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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMonstrus monstrus - monster breeding and management sim (FKA Monster Husbandry)
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Author Topic: Monstrus monstrus - monster breeding and management sim (FKA Monster Husbandry)  (Read 14582 times)
whistlerat
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« Reply #60 on: January 19, 2018, 09:09:46 AM »

I imagine that there will be food-creatures just like mices for serpends in real-life.

An interesting idea is that you can modify the food-animals so they provide more food and that they are slower. So you choose them just for the pupose that they die for your predator-creature. MUAHAHA
Will this be possible somehow?

Entirely possible, just hadn't really considered that particular method! But some carnivore-pet-keepers do feed live prey, partly to replicate their pet's natural behaviours, and I don't see why that shouldn't be an option if you choose to develop carnivorous monsters with hunting instincts...

I probably won't be having genetics be a part of any other creature than the monsters, just to keep that focus where it should be, but it could feature in some simple way in non-monstrus animals Smiley The game is set ambiguously on a non-Earth planet, so there would be non-Earth prey animals that the monsters eat, so as a side-venture you could study and capture those too maybe!
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whistlerat
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« Reply #61 on: January 25, 2018, 03:22:28 AM »

Two milestones in one month isn't bad Smiley Saying that, one month is already gone, whoa! This non-zero day streak is awesome and exhausting but also makes time go by pretty fast.

    You can probably guess the nature of what's new by the gif I posted over a week ago. To complement the previous new feature of camp structures, I decided to implement the other behaviour foundation for the camp view, which became 0.19 - Interactions. Monsters are now aware of each other, hurrah! Because monsters do not yet have any real personality traits, needs, or relationships with each other (with one notable exception***), their actions are still totally arbitrary and random for now, but even knowing that it is so easy to see an illusion of life when watching them bounce about and interact with each other. It makes me incredibly excited because even at this super-basic level it is engaging to watch, and I know how much further I want to take it. Which is much further. I can't wait.

   

    * the exception - monsters are likely to want to wander around with their mama, especially babies! See the gif on the previous page Kiss

    Aside from the core interaction feature, there were a lot of little improvements made as part of this version which mostly related to improving the roaming/pathfinding behaviour to become more robust. Things like:
    - placing a structure on a monster's destination no longer causes the monster to try and walk into it forever
    - monsters will see each other as obstacles and try to avoid each other where possible
    - when going to see a structure or follow another monster, a monster will try to pick the closest point of that structure or monster rather than a random point
    - a monster who wants to interact with another monster will go to either the left or right of their target to try and minimise the monsters' bodies and emote bubbles overlapping
    - if a monster still manages to get its pathing confused or reach a bad location, I check for this and cancel their current behaviour so they are free to do something else and not just get stuck
    - plus knocked a couple of general bugs off my list

   

    I also added two new emotes just because it was easy and I could.


I had thought about including some kind of more in-depth 'conversation' mechanic with this version where the monsters can actually prompt each other with emotes and get reasonable responses, but I decided to put a pin in that for now. There are other things I want to work on first. Have a trippy gif as a teaser and see if you can guess. Well, hello there!

   

    srsly tho, I've been thinking and preparing and planning a LOT and while the scope has increased in some areas, I've cut it down in others, to try and narrow this down to the experience I want. I hope that the changes have resulted in a net zero in scope creep, but I think it miiiight be a slight positive... but no worries. It'll get done. And the stuff I want to do is pretty neat, imho. I hope you all like it. Talk soon. Toast Right
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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #62 on: January 25, 2018, 05:45:07 AM »

Saw some of this on twitter, and absolute love the visual feedback for the monster interactions. I think it's an excellent feature, and that you are right in wanting to push it further!
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whistlerat
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« Reply #63 on: February 03, 2018, 04:29:28 AM »

Saw some of this on twitter, and absolute love the visual feedback for the monster interactions. I think it's an excellent feature, and that you are right in wanting to push it further!

