Thanks guys. Here's the map I'm going to use for the first release, can always branch off and add more later. There's 4 towns and the home "farm". The colored lines are races you can launch from each town. I was hoping to have 3+ "contests" for each town and have it randomly offer them so it's not always the same. It costs money to enter and you win money for winning. If you don't have enough money to enter contests you can do some small tasks for npcs within the town or haul resources to other towns.
One issue I need to figure out is the main character. On the home farm level it uses a tap to move controller to move a "fairy" around and tame animals, but when you ride animals it loads them as fps controller with 3rd person camera and no rider, just "guiding" the animal so to speak. I haven't animated a riding character or looked for one on stock sites.
The animals are different sizes as well, the goat is 1/4 the size of the horse which is half the size of the elephant, the smaller animals turn faster and can be faster, I should probably make it slow you down when you turn or when you are on rougher terrain.
I like the idea of riding out to look for the chickens to gather eggs for a task that can be repeated daily, as well as find missing animal that didn't come in with the rest, little quests from the farmer.
I thought about making the elephant destroy jumps by running into them while the other animals jump over it. As it is now if you jump over a jump and get the treat floating above it, you have a small chance of increasing the animals stats, which increase it's speed. So while you're racing and trying to beat the other animals, you have incentive to try to hit some jumps as well.
I think I should incorporate more with food, like you can feed the different animals food you've gathered.
Building your own competition courses could be really good and something to keep people busy, instead of the buildings. I thought about making some resource management mechanics where the animals have jobs at the local zoo, so the more you tame the more money you start aggregating, and you have to buy food to keep your tamed animals happy or they go wild.
Dressage used to piss me off as a kid, I was one of the few guys in pony club hehe with all the hotties, I did eventing and dressage was never as fun as show jumping or cross country jumping. One thing I noticed was games that are basically riding simulation games get nitpicked by riders for not being perfect, where I was hoping to go for something more silly but that would interest girls. You can ride a goat, sheep, pig, etc as well so might be funny to more people.
I think the costumes is a great idea as well.
I was also thinking if you run into too many obstacles on an animal it becomes injured and you can't ride it for 3 real life days or something(based off timestamp). There's a total of 30 different animals so hopefully they'd have something they could ride as a replacement.
Here's something just for laughs, not part of what I'm working on: