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Eye of the Beholder

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

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Eye of the Beholder

Postby loboLoco » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:01 pm


Video link: https://youtu.be/7EpcPZOUhgA

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed the wolf’s bright pink eyes in last week’s video. That’s because the eye shader broke when we upgraded the game project to the latest version of Unity. But now we’ve got another eye shader, and it not only looks as good as the old one, but instead of requiring premade textures, it lets us give players control over eye color, choosing from a gradient just like the coat tint!

That gradient covers the range of accurate eye colors in wild wolves, from gray to yellow (with the palest of yellow-green) to gold to brown. Now, we know that many players would love to give their wolves blue or green eyes (or even purple or red), so why don’t we allow that?

To answer that, let me digress: Recently I read Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, a thoroughly entertaining book by Jason Schreier which examines the development of ten recent videogames. Perhaps my perspective is biased, but I couldn’t help noticing that every single one of those games, whether made by a single person or a team of hundreds, took longer to develop than expected. (The solo developer of Stardew Valley thought it would be done “in a few months.” — and kept thinking this for four years.) So that made me feel a little better about the pace of our development of WolfQuest 3.

Something else that stuck with me was one chapter which talked about the game’s “pillars” — a game-dev term for the foundations, the core characteristics of the game that will create a unique experience for the player. I’ve been living and breathing WolfQuest for so long that it’s easy for me to forget that not everyone knows what the game’s pillars are. I think they truly are captured by our tagline: Live the live of a wild wolf. That is, WolfQuest should:

• Encourage players to think like a wolf: Through gameplay choices and actions, players will succeed by thinking and acting as wolves do. This is especially relevant in multiplayer, where we want to create situations and incentives that help players act and react as real wolves would.
• Immerse players in a real wilderness ecosystem: Players inhabit environments based on actual Yellowstone locations, populated with realistic animals behaving in realistic ways, both wonderful and mundane.
• Make errors of omission not commission: We can never create a fully accurate model of wolf ecology (for both budget and gameplay constraints), so the game is certainly a greatly simplified version of reality — but we very much want to avoid creating false impressions of wolf life.

So back to the question: why won’t we allow blue or green? While unrealistic eye colors are a relatively minor transgression against these pillars, they would be fantastical. Most games involve fantasy elements of some kind — and that’s truly is one of the great things that games can do. But we think WolfQuest should offer a different kind of fantasy: the chance to experience life as another animal — a real animal, in the real world. When we started this project way back in 2005, we did not know if there was an audience for such a game. The fact that we’re still here, working on WolfQuest 3, proves that there is (much to our surprise — if you haven’t watched our documentary about making the original game, check it out.) So while we recognize that many people enjoy injecting their own fantastical scenarios into the game (just look at the incredible range of game names in the multiplayer lobby), we passionately believe that we should keep the game itself as realistic as we can. Whether that’s a good idea or a bad idea is in the eye of the beholder.

So despite some requests, WolfQuest wolves will NOT have:
• Blue eyes for adult wolves. Pups have gray-blue eyes that turn to gold-brown in the summer.
• Red eyes which would be caused by albinism because there has never been a reported case of a true albino wolf.
• Heterochromia (two different eye colors) because that condition does not occur in gray wolves.

But back to the cool part: When you are customizing your wolf in WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition, you will get to use a gradient tool to get the exact (realistic) wolf eye color that you like! And as we’ve mentioned before, you can have multiple body customizations (e.g. bent ear + radio collar). We won’t be adding new coat colors for the initial release of WQ 3 but you will still have tint control. Stay tuned for more about wolf customization features.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby alethe » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:10 pm

really cool. i'm wondering about the slate gray, though. i didn't know wolves could have that eye color? regardless, the slider is an awesome feature.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby SolitaryHowl » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:13 pm

Simply put: this is awesome. I love this new feature, and I love the new UI....it is so clean.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Cackle » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:21 pm

I love how realistic the new wolf is looking! Great job guys! Can't wait to see the end product, it'll probably be awesome. :mrgreen:
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby sophiaww » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:13 pm

Wow that is so cool! I love the new eye shader. Keep up the good work WolfQuest :wolf:
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Polynesia » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:20 pm

The wolf looks awesome. You guys are doing amazingly. :D
Last edited by Polynesia on Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Phasoli » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:34 pm

I can't wait to play around with customization now! The ability to manipulate wolf eye colours seems so small and insignificant, but it means so much to me. I really appreciate its implementation! I'm so curious about those other tabs too, haha.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Gillato » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:45 pm

Wow! that's supe's Cool!! i really like how the wolf is looking, all tho it's kinda starting to look like a dog more than a wolf~~
but that's still cool, oh and the eye chart thingie is really Great!

_____ GoodJob Guy's___ :pawprint:
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby ForeverEverest » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:47 pm

Looks great! I'm sure it'll be a really nice touch to the wolf customization, and will help make each wolf that little bit more unique.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby LamarWolf » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:57 pm

Great. I can't wait to hear about the new customizations.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Windstrider » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:16 pm

Looks beautiful (both the model and the eyes)! It's also nice because unlike the current game, the coat darkness will no longer affect how light or dark the eyes are.

This might seem like a weird, or minor, thing to comment on, but I love how 3D the nose looks.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Pepper » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:23 pm

alethe wrote:really cool. i'm wondering about the slate gray, though. i didn't know wolves could have that eye color? regardless, the slider is an awesome feature.


It has been challenging to find the real answer to wolf eye color possibilities as most scientists just don't think it is that important to document with the level of detail that we require. Players are so passionate about eye color and the internet can be tricksy and misleading... not to mention the wild variations of people's screens and monitors (so "talking color" is always a bit of a problem).

In the end, we asked our wolf experts and then went with what they said. We think the sliders are nicely flexible and a great improvement over having to choose a set of representative colors. But, by all means, point us to any sources you know. We can still tweak the "gray" to be more yellow-gray etc., if needed.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby poncho0287 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:29 pm

Amazing work you guys :) keep up the fantastic work :D
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Koa » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:33 pm

Pepper wrote:
alethe wrote:really cool. i'm wondering about the slate gray, though. i didn't know wolves could have that eye color? regardless, the slider is an awesome feature.


It has been challenging to find the real answer to wolf eye color possibilities as most scientists just don't think it is that important to document with the level of detail that we require. Players are so passionate about eye color and the internet can be tricksy and misleading... not to mention the wild variations of people's screens and monitors (so "talking color" is always a bit of a problem).

In the end, we asked our wolf experts and then went with what they said. We think the sliders are nicely flexible and a great improvement over having to choose a set of representative colors. But, by all means, point us to any sources you know. We can still tweak the "gray" to be more yellow-gray etc., if needed.


I think a "gray" tint is acceptable because it can account for oddities that you might see in pictures of wolf eyes that are lighting-based.

But the slider could be tweaked a tad more. Looking at it now through a computer monitor instead of my phone screen, the gray on the far far end of the slider can be tweaked and cut down so it doesn't appear too silvery. I'm seeing more silver than I did earlier. As the slider moves down, I think that the lighter gray intermixed with the yellow is fine.

The slider is a big improvement for realism either way.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder

Postby Timber-Wolf-at-Dusk » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:56 pm

This is so cool I love it!
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