Horses should be smarter!

Picture this! Have you ever played a game where you dismounted from your horse and he stands there obvious to everything in the world. Nothing can spook this horse nor enemies or even explosions. He is simply dead to the world. Unless you call for him which means he’ll teleport to your location ready for you to ride the instant you press the call button in a epic movie scene fashion!

What you have here is a hay powered motorcycle who needs no inputs from its rider. That is not a horse. It isn’t even close to a horse. Its a non living thing that only resembles a horse. Technology has advanced so far in one decade and yet horses still do not act themselves. It is a shame.

Yes I know about technical limitations and I deal with them every day. Horse AI seems to be low priority for good reason and that is how you get horses that stand there waiting for their riders to do something. Can’t they at least be a bit barn sour and try to head back to their pasture mates? At least a little? Make those players work for it! Have them deal with troublesome horses at least…

Now what if you call this horse “Spirit?” No! Spirit would never want to have you as a rider or any rider. Why is it their wish fulfillment to ride a wild horse like Spirit anyway? No I wasn’t into the movie. That said Spirit is Spirit and no he doesn’t want to be ridden by you! But I digress.

Horses aren’t machines and they shouldn’t be shown as such. They are curious and easily frightened creatures who have their own personalities. Its wonderful to see them in action and how they have a pecking order and…why can’t games show that! Maybe because that would make some players upset that their horses do not “behave” Well I can only guess at this rate.

Those horses in games are boring. They could be much more exciting and believable to the average horse gamer that you could point to the screen and say yes I do hate this horse who refuses to listen to me. Sounds like real life! Maybe the forums could be flooded with questions and opinions on how to get your digital horse to work with you. Maybe some horses can’t be ridden or trained no matter what you do.

How cool would that be? Then everyone would complain horses are too much of a pain to be ridden and how they wish they would just do want the players want then we’re back to horses being dead to the world. I guess there is no way to win with this. Some players want an easy horse regardless.

What if you found a special horse that bonds with you over time as you work with the horse and learn all their personality quirks and needs. Also the horse doesn’t like any other players except you! Wouldn’t that be cool? A horse with an actual personality. Just like in real life! Yes your friends would be jealous you got this horse yet who cares. You’re the one with the special horse! So you have to give the horse a special name and the horse listens to you! Compared to other horses this horse is special! What? Whats that noise?

** Sound of hooves fading away **

Goddammit Thunder get back here!

** Pulls up chat window and types away **

“Missing Bay 15.3 Tbred Mare with white forehead and one sock on left foreleg. Goes by the name Thunder. Will pay well for her return please msg me asap! She already escaped twice.”

Apples falling from the tree

Its been a hectic month here on Dash. Horses have been galloping around with their rides and apples have started to fall from the trees. Don’t ask me, its not even spring yet nor fall.

Horses love apples, well most of the horses too. Maybe a few of them refuse to eat the apples.

Development on Dash is on schedule for alpha testing sometime this year. I don’t have a set date for it as I’m in knee deep in code trying to poke the horses into doing their own things.

I do have one good feature to reveal. Horses now control their own movement. They may or may not listen as they are directed on where to go by their riders. They could fight back, they could refuse to go into the water. They could turn around and head in the opposite direction. They could even stop in one place and not move. Certain horses could even freak when they see goats. They could throw their riders into the river! They could be barn sour and if you don’t pay attention they’ll heading right back home!

Yes these are like real horses! Not a horse that does exactly what you want every time. Push-button horses are not real horses. They are machines, not living creatures. Play every horse game out there and you’ll see what I mean.

Riding a horse should take skill and patience. It should not be easy as pressing forward on the controls. If your horsemanship skills aren’t up to the task, don’t be upset if you get tossed to the ground.

I’m trying to make these horses into wonderful creatures that they are. It is amazing to see how they come alive, doing their own things. I can’t wait to see  how their personalities develop!


Stables in Dash Society

Many horse game have stables that exist in a instance or a personal copy of the world. No matter how many players join the game and own their own stable. There is always room for other players to own stables. All the stables have the same look and feel. Even if you decorate, your stable still has the same layout as your friends and hundreds of other stables.

