A Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue.

How the user specifies the creation of a new dinosaur (screen capture).

How the user specifies the creation of a new dinosaur (screen capture). Click to see full-size.

It’s finally that time: we’re adding dinosaurs to Dinosaur Island now. Above is the ‘creation’ screen. As you can see we are modeling each dinosaur in great detail. We are tracking how much they’ve eaten, how much energy they’re expending, what their diet is, age, health. You can even give each dinosaur a personal name.

By the way, none of this is necessary for you to enjoy Dinosaur Island. This is just a glimpse of the ‘behind the scene’ details that we are implementing to assure historical accuracy.

Trivia question: do you know why this T. rex is named Sue? See here for the answer.

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A few more screen shots.

A map of Nipa plants on Dinosaur Island.

A map of Nipa plants on Dinosaur Island.

Detailed Information about a Nipa plant in a swamp.

Detailed Information about a Nipa plant in a swamp.

Dr. Karen Chin has suggested that Nipa and Araucaria plants would be a suitable food source for Edmontosaurus on Dinosaur Island. Pictured above are two new screen shots showing a map of where Nipa plants are growing in a swamp and by rivers. The second screen shot shows detailed information about one square meter of Dinosaur Island. It is important to remember that Dinosaur Island will be in 3D. Just the utilities needed to create the island are ‘top down’ and in 2D.

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The vegetation interface is done.

Part of the interface where the user can select what vegetation is planted in what environments.

Part of the interface where the user can select what vegetation is planted in which environments.

Display of information about 1 square meter of Dinosaur Island.

Display of information about 1 square meter of Dinosaur Island.

Here are a couple more screen shots showing the interface for building Dinosaur Island. We want to make it as easy as possible to create new islands, with different terrain and plants from different ages.

This is important to remember: Dinosaur Island will be released in 3D. However, all the tools for creating the island, placing vegetation, creating different environments and terrains, and selecting and placing dinosaurs is done in a ‘top down’ 2D interface because – and trust us on this, we’ve had years of experience working on models and simulations – it’s just a lot easier to do it this way.

Now that the island is done, the different terrains and environments are done, the vegetation is planted… it’s time for the dinosaurs!

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Planting on Dinosaur Island.

How we plant on Dinosaur Island; screen capture of the planting interface.

How we plant on Dinosaur Island; screen capture of the planting interface.

It’s spring on Dinosaur Island and that means it’s time to start planting! Above is a screen capture of the interface to add plants to Dinosaur Island, select the terrain / environment in which they grow (remember all the work on creating the terrain previously?), select images for the plants for their three stages of development (we have an agreement with xFrog who created these prehistoric plants, and, lastly, ‘plant’ this vegetation in the appropriate terrain / environment.

We’re looking at starting off with 20 different types of plants and trees. We will be tracking each individual plant, shrub or tree throughout its entire life cycle. We will also track its health.

The above screen capture is another glimpse ‘behind the scenes’ of Dinosaur Island. Most users probably won’t want to get this involved, but we need to have this capability to create different environments, with the appropriate flora, for the various eras of dinosaurs.

Things are progressing rapidly on Dinosaur Island. Next week: see the results of planting all these ferns, bushes and trees. And, after that, it’s time for the dinosaurs!

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How to build a swamp.

Building a swamp on Dinosaur Island.

Building a swamp on Dinosaur Island.

Today’s post shows a screen shot of the process of building up a swamp on Dinosaur Island. The dark blue area is salt water. The alternating brown and yellow bands are sandy and swampy areas. This process was automated by using a “flood fill” algorithm that is now built into the Dinosaur Island program.

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