Thank you Smiley It's definitely going to be a core focus.

As a brief update, work is going really well. What I'm doing now was kinda scary to start because it is a fundamental restructuring of the project which I've been tiptoeing around for a while. I can't remember if I described it in this thread, but at the beginning of this project I was using a mixture of UI and 'normal' 2D sprites, which was proving complicated in my limited knowledge of unity because everything was 'acting like' UI. So at some point I moved everything into being UI assets which made sense because it was just a series of buttons and draggables, no big performance hit, right? But then camps happened, and suddenly I have quite complex and animated scenes made up of UI elements, and let's just say that isn't a very optimal way of going about things within Unity.

No big deal. I'll just port over my functionality to regular 2D world. It gives me a good excuse to overhaul the look of the actual UI and do a few things that are improvements long- and short-term, and it's going super well. It's a testament to my code, I think, that despite everything previously living in UI-land, it's decoupled enough that changing everything to 2D-world has been pretty painless! I'm still on the fence as to how much I'm going to pack into this 'version' because there are a LOT of things I want to do with the UI, so we'll see.

As a result, the next devlog will not have any new features per se, but hopefully will show off a nice new overall flow and look of the game. I'm sticking with my 'paper cutout' look for now because I'm attached to it, it's fairly unique, and I already have a bunch of assets and prefabs designed for it so it's a time-saver Tongue Though this has given me the excuse to cut out various things I no longer use but were just hanging around in the code base like a bad smell. And I've made the decision to cut down on the scope in one big area which should mean that this project takes a little less time to finish. It's something that I totally would love to do in a future similar project though - maybe Monstrus 2 Hand Thumbs Up Right

To finish, have a WIP-preview!

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vitorlanna
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« Reply #64 on: February 03, 2018, 10:43:33 AM »

Hmm but have you thought about different resolutions? Unity UI is really great about anchoring and really easy to adapt to different resolutions, but if everything is sprites it might be a bit harder!

I really like what you're doing and think the game sounds like a lot of fun! Have you tested with other people?

As far as the visuals go, I think the silhouettes besides being practical certainly give the game a unique, easily recognizable look! Since the idea (with the new title and all) is to make something referencing Darwin and discovery of a new species and all, have you considered making things yellow-ish (instead of pure gray) to create an association with old papers and add some color? And maybe some paper texture in the background...


Also, another idea is the possibility of adding eyes...

And maybe babies having some different proportions with bigger heads?

Anyway, the game seems to be going pretty well, looking foward to it (and its sequels)!
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whistlerat
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« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2018, 12:28:41 PM »

This is awesome feedback, thank you!

Quote
Hmm but have you thought about different resolutions? Unity UI is really great about anchoring and really easy to adapt to different resolutions, but if everything is sprites it might be a bit harder!

I think it's actually am improvement in that very regard - now I can control the views of the 'UI' and the 'game' separately. Doing everything in Unity UI makes the camera obsolete, but now I'm going back to '2D world' for the gameplay, I'll be able to allow fun things like zooming and panning around camps, so they can be bigger. Like this (excuse the unfortunately stunted monsters, I'm still working and refactoring has some casualties Cheesy):


The current actual UI elements scale really nicely with the screen, and feel more like UI on top of the game rather than the 'whole game', if that makes sense. I'm basically pulling things out of the little 'panels' I had them in before and making them entire screens in their own right, to stop boxing everything in. I'm also very pro-user-empowerment when it comes to UI, and am going to be playing with things like putting UI and text scaling in settings so that players can pick a style they prefer and find most usable.

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I really like what you're doing and think the game sounds like a lot of fun! Have you tested with other people?

