Wolf Down Latest Game Update

February 2, 2010 -

The Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb have released the latest installment in their downloadable game designed to teach the public more about ecology and the lives of wolves.

The original WolfQuest game was released about two years ago for the PC and Mac. Episode 1, entitled Amethyst Mountain, was set in the Northern Region of Yellowstone and allowed players to hunt elk, find a mate and “harass” grizzly bears and coyotes.

The just-released Episode 2, named Slough Creek, introduces an additional four square miles of Yellowstone and lets users select a den site, raise pups and mark their territory with “raised-leg urination and howling.”

A multiplayer aspect further allows players to form online packs containing up to 5 player wolves and to work as a team to hunt humongous bull elks.

The newly released version combines both episodes and was developed for “tween-agers” aged nine-thirteen.

The game’s development was assisted by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Minnesota Zoo is home to a pair of Gray Wolves and four Mexican gray Wolves.

The game does not contain a mode for hunting wolves from a helicopter however.


Comments

Re: Wolf Down Latest Game Update

This is pretty cool. Wolves are beautiful creatures. & now there is a dog out there called "The Native American Wolf Dog". It is of course bred between wolves & dogs & that is the reason why they named these "Wolf dogs" their names. But I want one so bad. I want a puppy.

 

 

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Re: Wolf Down Latest Game Update

I've played this. My daughter (aged 6) likes it, but I can't see it holding the attention of their target demographic (around age 10) long enough for it to be more than a quick distraction, and only then for kids who are obsessed with wolves. The graphics are about ten years old and gameplay is simple to say the least. The new version brings in some more simple gameplay elements, but there's nothing for real gamers here, unless they're really committed to learning that wolves wander around endlessly, mate, chase/hunt prey, mark territory by peeing and look after their puppies by carrying them around in their mouths. I learned that by watching a 30 minute nature show about 35 years ago, and children can learn it faster (and in a more entertaining way) by watching TV (kinda sad, but true). They won't spend more than a couple of hours with this game - and they'll only spend that long with it if they REALLY like watching the arse end of a wolf running through forest 99% of the time. The game is tedious, and it has no pack dynamics beyond the basic male and female roles, which are very basic indeed. There are simple tasks here - but there's no challenge and very little in the way of fun.

All-in-all, WolfQuest is a wolf simulator with a desperate need for some complexity. There is a kernel here that could be developed into a complex and interesting simulation, but since it takes the developers months to add the simple act of peeing (marking territory) to the game (and even then in a simplistic form - it has no effect on gameplay), I expect the game to be playable and enjoyable with useful features, real gameplay and interesting pack dynamics in around 2075AD, long after I'm dead. Of course the game won't be around that long - I suspect its minimal funding will probably be cut in about a year - if it lasts that long.

It's not a bad effort, considering the extreme low budget that's being forced on the developers, but all I keep thinking is that a game like this should be so much more. When a wolf marks territory, it should have some effect on other wolves; when a wolf encounters other wolves, there should be more to do than fight or try to mate. There is just no game here, and the simulation is on  such a simple level that only a 5 or 6 year-old will find it interesting. There's a vast untapped market for quality simulation games, but if the money isn't there to fund them, they're not going to get made, no matter how committed the people behind them are.

It's sad that great simulations can't come from people who know their field of study intimately, but it's a fact of life. The only way, at present, to make a truly complex and useful simulation, is to take a mainstream arcade game that approaches the subject, and mod it to be more of a simulation. This game shows what happens when you attempt to do it from scratch.

Re: Wolf Down Latest Game Update

Hunting down a humongous elk in pack multiplayer sounds pretty sweet

 

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Re: Wolf Down Latest Game Update

A friend of mine would love this game. She's... ah, a fan of wolves.

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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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