Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

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Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by loboLoco » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:27 pm

[youtube]IDXFc9P-MwI[/youtube]
Video link: https://youtu.be/IDXFc9P-MwI

Elk have always been the mainstay of a wolf’s diet in Yellowstone (though that’s started to change in recent years as the bison population increases….but that’s a story for a future episode). About 7,500 elk live in the northern part of Yellowstone and adjacent area in southern Montana — that number once was much higher, over 15,000 before wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s. With the new predators in the area, elk population dropped year by year, all the way down to about 5,000 — but in recent years, it has begun to increase, and the 2018 survey counted 7,579. (These surveys don’t find every single elk, of course, so there is a margin of error.)

What does that mean for the game? We want elk to be reasonably easy to find, but not so common that you don’t need to use your scent view to track down a herd. We began with just a few herds on the map and found it usually took waaaay too long to find a herd. So we added a bunch more herds, and now have about 18 of them, of varying sizes and compositions, living on on Specimen Ridge and the slopes of Amethyst Mountain.

That adds up to about 300 individual elk. We may tune this more, but based on beta testing so far, it seems about right — for gameplay, that is. But how does it compare to the real world?

The area in question (Northern Range of Yellowstone, extending into Montana) is about 1500 square kilometers, and if about 7500 elk live in that area, that means the elk population density is about five elk per square kilometer. Our map is 49 square kilometers, which means to be accurate, we’d have 245 elk in our game-world. That surprised me, as I thought we’d exaggerated the density much more than that for the sake of gameplay. So…not bad!

(And if you’re wondering how many wolves live in that area nowadays: the most recent numbers are from the 2018 Yellowstone Wolf Project report, which counted 33 wolves in Yellowstone’s Northern Range — but this doesn’t include wolves outside the park but still on the Northern Range, so the area is smaller, about 1000 square kilometers. So wolf population density is a mere 0.033 per square kilometer — or one wolf per 30 square kilometers. We’ve got some 40 wolves in our Amethyst game-world. Although most of those have territories which extend well beyond the edge of our map, we clearly have exaggerated the wolf population for the sake of gameplay, far more than the elk population. Knowing this, and seeing how easy it is to find a stranger wolf (or for them to find you), we may reduce those numbers a bit.)

Anyways, back to elk: one thing we’ve found when playing the game is that it can be a bit confusing to have so many elk herds out there. You pick up one scent trail, but those scents might intermingle with scents from another herd, and it’s hard to know which one you’re following. To solve this, we’re thinking of giving each herd a name. Of course, elk herds are not coherent groups in the same way that wolf packs are. Herd size and composition shifts over the seasons. But for the few months on Amethyst Mountain in the fall, it’s plausible that wolves become familiar with each group of elk and learn their habits. A name is simply our way to build this into the game.

But what kinds of names should we give these herds? The elk roam around quite a bit so placenames wouldn’t be meaningful for long….so then what kinds of names? We’re very interested to hear what our players would like to see for elk herd names, so if you have an idea, please post it in the comments! We do want names that fit our theme — the life and ecology of Yellowstone wolves — so please keep that in mind. We look forward to reading them and, we hope, finding some great names to use in the game.

Related Devblog Posts:

* Energetic Elk: Balancing elk energy and exhaustion https://youtu.be/dR0QQsClMbA
* Bite Club 2: The Elk Kicks Back: Refining the elk bites https://youtu.be/G5EBSumIk0Q
* How to Bite an Elk: New biting mechanics in development https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KntTJjeI3vw
* Herding Calves: New elk calf behaviors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgXWceqaVdw
* Where the Wild Elk Are: New elk spawning systems https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIz9tKv90S4
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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by poncho0287 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:44 pm

Keep up the great work. WolfQuest Team

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Starbender2000 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:47 pm

Ok, I'm just going to shoot some random names out there, One I thought (Is based on location) How about Fossil Herd? And some others, Creek Herd, Mountain Herd, Brush Herd, I mean places seems to be a good theme, but this one is a tough one as wolf quest associates with Yellowstone national park and the areas around it.But if you want to just give them more random names associated with nature, easier to remember, and aren't too long how about, Brook Herd, Stone Herd, Oak Herd, Maple Heard, Grass Herd, Plains herd maybe relating to the terrain they seem to wander around... :lol: Lol this is alot harder than it looks. I think an identification would be great like we have for the packs.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Sableback » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:52 pm