Thank you! I haven't tested with others yet (save for letting friends and family poke it when I add a new feature for example) because as yet there's not been enough to test, really. The most complete aspect of the game has been generate monsters -> breed two together -> let them hatch -> watch them all bounce around in the camp -> repeat any stage as necessary. That's made it more of a fun desktop background simulator than anything... a lot of the gameplay features I've discussed in the thread at various points (like challenges) have either been cut down, changed or cut out, because it took so long to get a focused vision for what this was going to be. I probably started this devlog WAY too early, but it's been a lot of fun regardless! I actually think that after 0.20, I could consider the devlog 'starting proper', because I have a real roadmap that I'm committed to and that I haven't wanted to change for quite a while. It's exciting stuff.

To get back to the spirit of your question, though, I have plans for releasing things like demos, either of particular features (like just playing with putting monsters together to see what you get) or stripped-down vertical slices of the game overall. It'd be neat to know how many people would be interested in either of those sorts of experiences.

Quote
As far as the visuals go, I think the silhouettes besides being practical certainly give the game a unique, easily recognizable look! Since the idea (with the new title and all) is to make something referencing Darwin and discovery of a new species and all, have you considered making things yellow-ish (instead of pure gray) to create an association with old papers and add some color? And maybe some paper texture in the background...

That is a really cool idea that I hadn't considered! I'll definitely experiment with it. I've been thinking of adding some colour to the game in general, while respecting the 'paper silhouette' style. This could be a really fun option.

The original reason for all the grey, incidentally, is to make sure that whatever happens with colour, all the values are distinct and clear. Supporting the colour blind is just another way I want to make MM accessible, usability is really important to me Hand Thumbs Up Right

Quote
Also, another idea is the possibility of adding eyes...

And maybe babies having some different proportions with bigger heads?

Yes to both! Definitely yes to the latter (making babies generally smaller was just a quick'n'easy way of differentiating them) and the former is something I've been wanting to play with. Because then you get things like your styles, with the big eyes, multi-eyes, but also eye stalks and bug eyes and all sorts!

Quote
Anyway, the game seems to be going pretty well, looking foward to it (and its sequels)!

 Beer! Thank you again for the feedback and suggestions!
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vitorlanna
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« Reply #66 on: February 04, 2018, 11:51:24 AM »

You're welcome! I was afraid I was being too nosy, but glad it might be useful haha

About the UI, in general I use two cameras, one for UI and another for sprites (the UI is in a different layer). But if you already got the wanted result and everything is working, that's great! This anchoring thing is something that's not usually noticeable when you're just working the editor in your own computer, but can look pretty bad in a build or in another computer. It's a good idea to check in the game window how the game look in different resolutions /dimensions now and then - but it seems you got that covered I think!

About testing, yeah, I get what you're saying... I actually have a monster mixing project too (though it's a "free time project" that I work from time to time) and I've tested with some people - a minority finds it really addictive, the vast majority finds it really boring haha But I have some gameplay plans that should really help things, just took a while to get there.

Testing is just something I like to mention because often people take too long to test, and if possible the philosophy of "testing early and often" really helps.

Also the thing of keeping it black and white to help making it accessible is pretty nice!
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whistlerat
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« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2018, 10:45:56 AM »

About the UI, in general I use two cameras, one for UI and another for sprites (the UI is in a different layer). But if you already got the wanted result and everything is working, that's great! This anchoring thing is something that's not usually noticeable when you're just working the editor in your own computer, but can look pretty bad in a build or in another computer. It's a good idea to check in the game window how the game look in different resolutions /dimensions now and then - but it seems you got that covered I think!

I'm constantly checking it in the game view, and make builds from time to time to see how it looks, so I'm hopefully all clear there Smiley But thanks for the pointers/questions! The whole point of posting here is to let people be nosy and opinionated about what they're seeing, so thanks again Hand Thumbs Up Right

Anyway - I'm calling it time for a new devlog. And like I mentioned earlier, this one has no new gameplay functionality... but a helluva lot more UI functionality! 0.20 - UI Overhaul Take 2. Check it out... Monstrus with colour!


