Species Hunt Minigame

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Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Jennifer_P » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:20 pm

So guys, I was thinking that we could add a lot of playing time to our Age by putting a little minigame in it. :)
In this case, it would be a sort of treasure hunt, where the objective is to find all of the plants and animals in the Age. The player could keep track of his progress with a checklist (similar to the ones that birdwatchers use to list all of the different species they've seen).
The main motivation for the player to participate in this game would be the fact that there is something compulsively satisfying in filling in all of the blank little "check here" boxes on a list...In fact, on that basis alone I believe a player could feel a real sense of satisfaction at having located and identified all twenty (or whatever) species of plants and animals in the Age, especially the rare and hard-to-find ones. (The "gotta catch 'em all" Pokemon mentality) However, I'm sure that even the players who wouldn't be motivated just by filling in the checkboxes would do so anyway, simply because they would be unsatisfied until they knew for certain that they had seen all of the new content that the Age had to offer.
An interesting twist on this might be to add puzzles or challenges that must be solved in order to locate certain species...for example, the nest of the long-beaked bird might only be visible if you can figure out how to climb into the upper limbs of a tall tree.
Well, what say? If you guys are interested in putting this in the Age, we have a good start on it already, with the species we already have:

Animals:
1. Medusa tree
2. Fish (unnamed)
3. lizard 1
4. lizard 2

Plants:
1. Quiver tree
2. 20 gallon tree
3. Glowing carnivorous plant
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Ruvinka » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:33 pm

Sounds like a great idea to me Jennifer!
It reminds me of events that already took place in Urulive.
The more layers of enjoyment we can add the more I think the age will be successful.
Success being the enjoyment of many explorers.

My question is how exactly would an explorer get their "checklist"?

The easiest thing I could think of would be a discoverable paper on a table in the ERC.
Maybe there is a children's exhibit and that is one of the activities.
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Jennifer_P » Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:00 pm

My question is how exactly would an explorer get their "checklist"?

The easiest thing I could think of would be a discoverable paper on a table in the ERC.

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. The thing is, I think it would get tricky in terms of programming to make checkable, interactive boxes on a pick-upable paper. So maybe we could do something like a large poster instead? We could accompany the poster with a book that gives a drawing and some information on each species, for example,
"The diminutive Yellow-backed Lizard grows to only five inches long. It enjoys damp areas with plentiful insect life, which is the staple of its diet. Its favorite food is the red cicadoid, which it stalks and nabs with its sticky tongue." And this description could be a clue for explorers to look for these lizards around the pond and riverbanks where there is a lot of insect ambience playing. :)

Maybe there is a children's exhibit and that is one of the activities.

Or how about in the greenhouse exhibit? :)
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Nadnerb » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:19 pm

I don't think it's necessary or advisable to design an age with the current tool limitations in mind. They are constantly being developed, and it's better to have a great concept that eventually gets implemented than one that's been stunted to fit in the current volume of the ever-expanding proverbial box. :)

It shouldn't be terribly long (months) before it's reasonably achievable (since it's possible already) to have a piece of paper GUI with check boxes stored for each player.
Live KI: 34914 MOULa KI: 23247 Gehn KI: 11588 Available Ages: TunnelDemo3, BoxAge, Odema
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Raider7 » Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:03 pm

Jennifer,
That's a great idea you have about the minigame. I don't know whether this will work or whether you would be allowed to do it, have pages with the trees/species on them that can be picked up and the pages then go into a book you have. I know that nothing was said about a book though.
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Jennifer_P » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:21 am

That's a great idea you have about the minigame. I don't know whether this will work or whether you would be allowed to do it, have pages with the trees/species on them that can be picked up and the pages then go into a book you have. I know that nothing was said about a book though.

No, that's alright...All ideas are welcome when we're brainstorming! :) So, how do you see this idea working? Where would the pages be, and why would they be where they are?

It shouldn't be terribly long (months) before it's reasonably achievable (since it's possible already) to have a piece of paper GUI with check boxes stored for each player.

Eh, you're probably right Nadnerb. :) So then, let's assume we use a (single) piece of paper....Or perhaps we should use one paper for animals and one for plants. Would anyone who has page layout experience like to take a shot at coming up with a format for these two pages?
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Jennifer_P » Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:44 pm

Oh yeah, and I've been meaning to ask...Nadnerb, you mentioned awhile ago that you had made a model of the tornado cone? Still have that? :)
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby ardent red » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:45 pm

I love this idea! I'm not part of the team, I know, but I drew up the layout attached, I hope you don't mind. It's very basic at the moment- you guys are the ones making the age, what do you think could be improved about it?

