Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

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Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by loboLoco » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:30 pm


Video link: https://youtu.be/B0PNQDS48_I

We’ve made good progress with the new wolf fighting game mechanics that we showed a few weeks ago, working on both the larger fight scenarios (what happens when you win or lose a fight) as well as the actual interactions between the wolves — which has definitely posed some challenges. I’ll let Tommi describe them:
You may have guessed it but this was harder than you'd think. There's a reason why computer games generally steer clear of hand-to-hand physical struggle such as wrestling, in favor of quick punches and swings of a sword, or better yet, safe shooting from a distance. With those, you don't need to worry too much about matching the body movements of the two combatants beyond being kind of in the general area of each other. But we wanted to have those teeth really bite into the other wolf and make it look good. To achieve this, we needed to use several methods together:

1) Inverse Kinematics
This is the technical term for when, after applying animation, a character's body is modified to better match its environment. The classic example is walking on stairs. A standard walking animation is made for flat land, so using that, as is, on stairs looks bad. So IK is used to lift a foot (or lower the other) to match the stair it's standing on.

We use Inverse Kinematics for various things, but in case of fighting, the interesting part is IK on the jaws. As you bite into an opponent, and it struggles, your teeth follow the animated bones of the opponent, creating a seamless contact without having to animate everything in sync. Unfortunately, our IK solution, Final IK, has no standard solution for biting, so we had to come up with our own, and it's pretty delicate to get working right when biting different bite points of different animals of different sizes, while they're playing different struggle animations. But I think we've got most of the oddness sorted out.

2) Bite Points
Because of the reasons described above, it would be quite difficult to make it possible to bite any arbitrary place in a body. And it also happens that in reality, some parts are simply better to bite than others. So we defined a number of Bite Points for each animal, 6-8 per animal. We had to carefully choose and position them to match our animations — if the bite point is, say, too much higher than the animation assumes, the IK is pushed past its limits and looks stretched and distorted.

Another fun little problem was determining how the Bite Point gets chosen when you attack. On the surface, it's simply based on the angle between the attacker and the defender - the closest Bite Point more or less. But should you get the neck only if you attack directly from the front — say, with a 20-degree tolerance — or should you be able to attack it from the side as well? We ended up giving it a fairly wide range, but that means a smaller range for other bite points. And what if the defender spins around just as you're about to bite?

3) Attacker placement
Once we know which Bite Point we'll bite into, we need to determine where the attacker's body is going to be. It would seem obvious - wherever it was when the bite started. But, you guessed it, that may not look good. If you're, say, coming from the front of your opponent, but the Bite Point has been set up so the wolf will bite towards the right, the head will end up awkwardly twisted. So we had to define angle limits for each Bite Point, within which it looks at the very least OK, and then shift the body there if needed. Somewhat clumsy but hidden well enough by the animations and the hectic nature of the melee.

And then we also need to keep the wolf's pivot at the right distance from the Bite Point, so as the opponent — and with it, the Bite Point — moves around, the IK doesn't end up stretched or crumbled up. So the attacker tends to move back and forth and sideways in sync with the Bite Point, again hidden away by the animations.
As Tommi was working on all that, our wolf artist Steve created a set of fighting animations for attacks and defenses. We still have some fine-tuning to do, but overall the fighting gameplay has come a long way since the first video we posted!

Next we will apply everything to combat with other competitors such as bears and cougars. We will also use these techniques for interactions with larger prey.

Some questions answered:
* Yes, you can now fight with stranger wolves.
* No, we will not be adding wounds and lots of blood.  We are mindful that WolfQuest is for a wide range of players (and parents). Also, our wish list has so many other things we would rather spend our time and budget on than gore.
* Yes, fighting coyotes will be more interesting than in WQ 2.7.
* No, you can’t fight your mate or hurt your pups even if they really annoy you.  For better or for worse, they are family.
* Yes, an optional PvP will be coming to multiplayer in the future!
* No, you can’t kill bears in the game since this is so unlikely in real life. Wolves just don’t kill bears. But yes, bears can still kill you.
* Yes, a new cougar model is coming.
Dave/loboLoco
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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by poncho0287 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:59 pm

I'm really excited for this and I understand that you guys still have a long ways to go. Before releasing it for the mobile and that okay.

Question
If two stranger wolves come across you your mate and pups when you are on the journey. Will the second wolf have a chance of killing one your pups? While you fight the other one?