I'm big on accessibility and personalisation. To that end, once I was reasonably happy with my new UI layout and design - notably featuring no words, only icons - I got to work implementing something that's been on the cards for a while. Colour palettes, UI sizing and layouts! While I'll still be tweaking builds and layouts for different platforms as and when this gets released, this puts a lot of control in the player's hands to get the UI as obtrusive and colourful, or not, as they prefer Smiley I'll probably include things like main font choice too, we'll see. I'm happy with this for now. It gives a really good basepoint.

The new UI features the 'tab blade' as I've been calling it in code, which essentially lets you switch between all your major views, including ones that the player unlocks over time. This will let you move between your camps, the map, the technology screen, the gene splicer, the... rest of the good stuff Durr...?


This means that the old view of 'list of monsters to the left and breeding section to the right' has gone, because breeding is going to become more complex than that. Also, I wanted you to be able to see your current monsters no matter where you 'are' in the navigation. It's one of the most important bits of info to have at hand, I think.


The group of circular buttons are, I hope, reasonably self-explanatory by their icons. But if any icons seem a mystery, please let me know! I'm expecting that things will be obvious in context, but the best kind of UI is one you don't have to explain.

I've still got a few questions to answer, like how to display the amount of funding and research points that the player has, as well as whether to include their items/structures in a 'view at any point' way like the monster list. I can worry about that when the inventory is re-implemented, though.

With this done, a major hurdle has been overcome, which is to say the confines of the last interface. I decided not to re-implement *everything* as-was because some of it might change a little - like how breeding works, and the map, to name the main two - so I'm gonna let that happen as necessary. At this point in time, though, I'm feeling good. Like finally-working-towards-a-demo kind of good. For my own reference (though who am I kidding I've got a whole JIRA project outlining every tiny thing) here is what needs to be done (if in a basic form) to achieve that.

- Diets: monsters need to eat and have dietary requirements, which are defined in their genes
- Basic relationships: slightly more complex monster interactions, relationships which change over time
- Breeds: wild monsters are classified by 'breeds', which means that they exhibit a certain subset of the total possible genes, and different camps will have different breeds available to them
- Lifecycle in-camp: breeding, nesting, laying eggs and hatching all happening 'organically' based on monster proximity
- Camp structures to provide a way control some of the things on this list
- Monster migration to/from camps based on happiness and other factors

Assuming everything goes to plan, this first demo will be very monster-focused, with minimal-to-little real progression in other areas. It should be a decently well-rounded sandbox to play with monsters and the genetic system, basically. Some of the list points above will become their own whole versions, so I'd expect to have a demo out around 0.24 or 0.25.

Hold me to it Toast Right
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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #68 on: February 10, 2018, 04:32:13 PM »

UI is SUCH an important feature I think - when it's good, it really adds so much to the game. Take Persona 5 as an excellent recent example of this. I spent time flitting around the menus simply because they looked and felt so good! Really like how you are giving the player so much control over various aspects of the UI - I think this will be much appreciated, particularly in this sort of game.  Gentleman
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« Reply #69 on: February 11, 2018, 09:27:13 AM »

UI is SUCH an important feature I think - when it's good, it really adds so much to the game. Take Persona 5 as an excellent recent example of this. I spent time flitting around the menus simply because they looked and felt so good! Really like how you are giving the player so much control over various aspects of the UI - I think this will be much appreciated, particularly in this sort of game.  Gentleman

Yep, the Persona 5 UI is incredibly stylish! I'm still learning when it comes to good interfaces but I've been trying to do my research, see what people do and don't like, good and bad examples, that sort of thing. The idea to make everything really custom came from that research. I'm gonna work really hard to make it as easy and intuitive to use as possible, because I certainly notice frustrating UIs in other games and don't want Monstrus to be a pain to interact with. Feedback as to what I'm doing well or badly are welcome at any time, but will probably be easiest to judge once there's a demo Smiley
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vitorlanna
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« Reply #70 on: February 11, 2018, 12:06:30 PM »

