About Dinosaur Island

Dinosaur Island is a Digital Terrarium

Dinosaur Island is a 3D computer simulation with herds of sauropods and ceratopsians, flocks of pteranodons, hunting packs of carnivores and authentic plants and trees from over 65 million years ago all controlled by the user. You can think of Dinosaur Island as a digital terrarium in which a balance between the species and their diets must be maintained or the ecosystem will collapse.

Brachiosaurus herd at night (3D CGI for Dinosaur Island by Ed Isenberg)
Brachiosaurus herd at night (3D CGI for Dinosaur Island by Ed Isenberg)

It is up to the user to determine how many and what kinds of dinosaurs and plants populate the island. Start off simple with just a few sauropods and some plants; but you better make sure that those big plant-eaters have the right food to eat. Did you know that many of the plants from the Jurassic were poisonous? You also need to make sure that there are some carnivores around to keep those sauropod herds in check; otherwise they will quickly outstrip their food supplies.

You must balance the ratio of carnivores to prey (3D CGI for Dinosaur Island by Ed Isenberg)
You must balance the ratio of carnivores to prey (3D CGI for Dinosaur Island by Ed Isenberg)
Dinosaur Island is an Adventure

Yes, it is a bit like those famous movies because you can take ‘photographs’ of your dinosaurs, save them, post them and share them with your friends (you can even ‘name’ your dinosaurs, ‘tag’ them and track them throughout their lives). You will be able to ‘walk’ with the dinosaurs without being trampled under their giant feet. You will be able to follow along when a female T-Rex goes out to hunt without fear of becoming dinner for her family. You will be able to ‘garden’ by ‘planting’ vegetation where you like and watch the plants grow over time.

Pelecanimimus (3D CGI created for Dinosaur Island by José Antonio Peñas)
Pelecanimimus (3D CGI created for Dinosaur Island by José Antonio Peñas)
Dinosaur Island is Educational

Our reputation – both in our ‘serious games’ and our contracted simulations – is for historical accuracy. All of our computer games, serious games and simulations are meticulously researched. Dinosaur Island will also include an extensive hyperlinked interactive ‘booklet’ about the dinosaurs that live on Dinosaur Island, their habitat and the plants and vegetation that grow there. Designasaurus, the game that we created in 1987, was named Educational Game of the Year. We will exploit the computer environment that is now available (more memory and faster machines allow for 3D rendering) to make Dinosaur Island even more of an immersive educational experience.

Dinosaur Island is Fun

Playing with herds of dinosaurs is just good fun. You can ‘pick them up’ and move them around, plant crops for them to eat or you can even ‘get inside’ a dinosaur and control its actions. Regardless of your age, Dinosaur Island is guaranteed to be hours of fun.

Join our Facebook page when you have a chance!

Check out our Kickstarter page as well, if you’d like more information on our progress.



103 thoughts on “About Dinosaur Island

    • No, not at all. Because the Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful we decided to create this site, so everybody could follow our progress, and just develop Dinosaur Island without funding. We plan on continuing to develop Dinosaur Island, and attracting people, for six months to a year. Then, we may try Kickstarter again, or we may try some other ‘crowd source’ funding, or we may just offer the game direct from here.

      But, as you can see, Dinosaur Island continues to be developed. Thanks for the interest. And if you have any other questions, please ask.

        • I take it this means you can’t wait for Dinosaur Island to get completed?

          Thanks for the interest! And feel free to write me or post comments or questions.

          One of the advantages of having this site is that you can offer suggestions for what features we should include.

    • Oh, I see! Well, I hope to have Dinosaur Island ready by the summer of 2014 (I also teach at the University).

      Please keep watching and please feel free to make comments and suggestions.

  1. a suggestion maybe for a dlc is throw a human i can control out of a chopper on to the Island with nothing but a spear and a will to live. haha 🙂

    • That would be very interesting. Unfortunately, we’re trying to create the most accurate model of dinosaur life and interaction that has yet been created. Introducing a human with a spear would make for an interesting game, but not very good science.

    • I will talk to a couple of paleontologists who have been very helpful and I will also read everything I can about the subject. Then I will create a model and start testing it and make modifications as appropriate.

    • Definitely the T. rex and Edmontosaurus regalis. After that I’m not sure.

      I would eventually like to add flying pterosaurs, but they will probably have to be an add-on.

    • I’m hoping to have Dinosaur Island ready for a Kickstarter and similar campaign in a few months.
      How did you find about the project? We need to attract more awareness.
      I’m currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant and am still in the hospital, but I’m making great progress and can’t wait to get back to my home/office where I will be pretty much in isolation working on Dinosaur Island full time.
      Your note really cheered me up, thanks!

