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Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone trip)

Find out what we're doing and thinking as we develop WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition and the Tower Fall expansion!

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Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone trip)

Postby loboLoco » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:12 pm


Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_rtJp6WgX4

We learned so much from our Yellowstone trip — though for awhile we weren’t sure if we’d even reach the park, as two winter storms swept through Wyoming as we were driving westward. But the skies cleared and the snow melted (mostly) so we could hike into each area that we represent in the game. Now, back in Minnesota, we’re sorting through the photos and videos we took and discussing all the things we learned during our week of research. It was so great to refresh our memories about the park’s plants, terrain, and animals so we can make WolfQuest 3 an even better game. We hope you enjoy this slideshow of the trip!

Some things we learned:

* So Many Grasses: We focused quite a bit on the grasses and other ground cover so we can make the game environments more detailed and realistic. But oh my, the diversity of grasses was astounding. For example, in just one spot on Specimen Ridge, we saw (identifications courtesy of Roy Renkin, YNP biologist): Idaho fescue rhizomatous western wheatgrass, Nelson's needlegrass, prairie junegrass, and needle-and thread....and possibly some Indian ricegrass. Whew!

* Eating Machines: Elk eat ALL THE TIME. In WolfQuest 2.7, elk will eat a bit, then look around for awhile, then eat a bit more. In reality, it’s just the opposite: elk have their heads down in the grass most of the time, and will occasionally raise up for a quick look around. Priorities!

* Moose on a Mission: While driving back to our campground one evening, we spotted a cow moose and her calf trotting across the hillside, clearly going somewhere. We pulled off to watch until they disappeared behind a slope. Then we drove onward a mile and then stopped at Floating Island Lake — and sure enough, ten minutes later the two moose showed up for their evening meal. Moose amuse me at any time, but it was especially hilarious to see those two trotting cross-country with such intent.

* I’m Looking at Youuu.Since deer don’t have human/wolf-style fo­rward-looking stereoscopic vision, we weren’t entirely positive which way their heads would turn when looking at an approaching wolf. Would it turn sideways, like a bird? Some research a few months ago indicated that they would indeed look directly at the wolf, but we confirmed this when a passing mule deer fawn stopped repeated to stare at us with great curiosity. And wow are those ears big!

* Bear Cubs are Adorable: Well, we knew that already, but of course it never hurts to reinforce your knowledge.
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby MiaowsGreenhouse » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:35 pm

Wow. So excited!! hope your trip was amazing! I want to go there someday. :ferret: :moose:
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby PearlyReborn » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:44 pm

Well, are you gonna put bear cubs in? Teaching about how cute they are surely has some educational value :::;)
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby NoyaTusk » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:59 am

PearlyReborn wrote:Well, are you gonna put bear cubs in? Teaching about how cute they are surely has some educational value :::;)

Oooooh I hope they add bear cubs as well ^^

Good to know you guys had a good time in Yellowstone. I’m so hyped for Anniversary Edition and Towerfall I can barely wait!(even though I have too..;0;) I hope everything is coming along nicely for you guys, from the sneak peeks it looks as though it is.
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby paperpaws » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:20 am

Looks and sounds like you guys had quite the adventure :)

The photos you take all look beautiful, and I'm looking forward to seeing how your discoveries will reflect in the game.
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby C0rgi » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:55 am

    Ahh I envy you guys so much, those pictures are incredible and so are you guys for the amount of work you're doing for episode 3 !
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Re: Verisimilitude

Postby Sunset-Light » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:43 am

Those are some nice pictures.
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby Phasoli » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:25 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Yellowstone is so pretty... I hope to visit someday!
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby Windstrider » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:06 am

That looks like an awesome trip! And aw that little fuzzball of a caterpillar at 0:26 is adorable. <3 And the grass at 0:53 looks like it'd be so comfy to just chill and take a nap on lol.
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby SolitaryHowl » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:21 pm

Beautiful pictures.

I'm surprised elk would turn to look directly at you, I thought they had a blind spot from their nose outwards.
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby loboLoco » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:07 pm

SolitaryHowl wrote:I'm surprised elk would turn to look directly at you, I thought they had a blind spot from their nose outwards.


Yeah, me too! Or at least, even though their vision does overlap a bit, that'd be like using peripheral vision for us.

I'll always remember that fawn for helping us with the game.
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby Isela » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:33 pm

Great pictures! I'm glad you both had a fun and successful trip! :]
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby Brinnadaze » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:31 am

ver·i·si·mil·i·tude
noun
the appearance of being true or real.

Huh. You learn something new everyday. Well, anyways, I'm excited for this game to get even better! The scenery right now in the game looks wonderful, so it'll be cool to see how this little trip improves the quality. :D

SolitaryHowl wrote:Beautiful pictures.