Hey, that's some pretty nice color schemes and customizations!
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« Reply #71 on: February 13, 2018, 08:46:53 AM »

I love the color schemes and I like the way you're thinking re: customization.
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« Reply #72 on: February 18, 2018, 10:27:00 AM »

Worth it, but it was legitimately kinda frustrating to read post after fantastic post while not being able to comment on any of it until the very end

My favorites were the alleles update and (especially!) the one where you talked about the design overhaul for Challenges. So cool to see such a well-thought-out and well-explained design process -- I could read stuff like that all day long Kiss

Also I cheered inside at seeing the debug info for alleles, I can only imagine how useful that must be.

Pumped for the demo, naturally -- if you ever need a Linux playtester, sign me the heck up Hand Any Key
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« Reply #73 on: February 18, 2018, 10:50:59 AM »

Worth it, but it was legitimately kinda frustrating to read post after fantastic post while not being able to comment on any of it until the very end

My favorites were the alleles update and (especially!) the one where you talked about the design overhaul for Challenges. So cool to see such a well-thought-out and well-explained design process -- I could read stuff like that all day long Kiss

Also I cheered inside at seeing the debug info for alleles, I can only imagine how useful that must be.

Pumped for the demo, naturally -- if you ever need a Linux playtester, sign me the heck up Hand Any Key

You are so very kind <3

Unfortunately, it's looking increasingly like the entire challenge feature is getting stripped because it doesn't fit the current vision (the monsters are being treated more like actual animals/livestock you care for and study rather than tools), but I'm glad the devlog was fun to read anyway! I'd love to use it in something in the future, I was really looking forward to the kind of gameplay it could create. Alas, that's the drawback of discovering the game as you're blogging about it. The change in tone and direction and theme (and name!) has changed so massively just throughout this thread! It's been a helluva ride, though. So glad I decided to be brave and start recording it publicly even when the game was just a twinkle in my eye Cheesy

The allele stuff, and the genetics in general, is for sure something I'm incredibly proud of. It represents a lot of time and effort and experimentation and I think it's in a really good place.

And finally, such is the joy of using Unity that there should be no problems getting you a Linux build Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #74 on: February 18, 2018, 01:01:01 PM »

Unfortunately, it's looking increasingly like the entire challenge feature is getting stripped because it doesn't fit the current vision (the monsters are being treated more like actual animals/livestock you care for and study rather than tools)

Reimagine them as "tests" of the monsters' capabilities -- part of the studying aspect!

Actually, how do you feel about doing a new post on the turn system and how it relates to the camp stuff? From what I understand, turns don't progress until the player chooses to, so you can hang out and watch monsters bounce for as long as you want. So if two monsters get in a fight, or mate, or a monster eats something, does their status update when the action resolves? (Edit: I just checked and you explicitly said it updates at the end, oops -- the question then is, are you going to restrict them to doing one thing per turn, for the whole turn? or -->) Can they get into multiple fights or eat multiple things within a single turn? If not, how are things like that handled?

The challenges were one big thing that happened on the "turn scale" (as opposed to the "camp scale" I guess), and with your recent-ish updates focused mostly on camp things, I'm wondering how that will affect the game loop.
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whistlerat
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« Reply #75 on: February 18, 2018, 02:47:05 PM »

Reimagine them as "tests" of the monsters' capabilities -- part of the studying aspect!

That's... a really good idea. I'll definitely spend some time to ponder that, thank you.

As far as turns go, sure, let's dig into it some. The pure camp view stuff feels a little detached from the turn aspect compared to the challenges, which is something I've had to consider as I was wading deeper into it, to make sure I felt like it could still belong in the same game.