I have something to show for the upcoming Christmas playtest on the 29th Take a look at this stable inside the rich area of the city of Dash.

2k Warning. This image is large so you can see the scale of it!

This stable is one of dozens in the world. Since it is in a public area this stable isn’t player owned, players can only rent the stalls for gold. When you are renting stalls in this stable you can board your horses here for a fee which has to be paid or your horses will get evicted.

Notice how this stable exists in the world and is not sectioned off in its own instance. Every stable in the game, even the player owned stables, exists in the real world. That means stable can’t be large 100+ stall buildings that take up huge amounts of land. They have to fit in the world of Dash and that means having limitations on size and quality. Every player owned stable will be unique and have its own different layout. So no one stable is the same and every one will have its own charm or dislike to it. Like rich vs poor stables or city vs outside stables, there will be only be so many stables in the world. Most of the stables will be player owned.

Stables require lots of maintenance and is not recommend for someone by themselves to run a stable on their own. It is best to have a group of friends or like minded players to assist in running a stable. Lack of maintenance and not paying rent on the stable will mean eviction. This is because there are only going to be a limited number of stables in the world. Owners who claim stables and not use them or forget about them will be evicted to allow more qualified owners to take over. Having your own stable will be only for the most dedicated of players and not for the light hearted. 95% of players should have no reason to own one and their gameplay should be unaffected. There will be plenty to do besides having to maintain and run a stable. Trust me.

Breeders may choose to own a stable or not. It is really up to them if they need to space and need to handle multiple horses at once. Breeding comes with its own risks and rewards as I made in an earlier post.

For those players who choose to pay to own a stable. It is a premium feature and will require a month subscription to have the ability to own one stable. I don’t think it would be fair for one person or group to own more than one stables and crowd out other stable buyers. So restrictions will be put into place. Stables can be traded or sold for what market price you can get from other players if you choose to sell it.

That is it for now. In other future post I will take about upgrading or downgrading your stable and what it means and how much maintenance stables require. I hope you have a merry Christmas! Take care!


Rare Horses in Dash Society

What are rare horses in Dash? Rare horses that have rare unique colors in the wild.

Here is a rare horse that you may only see once in game. I present to you the rare blue roan paint!

Isn’t she pretty? She won’t be easily caught too! We’re not even going to talk about breeding yet.

Their colors and breed combination makes them rare. It also makes them stand out amongst other horses. Every rare horse as a unique ability that separates them from other horses. It may be something simple as eating less food or never spooking or bucking. It also could be a negative trait of only liking their owner and disliking everyone else.
These rare horses don’t necessarily have better stats, only that they have a range of good to bad stats like any other horse.

So where do you find these horses? They are hard to find and hard to catch. It may even take a coordinated team effort to catch these horses as they’ll resist captvity with their strong wills. They hide out in the wilderness in hard to reach places with their own herds. You will have to go off the safe paths and look for them in dangerous areas as they’ll most likely hang around there, safe from civilisation.

The actual life spans of rare horses will be the same as normal horses to prevent the rise of rare horses overtaking the general captive horse population. Rare horses have to remain rare over the given horse populuation. Also horse lifespans have to be shorter in order to counter the rise of super horses. The actual lifespans of horses have not been decided yet.

What are super horses and why would that be a concern in a horse game like Dash? Super horses are horses that are better in every way compared to normal horses you would find majority of the population. Why take a horse when you “have” to use your super horse? Going some where? Take a super horse because they’ll be faster/eat less food/need less rest. Super horses over time would make other horses worthless to have if they are alive in sufficent number. If you can only compete if you have a super horse and not any other horse then you have a problem. The problem is being allowing super horses to exist and not the players who use the horses. It is a problem that will not happen in Dash.

Are rare horses super horses? No they are rare because of their colors or breed and colors. They may have one or two thing that makes them special but their stats are just like their regular horse counterpart. Rare horses aren’t any better at things than other horses. Most likely they will be kept safe on a farm or in a stable away from the dangerous outside world. It would be considered stupid to risk your rare horse when any other horse can do the job of traveling to the next village or mail delivery which there will be a new post about that too!

