Ask Me Anything with Peter

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Re: Ask Me Anything with Peter

Postby Exanimis » April 12th, 2014, 9:26 pm

Can our personal game be modded? Is theHunter Blender compatable? Is there anywhere that members could send 3d meshes and or animations that would be looked at and considered for the game? Sorry, three questions I know but I would love to be able to mod my own game and maybe share mods with others.
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Re: Ask Me Anything with Peter

Postby StevenM » April 13th, 2014, 2:14 am

Simple question: when are you planning to move to the cloud?

The reason I ask is this: viewtopic.php?f=131&t=53466
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Re: Ask Me Anything with Peter

Postby ColoradoKid » April 13th, 2014, 4:27 am

Peter- are you surprised there weren't more people posting questions and not more ART related questions? I know I am :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ask Me Anything with Peter

Postby Peter Johansson » April 16th, 2014, 8:22 am

Hi guys! First of all, I´m surprised that no one wonders whether I´m still alive to begin with as my presence here on the forums is not exactly what it used to be about a year ago. But then again we do have a lot of new players among us. I´m still very much here though (and still in charge of the art production) although my role within the company evolves as the company grows. As theHunter itself has also grown tremendously during the last year I´ve found myself in a position where it´s much harder to keep track of everything going on, and my focus simply has to be on art production rather than public relations, for which we now have Alena who I think is doing an excellent job.

But despite my lack of presence, this sort of "ask us anything" thing is definitely a good thing, and where it gets much easier to round up and answer questions in an orderly fashion. For those who have read many of my older posts here on the forums it should be quite clear that I really want and try to help you to understand the nature of my/our work, the problems and complexities that we face on an everyday basis as well as our intentions and plans for the future. And all this without saying things I´m prohibited to say, for many reasons and among them strictly legal ones.

THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING, often pointed at through discussions here on the forums, is explaining and motivating many of our day to day priorities to you guys, and why there are so many small things that we may appear to simply not care about. Fixing this little animation here, the size of an iron sight there etc. The answer to this lies in better understanding of the complexity of our everyday work, how we´re forced to constantly prioritize, and how every one of these "little things" may relate to the larger context. Hopefully my answers below will shed some light on some of your issues, and in time as we make more of these "ask us anything" events my colleagues will add more to it. After all, we´re several highly specialized people doing many different things, all of which are vital for the final picture that you experience on your screen.

With that being said, let´s have a look at your questions! I may have skipped a few of the questions, perhaps because they require a more in depth explanation than I have time to give you here. And it´s not because I just want to avoid answering them.

Q: In the future, will some of the existing species be remodeled?
Quite possibly. As we artists as well as theHunter constantly develop we might find ourselves in circumstances where an animal is remodeled. But it also depends on what one means with "remodeled", do we talk about remaking the actual 3D model, the textures, the animations or the physics setup (ragdoll) etc. I often find that people talk about very different things when they refer to the "art" which is quite abstract.

Q: As an artist you should know this. Are you making any artwork that would increase the angle shooting down from treestand or up when using shotgun?
I do know :) And at the moment I´m not working on this. However, this is a typical example of a small detail that might prove to be more complicated than you first think when you begin to involve more people (you included). I guess I could simply lower the rails on the towers, but I´not sure that would look good/realistic? I could also make a rail with holes in it that you can shoot through if you need to, but how would that affect your sense of being camouflaged? Perhaps we could tweak animations etc when stading close to the rail, making the character lean over the edge like you would do irl, but then both animators and programmers needs to become involved making everything much more complicated.

Q: Will we ever get a Trophyroom? What's about more animals on Hemmeldal? Do you think about Team-Competitions?
A trophy room is one of the oldest feature-requests in theHunter. It´s also one of the most complicated and for many reasons not the most prioritized one. There´s a huge amount of technical as well as aestethical decisions that has to be made, wheter the trophy room should be client or web based, and how all the art assets within it should be handled (how we generate and handle animal trophies etc). We´ll defenitly add more animals on Hemmeldal. It´s just that it´s often hard to syncronise production of animals with reserves with community demans and other priorities within the studio. We´ve also thought alot about team competitions (as well as user created competitions), but like the trophy room this is a complicated feature with many pitfalls we need to avoid for making such a feature worth the cost of implementing.

Q: Will there ever be running water for rivers, creeks and streams rather than the same lake/ocean water effect used now?
The simple answer is that we have a crude version of running water that we could use today, but it simply does not look very good and we have no one with enough time to improve on it. Also the ways in which we can work with this feature is limited. It may be hard to understand but something we´re always highly effected by is how we´re able to work with features like this in our game editor, and with regard to how large our environments are the process of laying out and managing multiple rivers and streams may easily turn into a nightmare for a level designer.

