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Zoo Manager | Zoo building anno 2019; We need your input in the design of the game!
Topic Started: Feb 10 2018, 05:46 PM (1,299 Views)
Timmiegun
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Hi there Zoo Tycoon 2 fans!
My name is Tim and I am the projectlead of Sifaka Game Studios. We're working on two titles at this point. One of them is yet to be announced and the other as you might know is Zoo Manager. Zoo Manager is currently on hold as we made some design mistakes and made big mistakes in the coding process.

So that's why I am here asking all of you what you'd like to see in Zoo Manager.
We do not need suggestions for animal species as birds,fish,mammals,reptiles,insects,etc. all have been planned. But we are looking for your suggestions on mechanics, features, objects. What does a 2019 zoo game really need? We'd love to hear from the community itself as you guys know best.

Some features we already have planned:
• Curved pathing and fencing
• Actual buildings
• Custom restaurants
• Custom entrance


Note: I must mention that ultra realistic models ain't achieveable as you know models that are 'realistic' get outdated easily over time. (example Zoo Tycoon 2 and older GTA games)
Edited by Timmiegun, Feb 10 2018, 07:03 PM.
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Ignacio
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Ex Corrupt Staff

- Hiperrealistic graphics, animations and behaviours, no cutesie/cartoonish animals.
- Animals with individual personalities and preferences, traits that can be pass down to offspring both physical and temperamental.
- Fully customizable exhibits.
- Lots of things to do in zoo keeper mode, specially being able to actually interact with the animals, maybe even forming bonds with specific individuals?
Veterinary care and health problems to be solved. Realistic gameplay for re-introduction and breeding programs.
- Being able to conect with other zoos (virtual or other player's zoo) in order to exchange species needed for programs or rent species.
- Medical/scientific research system similar to that of JPOG where you unlock new technologies to improve the zoo and animal care (breeding, health, etc).
- Different types of guests: thrill seekers, casual visitors, intelectuals, etc.
- Having to buy extra pieces of land to keep building but no land limit (other than the one that comes from the money)
- Being able to create animal shows not just for marine/aquatic animals: raptors, primates, elephants, etc.
- Weather system and challenges dealing with it (floods, storms, hot waves, etc); seasonal changes for foliage and environment.
- A true system that makes it possible to build terrariums/herpetilariums/small aquariums
- A grade system for the zoo based on the animal care/happiness, research and contributions to wildlife conservation, contributions to general society (mostly in education), etc
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Megraptor
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Hi! I follow you guys on Discord, and I've posted some recommendations there but I'll put them here too to see how people feel about them!

So first of all, I'm assuming this will be on Steam? If so, Steam Workshop is going to be an awesome asset.

That's the first thing- if you guys are okay with people modding, you should make it relatively easy for people to do so. So for ZT2, people had to gradually crack it to create new mods That's expected with it being a Microsoft game though. First, it was reskins, then after a bit, minor model changes, then entirely new models, then even new animations- but it took years to get to that point. Making it easy from the get-go would be awesome. I don't know much about modeling and coding, but since you guys aren't Microsoft or any big company, I assume you aren't going to use assets that are owned by a company that are hard for people to crack and use.

I'm assuming that you guys are going to have custom exhibits and other customizable things, like the old Zoo Tycoon games. If not... well... that's something that you should add because the current Zoo Tycoon games really ticked a bunch of people off. Maybe take some inspiration from new management games, like City Skylines, Planet Coaster, and Prehistoric Kingdom.

As far as graphics, they don't even have to be super realistic. Aurora Design's stuff has aged decently, as far as models and skins. Really, I think looking at Prehistoric Kingdom for some ideas might help too. I do think staying away from cartoony animals is a good idea though. Behaviors and animations are so important too!

I love the idea of bringing back research like it was in ZT1- through funding it. Perhaps having to build a research center, and having to upgrade it could add a challenge. You could have multiple categories, where we can control the amount of funding to each one, so like diseases, enrichment, fences, etc. ZT2's researching is way too easy.

I love the buying land bit. This is something that could add a challenge. Still, I'm sure there are limits on what computers can handle, but like... This is something that ZT2 severely lacks. Probably because it was built for ancient technology at this point. I love the grading system too. Also, I still think visitor satisfaction should play a role in this. Don't be afraid to include visitors thinking that an exhibit needs improvement or something.


So a couple of other things floating through my head-

Realistic-ish prices for objects and animals. I'm not talking making things right down to the dollar, or even tens or hundreds of dollars. But ZT2 prices are seriously out of whack. It costs $500 to build a restaurant but $1,250 for a peacock... Something... is off there.

Biome system- I love the ZT2 biome system. I know it's not the most realistic, as zoos can't control that, but it's still really neat. I'd love to see a similar thing with improvements- maybe more biomes. Not like... 50 different biomes, but a bit broader than what we got. Maybe something like what AD put in.