It is possible to breed a rare horse? Yes even with normal horses there can be a very small chance a rare horse is born. The chance increases if a rare horse is breed with a normal horse. Now if you breed two rare horses together you end up with a much lower chance of a rare horse and a higher chance of a normal horse. But if you are lucky and odds are in your favor, you may end up with one of the only few dozen ultra rare horses. Those horses will be really rare and maybe only a dozen will ever exist.

Dash Society’s World Map

Months back I promised to update everyone on the world size in Dash. Well I have a special treat to show you! The World Map as it was during the Halloween event!

It shows two villages, farmstead, the huge forest, a cave, desert, rivers that merge into one. Also it has the beginning of the mountains on top of the map. It easy to get lost in this map, especially in the forest. The only fast way to get around was to ride your horse and that what the map was made for! I think it was taking five minutes to ride from one end of the map to the other side assuming you had to go around obstacles and lost your direction once or twice.

The world is huge and it is only going to get bigger! We are forgetting to add in the whole city of Dash which is also located on a large river too. Not only will you be able to ride out in the wilds but also take your horse into the city too! The city of Dash is actually located west of this map by some distance.

How big is the city of Dash? City of Dash is split by a river into two parts, east and west side. The population size in the city is about one hundred thousand people mixed between rich and poor areas and industry. Think pre-medieval and you have the right idea on how the city looks like. Now the world also includes the city itself and the lands around it that have a few villages, one or two major towns and one huge forest. So you are at least 20 times the size of the current world map in Dash as of this moment. That is plenty of space for what we’ll talk about in the next post 🙂

Comments have been disabled

I’ve disabled comments on the blog because of too much spam. As of now it is better to post your comments on facebook page instead of here. I will be posting new content on here and linking it from facebook so you won’t be missing a thing!

World Size: How big will Dash Society be?

Sorry I missed last week that I was going to post on the new story. I have something exciting come up but not to worry story is still being worked on but it needs to be put aside for a couple days while I sort out this new thing. I can’t announce it yet on this blog but I will.

On to the important stuff we have to talk about World Size in Dash Society or how big is the world going to be? What are the limitations on the size of the world in which wild horses roam about?

The two major limitations on world size is player loading the map at the start of their game session and the amount of blocks or squares in the world map.  Currently the map contains about 20 thousand blocks give a take a few thousand. Blocks are divs or square boxes that browser use to assemble a layout on your screen in the browser. That is a basic layman’s description of how blocks are used in Dash. Each block has a image that goes with it.

Well then how big is the actual world map? World has to be done in pixels because the browser uses pixel to represent the blocks or squares on the screen. Last time I guessed it was 120,000 x 120,000 that is 120 thousand pixels across and 120 thousand pixels tall. That is huge and it covers a very large area. To travel on horse from one side of the map to another would probably take five minutes while riding around obstacles. It has to be that big in order for the wild herds to be able to roam and hide in the landscape.

Along the way you’ll encounter two other villages, rivers,lakes,forests,caves,desert and the mountains in the north. There will be quite a bit of exploring to do if you get lost. Getting lost out in the wilds will be quite dangerous for your horse and you of course. Most likely you’ll end up back at the starting village with no horse or no items.

I would like to show a image of the map yet that would spoil too much. So later on I’ll show a small section of the world map that you can view. The world map is still in the process of being built so it is not completed no where near 100% .

It is late now so I’ll make a part 2 soon, very soon.

Getting the game ready

For the month of April I am gearing up production on Dash. I’ll bring in new art and start laying out the world map which I’ll show on here on this blog.

The very first thing that needs to be done is the back story for Dash Society. I been at it for awhile and most of what I have tried to try didn’t work. It was simply  to boring and uninteresting of a start and if I written it. I also had to explain it. Rewriting paragraphs didn’t make the back story any better than it was before because it dealt with a big event that wasn’t interesting in the first place.

Well I removed that major event and now it all flows together. There is no plague anymore. There is a large group of immigrants from the snowy mountains in the north that are looking for a new lands to settle and they travel through mountains for miles heading south and once they hit open grasslands they settle and found a new city called Horkarmennar. The city of light and hope for a new life and future.   That is all I am going to spoil for now.

