Arctic Awakening Demo Updates
James Simpson
February 20, 2024

While we've mostly been focused on the later stages of the game as we ready it for the full release, we've still been putting in plenty of overall polish, bug fixing and core system improvements that have made their way into our demo build.

We really appreciate all of your incredible feedback and detailed bug reports -- we've read every comment and have been hard at work incorporating the feedback and fixing the issues. We're thrilled to release today's update to the demo that encapsulates all of the progress since our last update for Gamescom last fall!

Interacting with the World

Agency to explore and interact with the world has been one of our key pillars from day one, so a lot of our recent work has revolved around honing those aspects of the experience.

First and foremost, the traversal system has been rebuilt from the ground up. All traversal mechanics are now run automatically with no button presses needed other than jumping from a height that you can't climb back up from. The animations and motions of the traversals are faster and smoother to feel more fluid and address motion sickness concerns. The camera is also never taken over during any traversal mechanic so that you won't get disoriented or lose the feeling of control. And for those of you that like to toggle jogging, this is now supported alongside the ability to hold the button/key as before.

We've also made significant improvements to interactions such as picking up and putting down objects. These actions are now dramatically smoother and faster without feeling so jarring (and just like with traversal mechanics, the camera is never taken over). You can also now use physics to place objects on flat surfaces or even on top of other objects to arrange things in your shelter just the way you like them.

Weather Systems

We view weather as just another character in the game, so it's been long overdue for some TLC. The most obvious of changes is that we've added clouds to the sky! It's a subtle change at times and quite dramatic at others, but it really gives us some fantastic freedom to make the weather systems that much more dynamic and vistas that much more breathtaking.

To go along with the updated skies, the weather system and the color grading that goes along with it now supports full dynamic blending. The time could already dynamically update the visuals as it passed, but now the weather can change in an instant or over an extended period of time and everything will update seamlessly.

In addition, the quality of the feet deformations in the snow has been improved to be more dynamic and realistic. We've also addressed some nagging issues like Kai's head dropping below the surface of the snow in some areas or the fact that dropping items into the snow would cause them to disappear into another realm, never to be seen again.

Auto Save

One of the most vital features missing from our prior demos was the ability to save. We haven't added cloud saves (yet), but we do have an initial implementation of a full auto save system in place now. This turns out to be much more complex to nail down with such a dynamic world of choices and actions to keep track of, so we still consider the saving functionality in a "beta" state for the moment.


We still have a big list of performance improvements we'll be wrapping up before the full release. However, one big update we've completed is the world streaming system that splits the whole world of Arctic Awakening into chunks and then loads them in the background without the need for loading screens. The plan from the very beginning was to make this a fully seamless world to explore with no loading screens, and as that world grew it became clear a more robust system would be needed to support it on the hardware of mere mortals. Outside of the world streaming system, we've made a variety of other updates to reduce memory and GPU usage across the board.


The inventory system has continued to evolve, now with a history view and the ability to examine objects that are currently in your inventory. Even more crucially, we've built a number of new core systems that allow us to support a variety of scenarios with objects you've collected that just wouldn't have been possible before. Some of these will be subtle, but we think they'll really help make the world feel alive and more dynamic than ever.

AI Companion

This is one of those systems that is never really done. There's always more that can be improved, more scenarios that can be supported and more polish to layer on top. We talked about some of our recent updates to Alfie in a prior devlog (, and we've continued iterating on those and other systems to continually refine his behaviors. There's still more to do, but Alfie becomes seemingly more "alive" every day!


We got a lot of feedback surrounding audio and the music and we've been working to remedy the various issues and concerns. While most of the work around sound design and music has been taking place beyond the scope of the demo, we hope you'll appreciate improvements such as changes to the mix to make dialogue easier to hear and improved reactivity within the music design.


Did I mention bug reports? Yeah... there were a lot of them! Over the last few months we've fixed hundreds (thousands?!?) of bugs in both the core systems and the demo sections of the game. It certainly isn't bug-free yet, but we're continuing to work hard at polishing up the entire experience -- so keep the bug reports coming, they've been absolutely vital as a sort of beta test for the final game.

As we approach the full release of the game, be sure to stay tuned for more updates by following/wishlisting our Steam page. You can also join our Discord, Twitter (X?) or newsletter for future updates and chat with us and others about the progress of the development!