Predator/Prey Battles

Since Thrive strives (pun intended) to become a hyperrealistic representation of wildlife living and evolution, I really hope predator/prey battles don’t become just RPG fighting like in Spore.
Picture this: you’re playing as a herbivore, now currently drinking water at a pond at the rainforest. Only thin stripes of sunlight pass through the treetops, leaving deep shades all around you. Suddenly, you hear in your left headphone cup bushes being slightly shaken. Similar sounds play around you constantly, however this sounds louder and more defined. You don’t think much of it since you haven’t played in this situation before. Then, a breeze blows in your direction, revealing a grey smell cloud in the darkness, the indicative color of an unknown smell, where the stronger shaking noise seemed to have come from.
Before you can react, a predator jumps from the bushes, your screen starts pulsating red around the edges, the usual information bars and stats dissapear and are replaced by one big red health bar at the bottom, and everything seems to be in slow motion. You try to start running immediately, but the predator reaches you before you get too far. It bites into your front limb, with the increasing blood loss being shown in the bar. A line of text appears at the top of the screen: “Click and hold on your opponent to defend yourself!”. You move your cursor pointer over the attacker, making its body appear as overlaying smudges of different colors as you pass the cursor across it, indicating the parts reachable for different defense methods, blue for tail, green for limbs and red for mouth. You click on the attacker’s head, entirely red, sending your character’s tusks to the bite. The bite will last as long as you hold the mouse button. Immediately a red bar also appears over the predator, dropping slightly. The predator lets go of your limb and your bite ends automatically. You go to click on it again, now on its side. The area is reachable by your limbs and tail, so the two bubbles correspondent to the two options appear above where you clicked. You go for the tail. You had designed your character with spikes on the end of its tail, resulting in great damage. Your character quickly swings its tail to the predator, piercing its guts. It’s very effective! Its health bar drops further. You keep the mouse button pressed, so your character swings the tail back and goes for a second strike. Critical hit! Your opponent’s health bar drops below half, at which point it gives up and walks away, dissapearing back into the darkness.
The battle is over and the interface goes back to normal. For some time, your speed will be compromised due to the wounded limb, and from now on, that species will have a red smell cloud visible for you, an indicative of hazardous species.

This is the vision I have for Thrive.

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I love the concept and would like to see it in the game. One question: how would it look from the predators point of view?

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I love this! My only issue is that is we want the computer to know what the difference between a limb, a limb derived structure like a book lung, and a tail, then we need a stringer computer. I think a more render-friendly method would by showing the area that each limb/other attack can hit, and have you choose what the difference between a limb and a tail is in the editor. Some more computer driven ideas are thus: If your creature has a fast nervous system than the world would be in slow-mo. If your creature has instincts then the first attack might not even require an input on your part, and a creature with a nerve net that makes it so each body part makes it’s own decisions then the game might play like an RPG.

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Thanks! I imagine it wouldn’t be much different, only that you would have to go on looking for prey, instead of the battle coming to you, and the battle wouldn’t be “won” unless you actually kill your opponent. And if your health bar goes down to half, the game would suggest you that you give up on the prey.

Thanks for the feedback! I’m not familiar at all with programming, I’m more of a concept idea guy. And about the slow motion, I thought of that to allow more time for the player to think and react, and to put you in you character’s skin in a sense, since the adrenaline rush would make everything seem slower. But definitely it shouldn’t be in slow motion all of the time. And about the autonomous defense, I think if it would be implemented, it should be only the first attack, because the player should really feel involved with the battle. It would simply be too chill and not exciting if you know your character would just do the fighting for you if you see yourself in that situation. The player should feel on edge, reflecting the feeling of being a wild animal.

I’m not much of a code guy either, but I do know the limets of a computer well. I didn’t think of adrenalin! You would have to evolve it, it’s not an automatic ability like resperation is (though you can build a critter that couldn’t resperate, it just wouldn’t last long) , but I love the concept.

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Quite an interesting idea you have here. The way you describe the mode of combat makes me feel as if it would be quite an exhilarating experience.

I am not entirely sure of the UI change. While I do like the aim of conveying danger and a change of priorities, I personally feel like it could be quite jarring to the player to suddenly have a rearranged UI. Now if combat were an easily defined event like in many games, we could probably get away with it; But as Thrive is now, danger can potentially be a transient thing. I feel that having such an intrusive combat mode could become rather annoying if the player found themselves in a somewhat hostile environment.
The time slow and click+holding could also make things feel more like a quick-time event, though that’s not inherently bad or anything.

That actually sounds like rpg combat, humorously enough. Though probably far more engaging than spore’s. When you bring this up, it does make me wonder how we will handle player interactions that depend on them possessing prerequisite features. Not to mention figuring out how the player will choose their actions. We could very well have something like you mentioned here. But I suppose that’s a discussion for another time.

With all that said, I want to mention that when it comes to Thrive and combat, I feel that the player should not have their focus forced to be centered on the combat itself. The reason for this, is because the player will need to always be able to maintain a good awareness of the world around them, assuming their creature itself is built to be capable of doing so. While yes, a killer is definitely going to be a pressing concern, the player may want to take evasive action instead, simply run, or use the landscape or nearby organisms to their advantage. Time slowing down, or their UI being taken over, could get in the way of this and feel like an unwelcome intrusion to an otherwise more dynamic situation.
That does not mean that this idea is bad by any means, or that it is absolutely not going to be a feature. The later stages are of course, still rather undefined.

To put it shortly, I love your idea, but I personally feel it might not be fit for Thrive in particular.

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Small Necro, but what if it’s only slow motion when the aggressor goes for an attack, so if you dodge or if they whiff their attack fleeing ot readying an attack would be in normal speed?
I don’t think a health bar should make the other UI elements disappear, but what if it is represented by Stamina (Idea from Ancestors HKO) that Food, Water and Sleep also effect and can lower your current Stamina while injuries from Predators or Prey (or from other means) reduce your maximum Stamina.

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Perhaps a quick time event of sorts? Mixed with a stealth/ambush/chase build up plus a potential weapons use depending on if you’re species can spit silk or acid etc.

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