I'm surprised elk would turn to look directly at you, I thought they had a blind spot from their nose outwards.


That's what I thought, too.
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby TimberRaven » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:33 pm

AAAAAUGH SO PRETTY!!! I actually live in Washington, so seeing that you lived in Minnesota was interesting. Well, to me anyway. :)
Are you seriously gonna add all those grasses? Wow! :shock:
Are you going to add buffalo, too? Well, maybe next episode... because you're already busy with the mule deer and the bowling ball-elk. Man, that Rolling, Rolling, Rolling video was hilarious! :lol:
:wolf: :raven:
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Re: Verisimilitude (and behind the scenes of Yellowstone tri

Postby Invar » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:22 pm

loboLoco wrote:
SolitaryHowl wrote:I'm surprised elk would turn to look directly at you, I thought they had a blind spot from their nose outwards.


Yeah, me too! Or at least, even though their vision does overlap a bit, that'd be like using peripheral vision for us.


This is cool.

A human field of vision is a bit under 180 degrees, and about 120 degrees of that is binocular vision, stuff you're seeing with both eyes at the same time. The difference between the image one eye resolves vs the other eye is what gives you depth perception. So you see the nearly-half of the world that's in front of you, more or less, and most of that you see in 3d. The parts of your visual field that you see with just one eye are pretty much in the peripheral. BUT monocular vision and peripheral vision aren't the same, as you can demonstrate by closing one eye -- you lose the 3d effect, but the experience of sharp clear vision in the middle of your visual field and fuzzier image around it remains.

A deer has over 300 degrees total visual field -- she sees almost all the way around her head, just a patch directly behind her is out of sight. She has some binocular vision, but it's a much smaller field than yours, around 65 degrees.

When a deer really wants to look at something that's up close enough, she'll turn her head to look at it straight on, putting it in that patch of binocular vision. Perceiving depth is very helpful when you want to see how fast something is moving toward or away from you, and how big it is. We also use other objects in our visual field to estimate that stuff, so you might do just fine wandering around using only one eye most of the time, but it's really very helpful. You can demonstrate this to yourself by wearing an eye-patch and then attempting to play frisbee or volleyball -- you'll be hilariously bad at it and find yourself trying to catch things that are a solid foot away from your hand, have an object you're reaching out for hit you in the face, etc. (expect this experiment to sting a bit).

Probably a deer has 'better' depth perception than you, because her eyes are further apart. If you look at something and cover/close one eye and then the other, the object seems to move in your visual field. The further away the object is, the less noticeable that is, and after a certain distance it's negligible. If the eyes are further apart, the effect of depth is stronger and goes further. This is why 'View-master' slides and other stereoscope images look oddly 'extra' 3d -- you're looking at two photos that were taken with two side-by-side camera lenses, but those lenses were farther apart than your eyes are. Probably a deer can judge how big and how fast something is from further away than you can.

Now it gets super-cool.

The lens of the eye projects an image onto the retina, a layer with light sensitive cells at the back of your eye. There's a spot on the retina (the fovea) where the light sensitive cells are much much more densely packed than everywhere else on the retina. With more light-sensitive cells there, that spot resolves a much sharper image than the rest of the retina. In humans, it's a round spot. Your vision seems like a sharp round picture surrounded by fuzzy edges. BUT in deer, horses, sheep, cattle et al, that high-res area isn't a round dot, it's a horizontal bar. So while you have a central spot of sharp and 3d vision in front of you, deer have a long stripe of sharp vision that goes most of the way 'round their head, with fuzzy peripheral vision above and below, and a patch of 3d in front of them. (But they do have a blind spot right in front of their faces, same as I can't see the bridge of my eyeglasses, except it's bigger for deer and extends farther out.)

In hawks, the fovea isn't a dot or a bar, but an arc across the top of the back of the eye. This means that when the bird is flying, the area of its visual field that's sharpest is going to show the ground. This is why, if you get close to a tame hawk that standing on the ground or a table and it really wants to look at you, it will turn its whole head upside down so it can get your face into that sweet spot of high-resolution vision.

In terms of the game I'd guess this just means that yeah, unless their head is totally hidden in the grass or brush they don't need to look up from feeding to see you. Also that they tend to do this thing where they'll move their heads up and down more than side to side as they look at different things, a bit like a person does if you put tape over their lab goggles leaving only a narrow stripe to look out of, as for makeshift Inuit snow-goggles.

loboLoco might be right that deer vision looks like our peripheral vision, because humans have more light-sensitive cells than most mammals and so get a sharper image in general.
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