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Spawning Food and Foe

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

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Spawning Food and Foe

Postby loboLoco » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:33 pm


Video link: https://youtu.be/HoWFDmzcq78

Yellowstone is called “The Serengeti of North America” because it’s home to so many big animals, at remarkably high densities. Watching videos from Yellowstone, it looks like you can’t hardly turn around without seeing a wild animal. Of course, reality is not quite like that. Last year we hiked into the areas depicted in WolfQuest and weren’t exactly tripping over wildlife. We’re big noisy mammals, certainly scaring off many animals — but so might wolves.

So in designing the game, we need to strike a balance between accuracy and gameplay. How frequently should you see other animals? How hard should it be to find an elk herd? Making the world dense with animals would boost the excitement in the game — at least initially — but would not represent the environment accurately, and perhaps over time would make animal sightings too mundane. But making animals (especially prey animals) too scarce and difficult to find would of course make the game too frustrating for all but the most determined players. Striking the right balance is a major focus of beta testing, and we’ll undoubtedly continue to tune that once the game is in Early Access for PC/Mac. (And yes, we’re still aiming to get it out in Early Access by the end of the year.)

We’re taking a first crack at this now, as we configure the animal spawning systems. We’ve created two types of spawning systems:

* Persistent animals: We create permanent elk herds and packs of stranger wolves, which persist as long as you’re on that game map. Typically we have three stranger packs in Amethyst Mountain, each of which has staked out a fairly large territory, leaving a small no-wolf’s-land in the middle of the map. Only in that area are you truly safe, but you’ll usually have to venture into stranger pack territory to hunt and find a mate. These stranger wolves persist, which means if you manage to kill one (unlikely as that may be as a lone wolf), you won’t see it again, while you will continue to see the surviving members of that (and other) packs. And same thing with elk herds: We’re creating a number of herds, and these will slowly shrink in size as you prey on them. (But what happens if you kill a lot of them? Well, nature abhors a vacuum….)

* Non-Persistent animals: These use a rule-based spawning method, so we can determine how frequently they appear in the game. We set the minimum and maximum distance that flock (a group of animals, from one to many individuals) can spawn from the player. Naturally, small animals like snowshoe hares would spawn closer to the player than big animals like moose. (Why? You can’t see snowshoe hares at long distances, but you can see moose, so this ensures that we don’t spawn animals at greater distances than they’re visible at.) Furthermore, to ensure that there's always a certain distance between flocks of a particular species, we have another pair of variables that control the minimum and maximum distance between spawns.

All this gives us great control over the density of animals in the game, as we test and tune the game to answer the question “how densely populated *should* the game-world be?” What do you think the answer should be?
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby YellowstoneWolves1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:51 pm

This is a video I was not expecting, this week or any week in the future, but interesting none the less. I probably missed something, but I thought that there would be a set number of each animal, say rabbits for example, in the world and they'd just wander the map, rather than spawning like they do now. I'm probably missing something that my brain skipped over or something along those lines. If anyone has any corrections for me, I'll hear it. I do have a question or two. If we take down something, like a mule deer, while other predators smell it and come to try and take it? And will we see stranger wolves actually hunting? I am aware Dave said that we may find stranger wolf groups near the elk, but will we see them hunting?
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby LamarWolf » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:58 pm

This looks great. The new spawning system will greatly improve gameplay. The ending was good, I bet that wolf had a bad day. One question, will there be antler variety in the game, because not all elk can pull off a full rack.
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby SolitaryHowl » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:07 pm

Wow, everything looks great! Can't wait to play!

YellowstoneWolves1 wrote:This is a video I was not expecting, this week or any week in the future, but interesting none the less. I probably missed something, but I thought that there would be a set number of each animal, say rabbits for example, in the world and they'd just wander the map, rather than spawning like they do now. I'm probably missing something that my brain skipped over or something along those lines. If anyone has any corrections for me, I'll hear it. I do have a question or two. If we take down something, like a mule deer, while other predators smell it and come to try and take it? And will we see stranger wolves actually hunting? I am aware Dave said that we may find stranger wolf groups near the elk, but will we see them hunting?


IIRC, in a previous video coyotes and cougars were persistent (like elk), but now they are spawned based on proximity to the player. Which, as Dave said, makes sense...so your computer can devote more processing power towards other things instead of rendering things you can't even see.
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby TimberRaven » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:10 pm

The poor wolf's squeak at the end!!! OOOOH DA POOR WOLFY :(

That video was cool. I like how they have gotten longer, whereas the newer WQ3 videos were maybe one-three seconds. I like how you let us watch the herd, and see stuff in scent view..
Oh wait a minute, question time :3
Will we see scents in normal gameplay, like we're running along checking out the new maps then we see a random trail of hare. Or will there be a scent view setting, and will that setting be black and white like now or like in the video?
Thanksies :D
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby poncho0287 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:21 pm

So worth waiting :D can't wait to play it.
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby YellowstoneWolves1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:25 pm

SolitaryHowl wrote:Wow, everything looks great! Can't wait to play!