  2. I actually found out by chance, I was searching the web hoping to find a game about the actual experiences and lives of dinosaurs rather than one where you just play as a person running around shooting them. This certainly seems to fit the criteria, I’ll be looking forward to it. As for your awareness problem I am unsure, social media is always good. I’m sure there are plenty of facebook groups devoted to their love of dinosaurs that may be interested in this but just haven’t heard of it yet. Anyway I’ll try to spread the word as best I can.
    I wish you a speedy recovery and the best of health,

      • I was searching for a dinosaur simulator similar to the person above you, and this was in the search.
        Weird your kickstarter didnt get funded. I never even heard of it, which is saying something since i’m always looking for animal sims.
        I’d really suggest putting yourself out there and setting up a Tumblr or Twitter as a means to get your project out there.
        I know a TON of people who would be interested in a game like this!

        I really hope this project comes through. There aren’t enough sim games out there these days. Goat Simulator and Bear Simulator are nice but they’re pretty much ‘joke’ games 😛

        • Thanks for the interest!

          We (I) didn’t do a very good job with the first Kickstarter. But, we’ll call this a learning experience, do our best to contact more people via social media and have some gameplay video to demo. We should have the video down in a couple of weeks.

  3. So will Dinosaur Island simulate a specific time period, or will you be more lax regarding the inclusion of anachronistic species? I ask because Brachiosaurus technically did not live in the same time period as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus. Alamosaurus, one of the largest sauropods ever discovered, did live at the same time as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus however and even shared habitats with both genera.

  4. I have a few questions:
    Will we get to choose different time eras before starting a game or in the menu?
    Will this be like JPOG?
    Will their be any different dinosaurs or prehistoric amphibians or reptiles?
    Will we get to control dinosaurs?
    Will this game be like Spore?
    When will this be released?
    Will we have to buy the game in stores or is it available for free download?
    Hope you answer my questions!

    • To answer your questions:
      1. We anticipate having different islands, each historically accurate to its era.
      2. Don’t know JPOG. Jurassic Park something?
      3. Many different dinosaurs.
      4. You will get to control the dinosaurs AND modify them.
      5. I know Will Wright from the ‘old days’ but I never played Spore. It won’t be like Spore, per se, where events occur over hundreds of generations.
      6. We’re looking at a 2015 release.
      7. The game will be available via Kickstarter (campaign starts soon!) and, later, as a pay per download.

      Thank you for asking such great questions! Please feel free to write again!

    • We will be announcing the Kickstarter funding campaign for Dinosaur Island very shortly. Thanks for your interest and we would love to get feedback from you, too.

  5. This is soooooooo epic . THANK YOU EZRA THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    By the way , how much will this cost? Im very intrested in realistic and accurate simulators like this. Will you be able to do natural disasters (volcanoes earthquakes etc etc)? How accurate will the Artificial Intelligence of the dinosaurs be? Will there be ichtiosaurs(water reptiles)?
    In which time era is this island ?

    • First, thanks for the interest in Dinosaur Island.

      Now, let’s answer your questions:

      We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign next month for funding. You will save money if you get the game via Kickstarter as a pledge premium. The prices are still being worked out.

      We will have a number of islands, each set in a specific time period and each with the correct animals (and plants) for that time period. We hope to come out with three different islands / time periods / dinosaur and plant sets at the beginning.

      I’ve worked 2.5 years on the dinosaur AI. How accurate is it? Well, I’ve wondered if I’ve made the dinosaurs too smart. Maybe they weren’t as smart as some of the AI techniques that I’ve written (like having a T. rex hunt downwind instead of upwind so the prey doesn’t smell him coming. We’re dinosaurs that smart?

      At the moment there is no plan for icthiosaurs because they could just ‘swim away’ from the islands. The AI is what keeps the dinosaurs from walking into the ocean!

      Again, thanks for the interest and look forward to the Kickstarter campaign next month with more details.