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by DispersedHowl100 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:03 pm

This is awesome!!!!! Everything looks so... REAL!!! But i have two questions 1 Will NPCs have Accessories? 2 Will we be able to find dispersals of the same gender? And when i say dispersals of the same gender i mean will we have the ability to fight/find competitors for a mate and can the NPCs hunt animals fot you can perhaps join the dispersed group. This looks AWESOME!!! And keep going the Wolf Quest community will always support you guys! :wolf:
Last edited by DispersedHowl100 on Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by LamarWolf » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:09 pm

I have been waiting for more on wolf fights and I think this post explains the technicalities behind the wolf fights. I think it will be hard to fight other wolves and shows just how dangerous fighting is for wolves. It also makes finding a mate much harder if you have to go into another pack's territory put the player at hard decisions such as should I go into the territory and rise an encounter because if you ru into four or five wolves you probably won't get out uninjured if you even get out with your life. I think this part of WQ3 will make it way more challenging and interesting. Keep up the good work, reading these post are one of the highlights of my Thursdays.

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by St-amShip » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:15 pm

I noticed the two stranger wolves, (though I think it might have been the mate and stranger), circling each other, and I was curious if you could see two strangers fighting each other! It would be a very interesting mechanic, though I'm no coder. It would also be fun to be able to fight a stranger while being allied with another stranger. Just a thought, though!

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by MysteryFoxSpirt » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:29 pm

I'm always so pumped to see new updates and blog posts every Thursday! Especially ones like this one, wolf fights! More accurate things! The neck twists though, they are problems for you to make it look more real!

Wonder how wolf fights will work in multiplayer, and when your pups are adults in towerfall! :shock:

Keep it up my Wolf loving pals! :wolf:

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by Kryigeroff » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:57 pm

St-amShip wrote:I noticed the two stranger wolves, (though I think it might have been the mate and stranger), circling each other, and I was curious if you could see two strangers fighting each other! It would be a very interesting mechanic, though I'm no coder. It would also be fun to be able to fight a stranger while being allied with another stranger. Just a thought, though!
Coming across two groups of strangers fighting is actually already technically possible (just a side effect of the way the AI is handled) but unless we do something to make it more likely, you probably won't run into that by chance. Strangers vs coyotes etc. will probably be more common.
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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by SolitaryHowl » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:37 pm

This is super cool. I've always dreamed of WolfQuest having dynamic fights and now it is a reality! Can't wait to try it out!

(Can OstrichQuest be the next game? Haha)

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by Whirl-Oakpaw » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:42 pm

So exciting! This looks absolutely amazing. Really looking forward to the early access for Amethyst. Amazing job you guys.

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by Polynesia » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:15 pm

Woah, everything in this video looks 10x better than the one from just 3 weeks ago!! It really looks great :D

I wonder if your mate helps you in these fights, or if that depends on their personality?

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by Gillato » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:30 pm

WOW, this is Sweet!! When I saw the wolves fighting I was like Aweee Yeaaahh!! Thank you guys so much-
for your hard work and dedication to WQ And wow that pelt is gorgeous!! :wolf:

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by KiraGamerWolf » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:32 pm

Wow! I'm so excited about :wolf: this! It looks absolutely amazing! :wolf:

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by MazelAngel » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:47 pm

This looks so much better than it did before! I'm excited to try out the PvP as well. Fighting intelligent opponents should be fun. I do have a few questions though:

First of all, if you die while fighting in PvP, will you receive a penalty for your death? And if you do, will it be as harsh as if you die hunting? Being killed in combat with other wolves is a leading cause of wolf death in Yellowstone so I'd assume it's easier to die in PvP than in a hunt.

Secondly, will there be a key you're supposed to press quickly to determine if you dodge, or will that happen automatically?

And third and finally, when your pups are grown up in Tower Falls, if you get into a fight with a stranger wolf, will your pups help out or will they stay on the sidelines?

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by Phasoli » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:49 pm

This is a level of realism that I wasn't prepared for. The fighting so far looks gorgeous, even if it still needs to be shaped up a little. The amount of studies and realism put into this game is breath taking. The animations are flawless. The way that each new feature piles up on each other is amazing. I saw that stranger tuck its tail and skitter by!
And the new coat--oh my goodness!--it complements the wolf model so well. The new model makes every wolf coat look that much more realistic, but the updated tawny pelt is just flawless. I can't wait to try this out for myself! There's only one stranger, and yet there's already so much unpredictability in the way that the wolves interact with one another. Stunning work! I couldn't be more excited for this game!

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Re: Bite Club: Refining the wolf fight

Post by YellowstoneWolves1 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:45 pm

This is pretty cool looking. I'm really loving that tawny wolf. I'm probably going to say this quite a bit and I apologize in advance, but it just looks so nice! I like how you showed us how you fixed the biting on a wolf's shoulders and necks, very interesting. Very excited for Early Access.

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