At its core, I want a cerebral, thoughtful experience which is ultimately unstressful to play moment-to-moment. I'll try to explain what I mean, apologies if this gets rambley and disorganised. (Editing to add, I have just finished writing this post, and it's a bit of a monster. If you ask me interesting questions then you bring it upon yourself! I can't help myself! Cheesy I hope this answers your question and didn't go too off-track.)

While the concept has moved significantly more towards a calmer theme, I still want there to be some consideration towards good and bad choices to make, both in the short and long term. But I tend to prefer playing games which let me make my choices in my own pace, because I'm a bit of an optimiser. I like to hum and haw and make the best possible decision for any moment, and adding time pressure makes that harder. That works for a lot of games, and a lot that I have played and enjoyed, but making Monstrus turn-based was a conscious decision made very early on to let me accommodate that kind of player behaviour. I also often think about games in terms of 'could my mum play this successfully'; she's a gamer in her own right, but tends to learn and process things slowly. She would need gradual progression she could control, minimal to no instances of reaction or twitched-based gameplay, and clear communication of goals and available functionality. Making this kind of gameplay available wouldn't prevent a faster player from engaging, because they would simply catch on to game concepts and demands faster, make more progress faster and deliberately, and ultimately go through a lot more turns in a shorter span of play time.

I've realised lately that an aspect of my gameplay derives a lot from my (unsatisfied) demands of the Petz series. I loved them as a kid, but really quickly grew bored of the moment-to-moment gameplay, because the creatures were so obviously artificial but the meat of the game was supposed to be interacting with them as though they were not. As someone who had real animals as pets, as well as the fact that I lived on a farm and had exposure to livestock, the cats and dogs were cute but obviously fake. I was way more interested in breeding them and seeing what kinds of babies I could get. That particular focus allowed the importance of the pet behaviour to be less important to me, because now it was just a heavy dose of flavour on top of my breeding program instead of the main meal, which made breeding Petz more engaging than other breeding games which focused entirely on the genetics and not on the creature behaviour at all, like the online games Wajas or Howrse.

That combo of semi-alive creature and the breeding hooked me, but unfortunately the Petz series was not at all designed with the dedicated breeder in mind. You had to wait multiple days for each pet to grow up, then convince two to like each other enough to breed, and then wait days for the mother to give birth, and then wait days for the offspring to grow up in order to pick your favs for the next generation. You could, of course, mess with the game's internal clock and trick it into fast forwarding time, but that was a lot of effort and felt unsatisfying because of how obvious it was that this was not the game as intended. And that was only one problem with treating Petz like a breeding simulator; another one was the overly simple family tree, and the fact that if you removed a pet from the game their image would disappear from all family trees, thereby robbing you of your ability to see your custom cat lineage's progression through the generations. And why would you remove a pet from the game? Because you would have to feed and engage with them basically every day otherwise they would just run away anyway, and when you start to accumulate enough pets for a breeding program, then factor in that you are artificially fast-forwarding time - and the passing of every fake day means you had to go and stroke and feed all your fake animals - the sheer level of clunkiness involved in the relatively straightforward goal of seeing whether or not you could consistently breed cute little white persian cats with tabby tiger stripes suddenly explodes into something unwieldy and distinctly unfun.

Maybe there are mods which could have helped, but I was possibly too young to find and figure them out. Just messing with the system clock was enough tech sophistication for me. But that doesn't help the fact that the Petz game couldn't ultimately give me the experience I was craving.