Foilage diversity. Seriously, I love plants as much as I love animals. Having more trees, bushes and ground plants would be awesome. Perhaps using that three category system could be useful, instead of the two category system that the old Zoo Tycoons used. If you have the time add data about endangered plants, that could be really neat too. I know this isn't a game about plants, but still... Can never have too many from different biomes and such.

Full IUCN status range. ZT2 had some of the IUCN statuses, but it was lacking some. Adding in the even the ones that ZT2 was missing- Extinct in the Wild, Near Threatened, Data Deficient, and Not Evaluated would be neat to see. If there are any plans for domestic animals, a Domesticated status could be added too.

Guests. The guests in ZT2 are... well... kinda dumb. I get that the main focus is the animals, but the guests can't even solve their needs when amenities are placed at a reasonable distance. Also, humans could be kind of cartoony, if you don't want to design a ton of different humans.

And an idea, if this is on Steam especially- Themed expansion packs, like what the old Zoo Tycoons had. I know you said you have animals planned, but don't be afraid to make DLC too. If the DLC is good, people will buy it. One idea could be a bird themed expansion pack, that adds aviaries and walkthrough exhibits for them- custom aviaries would be a wonderful addition, as I haven't seen that in a zoo game (except for mods). Of course, an aquatic one would be awesome, just like the first two Zoo Tycoons. It could add small and large aquariums. Maybe a small animal expansion too, that adds terrariums, and such. And of course, "place" expansions, like South America, North America, etc. That will help you guys get even more money- but only if it's good stuff. And not day one, because that ticks people off.

A side note, I'm not sure if you are planning on any extinct animals. With Prehistoric Park coming out, it seems like that niche is filled, but that doesn't mean you can't. Personally, I'd love to see the focus placed on currently living animals, because zoo games in the past have overlooked a lot of animals, especially small, reptilian, amphibian and/or avian (so mammal-centric!). But, I don't know politics in video games too well, but you might be able to work with Prehistoric Kingdom to kinda promote each other, but also work something out with say, trading animals between parks through both games. That's probably a crazy, impossible idea due to a lot of factors, but hey, I thought I'd throw it out there.

Oh and scenarios, challenges and all that! They really do add to management games, and make for some replay value. You could even have a contest where people write up some ideas, and then add them to the game. I'm sure a lot of people here would love to do that! The ability to add them too would be awesome if that's an easy thing.

Also, it's great to see you guys interacting with the zoo-game fanbase!!! Zoo Tycoon didn't do this much because... well it was made by Microsoft. But talking to, working with and even having contests for additional content (like scenarios) could help you get publicity! Don't be afraid to use Kickstarter that has rewards such as "help design a fence" or something like that.

Sorry, that was veeeerry long. Congrats if you get through it all!
Edited by Megraptor, Feb 11 2018, 01:25 PM.
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Joe99
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by Prehistoric Park do you mean Prehistoric Kingdom or a diffrent game?
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Timmiegun
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Posted Image
This is the art style we might be going for. This is V1 and we might want to add fur but we're not sure.
Would you guys agree with this style? As it isnt hyperrealistic but still accurate, yet we can easily make changes if needed.
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Ignacio
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Ex Corrupt Staff

To be honest no i don't agree with the style. I can't say i don't like it because it is artistic but what i expect from a zoo game in 2019 (like you said) is realism, meaning accuracy in anatomy, integument, behaviours, animations. That cougar looks nice from an artistic stand point but it just doesn't look real. If that is the style you are going for then is fine, is your project and it should be your vision but is not something i would be interested in. I hope this didn't come up as agressive, it wasn't my intention, just my opinion.
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Okeanos
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Personally I disagree, you say you expect 'realism' from games in 2019 but I don't see why that's a necessity, at all. The most popular zoo simulation games I've seen (ZT2, JPOG etc.) have all had their own style. Total realism is, frankly, impossible to achieve, and I don't see why game devs should be shamed for making their games more artistic.

Not to say I'm against a realism-oriented style, but there are alternatives to it.
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Ignacio
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Okeanos
Feb 11 2018, 02:43 PM
Personally I disagree, you say you expect 'realism' from games in 2019 but I don't see why that's a necessity, at all. The most popular zoo simulation games I've seen (ZT2, JPOG etc.) have all had their own style. Total realism is, frankly, impossible to achieve, and I don't see why game devs should be shamed for making their games more artistic.
That's what I expect. Like i said, they should decide whatever style they want according to their vision, but if they are asking our opinion then i give mine, and my personal preference is something that looks more realistic than stylish. Something along the lines of AD RR or the JFD dinos or even Saurian or the PK animals (i'm ok with that style as well although i don't think it works very well for living animals)
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Timmiegun
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Ignacio
Feb 11 2018, 02:02 PM
To be honest no i don't agree with the style. I can't say i don't like it because it is artistic but what i expect from a zoo game in 2019 (like you said) is realism, meaning accuracy in anatomy, integument, behaviours, animations. That cougar looks nice from an artistic stand point but it just doesn't look real. If that is the style you are going for then is fine, is your project and it should be your vision but is not something i would be interested in. I hope this didn't come up as agressive, it wasn't my intention, just my opinion.
Well as I mentioned earlier realism dates very easily so that's something you don't want as games can dry up pretty ugly. So we went more artistic. Having hyper realistic models isnt do-able for indiegroups as we don't have custom engines to run the game in, yet we can do semi-real looks with some more artistic look. I just want to clearify that games such as Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon are not about realistic looks, yet they are very populair games. However they can have realistic mechanics.

