Sydney Falk, An Oversensitive SJW Type

okay so

"virtual nature walk" BUT STAY WITH ME HERE

the thing is it's an EXTRAORDINARY nature walk: tons of procedurally generated content, birds engaging in all forms of bird behaviors, wild animals that avoid the player but can be snuck up closer to, etc.

a procedurally generated path, a procedurally generated forest that goes in all directions if you go OFF the path (because you COULD do that, you could make it so it will make more forest until you run out of RAM)

@sydneyfalk SCORE. *eagerly files it next to their Half-Life 3 coupon*

so you could use it as a literal "virtual nature walk", in the sense that if you stay on the path, yes, it's got a start and finish

if you stray from the path you can get lost, you can walk for miles, you can basically just keep going and going

purely exploratory, maybe rudimentary options for dealing with weather

and you can PICK the weather, OR have it just default to 'local conditions', so if it's raining in your area, you could go on the rainy walk


turn on 'must be sunny'

now that I think MORE on it

you could also have it pick 'regional' things

simulations of different region's trees and birds

if it 'defaults' you get local fauna/flora/etcetera

if you pick a place it's LIKE that place

but infinite forest

so you could get a realistic sense of what it's like in, say, a Northeastern United States nature preserve, or a hike in Siberia, or Western Canada

obviously this wouldn't be a trivial task by any means but I think it's POSSIBLE and the procedurally generated stuff would have to be handled REALLY carefully, LOD would have to be used as a 'backdrop' until new chunks are generated and rendered and all, etc.

but that's why you're limited to a walking speed (or creeping speed or prone-crawl-speed)

and -- OH


I realize where this came from

last night I was seeing all these bird photos and a LOT of them were taken up close and personal and with notes like "the photograph squirmed up next to the feeding area and managed to get THIS shot"


you're an amateur photographer

you can use it like a walk simulator, sure

you can just go A to B


you can go off in search of the rarest birds, rarest moments, sunrises and sunsets

@sydneyfalk though more awesome with easter eggs and tiny little details


old ones, recent ones, maybe even "people are clearly camping here but are not immediately present" ones in some cases

@sydneyfalk maybe the ability to camp yourself, and deal with stuff that's happened in the camp overnight


ooooh! that's a thought

yeah, I could see that

maybe have it be part of the "no attacks" flag or a separate "no overnight events" flag

honestly not implementing attacks seems like the better plan but then, like, it's not REALLY realistic, is it?

bears will eat your ass if you provoke 'em enough, if this thing lets you walk up in front of a bear with no repercussions that's not going to 'feel right' to a human primal brain


so they'd engage in threatening behavior until a certain point, maybe 'push you back' and run off, but with attacks off you literally can't get hurt

with attacks on

you can get hurt, but it's not graphically displayed (you get a message about your broken leg, say, and your subsequent use of an emergency radio to get help and all)

attacks are basically "game over" as far as the photography walk's concerned


(I mean it's a good QUESTION, but it's not what I'd want the game to be about, and I don't really wanna hear about some YouTuber who figured out how to murder bears and shit in my nature simulator)

@sydneyfalk hey, I'd thought the protagonist might be armed in some manner...


I was thinking "take only photographs, leave only footprints" as the model

explicitly non-combat without any choice OF combat, really

@sydneyfalk I was assuming there was some non-photo interaction with the environment and stuff, even without combat

@sydneyfalk I want a wide open sandbox cum walking simulator set in natural environment

thinking it would be less realistic (but more useful) to have a six days per day cycle -- i.e., a day in game time is four hours

so you could play this leisurely and capture time-based events

I think I have the worst "bad description" possible of this game, too, already all ready to fire off as a joke

"Firewatch without the plot"



anyway, so I could see some other things -- I can't "just procedurally generate forest forever" because this ignores the A and B spots -- they HAVE to look like the beginning and end of nature trails, respectively

so maybe there's edges that aren't obvious to the player except with a lot of effort -- edges that encircle the A and B points non-obviously when you're IN A or B, but otherwise they're just these little pockets

or maybe go Antichamber, unless you're on the path A and B don't exist

I like the last one

if you're not within a certain sight cone of the trail then, nope, sorry, infinity forest

if you ARE within a certain sight cone of the trail then yup, there's the trailhead over there, you could walk that way to end the game for now


walk over here with all this delicious forest and JUST KEEP PLAYING

@sydneyfalk also another idea that'd screw that up, maybe: multiple trails.

