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You Had Me at Playbow

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

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You Had Me at Playbow

Postby loboLoco » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:09 pm


Video link: https://youtu.be/x5zKz_MSyaQ

Not long after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, researchers witnessed — for the first time ever — a lone dispersal wolf joining a pack to become a breeder and pack leader. This encounter lasted many hours and involved a great deal of howling, tail wagging, playbowing, and other social interactions before the lone wolf was accepted into the pack. While that encounter involved a dispersal joining an existing pack, it provides a good guide to how dispersal wolves likely meet and interact when deciding whether to form a pack. So we drew on this knowledge when crafting the “social arena” in WolfQuest back in 2007, which we designed as a stylized turn-based encounter that emphasizes the communicative aspects of certain social behaviors.

We’re drawing again on that seminal 2002 paper about the Yellowstone wolves, but as with every aspect of WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition, we’re going bigger with the new social arena. We wanted to make this new courtship gameplay more naturalistic, giving every wolf freedom of movement to create a more dynamic situation. We also wanted to let each wolf’s personality shine through. But the biggest fundamental decision was to discard the quiz-structure of the old social arena. Instead of requiring a correct sequence of emotes, many different emotes (from a subset appropriate for courtship) can boost a potential mate’s level of interest. But then what’s the gameplay? Aha — it’s not IF you can persuade another wolf to be your mate, it’s if you can successfully persuade the wolf you WANT to be your mate.

So instead of the old stylized 2D turn-based encounter, courtship in WQ3 will involve the free-roaming player and one — or more — other wolves who might become your mate. Yes, our science advisors tell us that it’s common for dispersal wolves to roam with siblings, so you’re just as likely to meet a pair of wolves, or perhaps even three — each of whom might be interested in finding a mate for themselves. (Not all wolves you encounter will be so friendly, of course, but we’ll talk about that in another blog post.) Some of these wolves will respond more readily to your courting. So as you interact with them, you can get a sense of their personality from their actions, to help you decide which (if any) you’d like to have as a mate. Furthermore, you should also evaluate their genetic diversity to avoid picking a mate that is too closely related to you or would make a bad genetic combination with you (see our Genetics video: https://youtu.be/wV-Dd_ror8g).

Once you do persuade another wolf by filling their heart-meter, you and your potential mate can proceed into the second phase of courtship, to further evaluate each other before making your final decision. We’ll talk about that a future blog post.

A couple notes:
* We’re still polishing the wolf movement — it’s pretty good but not as smooth as we are aiming for in the final game.
* Currently the potential mates do not do any contact emotes (chin rest, lick muzzle, sniff noses) — we hope to add that, but it’s a bit tricky.
* Though you can meet many more potential mates than before, wolves are monogamous so you have to choose just one.
* We do hope to add the possibility of your mate dying — so you then need to find a new mate — but most likely will add it in an update next year.
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby YellowstoneWolves1 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:18 pm

I'm in love with the new interactions. This should be much for fun than before. I also like how you can see more details about the wolf, like how old it is or it's personality. That should make it harder, or easier, for you to find a mate. The glitching wolf was a little funny. You probably don't want a wolf like that for a mate. Keep up the good work, but at your own pace.
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby watergoat » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:20 pm

This is soo amazing and soo much better than the original courting. I would love to see what happens when you meet an unfriendly wolf.
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby Gillato » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:26 pm

OH MY JAM! Thats soo Cool!!
i really like how you guys did every thing!!!
it's so amazing, and when the wolf was doing the flamingo dance for the wolf i almost screamed laughing XD

you guys did great keep up the good work :pawprint:
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby LamarWolf » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:30 pm

It looks great. I love it. But one question, in the wild I've heard of siblings joining a single dispersal with only one becoming the breeding wolf. Would this happen in Wolfquest 3?
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby Polynesia » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:04 pm

I like the way that the info box of the dispersal wolf shows its coat colour. That’s a really clever graphic design. :) (I wonder, do you have someone who designs that kinda stuff for you?)

The new game looks so amazing! I also can’t wait to see what unfriendly wolves are like. Will there be a way to fight?
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby roguemoon » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:14 pm

You really know how to turn the charm on hey Dave? :wink:

The new system for courtship looks fantastic. I especially love how siblings will interact with each other as well, it seems that the light coloured female was exhibiting dominance over her sister. And I'm personally super thrilled that the Amethyst Mountain missions will be longer and more exciting.

Can't wait to see what hostile wolf encounters will look like!
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby Phasoli » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:32 pm

Ahahaha, that one glitched female wolf is literally me around my crush.

But in all seriousness, this gameplay is revolutionary. My mind is blown! This is truly coming together into my ultimate dream game. I can hardly wait to try everything out! Curious, though--will there be rival males and females that come about to stir up trouble during courtship? I love a good love-triangle, haha. But just to make sure that this is realistic, wolves do fight over mates, right?
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby MysteryFoxSpirt » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:43 pm

I'm Sooooooooooo impatient! The new mate emotes are awesome too.

That female though..... She did the moon walk XD

And for the personalities.

Lazy means they will rest during courtship. Energetic means they will probably be bouncing around, and very excited to meet you.

These two aren't shown, but I'm gonna guess them. Tell me if I'm right!

Cautious may mean they will shown caution, and stay back behind the rest of the dispersals. Bold means they will probably be up in your face, and very eager to be mates.

Loner means they may not be so interested as the rest of the dispersals. Social means they will probably be very active during courtship, and will be doing friendly actions to you and the others.

Can't wait! It's gonna be great! (Lol, I rhymed!)
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby QueenRuby » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:52 pm

LamarWolf wrote:It looks great. I love it. But one question, in the wild I've heard of siblings joining a single dispersal with only one becoming the breeding wolf. Would this happen in Wolfquest 3?

I've heard something similar to that, and was wondering that too. It would certainly be cool, though I understand it would probably be difficult to code in. Apart from that, the new courting system looks amazing! You guys are doing a great job, keep up the fantastic work! Can't wait for Wolfquest 3!
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby TimberRaven » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:55 pm

This is awesome!!! The blooper was beautiful! Yeah, keep walking backwards with a backwards head... good girl!
I liked how they did stuff on their own, walking up and played submissive actions, etc.
And the growling reminded me of a lion :D
Keep up the amazing work!
And one question... when you turn the camera, the head turns, right? Will this be visible in MP, where you see other players' heads turning? If so, that'd be awesome!!
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby SolitaryHowl » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:29 pm

This is a beautiful system, I can't wait to see more of it! The head tracking is a nice touch - will it be visible to other players in MP? What about simulating head tracking for the AI, or is that a completely different beast altogether?

Will you be able to temporarily travel with potential mates (like socializing on the go) or do you have to stay in the same spot you encountered them?
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby poncho0287 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:31 pm

This is awesome. You guys have put a lot of work onto this. Keep it up ^^
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby PearlyReborn » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:48 pm

AAAAAA THIS IS SO COOL! The HUD is looking pretty good, too.
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Re: You Had Me at Playbow

Postby Kryigeroff » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:28 pm

SolitaryHowl wrote:What about simulating head tracking for the AI, or is that a completely different beast altogether?


Look, for example, at time 1:10. The mate candidate on the left is looking at you. And at 1:24 the candidate is gazing in the distance, turning its head (randomly) as it sees something interesting.
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