  6. I have some cool ideas for your game project ifyou want them
    I can not apply my ides into reality because I am not a mods making engineer

  7. Must read some of my ideas

    Can you make new dinosaur by using the shapes of the dinos you have for example a spinosaure and baryounax have a litte commun shape
    And prehistoric croc with its ability to stak water drinking prey and then catching them and drowning them and then rotate continously to cut of flesh and more detail trees,water,grass,and the enviroment and please add carnotaur just like in disney dinosaur besause it’s way cooler. And some new mordern birds and new techniques of dino duels and some options like show blood or injured part of a dino like a broken horn or bite marks and broken bones or cut of limbes and if a dino gets to seriously injured there should a warning box appear on the screen saying that your dino is seriously wounded or sick you should send in a medic team or the dino will die. And there should be a hospital for dinos where sick or injured dinos will be brought also in the hospital there will be research options for diseases or broken or injured parts
    And if you want to here more reply to my comment
    And these are only few of my ideas and if you want to contact me through facebook here is my ID alishabir46@yahoo.com

  8. Let me explain my first idea I meant to make new dinos through the skins you already have forexample the branh and argentinosaures are a like only difference is the shape ok now that you know what I meant

  9. Can you make a hatchary which will make a continuous supply of fish for fish eating dinos like spinosaure or baryonx.note the hatchary can only be build near water.
    Thank you

  10. You’ve asked a lot of questions and made some great suggestions.

    One of the areas that, for the moment, we’re not going to address is fish and dinosaurs (plesiosaurs) that lived in the ocean. There are technical reasons for this; but for now we’re restricted to ‘land animals’ that live on the island.

  11. Can I ask you some questions?
    1. Will the game be free ?
    2. Is the date you published before summer 2014 still the release date you have planned?
    3.Will you have quick sand in game?
    4.Will there be dinosaurs from all periods ?
    5.Will there be sarcosuchus and dinosuchus?

    Sorry if you have answered this questions above cause I am really having a difficulty reading all of it, keep up the good work 🙂

    • 1. The game will be launched via Kickstarter on Sept. 1, 2014. We will post a link. The ‘early birds’ can get Dinosaur Island for as little as $5.
      2. The release date for Dinosaur Island is November 2015.
      3. We have many terrain types but hadn’t thought of quicksand. That’s a good idea.
      4. There will be dinosaurs from all periods BUT they will be on different islands (Jurassic dinosaurs together, Cretaceous dinosaurs together, etc.
      5. You’ll have to wait to see who makes the ‘official’ dinosaur list.
  12. Firstly thank you so much for answering my questions, and I think as well that quicksand will be very interesting to be put in-game, but I don’t understand: what do you mean <> cause I did not had much experience or previous encounters with it and even after looking it up I did not understood, and what do you mean early birds can get the dinosaur island for 5$ , you will have it on sale at the start?

    • All will be revealed on Sept. 1. at 10:OO PM CST.
      We will post all the relevant information and links here on Dinosaur Island.
      Sorry for sounding so cryptic, but it’s the best we can do at the moment.

  13. Ah darn the Kick starter wasn’t fully funded.. But you do have a decent sum to go towards the project.. If I could make a last minute suggestion.. Although it is a simulator and all that lovely stuff, I think you should earn a reward for creating a successful ecosystem in all 3 era’s (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous) like maybe an Island that will allow all dinosaurs on it no matter the era.. Idk just a little Idea I thought of also I am a Wealth of dinosaur knowledge I study them for about 4 years But I know a ton about them. You can reach me at Loganleonard123@hotmail.com if you need any info because I know info on most if not all dinosaurs that have been discovered.

    • We really appreciate the feedback and the encouraging words.
      Clearly we need to increase the gameplay for Dinosaur Island to be a success. We’re work (and bounce around) a bunch of new ideas over the next couple of months.

  14. Hey Ezra, well done with the website! We share the same experience with our unsuccessfull kickstarters, i just did the same thing when mine failed, but i’m ready to try again now, after 7 months.
    Those kind of project grow in popularity very slowly and gradually, you just need to be very keen!

  15. I have cleaned out my entire e-mail just incase you do contact me for info, I really do want this game to Succeed, I play JPOG (I believe someone asked if this game was going to be like JPOG and you didn’t know what it was, It’s an Acronym for Jurassic Park Operation Genesis, It was Released in 2001, Essentially the main goal is to build your own safe and secure Jurassic park, Which is actually quite hard.) but to get back on topic there’s absolutely no games like this there is Dinosaur battle grounds but that’s not really a simulation that’s you being the dinosaur. (they did an Indie gogo kickstarter six times before they actually were successful, but put all the proceeds from previous tries in subtracting from the Goal for the next time) So don’t worry if it fails a couple times it happens to a lot of people I’m going to get as much people interested as possible, hopefully you can keep pumping out content and Updates, Much luck to you.

    • Thanks for the advice and encouragement! It really is appreciated. I’m still trying to figure out what to do next (and what we did wrong).

