November Progress Report

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

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loboLoco
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November Progress Report

Post by loboLoco » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:26 pm



One of the top questions we have been getting lately (other than When is mobile?) is: which will we release first, Slough Creek or multiplayer? And WHEN? Even with our small team, we have been working on both multiplayer and Slough Creek simultaneously, and we’ll release whichever is ready first! Since we have proven over and over that we are terrible at predicting release dates, we are are not announcing any specific dates — but we are making lots of progress! Here’s what the core WolfQuest team has been working on this month:

Our lead developer Tommi is spending several weeks on an overhaul of the pathfinding system. We have a pretty good system in the game now, but it doesn’t handle all situations well — which would become a bigger problem in Slough Creek if we didn’t tackle it now. The bighorn sheep will also need it to find their way around on the cliffs.

Tommi’s update:
“The new pathfinding system will make NPCs more aware of the lay of the land, so they know where they can walk easily, where it's going to be harder, and where they just can't go. For example, mates will now be able to walk around normally near cliff edges without accidentally jumping to their doom. And on the other hand, animals will not mysteriously run in circles when trying to attack you because they think you're standing in difficult territory (even though you're nowhere near that). They will also be able to, when necessary, find paths up the cliffs despite the many impassable areas.

“This has been challenging because we want the above-mentioned precision without creating too much memory or CPU load. So I've been trying out various methods to detect where we need a lot of precision (complicated areas like cliffs) and where we can do with very broad strokes (open areas). I also decided to treat impassable areas separately from the waypoint grid, unlike before, because it's much more important to know where exactly the cliff starts than where exactly the quickest path up a slope is. Next I'm going to zoom from representing the terrain to how individual animals navigate it. The new method should be simpler but more accurate in finding ways around trees, bigger rocks, other animals, and the den, addressing issues such as the mate often running in a weirdly oscillating way when following you.”

Andrei, our developer who handles most of the secondary game systems, has been focusing on controller support.

Andrei’s update:
“WolfQuest gameplay fits well with a joystick (e.g. XBox, PS joysticks). We just need to better map special and fine tune sensitivity. In the current state, the main actions are already mapped (except Emotes) for controllers but some shortcuts we have on keyboard are still to come. So I have been linking UI elements for the player to navigate from one element to the other in an intuitive way. I am also creating the various "highlighted" states for the different UI elements so they are selectable. For UI, everything is already working, but we need a way to access every part with joystick, which don't have a visual cue like cursor for mouse.”


Mikko joined the team earlier this year to take over multiplayer, though we also dumped quadruped IK (inverse kinematics) on him. We are thrilled to add his expertise to the team.

Mikko’s update:
“I have been working on multiplayer since I joined the WolfQuest team in August, taking over from another developer who built the prototype code. Most recently I have focused on improving the logic of spawning animals, especially when a player first connects to the game. By enforcing an ordering between spawn and update messages, I am eliminating log errors about unknown objects that, while relatively harmless during development, made the logs difficult to read. I am also making sure that animal properties get synced properly at spawn time - which was glossed over during the prototyping stage.”


Part of Susan’s work is content research. Lately, she has been spending time studying and locating wolf pup vocalizations for the upcoming Slough Creek episode.

Susan’s update:
“Accurate wolf pup recordings are quite challenging to find and decipher. I am hunting for audio clips that can approximate wolf pup communication. In general, matching game sounds to animations always requires a lot of simplification of extremely complex vocalizations. The challenge of game sfx is that they need to sound realistic and not be too unique or intrusive (or they become annoying when repeated). Quality wolf pup recording are rare as scientists rarely disturb denning areas and observations are most often made from far away through long lenses. Also, outdoor recordings are often filled with ambient noise that won’t work in the game. Most wolf organizations that have captive wolves have not systematically recorded/catalogued individual pup sounds so it takes some digging to locate appropriate audio for our animations. To further complicate matters, many of the sounds pups make are made when socializing in groups so individual vocalizations are hard to find. The upside is that I get to watch lots of cute pup videos!”

And for myself, Dave (loboLoco), I’ve been working on the Slough Creek map — it's a great place to spend time on gray November days!

___________________

The first episode, Amethyst Mountain, is available as Early Access for PC/Mac on Steam and itch.io, . We are updating the game frequently with more features, multiplayer, and ultimately the Slough Creek episode with pups. The mobile version will come after the game is completed on PC/Mac platforms.
Dave/loboLoco
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elkhunter123456
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Re: November Progress Report

Post by elkhunter123456 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:20 pm

You have made A LOT of progress on Slough Creek and multiplayer! The pups are so cute, and the green of slough creek is beautiful! Currently my wolf is brown and my mate is grey and white. their pups are definitely going to have a range of colors.I do wonder how to chase a bear from the den if I can't chase one away from a carcass. I also can't wait to see how your mate and pups personality impact pup raising!
Also maybe there could be a chance of your mates siblings joining your pack depending on their personality because wolves do sometimes do that in real life.
Now i'm going to ask a slightly different question from what others have been asking :P .
What will come first bighorn sheep or slough creek?
I was not expecting a devlog today. this brightened my day!
P.S: When you get to this point, I would love to see a walkthrough of a mission in slough creek 3.0. Kind of like the devlog "I do? Do you?". But please dont rush yourself :D
Imagine in multiplayer, 6 players grabbing onto a stranger wolf or cougar at a time! that would demolish the competition!

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Re: November Progress Report

Post by Inarjion » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:13 am

Hey I have a question! I've noticed that the camera doesn't always point where the wolf is facing. For example when hunting, if the elk turns around and I try to follow it, I end up with my wolf facing toward the camera and I can't see where it's going. The wolf is very pretty indeed, but instead of looking at its face I'd like to see where I'm going! :mrgreen:
So is this supposed to be like this or can I change it in the settings or something...? It would really improve gameplay if the camera would always point in the same direction as the wolf's face. It would make moving and looking around more realistic and natural. Players could then use the free cam to change the view when they like.

Otherwise the game is fantastic! I love exploring the new map, and the animals roaming around and living their lives are wonderful. Thank you for all your hard work! I've played WolfQuest since I was a child and I'm so happy to see the game has come so far <3

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Re: November Progress Report

Post by Mwitu » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:15 pm

It's great to see another devblog!
This looks excellent. I was pleasantly surprised to see this much Slough Creek unfolding everywhere. :tree:
It seems that you're making the map and then putting the pups in shortly afterward, but given the fact that you're already multitasking with the map and multiplayer, you never know... Anyway, just some random speculation there.
Thanks for posting this!

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