Picture 3.png
*very* basic layout
Picture 3.png (118.64 KiB) Viewed 4741 times


I had the idea that perhaps the animals weren't intentionally written into the age (at least, not the unusual ones), and the ERC committee have only caught occasional glimpses of the creatures. As a result, the explorers could help find things out about them, like taking KI photos, writing the guidebook and so on. This could also include the Guild of Zoologists- it's exactly what they're around for. Another advantage of this is that when there's no new art being recieved, another creature could be 'sighted' (and placed into the age), thus creating interest and a reason to revisit the ERC! (not that there'd be no appeal to the age when there wasn't new art, of course. I would love to chill out there, it's just that there would be/are some explorers who only like 'stuff to do' ages :) )

EDIT: Minor typo's, and a new idea.
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby Jennifer_P » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:38 am

Yowza! That looks fantastic! 8-) It has a very fun and inviting feel to it, and it's not cluttered, it's clear. I only have one major suggestion, and that's for the picture portion--I think it should be a black and white drawing rather than a full color photo. This will have two effects--one, it will make it somewhat more difficult for the player to find the animal or plant, since they won't have as much visual information on it, and that will make the treasure hunt a little more challenging and will draw out the player's entertainment time. Second, this way the player only gets a tiny taste of what the animal or plant looks like...so to satisfy their curiosity and their appetite for color and detail, they will have to find the animal or plant for real. (I'm pretty sure that this was the exact reason why Cyan chose to show the Negilahn animals in sillouette rather than in full color renders.) The little info blurb you have there is a great idea; it would have to be short and sweet like you have it though, 'cause I don't think small font is an option due to the fact that not everybody has great eyesight and it's no fun to squint. :roll: So I guess I'd shoot for one "fun fact" like you had for the medusa tree and a short description of the animal or plant--color, size, differences between males and females and babies, and any flowers or berries.
In terms of the grammar, all I have to add is that the sentence, "Unfortunately, it's not very detailed because we haven't had much time to study the creatures" should be changed so that it will still make sense for the time after the Age has been released for months and a lot is actually known about the animals. Perhaps it might be replaced with "We would appreciate your help in developing the reference guide." or "If you would like to contribute to the reference guide..."
Now, one last thing that needs to be resolved...Supposing that we have 20-30 different species on the checklist. We can't fit all those on one sheet of paper with all the pictures and descriptions, so what format should we use instead? :|

I had the idea that perhaps the animals weren't intentionally written into the age (at least, not the unusual ones), and the ERC committee have only caught occasional glimpses of the creatures. As a result, the explorers could help find things out about them, like taking KI photos, writing the guidebook and so on. This could also include the Guild of Zoologists- it's exactly what they're around for. Another advantage of this is that when there's no new art being recieved, another creature could be 'sighted' (and placed into the age), thus creating interest and a reason to revisit the ERC! (not that there'd be no appeal to the age when there wasn't new art, of course.

That's a really good idea... And you know, I don't even think we'd need to do totally new animals or plants, either. It would be enough just to shrink the model of an animal, change the fur style, make the eyes big, and put it on the same track with a large normal model of that animal, and people would automatically go gaga over the cute little baby! :D We could also add new behaviors, change the color schemes of the animals, or have different sizes so that people can claim that they just saw the "World's Record medusa tree!" Or if you added a clutch of eggs...You know that people would visit them every day for weeks to see if they had hatched yet. ;)

I love this idea! I'm not part of the team, I know, but I drew up the layout attached, I hope you don't mind.

Of course we don't mind; you're welcome to drop in and help with anything you'd like. :) And we're happy to have you.
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Re: Species Hunt Minigame

Postby ardent red » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:59 am

Glad you like the layout, it was fun making it! Multiple animals is a problem, I agree. Several sheets could get rather confusing. I guess there could be a journal of sorts, like Raider suggested. Yes, a journal (disguised as a pamphlet, maybe?) would be one way of solving the problem, and keeps the player involved while keeping with the storyline. The problem with this method is that it may be a little tricky to code- is it possible to overlay a GUI over an existing GUI (we'd need to put a checkboxes thing over a pre-existing journal template)? D'lanor?

If you wanted to get REALLY speccy, you could have a website address written on a scrap of paper. It would be a bit like a wiki, with pages for each animal. People could sign up and write down things that they had found out. Over time, you would have a detailed record of each species. The problems with this that I can see are that it jolts people out of the game into the real world, and may be less involving as a result. Also, web hosting = $$$, unless someone was kind enough to lend us some server space, and even then, it may be difficult to get the forum/wiki/main page thing running as it should.
Does anyone have other ideas? I'm sure there are more options out there that haven't been mentioned yet.

I only have one major suggestion, and that's for the picture portion--I think it should be a black and white drawing rather than a full color photo. This will have two effects--one, it will make it somewhat more difficult for the player to find the animal or plant, since they won't have as much visual information on it, and that will make the treasure hunt a little more challenging and will draw out the player's entertainment time. Second, this way the player only gets a tiny taste of what the animal or plant looks like...so to satisfy their curiosity and their appetite for color and detail, they will have to find the animal or plant for real. (I'm pretty sure that this was the exact reason why Cyan chose to show the Negilahn animals in sillouette rather than in full color renders.)


Yes, that's an excellent idea. Maybe the animals/plants which have not been found are in silhouette/monochromatic/lower detail form in the checklist, but when they have been found the silouhette turns into a colour photo? I suppose that could be another incentive for going out there and looking for the animals: the reward isn't just a four second glimpse of the big toe of an indigenous snake and a little tick beside some text. Perhpas, even (and I think this would be difficult to implement, and slightly takes away from the fun of entering the age, looking for things that have changed), the colour photo could revert back into it's greyscale sibling once a change had taken place in the animal, for example, it had changed pattern or something. Personally, I think it would be awesome to be looking around and notice that something was different, rather than having the information spoon-fed.

If you introduced cute baby animals, you wouldn't be able to get me out of there, hehe. Having the animals change a little (hey, a bit like Delin winter/summer)is a good idea, and I tihnk that it would make people want to visit again and again.
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