In this Dino Diaries, we will take you on our journey porting Paleo Pines to the Nintendo Switch. It was a rollercoaster of challenges and victories for our development team!
Cosy up with a cosy game
Through development, we couldn’t keep track of the amount of times we were asked if Paleo Pines was going to be released on the Switch…
Did you know that in the original scope for Paleo Pines, it was going to be a PC-only game? Porting to any consoles, let alone Switch wasn’t in our original plans! It was when we partnered with Modus and continued to hear all of the requests from fans that we were able to build multiple consoles and Switch into our production plans!
This was exciting but intimidating news. In our hearts, we knew that Paleo Pines seemed tailor-made for the Switch. Our team found themselves spending hours in the game during development, and our playtesters felt the same. It seemed like the perfect fit; the cosy console would help players relax after a long day and they could also bring their dino buddies along with them while they travelled.
When we released our demo, we were fully affirmed that bringing Paleo Pines to the Switch was the right decision. People have already spent over 100,000 hours playing on their PC- so many players noted that they’re excited for the portability of the Switch to play even more! The team’s commitment and the fan’s excitement were both there – this is when the challenges kicked in!
Challenges of taking a visual world into the Switch
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it well.
We were very fortunate to have support from the Pingle team in Ukraine during the initial porting stages for the Switch. They were paramount in taking our PC version and making sure it ticked all the right boxes for submission so we knew that Paleo Pines would indeed be coming to the Switch on September 26th with the rest of our consoles. However, there were obvious issues.
Something that is quite well known in the games industry is that the Switch is the hardest console to port to. It is more memory constrained than other platforms, and because we had initially developed Paleo Pines without the Switch in mind, there was a LOT of optimisation to do over a short few months to get it to run smoothly.
When we brought the work back in-house, our team was under immense time pressure due to the upcoming simultaneous release across platforms. We HAD to ensure that a large number of dinos on-screen at once didn’t affect performance; they’re the star of the show after all!
We wanted to try and make the Switch version behave as similar to the other platforms as possible. The visuals that we had spent years perfecting and showcasing to the world had also immensely suffered. Each person on our dev team stepped up to the challenge and collaborated to preserve the game we’d spent so long on!
*WARNING – MENTION OF GRASS – The bane in the development of Paleo*
A lot of our art team’s efforts went into optimising assets- specifically vegetation and grass (which still haunts some of our team in their sleep). Our level design time had the hard decision of picking and choosing what to change or even remove from the areas while still keeping the luscious, lived-in feeling of our environments.
(IMAGE 1- Final Switch version, IMAGE 2- PC Version)
One of our biggest challenges was that the Switch GPU couldn’t handle our GPU instancing solution (this is the thingamabob that allows us to draw luscious amounts of grass). We had to write our own instancing specifically for the Switch to overcome this problem.
Accessibility was also paramount, we have always strived to do what we can with Paleo Pines and the Switch was no different – we relooked at text scaling and UI and did our best to ensure everything was legible.
From the very beginning, our goal has been to create a game that embraces players with its warmth and charm. We embarked on this journey to create something that not only fills us with pride but also elicits pride from our incredible community. You have stood by us with unwavering support and understanding as we brought Paleo Pines to life!
We have always tried to remain as transparent as we possibly can through the years and this dino diaries is no exception. Working until the eleventh hour, we’ve put together a substantial day one patch that tackles a significant number of our most pressing issues. We feel more confident about the Switch version of the game now with the Day 01 patch than ever!
Our improvement of the game has come leaps and bounds, and although we don’t expect the game to be perfect, we know we’ve worked as hard as possible to make it an enjoyable experience for you. We plan to work with the community on launch to strive for perfection (or as close as we can get) together with bug reporting on our Discord and Steam!
In the spirit of transparency and celebration of our achievements, we’ve decided to add a sneak peak, a video of gameplay on the Switch!!
And that’s it for this Dino Diaries! We’re excited for you to begin your adventure in the world of Paleo Pines, regardless of the gaming platform you choose. Rest assured, we will have full support before and after release for all consoles over on our Discord.
We’d love to hear what you’d like to see next in our Dev Blog. Jump into our Discord channel, or send us a note on our social channels below:
Pre-order on the Nintendo store here; https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/paleo-pines-switch/