Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hunting: Initial Stats

I've gotten to the point where I can do some initial stat runs so a big portion of the programming time today has been spent setting up test points and gathering data. It's something that takes a significant chunk of time, but I'm curious how things are shaking out under the hood.  (Also at what point the in-dev interp starts acting really weird.  It's somewhere around 10,000 turns of "hunt / g / g / g / . . .", apparently.  I hope this is just a "stop loading me up" issue, or else resolvable by saving and restoring.)

At this point, player skills have not been implemented at all.  Given that there's no animal when hunting begins, the action chooses prey based on a weighted frequency.  Once chosen, there's a 1 in 10 chance that the PC will encounter the chosen prey - sort of a random encounter sort of thing.  Encountered prey goes directly to simulated combat.  (Or, rather, unimplemented combat.)

If there's no animal encounter, the PC will look around for evidence of the prey.  There's a couple different types, and each animal's odds for each type of evidence vary.  (Overall rates should eventually vary with other factors, but as of now, they're straight from tables.) 

If the PC finds tracks, the odds for finding the prey increase for the next try, on the assumption that if you find deer tracks, you're more likely to be near a deer.  This is around a 10% bonus, and is cumulative.  Finding one set of tracks should also increase the odds of finding another set of tracks, but at the moment, that doesn't happen.  Looking for signs of prey is around 15-20 minutes, which seems a little high now that I think about it. 

Not finding tracks reduces the chance of running into prey by 10% (down to a minimum 10% chance).  The PC will then move to an adjacent location in the wilderness, and start looking for the prey again.  Moving takes an arbitrary 10-30 minutes.  (Eventually, locations will have built in distances, and this will be less arbitrary, but I'm assuming that this is slower than normal, due to trying to be quiet, looking around for clues, etc.) 

Out of a sample of 1800 hunting trips, odds are running at 74% +/- 1%  for no prey encountered at all (for a hunting trip of roughly two hours).  So there's an average of one encounter per day hunting, which is definitely low, but isn't totally absurd, and especially isn't absurd if these are base values, and assumes that there's basically an untrained office worker careening through the undergrowth.  I'd like to see numbers closer to 55-65%, but there's also going to be random encounters outside of the hunting action.  The PC can "hunt" those animals directly, so the rates are a bit more favorable than they appear initially.  So it's not ideal out of the box, but it seems workable.  One text-based possibility would be to introduce a some senses that the PC is not truly alone, but just doesn't have an opportunity to kill every creature she runs across - a few sentences here and there that note birds singing, movement in the bushes, squirrels scampering just out of sight, movement out of the corner of the PC's eye, etc. might not actually increase the kill rate, but might ease the sense that the wilderness is a vast wasteland.

I also ran some individual animal counts to get some sense of actual ratios of what's chosen and what's seen, to get a better handle on how the table values are playing out. (One representative run is included below in case my notes go AWOL, but the numbers are average.)  About half the encounters are going to be with a deer, some sort of rabbit, or some sort of squirrel.  The 6 rarest animals make up about 1% of encounters; most PC's will need around 1400 kills to get all 37 mammals.  This will undoubtedly go up with additions of birds, and probably dip with whatever special events or encounters are added, but maybe it'll give completionists something to gun for. (Ha, ha.) 

There's still some tweaks I'd like to try.  Non-deer ungulates seem low - more elk, bison, and caribou (possibly with a reduction in deer/rabbit/squirrel)?  Squirrel populations in general seem too high; fishers too low.  Probably a few more wolves, both because of the recent info from Wisconsin DNR, and because features that the PC can do extra things with should be favored; tameable species with normally low representation are probably worth boosting upwards. 

Other notes: There's either too much movement or too much reporting of movement in my example tests; what is usually 1-3 paragraphs of description is interrupted by several bold room names/paragraph breaks in awkward places. 

HUNTING: Time out ratio: 74 % (out of 10024).
Animal choice ratio.
badger: chosen 337 times (3.36 %).
small black bear: chosen 34 times (0.34 %).
small grizzly bear: chosen 18 times (0.18 %).
small beaver: chosen 328 times (3.27 %).
small bison: chosen 10 times (0.10 %).
small bobcat: chosen 25 times (0.25 %).
caribou: chosen 28 times (0.28 %).
large coyote: chosen 73 times (0.73 %).
small white-tailed deer: chosen 714 times (7.12 %).
small elk: chosen 129 times (1.29 %).
ermine: chosen 122 times (1.22 %).
large fisher: chosen 79 times (0.79 %).
gray fox: chosen 262 times (2.61 %).
red fox: chosen 207 times (2.07 %).
lynx: chosen 21 times (0.21 %).
large pine marten: chosen 78 times (0.78 %).
small mink: chosen 159 times (1.59 %).
small moose: chosen 63 times (0.63 %).
small mountain lion: chosen 7 times (0.07 %).
large muskrat: chosen 277 times (2.77 %).
small opossum: chosen 366 times (3.66 %).
small river otter: chosen 289 times (2.89 %).
small porcupine: chosen 310 times (3.10 %).
cottontail rabbit: chosen 897 times (8.97 %).
large snowshoe hare: chosen 522 times (5.22 %).
large white-tailed jackrabbit: chosen 576 times (5.76 %).
large raccoon: chosen 772 times (7.72 %).
small spotted skunk: chosen 224 times (2.24 %).
large striped skunk: chosen 336 times (3.36 %).
large fox squirrel: chosen 301 times (3.01 %).
gray squirrel: chosen 719 times (7.19 %).
red squirrel: chosen 744 times (7.44 %).
small least weasel: chosen 256 times (2.56 %).
long-tailed weasel: chosen 268 times (2.68 %).
large gray wolf: chosen 21 times (0.21 %).
wolverine: chosen 40 times (0.40 %).
large woodchuck: chosen 412 times (4.12 %).

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