vulnerable when crossing bodies of water, where they are the favoured meal of the aquatic
Subok (also known as the
Beasts of Sobeq, these fearsome reptilian predators are no longer mere crocodiles and will instead be receiving the visual update their name deserves).
For those who are interested in the lore of the world, a little more about the Aadi. Despite their horned appearance, all young Aadi are female. Upon reaching maturity an Aadi will birth up to ten calves during her fertile years.
As they age Aadi reach a second maturity, developing male sexual characteristics. The transition means that only the strongest Aadi sire the next generation, with these battle-hardened, larger Aadi competing for mating rights.
Aadi form extremely strong bonds and, once their trust has been gained, remain fiercely loyal to their rider. Never straying far on their own, an Aadi will always hasten to it’s owner when called.
Dynamic “Mess” EffectsWe finally have visuals for our dynamic “mess” effects in the UE5 build. This is something that we removed a while back when we got rid of the “messy ending” cosmetic, but this time around it can sit on top of base layers like the bedlah or wraps.
The amount of mess will be consistent across forms; if you take a load in and around the mouth as a Jackal before changing to a Felian then you’ll still have it splattered all over your face as a cat. In the screenshots below you’ll see the facial states as modelled by our lovely Void Daughter.
Don’t worry, you won’t be forced to wander the dunes splattered from head to toe; swimming, bathing, and some “sharing” DSS scenes will allow you to clean up. That said you can keep hooking up and progressively becoming more “glazed”… if that’s your thing.
Firstly we’ve punched up the contrast of the world. When you look at something for too long it’s easy to lose sight of how small changes are adding up. We became aware that Sabu had begun to drift away from our vision of an arid place where the baking heat of the desert sun leaps out of the screen. Our existing tones were true to Egypt, but Sabu is not Egypt.
We’ve now moved back in the direction of punchy, vibrant tones supported by sand accumulating everywhere. Even our greens are a bit less dead.
Our building materials got a rework as well, further optimising them whilst making them read better at range. There are a lot of painted murals in Sabu, with different villages and races expressing themselves in unique ways. The new materials give us a better canvas for these artworks.
The material rework extends to characters too, even how hair is implemented in our UE5 build. The hair we ported back for last month’s update was a test asset for UE5 – the hair in the new build uses an entirely different approach and the improvement is night and day.
The difference in the world extends beyond the surface changes however; mechanically we’ve changed our approach to dungeons, tombs, and other places beneath the sand. Reworked tombs won’t feature in the initial UE5 release, but will come in one of the first updates. Rather than a “push the button” or “find the key” approach, tombs feature fully designed puzzles and traps, existing as a quest subtype in their own right.
In this screenshot above we can see a tomb that sits beneath The Rampant Lioness, Damaris’ Taberna. So close to town its likely already been picked clean… though who knows, perhaps you’ll find more than you expect from exploring it.
Sabu has always been filled with crumbling ruins, the entrances often blocked by debris. This is another example of how things are changing in UE5: player stats now mean that some otherwise inaccessible tombs become enterable if the player has adequate agility or strength.
Obviously this isn’t the only way stats impact gameplay, nor are these the only two stats to choose from. Players will gain points to spend each level, increasing their Arcana, Agility, Endurance, Fate, Presence, Strength, and Vitality as they progress through the game. These stats will impact everything from how fertile a player is, what weapons they can use, and whether an encounter ends in combat or ecstacy.
A bigger world means new modes of travel and more ground to cover, so landmarks are changing too. In a world as large as Sabu it can be easy to get lost, new common landmarks will help guide your path. Here we can see two pillars, one on either side of a safe point to disembark from your boat. Spotting such pillars in the world will lead you to a beach and whatever settlement or temple it was built for, though bear in mind the occupants may not always be welcoming.
There are many megastructures coming to Carnal Instinct too, giving you points of reference to navigate from; pyramids, temples, colossi, and many more.
This is just a taste of what we’re working on in the UE5 build. Coming soon will be more creatures of the dunes, new enemies, new characters to romance, new quests to unravel the story of this land, and much, much more.
Thank YouFrom all of us at Team Carnal Instinct, thank you for your support, Happy Holidays and have a great New Year!
Team Carnal Instinct