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Greg Rice

The Flock Official Thread

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That’s a lot of different things... [etc etc] ...which live in groups all the time?

It's not that insane an idea. A lot of sims cover a lot of ground in a short time with no problem.

This is where I really need to throw some stones on Your idea, without offense of course. So which one of us know how birds feel while flying...? And why should someone assume any similarity to people flying in dream? Is that the same feeling for everyone? Shouldn’t in that case it be easier to make a game about person flying around for some reason, without touching birds theme? Or was that simply a metaphor for “any flying”, so called “birds view”.

Is your concern with his game or with his wording? I think you might be overthinking things a little.

For at least minimal similarity there should be some sort of airflow simulation system.

He mentioned storms, so I think something like that is in the idea already.

Now about the multiplayer migration as such. To keep some 50+ players correctly aligned and not stressing out with keeping their position correct there would be need for some sort of system that pulls player to some concrete place so that flock is correctly aligned, and only when player presses controls it moves out of that place and fly’s where he need.

That might be the first thing I agree with you on. Compare to trying to ride alongside NPCs in vehicle games that don't have some kind of system to lock the positioning in place. Red Dead Redemption had a lock-in system like that, and that was alright. Flying in formation is probably mostly an energy-saving strategy anyway.

Talking about eyes. Birds vision != human vision. Humans have highly binocular, frontal 170° vision, as view of eyes overlap. Most of the migrating birds has 320°+ vision without capability to correctly measure distance (except right in front) + vision of magnetic field for migrating birds (not really a vision, more like capability to sense direction). Binocular frontal vision is mostly for birds like owls.

I think you're too concerned with accuracy and being true to life. When you play SimCity, it's not necessarily "accurate" or "how it really works" to have a new building catch on fire every week. When you play Red Dead Redemption, it's not "accurate" that you can ride a horse forever without it getting tired. When you farm in Harvest Moon, it's not "accurate" that food can grow to full maturity in only three days. Sometimes, not being perfectly accurate is the best choice for either technical reasons or for design reasons.

I mean, you wouldn't complain that the Mona Lisa isn't ACTUALLY a good depiction of a woman, because it's only in 2D and not animated and the textures aren't even right, etc etc. In art, in fiction, and in game design, you have to make certain concessions.

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Is your concern with his game or with his wording?

At the moment more like with misused wording and examples. The whole thread has so much contrasting statements.

He mentioned storms, so I think something like that is in the idea already.

That is a different thing. You might be thinking in correct direction, but he mentioned scripted storms :)

I think you’re too concerned with accuracy and being true to life.

I'm concerned with missing opportunities. Simcity where every building does the same thing or flight simulator where every plane has same flight dynamics - whether cessna or boing, and same cockpit, if You like simulators :)

I mean, you wouldn’t complain that the Mona Lisa isn’t ACTUALLY a good depiction of a woman

I never complain about things, that I can't do even close as good as someone has done. That is artwork/models/music. A lot of people could make better thing than Mona Lisa, should they not do that just because Mona Lisa doesn't? But I don't hesitate to tell my opinion on gameplay/storyline/programming. I don't give other people more "leisure time" than I give to myself :) And I never say to do something I couldn't possibly do :)

Sometimes, not being perfectly accurate is the best choice for either technical reasons or for design reasons.

I totally agree with that :) I actually hasn't played any of these games, for a reason, but I know how they are played though :) I don't care for the simulation, I care for good experience.

Flying in formation is probably mostly an energy-saving strategy anyway.

You are underestimating bird social capabilities and needs :)

That might be the first thing I agree with you on.

That’s more than I expected.

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i think is this is the coolest idea of amnesia fortnight. I'm confused why voters feel like they have to measure & criticize whether or not it could be pulled off. That's up to the developers! This game sounds beautiful, meditative, zoologically & geographically fascinating, and greg should hire me to design the music!

and i still have that dream, and as well as dreams where i can breathe underwater and dash all around!

sadly, it appears to be behind in the votes, don't let the idea go though!

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Guys, check out this incredible video I found:

COOL VIDEO

Forget gaming, I want to go watch birds!

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I really like this idea. I've always enjoyed games with free flight over big worlds, but there seem to be few games with that. I like the social aspect of Flock too.

Now about the multiplayer migration as such. To keep some 50+ players correctly aligned and not stressing out with keeping their position correct there would be need for some sort of system that pulls player to some concrete place so that flock is correctly aligned, and only when player presses controls it moves out of that place and fly’s where he need.

That sounds incredibly restricting. What's the point of a game about flight and freedom if you can only fly where the flock needs you to be?

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That sounds incredibly restricting. What’s the point of a game about flight and freedom if you can only fly where the flock needs you to be?

*only probably is the wrong word in this sentence. There would be like two flight modes "free" once you press any controls and move away from flock, and “auto aligned”, when You approach any flying flock (more like any other player in general) in the area and are very close and release controls You are pulled into closest spot (if “neighboring” birds accept that, otherwise You would be honked off, so to say), so You can rest and just experience scenery passing by without being concerned about controls, when You want, You can take controls again in Your hands and fly somewhere.

That of course wouldn’t be the case for the leader (well there could be “default route” of course) who is controlling where following “players” are flying, as they are going that same route. So he can actually lead through the most beautiful parts of scenery, the safest of paths or do some crazy acrobatics, what would be rather hard to coordinate otherwise, because of lack of communication, ping or other such things.

That has any importance only if

drafting off of each other to save energy and make better time

is actually part of the still in progress idea.

Otherwise there isn’t actually any need to have any flocking at all, no survival element, just free-flight.

That's of course my vision, in no way associated with DF.

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My immediate response to this pitch was excitement about being a bird and having to win over other birds to build up your flock (even though that wasn't described). I'm fascinated by the idea of applying traditional game mechanics (levelling up, gaining NPC trust, completing quests) to the life of an animal. I actually like that more than the idea of the whole flock being other players. Adding a flying system where either you're the lead bird and you're trying to fly the best route (using your flock to intimidate predators, avoid obstacles, catch food, or dazzle bird watchers) or trying to keep in formation (and possibly compete for lead bird position).

Now about the multiplayer migration as such. To keep some 50+ players correctly aligned and not stressing out with keeping their position correct there would be need for some sort of system that pulls player to some concrete place so that flock is correctly aligned, and only when player presses controls it moves out of that place and fly’s where he need.

I think the flying system could have UI to indicate where you should fly to maintain your flocking position. Like JP mentioned, you could use the Boids algorithm to determine where the UI tells you to fly. As a bird, you could decide whether you wanted to stay in formation (which earns you points with your neighbouring birds) or fly off on your own (be a hero but risk angering the flock).

Awesome idea Greg!

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Hey guys, doesn't look like The Flock is going to make the cut, but I wanted to thank everyone for all the kind words over the past week! I really love the idea of making a game like this that focuses on beauty, serenity, and meaningful social interaction and I'm glad others got behind it as well! Looking forward to seeing how the winning games come together and spending time with everyone in the live stream! Hopefully we'll get em next year with a new idea!

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Shame, I really would like to seem some games that explore being an animal in a fairly realistic sense.

It seems a totally unexplored area, I guess like everything else someone will do it first then everyone will follow.

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I voted for this pitch and was sad it didn't get selected. I think simulation of animal movement is a really interesting area with a lot of gameplay potential that's generally overlooked in games. Most games that have animal avatars don't actually *feel* like you're moving as that animal...

I made a small game a while back trying to do some flocking-like behaviour, only with fish, not birds. Maybe you guys would like it:

http://www.ninjadodo.net/guppy/

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