The simple inclusion of a turn eliminates the vast majority of that. Monstrus doesn't tell you to come back and poke your monsters every single real life day and gate their lifecycle behind actual time. You can just end the turn and voila, eggs hatching. It will tell you to feed them and provide for them, and at first this will probably be a more time-consuming and micro-manage-y task, but that's only until you gain the right tools to automate away the parts of the monster husbandry that you don't want to repetitively deal with. You enjoy having small numbers of monsters you can get attached to, you like hand-placing food in the troughs every turn, and checking on every single monster individually, and doing everything manually? You can do that, the game won't take that away from you. You want to have a massive ecosystem of camps and breeding programs because you love the big-picture and the macro-decisions, like trying to introduce that particular winged gene into your established line of tentacle dog monsters, then go for it. The game will give you the tools to automate the micro-care of the monsters so you can just spam that end-turn button waiting for the report to say 'winged tentacle dog monster hatched!' safely knowing that nothing will explode or break down just because you're not watching it because you've already put the time in to sensibly balance and automate it. You earned the right to not worry, like a successful Factorio player who built a mega-factory and is just interested in the end result. But the player had to construct all that architecture to get to that point in the first place.

So both ends of the spectrum are satisfied, ideally; the sentimental player who wants a handful of monsters to tend and fall in love with, to enjoy watching and interacting with for the pure joy of it, all the way up to the industrial player who knows what their end-goals are and wants tools at their disposal to accomplish them with minimal frustration. I fall somewhere in between the two, personally. I like the appeal of seeing the monsters as some degree of alive, of nurturing them, while also knowing that I am allowed - and encouraged - to reach for higher-level goals as I set them, and that the game will do its best not to get in the way.

This is the fundamental design decision that is served by using turns. It does mean that elements of the 'ecosystem' side are flattened by necessity, like breeding, eating, and fighting. By moving everything meaningful to only happening at the end of a turn, and enforcing that in every facet, you necessarily quash the moment-to-moment behaviour of the creatures. If you let a monster eat 'during a turn', and have that meal mean something more than just a superficial visual behaviour, you are removing the power of the turn. It makes everything fuzzier; do I need to visit every camp to make sure that every monster eats something? I know that these two monsters don't get along; do I need to constantly keep tabbing back to their camp just to make sure that they don't kill each other while I'm not watching? I know that this monster is unhappy; do I need to keep watching her to make sure she doesn't run away while I'm not watching? I know that this monster is an egg eater, and that his camp-mate is expected to lay eggs at any moment; do I have to keep tabbing back to make sure that she hasn't suddenly laid eggs, and that the ovivore hasn't noticed and gotten to them before I could grab them and place them safely in the incubator?

For sure, these questions - and the problems they represent - could result in fascinating and excellent gameplay. Something more feral, something more survival-based. That kind of gameplay would shine if you were playing a monster directly, or a group of them, and you and everyone in your ecosystem are existing and hunting and mating and dying in real-time, just like you are. I would love to make that. Love love love. And who knows, maybe one day I will, and in exactly that context - Monstrus monstrus: Feral Edition. Where the turns are gone and everything happens by the world clock instead, and you have to keep on your toes or you'll miss something important.

But that isn't the kind of gameplay I want for this version of Monstrus. Here, turns rule all. Whether or not a monster decides to do the 'go to food and eat' behaviour in a camp does not dictate whether or not that monster considers himself well-fed and happy. That monster will only make that check at a turn's end, at which point he will go; how much food was made available when this turn ended? Was it of the kind that I personally eat? How many other monsters did I have to share it with? If the monster calculates that there was enough food for them, then he considers himself well-fed and happy. Maybe another monster in his camp, a weaker, less dominant monster, was competing with that first monster for the same share of food... but because he was less dominant, could only eat what was leftover after the first had his fill, and maybe it wasn't enough for that second monster. But the first one doesn't have to care. He doesn't have any kind of altruistic gene.

Maybe a mother monster in a different camp also calculated that there wasn't enough food to go around, so she chose to take her share last, after her offspring, despite the fact that it left her underfed and unhappy.

Maybe yet another mother in a different camp was in a similar situation, but decided to compensate for this lack of food by eating one of her own children. Because hey, nature is metal, and there could be a gene tied to that kind of behaviour.