I wonder if you could name them (or some of them) after the geysers in Yellowstone? Like the Beehive herd, Anemone herd, Sawmill herd, Great Fountain herd, etc. That, or sneakily insert some references to the WQ team.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Mwitu » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:53 pm

Great job! Just look at the comparison between the older elk models and the newer ones...
As for ideas, perhaps you could name the herds based on cloud types: Cirrus Herd, Nimbus Herd, Stratus Herd, etc.
Another idea is types of trees: Cedar Herd, Fir Herd, Oak Herd (though this might not work as well since some of the map is comprised of plains and bushes rather than trees). Speaking of bushes and shrubs, there could be plant herds - Rosemary Herd, Sage Herd, etc.
I hope this helped! I'm looking forward to seeing the elk herds in action! :D :wolf:

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by MysteryFoxSpirt » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:55 pm

I like StarBender’s idea, but maybe you should also call them by the most type of elk there is inside the herd. Like a Bull Herd, or a Cow Herd, or maybe even a Spike Herd. I heard you say stuff about the smaller family herds. That’s where you can use small names like the names of trees or things. They could also be named by size (not using numbers) such as Wolf herd. If it’s a smaller herd (not specifically Family or Bull herds) it could be called Coyote Herd, because Coyote packs are smaller. If it’s a Bull here or Spike herd, call it by the name of the elk that’s in it.

Hope you read and consider this! :wolf:

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by LamarWolf » Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:13 pm

I saw that you already have herd names in the technical dashboard or what ever that is and I think those would work just don't revel if it is a bull herd or not. I do think that another way you could name them would be by there environment and diet becuase that would be what a wolf smell such as the willow herd or the douglas-fir herd or the sagebrush herd, but those are just suggestions. All and all it looks good. Lowering the stranger wolf population would be a good idea. 30 or less seems like a good idea and the packs in the area such as the Lamar Canyon are small, only five individuals. Keep up the good work.

P.S. The wapiti lake pack lives in the haydan valley now (sometimes will go into the northern range) not around wapiti lake so I think it is okay to name after a location.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Loach » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:12 pm

Exactly how varied are you thinking of making the herd compositions, Dave? If they're all mostly the same, or vary little, it would be best to go simple so it serves the functional purpose (identifying the herd a player tracks from other herds), but if you plan on having more unique builds of elk to make the herds more interesting (more spikes than normal, more calves than normal, overall health of the herd lower/higher than normal, etc) then the names can be more descriptive.

In terms of general names, though, trees, plants and flowers that are found in the park are a good start! Whitebark and Engelmann are trees that sound like good herd names, and Gentian is a nice flower name.

You can also go a bit geeky and actually color code the herds with flower names: Bedstraw (white), Arnica (yellow), Coralroot (red/pink), Penstemon (purple), Larkspur (blue), etc.

Sharp or sour sounding plant names can go to bachelor elk herds, like Bitterroot. Etc.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Draugr » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:24 pm

I've always liked obscure words, for example, words in Latin or Greek. However, I feel like it needs to tie in with the theme of the national park.
My ideas for naming the elk herds are the titles of the historic nomadic Native American tribes that inhabited Wyoming (where most of Yellowstone is situated).
These include the Arapaho, Arikaka, Bannock, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Sioux, Ute etc. Although, the names of the elk herds could also just be of Native American tongue.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by TimberRaven » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:43 pm

Sableback wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:52 pm
That, or sneakily insert some references to the WQ team.
YEZZ
--
I love the elk, they're so fluffy looking ;-; I can't wait to eat 'em. Been waiting a long while. Now I get to name 'em? Cool!
I do like StarBender2000's elk name Fossil Herd, I just like it :3
Maybe Yellow Herd, maybe Stone Herd (get it? Yellow-Stone? Herds?), maybe Amethyst Herd... Ruby Herd... More gemstones... more references to Yellowstone... Maybe we could name one after or referencing the Potato Prison!
Daaaaaave
This is so cool!

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Nevara » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:07 pm

My goodness I cannot wait to track these guys down<3 The elk look amazing and I can't wait to experience the thrill of hunting them!

