Developer Journal: Zookeepers and Staff Paths

Chante Goodman

Community Manager
Frontier
Welcome to our fifth Developer Journal! These interviews are a chance to introduce you to our hard-working team behind Planet Zoo and to highlight new features that they have been designing. After showing you some amazing Staff features at E3, we think it's high time we share more about them.

Today, we're welcoming Senior Audio Designer James Stant and Programmer Johan Holthausen to talk about Zookeepers and Staff Paths in Planet Zoo!

Please give them a warm hello!

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Hayo everyone! Thanks for letting us share some more information on Zookeepers and Staff Paths, it's exciting for us to reveal some more about what we're working on in Planet Zoo!

James:
Zookeepers are vital in your zoos. They are responsible for the welfare of the animals and the cleanliness of their habitats. They provide food and water that complements the animals' dietary requirements and, without them, the animals would live in unsanitary habitats, as the zookeepers vacuum up poop to ensure the inhabitants are provided with decent living conditions. You simply cannot have a successful park without zookeepers! If you don't employ these staff members, animals will begin to starve and dehydrate... and if that wasn't bad enough, they'll do so surrounded by poop! It's also important to make sure that your zookeepers are happy, or else they'll become demotivated and carry out their responsibilities in a slower and more careless manner.

Johan:
Your zookeepers have a busy schedule, full of preparing food, feeding the animals and keeping the habitats clean. There's a lot to keep in mind to make sure they perform their roles correctly, and it's important to remember that there needs to be a balance between how many zookeepers are available to look after animals, as some require more care. Don't give your zookeepers too many habitats and animals to look after; make sure that they have all the necessary facilities required to do their jobs correctly within reach. If your zookeepers don't do their tasks well, they can stress the animals out, which in turn makes their job even harder! The more the animal is moving around its habitat, the more spread out the poop is and the longer it takes to get cleaned up!

James:
It is fun watching the zookeepers carry out their tasks; I personally love watching them prepare food, as it offers a glimpse behind-the-scenes for Planet Zoo players! I make a salad for my lunch every day, so, as an Audio Designer, naturally I recorded myself for the zookeeper food preparation (knife chops, scrapes, rests, etc). I can't claim to have gone to such literal lengths for the poop-scooping, but the audio team have collaborated superbly on that to give the vacuum a fun, creative and satisfying array of sounds.

Your park guests may not like seeing these working areas, but as a player, I love moving the camera into the facility interior so I can watch the zookeepers ready the animals meals (surrounded by posters decorated with the Planco language)! Like all guests and staff in Planet Zoo, the zookeepers do indeed speak the language of Planco. Often they will emote to express themselves when carrying out their day-to-day tasks, but you may well hear them exclaim 'YODOPA!' (Hooray!) in delight when being trained to the next skill level, for example. We are also recording new emotes so that if you click on a staff member, alongside the UI panel pop-up, an emote will sound to summarise their current mood. You might even recognise some of the voices you hear in game; for example, one of the female zookeepers is voiced by our own Senior Artist Liesa Bauwens, who does a fantastic job of bringing the staff member to life.


Johan:
Speaking of park guests not liking being able to see the working areas, staff paths are a new feature in Planet Zoo and an absolute necessity to keep your park guests happy. Guests will only try and look at animals from standard paths, as they try to find a spot as close as possible, which can cause congestion to the overall crowd navigation. If a staff member is getting stuck inside this congestion, it will impact their work roster and this will snowball in all of their tasks and impact other staff members. For example, if a keeper cannot reach the habitats in a timely fashion, this will impact the animal welfare, as none of your animals will appreciate their food being late!

There are some buildings in the game that will have a negative impact on the guests, so as long as they do not get directly confronted with those areas, you shouldn't encounter any problems! When playing, you'll have to think about the zoo layout, where to place buildings, habitats and the staff paths between them. Staff buildings come in a variety of sizes, so it's best to plan where you are going to place them before you design the path network around them, or even how you will place your habitats.


James:
It's cool to talk about these features, because I loved seeing all the reactions to the announcements and gameplay previews we shared at E3 this year. It provided a nice insight into the terrific progress being made by our talented team and our dedication to making Planet Zoo a magnificent experience for you!

Johan:
It always used to put a smile on my face when I saw you speculate on Planet Zoo before we'd announced it, and sometimes even making zoos in Planet Coaster! We all felt so inspired! Seeing what you've already made in Planet Coaster, I cannot wait to see what you can create with Planet Zoo.
 
