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

Thu May 31, 2018 12:08 pm

Video link: https://youtu.be/UgXWceqaVdw

We got the bigger, better elk herding behaviors in good shape last fall, but that was only for adult elk. Now we are adding calves, which complicates things. By autumn, elk calves (whether male or female) look like small versions of adult cows, but they’re not always as cool under pressure. When a calf has a wolf on its tail, it’s much more likely than an adult to veer off away from the herd. Sometimes the mother will stay with it to protect it, but not always.

So Tommi dug back into the Elk AI to set up these new behaviors. Here’s how he tackled it:

The whole elk stinking feature has been a pretty interesting challenge from the start. In the fall, I spent some considerable time tweaking the Boids system to produce this natural, dynamic chase behavior. And now it was time to add new behavior — calves, with mothers protecting the calves, and the veering off behavior – on top of that.

The first problem was that the mothers and calves now wanted to run next to each other, instead of simply concentrating on staying with the herd. This often meant that they'd run slower than they'd otherwise run (in order to wait for the other), which could create "traffic jams," which would split the herd into faster and slower groups. And when I introduced veering off, suddenly many other elk would decide to follow the one that veered off instead of the main herd. So I had to add a special rule that veering off elk are not considered part of the herd.

The veering off behavior caused another problem as well: If an elk suddenly changes direction in the middle of a running herd, it can cause another "traffic jam" situation, where suddenly the orderly chase turns into chaos, with everyone running in different directions. How did I resolve all of this? Tweaking a lot of numbers and testing it over and over. And over again. (And then some more.)

We’re very excited about the ways that calves will make elk hunts so much more interesting and excited — not only during the chase, but after the calf stops running and (sometimes) the mother comes to defend it from attacking wolves. Those calves look like easy kills….but they aren’t always.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:16 pm

In case you haven't grown tired yet of compliments on your voice: you've got such a good narrator voice for these things! Certainly helps with capturing the attention right away.

I really enjoyed how thorough this video was and could appreciate the little quirks like the elk disappearing into the ground and the wolf continuing to look at it; it's clear by now you're not afraid to show off the comical glitches and I love seeing them even if they would not be welcomed into the full game, haha.

Super appreciated how transparent these blog posts always are, even if I hardly understand anything about coding and game development. It's interesting and I do feel like I can learn something from it.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:38 pm

Man, this looks incredible. I can't wait for Wolfquest 3 to come out!
Huge props to Tommi, tackling herd behavior must've been frustrating. It looks amazing, though.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:42 pm

You guys have outdone yourselves. The amount of content you're adding is beyond my wildest dreams for Wolfquest. I feel like I should be paying for Wolfquest 3 (I'd be happy too).

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:46 pm

This is amazing! I'm sooo excited for the more realistic behavior! This game is going to be so grand!

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:51 pm

This looks awesome! And I hope you can work out all the problems with the IK rig.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 12:58 pm

WolfQuest is seriously becoming the game of my dreams! The animations of the individual elk themselves are absolutely gorgeous, and the AI looks fantastic! Look at the way the player wolf seems to bunker down for a bite when it nears a calf--it's such a small nuance of an animation, but it adds so much to the tension of the hunt! My, my, I cannot wait to get a hold of this update.

Lebron BMT wrote:You guys have outdone yourselves. The amount of content you're adding is beyond my wildest dreams for Wolfquest. I feel like I should be paying for Wolfquest 3 (I'd be happy too).

To be honest, I feel the same way. I wasn't expecting calves of any kind at all until the release of Tower fall, and the improved graphics, animations, and new features are simply stunning. To remind myself that this is a free Update to all who own 2.7 just leaves me gasping.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 1:00 pm

Many cheers to Tommi; this seems like such an exciting and complicated aspect of the game from where I'm standing as a player, I can only imagine how challenging it must have been to actually create it and get it to look as nice as it does now.

The sheer amount of detail going into this game, especially compared to the current game, is incredible honestly. In the video I spotted some other interesting things, like the wolf's head turning to look at the target, the elk laying and resting in between chases, and "random panic" and "struggle" in the inspector
and some very purple wolf eyes which and it all just makes me more excited to see how things come together in the end result. Hunting in MP is going to be incredible.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 1:04 pm

I guess it's true what they say... you don't have to be faster than the wolf-- you just have to be faster than the elk running next to you XD

But seriously-- this looks absolutely fantastic, and I'm so super excited to get to try this out for myself! You guys are truly taking WolfQuest to the next level, and I couldn't be more excited or proud to see how this game has grown throughout the years!

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 1:59 pm

It looks great. One thing I did notice were the shadows and they look absolutely amazing.

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 2:03 pm

Nice wolf run animation, and nice new modeling for the elk. This is going to be cool to see in multiplayer. Especially when the players are attacking a calf. Mother to the rescue! The Players will have to fend against the mother too! Can't wait! It's gonna be awesome.

Your hard work will pay off soon enough! :wolf:

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 2:07 pm

The running animations (both the elk and the wolf) are beautiful, as are the shadows! I don't really know anything about coding/game making but there's clearly a lot of work going into WQ3; props to everyone who's working so hard on making it happen!

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 2:10 pm

I really like on how the fluffy wolves look and the elk herd to. I am looking forward to WolfQuest 3 to come out ^^

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 2:28 pm

That looks so amazing!!! The elk gaits are so realistic, and the herd looked so frantic!! Only one thing.. Did that calf go through the hill?!
The wolf looks incredible too! So fluffy! The neck did look a little stiff in turning, but that may just be my screen.

Also, I love how the wolf started out at a nice energy saving lope, then broke into a full on gallop! The new model is absolutely amazing! Keep up the most beautiful work ever WolfQuest Team!

Re: Herding Calves

Thu May 31, 2018 2:43 pm

Thanks all for the compliments!
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