Q: Will you update a FanSite Kit? Its very old.
I agree it should be updated. It´s just one of those little things that is not highly prioritized.

Q:What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Tricky question, and I could probably write a book about this. The short aswer is probably that it constantly changes as I find myself facing different problems. All in all I´m a very technical person, and perhaps finding visual solutions around technical problems/limitations is one of the things giving me the most satisfaction. Actually I often prefer to look at myself as an engineer rather than an artist. An engineer with a visual (aesthethical) approach to solving problems, rather than theoretical (mathematics). I´m probably not the only one who find this approach quite interesting :D

Q: Hi Peter, you are a brave man! :D ... fyi- the Silver Tip Brown bear and Cross Fox are some of my favorite looking animal textures in the game. Great Job to the artists. 1) Any plans for a true Rare for the Black Bear? I would really like to see what you all could do with a great varied-colored bear. Many bear in RL have multiple colors. 2) Many players have commented that it is extremely difficult at times to distinguish the goose RARES from the common Geese in the air. Do you have plans to change them soon? I know of 3 players that have shot a rare and didn't even know it was a rare until confirming or checking stats. I shot 2 and didn't know 1 was different until I confirmed it. 3) the Mallard hen has a brown bill and real ones have orange with black on them. Do you have plans to change that? 4) What has been your favorite animal to create in game? I would guess Moose or Roe Deer as those seem to be some of the best ones.
Not sure I understand what you mean by brave :) Animal variations is often a matter of prioritizing and we´re well aware that there exist many variations not covered in the game, and many of them perhaps more valuable than the ones we have. We don´t have any plans right now for adding more variation to the bears. Perhaps the bird variations needs to be looked at, if like you say, players don´t even realise they are looking at a rare animal. My favourite animal has to be the Roosevelt Elk. I think this is the most majestic animal we have in the game and would love to see and experience these animals irl some time.

Q: Hi Peter. Thanks for taking our questions. Is there a better looking font for the HUD and screen messages coming, or is this the final product? Other than it was too large, why was the beautiful professional looking font changed?
The old font (made by hand to avoid copyright issues) was missing tons of weird looking characters that we need as we localise the game into other languages. It was just a techincal hazzle to work with. While the new font may contain some problems that we should be able to fix at some point it´s still in my own opinion simpler and more elegant than the old one, plus it´s more visually consistent with headers etc on the webpage. the issue in the game where some characters appear to float higher up than others is a problem which I just can´t get my head around, and that we´ve battled with several times. However I still belive we will solve it sooner or later.

Q: Is there a way that the constant, fast motion of the grass, water and trees swaying could be reduced?
This stuff is connected to the weather/wind and model shader systems. Perhaps it´s a bit exaggerated but I´m not sure the whole experience would benefit from this effect being reduced. It´s not something I´ve give that much though to be honest.

Q: Ok, in all seriousness, how has being the artist for theHunter affected you in the way you approach your research for a given project, such as animals, reserve layout and fauna, etc? And what have you learned over the years as far as hunting goes?
Finally, what is something that YOU want to see in the game, such as something you've dreamed about working on and creating from an artists' POV?

These are big questions. Lets just say I´ve changed a lot both as a professional and as a person during the years that I´ve worked on theHunter. Not only have I never worked with a game as a "running/ongoing service" before, or had this much contact with the end users/players. And it´s been both a very humbling and frustrating experience to say the least. The process of researching and developing theHunter has changed ever so slightly over time as I learn to work more effectivly and identify what is more essential in any given moment. As far as learning about hunting it´s more than I can summarize here. Before working on theHunter I knew nothing about it, and while I wouldn´t claim I could just pick up a rifle and go out hunting irl I have definitly gained much insight into what it means to hunt wild animals. As for what I personally would most like to see added to theHunter? Well it´s actually a hard question. As i know how everything works in the game, for better and worse, much of its depth is lost for me while playing. I´d say that a general deepening of the whole hunting experience would be nice, something that would add more variety to every individual animal that you hunt, even if it´s only Mule Deer. To bring the current experience to the next level so to speak, but exactly what that means I can´t say right now.