Name ideas:
- Running of the Bulls (for a bull-only herd, I think the irony of the name would be fun xD Also the name of a Latin jazz piece, so please excuse my band nerdiness)
- Herd of the Cold Winds
- Herd of the Everlasting Snow (snow up here doesn't go away for months lol)
- Neve Inverno Herd ("winter snow" herd in Italian)
- Bridged Antlers Herd (might be a cute name for a family herd? I know elk herds don't hold really strong bonds towards other herd members but idk)
- Sound of the Bugles (for a bull-only herd)
- Fianna Herd ("fianna" meaning deer in Irish, even if it's not the word for elk it could be a nice tribute to the extinct Irish elk)
- Seven Point Herd (for bull-only herd, since I believe these elk models have seven branches/points on their antlers?)
- Lealta Herd ("lealta" being a synonym for faith in Italian, could be a nice tribute to Yellowstone's Old Faithful, even if the game doesn't take place near it)

May add more later c:

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by DinoDogDude209 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:19 pm

I figured I'd post my own herd name suggestions here.
Bull elk herds: Lodgepole herd, Stagfall herd, Calamity herd, Marshall herd, and the Aspen herd.
Herds with a mixture of cows, calves and spikes:
Crystal herd, Riverfall herd, Roosevelt herd, Sterling herd, Dixon herd, and the Willow herd.
I decided to have some of the names be from types of plants that grow in Yellowstone, with others being random names that seem to fit the theme somewhat.

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Moonstar05 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:56 pm

Draugr wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:24 pm
I've always liked obscure words, for example, words in Latin or Greek. However, I feel like it needs to tie in with the theme of the national park.
My ideas for naming the elk herds are the titles of the historic nomadic Native American tribes that inhabited Wyoming (where most of Yellowstone is situated).
These include the Arapaho, Arikaka, Bannock, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Sioux, Ute etc. Although, the names of the elk herds could also just be of Native American tongue.
I agree. That would be a creative way to name the elk herds.
  • Post Merge
DinoDogDude209 wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:19 pm
I figured I'd post my own herd name suggestions here.
Bull elk herds: Lodgepole herd, Stagfall herd, Calamity herd, Marshall herd, and the Aspen herd.
Herds with a mixture of cows, calves and spikes:
Crystal herd, Riverfall herd, Roosevelt herd, Sterling herd, Dixon herd, and the Willow herd.
I decided to have some of the names be from types of plants that grow in Yellowstone, with others being random names that seem to fit the theme somewhat.
I also think this is a great way to name the herds.
Last edited by Neamara on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merged double post. In the future, if there are no new posts after your own, please edit your previous post if you have anything more to add. Thank you~ ♪

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by TheBeanzLover » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:34 pm

So, I know that this is a simple thing you're hoping to have a simple solution to, but i'm thinking: so elk herds aren't really consistent as you say in the video. Why give them a permanently sticking name then? I think a really cool idea would be to instead show "Elk Herd" in the textbox, but then give some 'stats' to the herd that the wolf can look at to not only identify which herd they are looking at, but to also see if they might be able to take such a herd! I feel it would add a level of realism to the game.
For example: I'm sure if an elk was sick or even weakened within the herd, the wolf might be able to pick up traces in the scent and determine "okay so not sure how many, but this herd has some weak members" or "hey, I smell (elk) blood here, someone might be an easy picking because they're injured."
I'm sure a wolf might also be able to determine (relatively) how many elk might be in a herd, to the point where you might say a herd is huge, not at all, or in between. One other thing that would be cool in changing seasons is smelling basic things like a strong smell of pheromones during elk mating season (which I found to be September to mid-October), so early in the Amethyst Mountain episode you can really tell what's going on in the herds, and maybe that can affect how aggressive and anxious the bulls will be. (Also, in the coming spring episode, you could edit this if you can smell milk, which would indicate if there are elk calves nursing with their mothers).
Just some of my thoughts as I was watching the video. Thanks for all your efforts in this game, I'm super excited to see what you guys come up with!

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Re: Herd Any Good Names? (Help us name the elk herds!)

Post by Loach » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:59 pm

@TheBeanzLover that could be something. Perhaps the herd names worked when you are a farther distance (older scents, thus more unclear) and after you got a certain range closer, the info will become more clear. That way you aren't getting detailed info immediately, but won't be disappointed when you find them only to see they aren't what you're looking for?

Either way with so many herds basic names would be nice. If they're all in a decently close proximity like the video says, the names can help you see which herd you have identified as having say, cows and calves, and which are only bulls.

Speaking of the names, perhaps taking names of people in the old Yellowstone expeditions maybe?

Cook
Folsom
Peterson
Washburn
Langford
Doane
Etc?

Generic (adjective) (noun) names too. Like North River, Steady Wind, Hardy Glacier. Could use the word combos to subtly imply the size or makeup of the herd.

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