---

Down below I will show you the Masai Giraffe we had in mind and know that this is the first step in the whole process. From here we want to try and add some fur and more details, but those models and textures were for the demo. (Angle in this picture might be off)

Posted Image

But if you are not interested in our game because of non hyperrealistic models I am sorry. You should try the XBox Zoo Tycoon for that I guess!
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BossAggron
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Formerly Dilophoraptor

I don't understand why people want a game to look super realistic if it's just going to look bad in 2-3 years down the line. Other games that had realistic graphics at the time just look bad nowadays. Stylized games tend to stand the test of time no matter how old they are, because they try not to make the most realistic looking game within the limits of technology at the time. Not to mention that 'Realistic' looking games can end up being forgotten simply because they aren't memorable enough from an artistic standpoint.

I personally like what the concept art/model is showing for style, it looks drawn by an artist, but in a 3D setting at the same time. It could develop into a unique appearance for the game as a whole and be fresh even after new technology becomes available.
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Timmiegun
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BossAggron
Feb 11 2018, 03:13 PM
I don't understand why people want a game to look super realistic if it's just going to look bad in 2-3 years down the line. Other games that had realistic graphics at the time just look bad nowadays. Stylized games tend to stand the test of time no matter how old they are, because they try not to make the most realistic looking game within the limits of technology at the time. Not to mention that 'Realistic' looking games can end up being forgotten simply because they aren't memorable enough from an artistic standpoint.

I personally like what the concept art/model is showing for style, it looks drawn by an artist, but in a 3D setting at the same time. It could develop into a unique appearance for the game as a whole and be fresh even after new technology becomes available.
Yep! Our textures are handpainted by our lead-3d artist. But keep in mind that these models are actually able to blink, open mouths for eating, have wavy manes, etc. So it looks semi-realistic handpainted but with new mechanics that other zoo games don't have! :D :worship:
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stargatedalek
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I'm not slow! That's just my moe!

BossAggron
Feb 11 2018, 03:13 PM
I don't understand why people want a game to look super realistic if it's just going to look bad in 2-3 years down the line. Other games that had realistic graphics at the time just look bad nowadays. Stylized games tend to stand the test of time no matter how old they are, because they try not to make the most realistic looking game within the limits of technology at the time. Not to mention that 'Realistic' looking games can end up being forgotten simply because they aren't memorable enough from an artistic standpoint.

I personally like what the concept art/model is showing for style, it looks drawn by an artist, but in a 3D setting at the same time. It could develop into a unique appearance for the game as a whole and be fresh even after new technology becomes available.
You say that, but Fallout 4 still looks pretty damn good.

Even Half Life 2 doesn't look bad, even if modern games look better, realistic games can still stand the test of time if well done.
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Ignacio
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Ex Corrupt Staff

Well that's fine. I understand the limitationss and the aproach. The giraffe looks nice. Is justo not the Styles i prefere that's all. Of course nothiing computer Made for a game Will look 100% real. That's nota what's i mesnt or expect although i do think that is possible to ver texturs to look more life like instead of painted, but again that's a matter of stylistic choice. I just happen to like something diferent but ir looks like most people don't café as muchas si yo ahead with your current working and good luck with the project.

Edit: writting from a tablet with autocorrec so excuse the horrible mistakes -.-
Edited by Ignacio, Feb 11 2018, 03:40 PM.
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stargatedalek
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I'm not slow! That's just my moe!

Timmiegun
Feb 11 2018, 03:28 PM
But keep in mind that these models are actually able to blink, open mouths for eating, have wavy manes, etc. So it looks semi-realistic handpainted but with new mechanics that other zoo games don't have! :D :worship:
No offense but ZT2 and Prehistoric Kingdom actually have all of those things.

Mesozoica and JPOG also have most of those.
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Posted Image Wes
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Aurora Designs Member

I love what you're doing and the plans you're having! I just agree with Ignacio, why is it bad to make animals look realistic? doesn't seem too hard to me xD why would a realistic animal turn unrealistic in a few years and a semi-realistic animal not? I don't really get that tbh

Anyways, I would love to see realistic foliage, realistic lighting and the ability for us to create mods :)
Edited by Wes, Feb 11 2018, 04:20 PM.
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