Desktop Tuesday: Pets Die Less

Hey everyone! Welcome to another Stonehearth Desktop Tuesday. These last two weeks, the team still focused primarily on a number of chunky long term projects, like building, a series of proposed updates to our AI system, and water. Between all of these and our renderer work and the interaction component, it feels like we’ve spent this whole year down in the guts of the engine, prepping to make the game better, so thanks for your patience, and more details on these projects in subsequent weeks!

The good news is that our upgraded water system landed on A22.5 yesterday, on our unstable branch, after almost 9 months of intermittent work. If you haven’t yet had a chance to try it out, please do so! This update also includes some new traits, some new bugfixes, and a few little details. One of these came from Engineer Morgan, who is still getting warmed back up on the codebase. For Alpha 22.5, she’s been working a lot with the pet AI. For today’s Desktop Tuesday, let’s take a closer look at the improvements she’s included in A22.5.

Pet AI Improvements

Recap from the video:

One problem we’ve noticed for quite a while is that the existing Pet AI is pretty basic when it comes to getting out of the way of danger. Pets sometimes follow their owners out into the middle of nowhere, get ambushed by goblins, and then die. This then makes their owners really really sad, so what can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen?

The simplest thing to do is to say that if a pet is really far from town, and its owner isn’t near, it should automatically try to find a way back to the town center.

Second, when we hit the town alert button, pets should respond as well! If they do not have an owner, or if their owner doesn’t have a bed, they should run to the town banner. However, this is still not quite optimal because usually combat is happening near there. Wouldn’t it be better if pets could run somewhere that was unlikely to be in combat? Thanks to Morgan, pets now run towards their owner’s bed during town alert, if a bed has been picked for that owner.

This opened some easy extra behavior like: pets now sleep, and if their owner has a bed designated, they sleep beside their owner’s beds. Since pets and people tend to get sleepy around the same time, this leads to lots of scenes of owners sleeping with their trusty raccoon or squirrel or fox beside them.

Lastly, pets have a social need just like people, so if a pet gets lonely, it will seek out a person to have a conversation with.

Of course, what happens if a hearthling has the callous trait? Isn’t it weird that they’re insensitive to other people but somehow love talking to animals? To address this, Linda slipped in a tiny little change for callous people talking to pets. For those of you who remember Alphas 1 through ten, yes, this is an homage to The Original Chicken Leg.

But, said Richard, what if the callous person was also a vegetarian? Mmm, furr pelts earmuffs. Earmuffs are all the rage this Frostfeast!

Other Announcements

This week, Allie will be doing our regular Thursday stream at 6:00pm PST. Come join us for beautiful art!