Pupdate: Behind the Genes
Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:24 pm
Today’s devblog takes another look at our genetics system in WolfQuest: Anniversary Edition, now that we have built it out for pups in the upcoming Slough Creek episode. (We first looked at this in a 2018 devblog, which you can watch here.)
Since our systems designer and lead developer Tommi is responsible for this system, I’ll let him explain it:
“We made a mini-genetics system for the game. Instead of the around 20,000 (functional) genes a real wolf has, yours has 50 (25 allele pairs). They code for black vs gray (1 pair), coat selection and tinting (9 pairs), your stats (6 pairs), and personality (9 pairs). This means all these traits are inheritable to your pups! When we create your pups, we apply the Punnet Square law on each of your pups, on each of these pairs. Then we take this newly formed genome and find the right coat, the right tints, the right stats, and the right personality for everyone.
“Now, you may remember from school that allele pairs like this have "dominant" and "recessive" alleles. However, we only applied this to the black vs gray pair (or "K locus" as the experts call it): kk is gray while Kk, kK, and KK are all black (blackness is "dominant"). All the other genes are simply summed up with no concern for dominance, so to be very bold, your pup will need to have BB + BB + BB in the Cautious-Bold triplet. Conversely, a very cautious pup has bb + bb + bb. An average pup would have something like Bb + BB + bb. This is realistic enough for our purposes, since many genes do work in this manner. (The K locus is the only "real" gene in our genome - everything else is just a simple model we made up.)
“When it comes to stats, we ended up kind of accidentally representing something that comes up in genetics a lot: tradeoffs. Each of the six genes boosts one stat while reducing another. So, for example, SS would boost strength by one while reducing stamina by one, while conversely ss would reduce strength and boost stamina (and Ss would leave both alone). This means your pups will be just as balanced, stat-wise, as any new wolf you create. Unless they got unlucky and rolled KK on the K locus, which is known to be a bad combination: if that doesn’t kill the pup before birth, it has a significant impact on its health and vitality, making survival even more difficult than usual.”
To learn more about the personality system for mates and now pups, watch “For Better or For Worse."
We have released the first episode of WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition (Amethyst Mountain) for PC/Mac on Steam and itch.io, as Early Access. While in Early Access, 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. We’ll then resume development of the next episode, Tower Fall (DLC).