So this all turns the camp stuff into a bit of an artificial show, which is an unfortunate side effect, because it means that nothing that you watch 'as it happens' is happening as far as the overarching game is concerned. That fight won't result in either monster dying; that meal won't fill that monster up; that cute interaction won't shift the monsters' relationship with each other. You can safely walk away from your computer even on the most tumultuous, unhappy of camps, and they'll all still be there in the same state when you get back. But every behaviour that you can watch will strongly indicate how the underlying simulation will shift when you press that end turn button. Those two monsters who were getting into fights, well one of them might have actually killed the other once the new turn starts. That previously-starving monster who happily bounced from trough to trough will change her status from 'starving' to 'sated' in the new turn. Those monsters who kept following each other around and spitting out little love hearts whenever the other one got close might now be expectant parents in the new turn.

Unless you spotted those constant fights, however, and made the intelligent decision to rehome one of the troublemakers so that you removed the opportunity for them to murder each other. Or you saw the starving monster act so happy to have food available and wanted to be cruel, so you put him in a camp with no food before ending the turn and so he saw no food available and thus either starved to death or ran away. Or you noticed that those two monsters were getting real flirty, and you didn't want to risk them reproducing for whatever reason, so you moved one to a different camp before turn end.

I kinda contextualise it by seeing a turn end as a significant amount of in-game time passing. Just because that starving monster seemed to get one meal in while you were watching, doesn't make much difference if you promptly moved him somewhere barren and then passed the equivalent of a month's time. He still starved, ultimately.

This means that the things you see in the camps are still important, and can still be reacted to, but the necessary deadline of 'when you have to react by' is entirely controlled by you and that end turn button. If you're finding it tedious to keep manually checking the food troughs in each of your camps every turn, then maybe you need to invest in some kind of auto-feeder, or maybe in cultivating a bit of grass for the herbivores that, for some reason, you decided to put in a camp which grows no natural vegetation. Then once the grass is growing faster than the local herbivores can eat it, you can feel comfortable in checking in on that particular detail a little less frequently. Maybe just once every other turn, or every 5 turns - or hell, that camp has been stable for 100 turns and you've not even glanced at it in all that time, you can be pretty sure it's balanced for their survival, and comfortably.

Or maybe you want to limit yourself to clicking that end-turn button once per real-life day, so that the births, deaths and every milestone in between feels that much more impactful, because you just love watching them, growing attached to them, and playing with them in the moment. In that case, more power to you, and I hope Monstrus gives you the experience you wanted.
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sand-bird
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« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2018, 04:24:40 PM »

Beautiful Tears of Joy

Yeah, I was a little worried that it'd be tough to reconcile the camp view stuff with the turns, depending on how you decided to go with it. But man do you have that handled! Seriously impressive stuff Grin

My only concern with this design is that it might be unintuitive for the player to see things "happen" but still be able to change them. Honestly, though, I think you'll pull it off just fine. I have a hunch that Monstrus is gonna have a killer tutorial.
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whistlerat
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« Reply #77 on: February 19, 2018, 03:06:25 AM »

My only concern with this design is that it might be unintuitive for the player to see things "happen" but still be able to change them. Honestly, though, I think you'll pull it off just fine. I have a hunch that Monstrus is gonna have a killer tutorial.

Yep, that's a concern of mine too, but I definitely plan to put the effort in for a good tutorial - only testing will determine how well it works Smiley I think once the player contextualises the turns as significant chunks of time passing, it will feel a lot more natural. Like being able to watch a tank full of fish do their thing, but with a big 'fast forward' button to let you see how the aquarium would change if you left it for a full week. I'll just have to make sure that concept is successfully communicated.
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whistlerat
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« Reply #78 on: March 04, 2018, 03:46:24 AM »

0.21 is coming along nicely. It's required a lot of thought and planning, so I've been taking it slow. Here's a little sneak peek of what's to come in the next devlog...

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Zireael
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« Reply #79 on: March 08, 2018, 12:19:14 AM »

Aww, cute lil' monsies jumping around  Kiss
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