I hope you enjoyed this short blurb. I’ll post more about it this week. I’ll make a bigger post at least thousand words or so.


Horse Breeding in Dash Society

In traditional horse sim breeding becomes the main part of the game with bloodlines being formed with each new generation. Individual horses don’t matter as only the best of the current generation get to past on their genes on to the next generation. Many horses are born and discarded for not having the desired traits and genes for use in breeding. We can consider this 90% of horses are being thrown away for only the 10% of horses for breeding.

Breeding a horse with subpar traits doesn’t mean they’ll breed a foal with better traits than the parents if the two pair are both have bad traits. Does breeding a subpar horse with one with superior traits make the foal any better? Yes and no, as it would be a sub optimal choice when a pair with both good traits can be breed to produce a foal with superior stats compared to their parents.

Dash will do things differently. Not all horses with high stats are good nor all horses with low stats are bad. Every horse will have a use or a role even if it is a simple, mundane one. For a good example a horse with high racing stats may not be ridden at all unless the horse is in a race as to prevent the chance of injury while other horses with lower stats can be used for getting around the world and pulling carts or wagons. Which leads to the next thing we’ll talk about is breeding.

In order to combat the ever increasing number of horses; breeding in Dash Society will have to be much different from the typical horse sim. More horses will put ever increasing load on the server resulting in a slow laggy experience for players.  To prevent this from happening we have to change the process of how breeding is been done in the past.

Gestation should happen in a month or two in order for several things to happen. First that the mare could miscarriage the foal preventing a increase of horses by one or the mare can get sick and die and decrease the population by two. Second the foal born could be a still born or have a disease will end up killing the foal in 24 hours therefore keeping the numbers down. Third the mother could hurt herself and die from injuries leaving the new foal an orphan and if not taken care will end up dying too.

All these things could be used to keep the number of active alive horses down and keep the server stable and lag free. A lengthy gestation with many causes of death will help with the numbers. While the foal is in gestation it is not active and so does not count against the server load. It is only when it is born and actively moving around on its own does the foal affect server load.

Breeders in the game can do many things to reduce the chances of sickness and injuries and death for mare and foal in the game to a smaller percentage. Yet breeding will always be a risky endeavor for mares if they are not properly taken care of even in the wild. That is all for now. If there are more questions I may do part 2 of breeding but right now I’m focusing on pathfinding again.







Horse personalities or how to make horses uniquely different.

I like to note that this post is speculative in nature as currently it is not in the schedule to implement personalities in the game yet. Maybe a few months down the road. Lets get started though and see what we are getting into!

Personalities are a way for horses to express themselves to the player. Giving a benefit of uniqueness to ones horse so stats aren’t the only thing that make a horse worth using. Their behaviors can also be used to balance their stats and preventing super horses that are better than any horse out there except against other super horses.

Horses can be given a few personalities off the start when they are first born. There is a loner personality that makes a horse avoid large herds and prefer to be alone most of the time. Usually you won’t find these in herds very much. There can be a hyper-active horse that bounces around too much from in and out of the herd. They tend to move around more and would make excellent chasing horses if you can pin them down!

Not all horses come with good personalities or useful ones. Sometimes a horse with a calm manner isn’t the best horse to be good for races where a more active personality would be. Sometimes horses can be bad, espically ones with high stats that would be a good horse but takes the right hand and the right rider to set them straight or not.

Most horses stay in the middle of the road on personality wise. There are a few or rare extremes in the bunch. But if you look hard enough you can find the horse that matches you and has the attitude and stats to reach your goals. Now that is all I am going to say about personalities. There is mood and behaviors too that horses can display. At birth the personality is set in stone to prevent any wild moods swings that would probably annoy players to find their horses changing while under saddle. Not a fun situation to be in. It is best for them to remain as they are and wait for another horse to come around that’ll match the owner’s tastes more.

Up next I am going to talk about horse breeding and why it can be a problem. I hope to hear any comments or insights players would like into the Dash Society horse game 🙂 Thank you.