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Norman Barrows

CAVEMAN: pet interactions

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the game: Caveman 3.0 - a Paleo-world simulation

 

its time to implement pet interactions

 

one of the animal types in the game is the wild dog. some wild dogs can be domesticated and become pets.

 

where i'm at right now:

at the moment, there are only a few interactions available when you select one of your pets, things like rename, check health, and staunch wounds.

while you must feed a dog to tame them, once you tame them they are assumed to feed themselves. the game uses relations with the dog while taming, but doesn't use them after they are tamed. pets can be issued combat orders like any other follower (goto, wait, follow, target, attack, flee, etc).  

 

i'd like to add interactions like, pet, feed, play with, etc that affect relations, and also make relations go down over time. if relations drop too low, the pet may run away.

 

possible interactions i've come up with so far:

pet

feed

play with

scratch

rename

change appearance (textures)

check health

staunch wounds (the game's combat system includes bleedout and staunching of wounds)

teach trick: fetch, roll over, play dead, point, hold the snack on your nose until i say its ok to eat it? (that's SO mean!) <g>.

do trick - select trick from menu

chase off (abandon / dismiss)

kill - actually, the combat engine provides this option automatically

praise?  used when does trick correctly, or other actions worthy of praise?

scold?  used when they fail a trick, or disobey, etc?

should they have freewill and possibly be disobedient?  (i just started a skyrim game with 14 followers from 3 different mods. the character is an assassin. i can do anything i want. they'll slay city guards all day for me. but if i steal a horse, they leave my service).

 

so what actions should i include ?

 

should i not have different actions that are basically the same effect?, like scratch vs pet? they smack of "not meaningful dialog choices".

 

how in-depth should i make all this? i mean you could get into where the dog likes to be scratched (ears, chest, belly, on the back just forward of the tail - each dog has their favorites).

 

are there any pet interactions that might be turned into mini-games?

 

in general i'd like to discuss how pet relations and interactions should work in the game.  does using the standard "relations variable" method seem adequate?  and running away is an appropriate possible outcome? what interactions should the player be capable of?  should they be allowed to perform harmful, hurtful, or cruel actions?  

 

should i model more than just pet relations? mood? food? water? disease? make them a full band member you can control directly? a FPS where your a dog! <g>

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Honestly the only pet interactions I enjoyed in a game was the Black and White game, having a pet that does a random interaction with a object, then scolding or praising it to indicate how it should behave.

 

 

 

should i not have different actions that are basically the same effect?, like scratch vs pet? they smack of "not meaningful dialog choices".

I would find words that can sum-up similar actions, Scratch and pet can be praise.

If there is a word that can describe more than one of the functions it should be merged.

 

 

 

how in-depth should i make all this? i mean you could get into where the dog likes to be scratched (ears, chest, belly, on the back just forward of the tail - each dog has their favorites).

It would be better to have a mini-game where the player can interact with the pet, than to have a list of commands reading: pet-> head.

 

 

 

in general i'd like to discuss how pet relations and interactions should work in the game.  does using the standard "relations variable" method seem adequate?  and running away is an appropriate possible outcome? what interactions should the player be capable of?  should they be allowed to perform harmful, hurtful, or cruel actions?  

Pets in games are just simple additions, the amount of ways to interact with a pet should relate to it's function.

 

If the pet is there simply as a distraction or a simple companion, it should have a very basic an easy to understand interface. However if you do some thing like allow the pet to find treasures- finding items is a important part of discovery games- then you should allow the player to control that action.

 

 

 

should i model more than just pet relations? mood? food? water? disease? make them a full band member you can control directly? a FPS where your a dog!

I would like to see this just because it's different from most games, however if you focus to much on how the pet controls instead of why the pet can be controlled this mechanic will fail.

 

 

Edit:

If you want an example of how not to do pets look at Fable, the way they attempt to increase the pet's importance by blocking the players actions is just painful.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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I think pet interactions tend to be boring unless the pet can initiate surprising (or at least funny) interactions.  Like in the Sims series, fetch and whatever were quite boring.  But when two animals randomly got in a fight or one randomly decided to attack the trash can, that kind of thing was exciting!

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well, pets reduce the chance of being surprised by encounters, and they are another NPC follower you can give combat orders to. but it sounds like other than that, pet interactions would be mostly just for immersion sake. however, some make sense, like pet or play with dog to improve band member mood, etc. but using relations to get the pet, then forgetting about them seems like a half-implementation though. same idea with recruiting followers and band members.  band members are under direct player control, like The SIMs, but followers should get their share of the hunt / treasure if you want them to stick around. 

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well, pets reduce the chance of being surprised by encounters, and they are another NPC follower you can give combat orders to.

It seems that the type of pet is more important than the amount of interaction with the pet, you could do a kind of Pokemon thing where players attempt to capture and tame powerful animals for their abilities.

 

This would go well with a hunting mechanic as it will force the player to decide: Will they kill the mammoth for huge amounts of food and other recources or tame it, for transport and a war beast.

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I suppose you could have the pet have an xp meter, and each time it filled up (due to the player traveling normally with the pet) the pet would generate an encounter where the player could interact with the pet, and have a chance of leveling up the pet or player in some way?

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It seems that the type of pet is more important than the amount of interaction with the pet, you could do a kind of Pokemon thing where players attempt to capture and tame powerful animals for their abilities.

 

emphasis on realism in this version limits the game to dogs. so its a "flight sim" first, and a game second.  the fact that its not contrived actually makes the game even cooler.

 

in the original version of Caveman, all the animal types were made up, and you could try to domesticate anything.

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I suppose you could have the pet have an xp meter, and each time it filled up (due to the player traveling normally with the pet) the pet would generate an encounter where the player could interact with the pet, and have a chance of leveling up the pet or player in some way?

 

the game tracks relations between band members and NPCs in a manner similar to The SIMs.  i was thinking of making it do the same for pets.

 

in the way of spontaneous NPC triggered interactions for pets, about the only one i was considering was a "pet me!" action when the player was idle. or maybe coming up to you with their ball or a stick in their mouth - an obvious request for you to play with them. or maybe begging for food when you're cooking or eating.

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Can you have an option to use the dog to hunt and follow a scent?

E.g. you have some fox hide, you let the dog smell the fox hide and say "find it boy" and they sniff out and track the nearest fox for example.

Would be good for finding meat or tracking an enemy caveman...

Another one that might be implicit? "Keep guard", you can rest in peace in your camp and if an intruder comes close the dog wakes you.

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I suppose you could have the pet have an xp meter, and each time it filled up (due to the player traveling normally with the pet) the pet would generate an encounter where the player could interact with the pet, and have a chance of leveling up the pet or player in some way?

 

the game tracks relations between band members and NPCs in a manner similar to The SIMs.  i was thinking of making it do the same for pets.

 

in the way of spontaneous NPC triggered interactions for pets, about the only one i was considering was a "pet me!" action when the player was idle. or maybe coming up to you with their ball or a stick in their mouth - an obvious request for you to play with them. or maybe begging for food when you're cooking or eating.

 

Relationships, hmm... I was trying to suggest something that would avoid players trying to grind at dog-petting, and that kind of situation.  I find that dynamic kind of immersion-breaking.  Also, why not have a spontaneous NPC triggered minigame opportunity?

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