Topic: Ambient wildlife  (Read 385 times)


redfish

« on: February 12, 2021, 09:32:48 AM »
All of the birds in the game right now are birds that are good for hunting or foraging. That makes sense, since a good part of the game centers around doing those activities.

However, something I enjoy in UrW is just the feeling of wandering in the wilderness, so I think I'd also enjoy seeing birds that aren't what you'd call "useful" to me as a player, but would add to the ambience of the game, such as songbirds. So lets say I wake up at my cabin for a day of fishing, and there's a warbler on my fence singing. Or its just finished raining, and because the ground is muddy, there are birds out looking for worms. And because different birds have different distributions in Finland, I'm guessing that you'd be able to tell what region you were in just by what birds were around and what songs they were singing.

While all of this is probably something that could be done with ambient sounds, too, I think it would add to the game to be able to see them. Besides just the enjoyment of the visual aspect of seeing the songbirds, it would also make it seem less like everything that's in the game is just there as a matter of instrumentalism, as a means to an end, so you could feel like you were in a living breathing world. They would naturally also be more common than game birds, and more commonly keep that sense of a living world in your game experience.

Of course, I wouldn't necessarily expect a small songbird passing by to pause tasks the way the game normally does when animals come into your view. Since they'd be there more for the ambience, the game could assume you'd ignore them.

They would also be prey I assume for predatory birds like owls and goshawks, and you could see them being caught.

I assume there would also be a lot of other small animals, like snakes and toads and field mice and so on, that would be between tall grass or lake reeds or sedge, and would have the same purpose. (And of course these have had a role in magic lore, so they might have that added use).

PALU

« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2021, 10:13:45 AM »
There's at least a sound of a woodpecker in the game, but I wouldn't mind more ambient sounds of that type.

Having "useless" critters being seen is more complicated, though, as it's hard enough to notice the "important" ones, and would be even harder if there's distracting movement all over the place, especially since it can be hard to see what animals are even if you see there's something moving because it's partially obscured when at maximum zoom out.

Sami

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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 10:58:51 AM »
Rich ambient nature soundtrack, birds and stuff, according to season and environment is something I'd like too.

Few years ago I took a step towards that and kept on recording nature sounds around my surrounding for a full year. I though of adding rich and varying, terrain based bird ambient sound layer to the game. But the idea was too massive to accomplish with the level of ambition and amount of audio I had. (Well, if I've had a year of working time to decicate for that alone it would be there now.)

Of course ambient wildlife sounds could be added in smaller scale, but actually it's really time-consuming if it's done in realistic fashion. Which is what we like to do.

However, adding lots of actual little critters and birds as game creatures which you could actually spot isn't desired. It adds unnecessary strain and math to the game world. Most of the time in the woods you never see the birds that are singing anyway. And if the actual game creatures would be responsible of making sounds (singing) on their specific turns I'm afraid it wouldn't sound nicely natural. So it would better to rely on ambient audio.

But...so...like mentioned, I've simply haven't had time get this rolling yet, even though there's massive amount of groundwork and homework done. Maybe one day.
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paulkorotoon

« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2021, 11:30:34 AM »
However, something I enjoy in UrW is just the feeling of wandering in the wilderness, so I think I'd also enjoy seeing birds that aren't what you'd call "useful" to me as a player, but would add to the ambience of the game, such as songbirds.

Well, I personally never feel forced to actually make use of any ‘useful’ creature. And I guess nothing really does force a player. A bird? Nice, let it fly. An elk, in case I've got enough meat and fur? Nice, have a safe walk, my horned brother, may the spirits help you to avoid predators and hunters.

If I'll ever get tired of a ‘creature spotted’ prompts (which feels to me completely fitting the game's spirit), I'll toggle [TASK_ABORT_ANIMALS:YES] option in urw_ini.txt

More ambience would be good. I think though, that's a lot of effort for the team, and pretty long time to wait for us players. But afaik, @Night is currently working on a project with some ambience-related features planned, discussed here.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 01:31:04 PM by paulkorotoon »
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redfish

« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2021, 09:48:25 PM »
If I'll ever get tired of a ‘creature spotted’ prompts (which feels to me completely fitting the game's spirit), I'll toggle [TASK_ABORT_ANIMALS:YES] option in urw_ini.txt

By the way on this, it would be nice if the player could just hold down a key, like SHIFT, to avoid the prompts from coming up... so it could be up to your discretion, rather than having to toggle the setting in the init file.

I don't "use" all the creatures either, but you know as a player that they're there because they're useful; my suggestion was just that not everything in the game world has to be useful, it can be there for flavor, too.

Sami, I can't speak on the effect of the strain on the game running, so I'll have to take your word for that. I agree that most of the time you're not going to see them, especially in the woods, but I do see them a lot in real life. Relatedly, what do you think about the idea of being able to flush some creatures out of different types of vegetation? So I imagine a lot of the smaller creatures, including birds, could be found in places like bushes, reeds, and so on.

paulkorotoon

« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2021, 08:05:24 AM »
By the way on this, it would be nice if the player could just hold down a key, like SHIFT, to avoid the prompts from coming up... so it could be up to your discretion, rather than having to toggle the setting in the init file.

Implemented already! Hold down Space, and all the prompts on creatures entering your character's view are auto-answered ‘no’. An ultimate nerve-saver in cases like a bird flies around while you're performing some time-consuming task.

I don't "use" all the creatures either, but you know as a player that they're there because they're useful; my suggestion was just that not everything in the game world has to be useful, it can be there for flavor, too.

I consider this as a matter of personal way to percept things. My own perception, say, differs from yours. As a player (and, well, as a man of zen philosophy), I know that they are there... and that's all :) . Without any ‘because’. So it's completely up to me, to decide how to treat a particular creature. And in the long run, there are as many ways to percept things as many there are players.

Of course, I've got my own i-want-this-to-be-more-realistic stuff too. Part of them is implementable via mods, and the rest is quite easy to just imagine while playing. My point now is that there should be balance between level of realism and amount of code required to provide such a level, in order for the game to be neither too simplified from the players' view (and imo UrW is not), nor too complicated to develop. Dev.plans list is big enough already, I guess :) .
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