Q: As you may or may not be aware, some time last year the 30-06 model "lost" its foresight (see this main thread - viewtopic.php?f=102&t=43670). The rearsight is still there though. My question: is there active work being done to return the foresight to the model and, if so, what timescale do you envisage for the foresight to make a re-appearance?
If you promise to be really nice to everybody here in the forums, and not complain too much about things I´ll force one of my artists to fix this right now ;)

Q: what is the most problematic/difficult animal you designers had to create?
The single most complicated thing in theHunter is definitly the TruRacs system. And I know very well it´s still not as good as some of you would like it to be. Perhaps it all originates from the fact that we´re game developers, traditionally used to simplifying most things we do for games. And simulating antler growth in combination with extracting all the values for how one scores them while hunting correctly has been a huge (and often frustrating) challenge to us. At the moment the whole system itself is so complicated it´s hard to understand and manage even for ourselves :)

Q: Can those coin shape trophies ...evolve into something real good looking in the immediate future?
I actually hope so!

Q: Is it possible to see updated (and more realistic) "version" of current animals, like Brown Bear?
If you refer to the fact that some of it´s proportions like the head and eyes should be tweaked I can´t say. Right now it´s not on our schedule? Things like these are usualy not high priority matters.

Q: Whats your favourite food?
Perhaps it comes as a surprize to you that I try to eat more vegetarian food right now, and not so much raw/grilled meat like a hardened hunter perhaps should. I´m also quite appealed by simple japanese food for the health benefits :)

Q: Right question is "what did you ate, to get that height?". I know the answer (i'm 2,03 myself) but some must want to know the "recipe"!
I´m 209 cm tall. And I usually say that the reason for getting this tall is a combination of the right genes, highly nutritional food (I grew up on a farm), and then a small amount of bad luck ;) I really don´t mind being this tall, but it has some drawbacks, often most obvious while traveling by air.

Q: I heard you were working on a fiction novel any updates on that? Has it been published yet?
Haha! Haven´t worked on it for years. But I still belive in my idea and would like to write the story down properly as soon as I find the motivation. Artists are often unpredictable, even to themselves.

Q: Is there a chance, that the existing animations for the animals get some more other animations in the future ?
This is constantly on our minds. I do think it would be great to add more variaion to idle states etc, but it´s something we haven´t been able to afford giving much priority.

Q: What, in particular, is in the future for thehunter? (not EVERYTHING, but a few ins and outs...)
Sorry I can´t give you any details on this. But we have plans, trust me on that!

Q: Is another muzzleloader gonna be added soon? Will small game be introduced soon?
A modern style muzzleloader is actually quite high on our todo list, and it´s also something I´d really like to see being added to the game. As for small game, good things will come to those who wait :)

Q: As I asked Alena: Do you have RL hunting experience?
No, but I´ve learned tons of stuff about hunting, find it very interesting, and I´ve fired off quite a few weapons during the last couple of years.

Q: Will we ever get a canoe to paddle around in these beutifull The Hunter reserve?
Water interaction is a tricky thing. But as we do have ideas for how we can improve waterfowl hunting this topic may very well be approached in the future.

Q: Will night time hunting ever be introduced? Will more dynamic weather be introduced? I.e. Distant thunder with lighting flashes.
Night hunting has been discussed a few times, and turned out to be a quite controversial subject. It might be added but right now we have no plans for it. The weather has turned out to be a tricky matter. We all know how annoying the rain can be sometimes in the game and the problem is that even we can´t figure out exactly how this old and complicated system works. Lets just say our fear of making things worse prevent us from making this a high priority thing. As far as I know we can already (more or less) just turn on both thunder and lighting, but this depend on/require that weather conditions in the game will get generally worse than they are today, which I hardly think anyone would like. This sounds incredibly silly as I write it, but it´s still a fact :)

Q:Can our personal game be modded? Is theHunter Blender compatable? Is there anywhere that members could send 3d meshes and or animations that would be looked at and considered for the game? Sorry, three questions I know but I would love to be able to mod my own game and maybe share mods with others.
Being able to mod theHunter is also a very tricky matter. While we should definitly not underestimate some peoples determination and technical knowhow the whole system that we work with (game engine) is basically not suited for modding as there are so many problems you run into if you´re trying to modify things without knowing exactly what you´re doing. And god knows how many weird bugs you could create in the process.

Q: will you guys change the whiteheart island hunting reserve emblem? it still shows the old elk model on it
If it means the world to you i´ll ask one of my artists to fix it :)

Q: Simple question: when are you planning to move to the cloud?
Our server guys is working hard on it. Hopefully we´ll be able to flip the switch within a month or two. But this is far outside my expertise and I can´t give you any details on it.

Q: Peter- are you surprised there weren't more people posting questions and not more ART related questions? I know I am
Actually I´m not :) Like I mentioned above, most people not accustomed to game development tend to confuse "art" with "game design", "programming", "animation" or any number of other things. But I guess it´s just natural to assume that most aspects of what can be "seen" on the screen is in the artists (as in 3D artist) power to change, but which is often quite far from the truth.

I hope all this shed some light on your concerns and worries :)

Best regards DJ P.

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