Hello,I have played over 116 hours of JW:E and have accrued a number of ideas. Some are improvements that may already be underway as part of the natural course of tweaking new features until they are in an ideal state, whilst others are whole new features. I shall phrase them such that an issue is first mentioned, then a solution presented. They are in no particular order and are especially not in order of priority, my personal priority in this game being dinosaur behaviour. I am not experienced in video game design, so I do not know how much effort any of these ideas will necessitate. I may make references to having immersion broken - when I do this, I am referring to the believability of the animals as living entities rather than as simple models on a screen, and not to my immersion as a park manager. I also may appear harsh or demanding, but this is only because I am limiting this post to suggestions and ideas, keeping applause to a minimum. I have great respect and admiration for the developers of this game as it has become one of my favourites after a relatively short time playing. It is this same respect that leads to my demand for improvements, and that demand comes from a place of appreciation, not entitlement.
- Animals occasionally clip through one another; this issue is particularly severe among herds and sauropods, being at its worst with Diplodocus, whose long tail and neck mean it is geometrically more likely to clip with other members of its species. I have noticed that tails often collide with fences, suggesting that extra care was taken to avoid clipping between dinosaurs and fences. I applaud this care, and suggest that it is taken further, to allow collision between dinosaurs or better pathfinding to avoid the issue entirely.
- Small animals use drinking animations when close to the middle of water bodies, causing them to appear fully submerged for long periods of time. It seems that dinosaurs are capable of identifying the edges of water bodies, so I suggest that small dinosaurs should only drink from the edges, and not from the middle, and, indeed, should entirely avoid entering bodies of water as they appear almost entirely submerged even when not drinking. Without swim animations, this looks really rather silly.
- Many dinosaurs, especially large theropods and sauropods, have very small turning circles, causing them to appear much less lifelike when moving. This is exacerbated by running. I would like dinosaurs to path in curves more than straight lines, though I do not know how feasible this is for a video game developer, and, at the very least, to avoid sharp turns which cause their tails and heads to whip around at unnatural speeds.
- Grazing dinosaurs such as Nodosaurus appear to eat thin air when they perform the grazing animation at shorelines and at the upper edges of declines. I suggest restricting this animation to flatter areas - this will reduce the chance of seeing an animal grazing if their habitat is small and/or hilly - or improving the animation such that it adjusts the head's position to the terrain height below the head, rather than below the feet. At shorelines, there is no grass, so the animation will never appear to make sense as there is nothing upon which the animal could be grazing.
- The neck of Brachiosaurus appears to clip into the Hammond Creation Lab when released. Improve the release procedure.
- The origin of sounds played whilst taking photos with the ranger jeep seems to always be at the camera's location, even as the zoom level changes. This is probably a bug as this does not occur when zooming in and out from viewing galleries and towers.
- Sometimes no sound will play when hunting occurs e.g. between Velociraptor and a goat. The interaction will be completely silent, which is unfortunately anticlimactic after the stalk preceding the kill. This may be a bug.
- In battle, especially between large carnivores, a strike will not be followed by an immediate reaction. There will be a significant delay, sometimes upwards of half a second, before the attacked animal reacts to the strike. This happens very often, and seems to be a failure of the animations themselves more than a bug. I don't know anything about video game animation development, so I can only vaguely suggest improving battle animations such that they trigger at more appropriate times.
- Especially on carcasses, feeding animations will sometimes miss the food source entirely, making animals appear to eat thin air. In one instance, this occurred such that the feeding animal was standing inside the carcass, and their head took a chunk of food out of the air several metres from the carcass. Small carnivores feeding on large carcasses will often clip inside the carcass completely, appearing to submerge itself in the flesh of its kill. Very immersion-breaking - I suggest having stricter rules on where animals can stand to eat from all sources, specific to the size of the animal feeding.
- Photos still get points when taken through concrete fences. Makes no sense, suggest reducing points for fences being between the camera and the subject, no points at all if the fence is concrete.
- Tranquilised dinosaurs die when even approached by a carnivorous animal; the concept makes sense - sedated animals are entirely vulnerable to predation - but there is no animation for the killing of a sedated animal, and it happens as if by magic, which is very immersion-breaking. Sometimes the sedated 'prey' will die without even being touched by the 'hunter'.
- The kill animations for many animals miss, either partially or entirely. This is particularly noticeable when watching two Indominus Rex fight. Suggest revising fight and kill animations for all combinations of dinosaurs - probably a lot of work, but the current generalised model is not ideal and leads to much breaking of immersion.
- The item list on the map screen resets whenever something changes e.g. a dinosaur is killed, becomes a threat to guests, becomes uncomfortable, etc., which is very inconvenient, especially mid-crisis. I would prefer to be able to check a box - "Suppress List Reset" - so that I can find specific items in the list with the scroll wheel.
- On Isla Nublar, I released several different herbivorous species in their preferred social group numbers, with no fences or guest facilities, such that they were free to roam on their own. I filled the park with various water sources and food sources - tall feeders on the edges of forests and ground feeders in grassy areas - and did not release any carnivores. I noticed that herding behaviour was functional for the most part, but one Apatosaurus roamed too far from its herd and seemed unable to find its way back, causing it to become uncomfortable. After over an hour of letting the game run, it had not remedied its problem. The same happened to a Stygimoloch and a Camarasaurus. I suggest allowing herd animals to return to their herds from greater distances, with this distance increasing over time as it remains separated, such that it will be willing to become hungry and thirsty in order to find its way back to its friends. Additionally, certain dinosaurs such as Gallimimus, whose ideal social population is around ten but whose minimum social population is just one, wandered from their herd and felt no obligation to return, which was mildly immersion-breaking. This may be a bug, but if not, I suggest having these animals still feel obligated to return to their herds despite not needing a dyadic or larger social group to be comfortable.
- This is entirely a matter of personal preference, but I think dinosaurs should sleep for longer. This idea has been met with some resistance elsewhere from players who like to see their dinosaurs roaming as much as possible, but I truly believe seeing herds of animals sleeping together would be a pleasant event currently rarely encountered thanks to the short sleep times.
- I would also like to see animals, especially herds and predators, mark preference for territory, such that they are less inclined to wander once they have settled in one place. On my Isla Nublar free-roam experiment, many species wandered across the entire island. It would also be fun to see herbivores contesting other species for their territory, though this may cause issues for players who prefer to build small habitats. I usually expect my two-species habitats to be split between those species such that one lives to the East and the other to the West, but there is currently no mechanic adequately supporting this, in my opinion, reasonable expectation.
- Large herd animals like Edmontosaurus socialise in fairly well-defined circles. This breaks my immersion, but I am open to have my mind changed about the nature of herd communication in extant species, as I'm not sure if this circle-forming behaviour is truly as unrealistic as I believe.
- I have observed Indoraptor failing to hunt down Troodon even when starving with no other food source nearby. I have also seen other sources talk about how large carnivores are incapable of killing small ones; this is very disappointing. I believe large carnivores should attempt to fight and kill small ones when they are very hungry or starving and cannot find another source of food, such that the large and small carnivore pairings often seen in multiple-species exhibits today are still plausible but require some additional care if the player wishes to avoid fights.
That is all I have so far. As always, I hope to see more dinosaurs added, but general improvements to dinosaur behaviour and believability is my top concern. I am not a big park management fan so that aspect of the game does not concern me very much, though I would welcome improvements to this area as well, of course. Let me know if I have overlooked anything which nullifies any of these points!