another idea for infinite forest: maybe the trail diverges JUST before the end to go into another forest area...



nah, if I'm doing the Antichamber trick, you'd basically have an identical situation regardless of the branches

even if the trail had twenty ends and three starts, they could all be essentially 'hidden' in the same PHYSICAL space

as long as the trails are long enough, the brain's not gonna catch it happening

@sydneyfalk ooh! what about alternative environments? like you can wander into a more desert-canyony area...

@sydneyfalk procedural generation with reduced degrees of freedom around the trail/endpoints seems doable. just pregenerate the trail chunks and special case them a bit


this would be

I think I may go the Antichamber route, because Options! down the line -- splits in the trail, etc., all surreptitiously leading to the same 'area' as an endpoint, etc.

but that'd be down the line, first things first

figure out some advanced nature procedural generators and look for the LOD handling it would need

I'm super interested in this idea and also you're making me want to buy myself Firewatch for xmas if it runs on anything I have.


So much


Like this would be amazingly cool. I can see this being a great thing, really good for chilling out with. Patch notes to add more flora and fauna don't have to be super detailed either, adding to the discovery element. So part of the game becomes discovering the new life around you and taking photos maybe!

@noelle @Nine


I'm still researching procedural generator stuff

it almost looks like it'd be easier to have this be, well, not on Earth at all

some colony world, where I don't have to worry about everything matching up to real life analogues at all

but it'd change the nature of the game pretty radically and wouldn't give people the opportunity to 'see real things' in the setting

@sydneyfalk @noelle
If and when you do manage it I will absolutely back it on Kickstarter. I promise.

@Nine @noelle

If it goes that way and gets to that, I will let you know, absolutely ^_^


maybe have it regional -- release, say, the Germany expansion and everybody starts exploring the Germany trail

looking for rare animals, looking for common ones to behave like they do IRL

Aaaaa hell yes.

I don't think this would be such a "niche" thong either. I really think this would be a big hit


well I appreciate that and maybe, I don't know how it'd play out

I just couldn't IMAGINE it taking off on a big scale, TBH

I mean, I'm nobody, releasing an amateur photography game/nature walk simulator

the people who are like "I love nature" are out IN it, I would figure

and the people who want to play games mostly aren't interested in absolutely pure exploration of a simulated environment that isn't novel or interesting compared to, well, reality's environment?

but I don't know

For those who don't live near nature or have the cash for good photography equipment, or disabilities, or otherwise won't get the opportunity to do it often in the real world though, especially if it gets vr support, it will be a god send though


oh, agreed, I guess I just don't know how much of a market that would end up being?

or I hadn't thought of it, which also is probable and now I'm slightly ashamed for not thinking of it sooner, I know someone with cerebral palsy who can't go on nature walks as easily as they used to and this basically would fit them like a glove -_-

@sydneyfalk I would explore the hell out of that. It sounds fantastic. (Possibly in the original sense of the word!)

@sydneyfalk what about Disney Princess Simulator:

Animals are actually friendly as long as you don't make super sudden movements. Birds will come to your hand, you can pet raccoons and deer, and more!


thinking this would be an option in the game -- you can turn on "no attacks" and nothing will attack you

you already can't attack anything anyway, you're armed with a camera and hiking boots

@sydneyfalk hmm isn't there a roguelite survival game like this about surviving the winter? lower difficulties make the animals not attack you


it's not survival tho

it's literally "a nature walk"

you don't get hungry, you don't get cold (although maybe you can 'put on' things like coats and pullovers because IRL that'd be a thing you do in colder weather)

so, backpack, camera

maybe some exceedingly silly but tricky sequences for "pulling on a sweater" and some easier ones for stuff like "putting on gloves"

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