Creatures

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Early concept art for different creatures.
Early concept art for different creatures.

There are currently 3 different creatures implemented: Manta Rays, Thuntomites, and Jellyfish. Each creature is a persistent entity that exists as part of a simulated ecosystem until it dies, regardless of whether players are nearby. If they don’t feed they will starve, and if they don’t reproduce their numbers will dwindle.

Manta Rays[edit | edit source]

Mantas are a type of ray that migrate around the world in small groups. Mantas don't like the sound of engines and using them near mantas will cause them to become aggressive. An aggressive manta makes a different sound and its spots will change colour to red. They will proceed to damage components on your ship. A remedy to this is to use sails near groups of mantas, and it has also been known that swinging under your ship will stop them from going for the ship, and go for you instead.

Since they are carnivores they are sometimes seen to hunt Thuntomites.
A manta in the Wilderness (Image: Cailco)

Thuntomites[edit | edit source]

Colloquially called "Beetles", they usually fly around islands but do move between them occasionally. A Thuntomite's natural habitat is Trees, and they will get aggressive and attack you if you are cutting trees down near them. An aggressive thuntomite has red eyes and emits a red glow, and will attempt to ram at you like a bull, meaning it is possible to dodge their attacks quite easily Otherwise they are quite docile towards players.

Baby Thuntomite.jpg

Jellyfish[edit | edit source]

Icon of a Jellyfish

Jellyfish are completely passive and won't attack you at all. Sometimes they will have a spiked shell. They give off a small glow as well.

Intelligence[edit | edit source]

Pathfinding[edit | edit source]

If a creature sees something of interest then it could move directly towards it, using avoidance steering to weave through any objects partially blocking the path, such as trees, rocks, other creatures, etc. But if it can’t see what it’s looking for it has to employ a search strategy. This varies from randomly wandering around when it’s not particularly urgent, to strategically gaining height and scanning a larger area of the island if desperate. If all that fails then it will abandon the island and migrate to another. There is no guarantee that the creature will eventually find what it is looking for, so it may end up dying.

The creatures have the ability to return to things that they’ve seen in the past that they weren’t interested in at the time but are interested in now by leaving a “breadcrumb” trail. So just like Hansel and Gretel, the creatures can retrace their path through the rugged and forested terrain to get back to where they once were. This can be optimized as the creatures follow the trail back by skipping any breadcrumbs between the current one and the oldest one in view. And if the creature happens to see a different instance of what it is looking for whilst following the breadcrumb trail, it abandons the trail and heads right for it. Creatures give up on their target prey eventually if they’re not getting any closer to it.

Behaviours & Drives[edit | edit source]

The creatures have many behaviours, including the basics; feeding, fighting, resting, wandering, and mating. They also have fluctuating drives such as; hunger, anger, tiredness, curiosity and libido. Each creature is governed by their “behaviour picker” which determines the behaviour that should be active each moment. It does this by scoring each behaviour based on the multipliers it specifies for each drive.

The creatures behave and respond in completely different ways by adjusting these multipliers. This is used to configure different species that are more aggressive, passive, exploratory, and so on.

To fix the synchronicity issue, the libido of one of the genders is much faster than the other.

Future Developments[edit | edit source]

Currently the only planned creature to be definitely added is the Sky Whale and a Feathered Bird.

Media[edit | edit source]

Thuntomite color variants. Sky Whale early concept.