We’ve been working for quite awhile on new elk-biting actions. This requires several different systems to work together, and as you can see, there are many ways in which things can go wrong. Sometimes very wrong.
Our goal has been to make elk-biting more accurate as well as more exciting for the player — and happily, this is one place where those two goals are quite compatible. In the old game, wolves bite the elk’s rump. This generally is not accurate, but the rump did offer us (as game developers) a nice, relatively fixed target for the wolf to bite and hold onto. In reality, wolves usually bite the elk’s legs to do initial damage and slow the elk down enough so the wolves can attack more vital areas like the neck. The neck-biting in the old game is basically accurate, though the implementation is pretty simple and crude. The elk also manages to stay on its feet until it topples over dead, whereas real elk usually collapse to the ground well before the wolves administer the killing bites.
So in WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition, we’re using the IK (Inverse Kinematics) system to make these biting actions more realistic. We’ve talked in past blog posts about how we’re using IK to place the wolf’s feet more accurately on rough or sloping ground. We’re also using it for more accurate physical dynamics when the wolf bites another animal, especially bigger animals. Using it, we now have the wolf bite the elk’s legs even while the elk is galloping along at 50 kph (30 mph) — and the force that leg movement is transmitted back to the wolf as it holds on. And when the wolf leaps up to bite and squeeze the elk’s neck, the elk gives the wolf a rough time by twisting and struggling before finally shaking it off. The same will happen with other big prey animals like moose.
This is just one of many improvements to the elk hunt in WolfQuest 3, and like most of them, it requires tight integration of multiple game systems to work well and look good….so yet another reason why WQ3 is taking longer to develop than we anticipated. But we’re making steady progress are are still aiming to release it later this year.
Some caveats: • We are still refining a few things with biting (e.g. tuning the distance travelled when leaping forward to bite the rear legs, preventing the elk from lifting the wolf off the ground during neck bites.) • The prey animal in the first blooper is actually a mule deer, not an elk. • The final blooper has nothing to do with elk biting. Yes, those are the eyes sitting on the tongue.
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