      As always, please feel free to contact me directly: Ezra @ Dinosaur-Island.com

  16. Will there be high end settings? I Invested like 2K into my computer so it’ll be fun to see if this will make my computer cry.

    • We don’t really anticipate, “making computers cry.” I’ve been writing computer games for over 25 years and if you do it write you don’t need to maximize RAM or speed.

  17. I should have added this in with my previous comment but my Email has been compromised so if you do need any info You can contact me via my alt loganleonard1234@hotmail.com Also I have knack for making stuff really interesting without it being misleading once so ever so I can probably make an Interesting Speech on how this game is deserving of its development and post it around the internet.

    • We haven’t had a successful Kickstarter campaign and that has held back the purchasing of better 3D dinosaur models. We’re still hoping to release Dinosaur Island in late 2015.

  18. Ezra,
    As many others have expressed, I too say THANK YOU SO MUCH for investing your time, energy, and passion into this project. I have had a love affair with dinosaurs and their kin since I was a small child constantly sick in bed with only my plastic dinos and books to keep me company.
    This simulator seems like it is versatile enough to cater to those that simply want to enjoy the game for what it is and those of us “nerds” that crave a scientifically accurate model of both flora and fauna and how each individual plant and animal interact and affect the ecosystem in which they live in. It saddens me to think that this project has failed before due to lack of interest/funding, as the simulator I feel could benefit everyone (from young children to seasoned paleontologists). Be certain that I will do my best to bring this project to the attention of as many people as I know, and I will keep tabs on this wonderful and insightful simulator you have created. Patience has been a virtue for you so keep up the faith and slowly but surely, your dream will come to fruition! Stay confident, stay positive, and keep up your health!
    Hope to hear some good news/updates!

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

      I haven’t given up. Indeed, after a great deal of thought, I think I’ve figured out the missing component – gameplay – to help make Dinosaur Island a reality.

      Stay tuned, I’ll be posting some new updates shortly. And, again, thank you so much for your encouraging words!

  19. Sorry the kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful again, I’m still really hoping to hear more about this and play it eventually. Thank you so much for all the effort you put into this, if you do plan on another kickstarter in the future you can count on me to support!

    • Thank you for your encouraging words!

      We haven’t given up and I continue to work and refine the gameplay. I’m hoping we can still release Dinosaur Island in 2015.

  20. A few questions I forgot to ask earlier.
    1. Will the game be free when it launches in late 2015?
    2. Can you breed dinosaurs to produce more high quality dinosaurs?
    3. Can you ride the dinosaurs?
    4. Can you hunt them? (I know this is cruel)

    Sorry if these have already been asked, I just don’t like to scroll.

    • Thanks for all the questions!

      1. It was not our intention to create a ‘free’ game. However, we expect it to be very inexpensive.
      2. Dinosaur Island is a simulation of actual dinosaurs so, of course, they will breed.
      3. You can’t ride the dinosaurs. At least we hadn’t planned on it.
      4. Hunting, for now, is prohibited on Dinosaur Island.

  21. This game sounds awesome!! I was looking for a game like this for years and finally stumbled upon this. You should definitely continue with this game. After playing jpog I became obsessed with dinosaurs but you can’t do much with them like, breeding and balancing the ecosystem. If you need help with spreading the word I’ll be glad to help.

  22. I’m new and just wanted to say hi. My four-year-old son is a Dinosaur fanatic, and has made me one too!

    Good luck with this project — I’ll definitely line up to fund/buy this when it becomes available (as long as it works 🙂 )!


    • I just finished school for the semester (I teach computer game design at the University of Iowa). My plans for the summer are to work on Dinosaur Island!

  23. Glad to hear you have a chance to work some more over the summer. Hoping to hear more news soon! Keep up the good work Ezra 🙂

  24. How is the work going? What are main issues impeding progress? Is there a to do list you have? Have any goals changed since the origin of the project? Have you thought about cooperating with other game developers specifically in the field of Dinosaur AI? This project sounds like gold, even if as just a resource/template for future dinosaur games.

    • First, thanks for the interest in Dinosaur Island! I really appreciate it.

      You’ve asked some very good questions. The biggest problem that we’re facing is the issue of ‘gameplay’. Ironically, this is a subject that I talk about quite a bit when I teach computer game design. Creating a simulation of dinosaurs and their environment isn’t too difficult. It involves a lot of research, of course, and some programming but it’s not impossible. The problem is gameplay, or making the project fun. It seems like it’s not a big deal, but it is. A lot of what (herbivore) dinosaurs did was sit around and eat. That’s not very interesting or fun. So, I’m trying to come up with some ‘fun’ game ideas.