I’m officially in love with the staff-system!
I don’t even know what’s the best part anymore, there are so many small details! Had a big smile on my face reading about the sounds for the poop-scooping. xD

It’s great to see how invested you all are!


Sooo… looks like we can assign habitats to zookeepers! :love:
I am wondering, if zookeeper also will educate guests?
 
I love the stuff system! :) I also like that the guests don't want to see the staff buildings and we have to take this into consideration when planning our zoos. However, I was hoping that sometimes I can include stuff building into the scenery with setting up a building around it or something. Will that be possible or will the guest react negative regardless?
 
I actually wish visitors didn’t react negatively to zoo keepers. I did an internship at a zoo and we had visitors coming up to us with questions or observations so I think it is nice to have that interaction. Also when feeding young birds we would do behind a glass wall so the visitors could watch. It’s part of educating people. Even just walking around with food, visitors could be like “oh so that’s what they eat”. Though he idea of having staff paths only so your keepers can get around quicker is nice and also realistic because there are parts visitors can’t come (usually the entrance to an exhibit)
 
I actually wish visitors didn’t react negatively to zoo keepers. I did an internship at a zoo and we had visitors coming up to us with questions or observations so I think it is nice to have that interaction. Also when feeding young birds we would do behind a glass wall so the visitors could watch. It’s part of educating people. Even just walking around with food, visitors could be like “oh so that’s what they eat”. Though he idea of having staff paths only so your keepers can get around quicker is nice and also realistic because there are parts visitors can’t come (usually the entrance to an exhibit)
I understand they only react negative to the buildings, because they are thrown out of the illusion to see animals in their natural enviorement I guess. I don't understand it as them reacting negative to the zoo keepers. However, visitors can really get in the way of the working people sometimes, so staff passing is a plus for them.

I agree though, that it can be very interesting to look backstage fpr visitors in real life. I LOVE to get a glimpse to the food kitchen for example. But maybe we are weird and our interest is not very common? :D
 

Bo Marit

Lead Community Manager
Frontier
I was hoping that sometimes I can include stuff building into the scenery with setting up a building around it or something. Will that be possible or will the guest react negative regardless?
Buildings in Planet Zoo have a sphere of influence, or a certain radius, attached to them; anything that enters that sphere impacts the guests. So for example, if a guest wanders into the sphere of a staff building, they will see/hear this building and perceive that as "negative". If they walk around the building radius, they will not be affected by its presence.
 
Sounds like a lot of hard work being put into it! ^w^
For me, I can't wait to see if we can play the role of a zookeeper ourselves. Has that been confirmed anywhere? Zookeeper mode, being able to walk around, scoop poo and feed animals?
 

Bo Marit

Lead Community Manager
Frontier
I actually wish visitors didn’t react negatively to zoo keepers. I did an internship at a zoo and we had visitors coming up to us with questions or observations so I think it is nice to have that interaction. Also when feeding young birds we would do behind a glass wall so the visitors could watch. It’s part of educating people. Even just walking around with food, visitors could be like “oh so that’s what they eat”. Though he idea of having staff paths only so your keepers can get around quicker is nice and also realistic because there are parts visitors can’t come (usually the entrance to an exhibit)
They don't react negatively to zookeepers; it's just the staff buildings that have a radius on them. Staff all walk around the parks as normal, and will only use the staff paths if they have associated tasks that require them to go "behind the scenes" ;) Hope this clarifies!
 
They don't react negatively to zookeepers; it's just the staff buildings that have a radius on them. Staff all walk around the parks as normal, and will only use the staff paths if they have associated tasks that require them to go "behind the scenes" ;) Hope this clarifies!
Oh nice! That is so much better then what I thought.
 
They don't react negatively to zookeepers; it's just the staff buildings that have a radius on them. Staff all walk around the parks as normal, and will only use the staff paths if they have associated tasks that require them to go "behind the scenes" ;) Hope this clarifies!
Will the animals also have this "sphere of influence" mechanic, like JWE had? And if they do share the same sphere as the JWE animals, will it make it so say, if some sort of shelter or enrichment item or terrain type is just outside of this sphere the animal will act like it doesn't exist within the exhibit?
 
Welcome to our fifth Developer Journal! These interviews are a chance to introduce you to our hard-working team behind Planet Zoo and to highlight new features that they have been designing. After showing you some amazing Staff features at E3, we think it's high time we share more about them.

