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!


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.