      The other problem is that we’re going to have to make the island smaller so we can add more 3D detail for the plants. This involves re-doing all the elevation and terrain maps.

      Yes, I’ve sent out emails trying to co-operate with the (two) other dinosaur game developers without much success.

      – Ezra

  25. Hey there I recently stumbled upon this and I am fascinated by what I have read so far. I was wondering if there is any update as to the release. Also something you could try to do to add some excitement is perhaps add either a mode where you can follow the life cycle of a dinosaur as one or perhaps add a function where a prove is sent back to document the dinosaurs and add achievements or challenges to take pictures of them doing specific things without being detected. It would add some fun without placing anything too out there to take away from the games idea of education.

    • Some of these things (achievements and photographs) we had planned on doing. Following a dinosaur for 20 or 30 years sounds like there’s going to be some real boring spots in there. Still, it’s an intriguing idea. I wonder if we can combine real and accelerated time?

  26. In fact adding such a component to the game would encourage more exploration of the world and involvement. For example controlling the probe and having the player utilize a cloak in order to approach nest sites for documentation, or following a predator as it stalks a herd of herbivores, doing this to gain achievements to unlock more dinosaurs and increase ones score or rating would play off of similar psychological programming as seen in major game systems. This would also require the player to change strategies and adapt to the different behaivors of the diverse species within the game meaning they would have to learn about the dinosaurs they are trying to document. All the while it would not interfere with the games intent as it would not allow the player to directly interfere with the dinosaurs, or detract from the intent of learning. Please let me know what your thoughts are on my input.

  27. You could incorporate accelerated time however if you do but add a risk like perhaps things going wrong if left accelerated for too long

    • Accelerated time in a game is always tricky. One of my favorite games was a submarine simulation that had accelerated time and it could ‘zoom’ you right past important events.

    • I’ve spent so much time and energy on creating a dinosaur simulation that I haven’t figured out what the ‘dinosaur game’ is. My original game, from the 1980s allowed the user to create different dinosaurs. Maybe I need to do that again.

  28. Your game here interested me right off the bat. The ideas that have been posed would simply add a wider fan base I think

    • It’s a question of what we call ‘gameplay’. What makes this fun? Is simply ‘walking around inside a dinosaur’ all day fun? Fun usually comes from conflict. We can’t have the dinosaurs attacking each other non-stop. That’s not realistic.

      It’s interesting that we have a wonderful accurate simulation in place. We just need to resolve gameplay.


  29. Does the game have access to a large view of statistics and related graphics? For instance keeping track reproductive rates, death rates per species in certain areas of the island, heat maps for different variables. Also the does game have an in built editor? Can a player place dinosaurs? add terrain?

    A good example of a game is something like Universe Sandbox, which is an astrodynamics simulation, that has the tools and statistics available to offer education value about the universe. But it also gives the player the ability to smash moons into the Earth or blow up the Sun.

    Perhaps a well built editor could let people create their own dinosaur setup and for instance create massive dinosaur battles if they so desire or just try to make their own stable terrarium and be given feedback from a well built information display.

  30. Thanks for pointing me towards “Universe Sandbox”. I hadn’t seen that before and it’s really interesting. The question is: do people find there’s sufficient ‘gameplay’ in it? Are there enough things to do? That’s my question about Dinosaur Island, too. We’ve got the dinosaurs and their environment modeled, but are there enough things to do to make it interesting?

    • No, I’m still working on it. The mechanics and models are all working; I’m still searching for the exciting ‘gameplay’. What’s going to make this fun to play?

  31. it sounds almost like an entire game version of the Site B mode on JPOG, where you just watch the dinosaurs exist.

    Maybe not exciting in the traditional sense, but i’ve been waiting for something like that for a long time!

    I think if you have really good AI and mechanics sound where you can watch the dinosaurs hunt, live, etc. that is all we need!

    • Unfortunately, I became very ill in 2013, had a bone marrow transplant and had to resign my teaching position. I am only now getting my health back and am looking forward to completing Dinosaur Island in the next year. I am very interested to hear suggestions from users.

      • finally found this website i left the message on, nearly forgot about it!

        well sorry to hear but its good that you’ve recovered. i will be looking forward to learning more about this.

        Just now we’ve come to a point where there are a lot of great, authentic dinosaur games in the works though it seems none are soon to be released, the next year or so will be interesting to see!

        • There are a couple of problems with doing an authentic dinosaur simulation. I’ve posted a lot of the algorithms that I’ve created for Dinosaur Island on this site if you’re interested. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is finding the ‘gameplay’ or what makes it fun!

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