YellowstoneWolves1 wrote:This is a video I was not expecting, this week or any week in the future, but interesting none the less. I probably missed something, but I thought that there would be a set number of each animal, say rabbits for example, in the world and they'd just wander the map, rather than spawning like they do now. I'm probably missing something that my brain skipped over or something along those lines. If anyone has any corrections for me, I'll hear it. I do have a question or two. If we take down something, like a mule deer, while other predators smell it and come to try and take it? And will we see stranger wolves actually hunting? I am aware Dave said that we may find stranger wolf groups near the elk, but will we see them hunting?


IIRC, in a previous video coyotes and cougars were persistent (like elk), but now they are spawned based on proximity to the player. Which, as Dave said, makes sense...so your computer can devote more processing power towards other things instead of rendering things you can't even see.


Thank you so much SolitaryHowl. I knew I was missing something.
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby MysteryFoxSpirt » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:26 pm

Pack patrols to watch out for. They won't leave their territory, right? Like, the hexagons? Also, that ending part XD

Oh, oh! *YELP* I laughed and my sister almost fell over, no lie.

Keep it up, can't wait to play and hunt! :wolf:

But one quick question! If the patrols exit their territory hexagons, how will you watch for them if you can only smell them from downwind? If your upwind, YOUR scent is taken to them, and if your downwind, THEIR scent comes to you. So, will the patrols and other prey work with the upwind and downwind physics too?

Ah, two quick questions, but keep it up! :wolf:
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby loboLoco » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:33 pm

MysteryFoxSpirt wrote:Pack patrols to watch out for. They won't leave their territory, right? Like, the hexagons?


Yes, they'll stay in their territory.

TimberRaven wrote:Will we see scents in normal gameplay, like we're running along checking out the new maps then we see a random trail of hare.


That's just a temporary bug while we overhaul the scent system. They'll only be visible in a special Scent View as before.
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby ForeverEverest » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:01 am

This is looking pretty exciting! I can imagine I'll probably end up with a favourite herd, like how I have a favourite hunting ground in Amethyst Mountain in 2.7.

May I ask how the spawn system will work in multiplayer?
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby DispersedHowl100 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:44 am

This is so cool! If Wolf Quest doesn't get game of the year when Slough Creek, or Tower Fall is done someone must have hacked the system. This will be the best game ever in my book! Keep up all the great work, and don't be worried if it doesnt come out the end of the year. Everyone is here to support you! :wolf:
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby Starbender2000 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:25 pm

It looks great! There are actually more elk technically in the herds now than previously, which is good, especially when you have pups to feed. But you need to keep animals spawning in, since this is still a game that players want to enjoy, you don't want to have the question, "What happens if all the prey is dead?". This is a game for players to enjoy, even though in real life if an elk massacre happens the wolves will starve, this is a game that players want to enjoy, and since the difficulty varies on how hungry your pups get, I would say keep the spawning method of regenerating a new herd. After all, in wildlife new animals are always being born and growing up. I cannot wait to play this game you guys are awesome, and I tell everybody I meet about this game. Though they mostly stare at me like I'm a nerd. :lol:

Thanks guys for all your hard effort!
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby Frodo1 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:46 pm

Starbender2000 wrote:It looks great! There are actually more elk technically in the herds now than previously, which is good, especially when you have pups to feed. But you need to keep animals spawning in, since this is still a game that players want to enjoy, you don't want to have the question, "What happens if all the prey is dead?". This is a game for players to enjoy, even though in real life if an elk massacre happens the wolves will starve, this is a game that players want to enjoy, and since the difficulty varies on how hungry your pups get, I would say keep the spawning method of regenerating a new herd. After all, in wildlife new animals are always being born and growing up. I cannot wait to play this game you guys are awesome, and I tell everybody I meet about this game. Though they mostly stare at me like I'm a nerd. :lol:

Thanks guys for all your hard effort!
-StarBender2000 :wolf:

Given the number of elk in each herd, and the fact that the team is doing a lot of rebalancing (i.e. revising health levels, etc.), I'm sure this won't be an issue. The game goes through a lot of testing and revision, and since running out of food would be a big issue, I'm sure that will all get balanced out in testing if it's a problem at all. For example, a simple solution for this issue would just to be to increase the amount of food each elk gives, and how long that food lasts (i.e. ravens don't consume it as quickly). It's hard to guess at exactly how the new system will work since we've only seen snippets of it from the dev logs, but I'm sure the team will make sure the other game mechanics are also tweaked and fine tuned to the point that having a set number of elk won't cause any problems :)
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby loboLoco » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:48 pm

Starbender2000 wrote:But you need to keep animals spawning in


yes, that's what "Nature abhors a vacuum" means :wink:
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Re: Spawning Food and Foe

Postby Isela » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:05 pm

MysteryFoxSpirt wrote:Oh, oh! *YELP* I laughed and my sister almost fell over, no lie.


Hello, MysteryFoxSpirit! In the future, please refrain from inserting any type of roleplay into your posts, as it is against forum guidelines.

Forum FAQ about roleplay - http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=34765

Thank you! :)
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