Today, we're welcoming Senior Audio Designer James Stant and Programmer Johan Holthausen to talk about Zookeepers and Staff Paths in Planet Zoo!

Please give them a warm hello!


Hayo everyone! Thanks for letting us share some more information on Zookeepers and Staff Paths, it's exciting for us to reveal some more about what we're working on in Planet Zoo!

James:
Zookeepers are vital in your zoos. They are responsible for the welfare of the animals and the cleanliness of their habitats. They provide food and water that complements the animals' dietary requirements and, without them, the animals would live in unsanitary habitats, as the zookeepers vacuum up poop to ensure the inhabitants are provided with decent living conditions. You simply cannot have a successful park without zookeepers! If you don't employ these staff members, animals will begin to starve and dehydrate... and if that wasn't bad enough, they'll do so surrounded by poop! It's also important to make sure that your zookeepers are happy, or else they'll become demotivated and carry out their responsibilities in a slower and more careless manner.

Johan:
Your zookeepers have a busy schedule, full of preparing food, feeding the animals and keeping the habitats clean. There's a lot to keep in mind to make sure they perform their roles correctly, and it's important to remember that there needs to be a balance between how many zookeepers are available to look after animals, as some require more care. Don't give your zookeepers too many habitats and animals to look after; make sure that they have all the necessary facilities required to do their jobs correctly within reach. If your zookeepers don't do their tasks well, they can stress the animals out, which in turn makes their job even harder! The more the animal is moving around its habitat, the more spread out the poop is and the longer it takes to get cleaned up!

James:
It is fun watching the zookeepers carry out their tasks; I personally love watching them prepare food, as it offers a glimpse behind-the-scenes for Planet Zoo players! I make a salad for my lunch every day, so, as an Audio Designer, naturally I recorded myself for the zookeeper food preparation (knife chops, scrapes, rests, etc). I can't claim to have gone to such literal lengths for the poop-scooping, but the audio team have collaborated superbly on that to give the vacuum a fun, creative and satisfying array of sounds.

Your park guests may not like seeing these working areas, but as a player, I love moving the camera into the facility interior so I can watch the zookeepers ready the animals meals (surrounded by posters decorated with the Planco language)! Like all guests and staff in Planet Zoo, the zookeepers do indeed speak the language of Planco. Often they will emote to express themselves when carrying out their day-to-day tasks, but you may well hear them exclaim 'YODOPA!' (Hooray!) in delight when being trained to the next skill level, for example. We are also recording new emotes so that if you click on a staff member, alongside the UI panel pop-up, an emote will sound to summarise their current mood. You might even recognise some of the voices you hear in game; for example, one of the female zookeepers is voiced by our own Senior Artist Liesa Bauwens, who does a fantastic job of bringing the staff member to life.


Johan:
Speaking of park guests not liking being able to see the working areas, staff paths are a new feature in Planet Zoo and an absolute necessity to keep your park guests happy. Guests will only try and look at animals from standard paths, as they try to find a spot as close as possible, which can cause congestion to the overall crowd navigation. If a staff member is getting stuck inside this congestion, it will impact their work roster and this will snowball in all of their tasks and impact other staff members. For example, if a keeper cannot reach the habitats in a timely fashion, this will impact the animal welfare, as none of your animals will appreciate their food being late!

There are some buildings in the game that will have a negative impact on the guests, so as long as they do not get directly confronted with those areas, you shouldn't encounter any problems! When playing, you'll have to think about the zoo layout, where to place buildings, habitats and the staff paths between them. Staff buildings come in a variety of sizes, so it's best to plan where you are going to place them before you design the path network around them, or even how you will place your habitats.


James:
It's cool to talk about these features, because I loved seeing all the reactions to the announcements and gameplay previews we shared at E3 this year. It provided a nice insight into the terrific progress being made by our talented team and our dedication to making Planet Zoo a magnificent experience for you!

Johan:
It always used to put a smile on my face when I saw you speculate on Planet Zoo before we'd announced it, and sometimes even making zoos in Planet Coaster! We all felt so inspired! Seeing what you've already made in Planet Coaster, I cannot wait to see what you can create with Planet Zoo.











Hey, I´m absolutely amazed with what you guys have done! I have my hopes up that this will be better than zoo tycoon. I just have one important question, are we going to be able to see things in guestmode? please, That was some of the best things
 
Buildings in Planet Zoo have a sphere of influence, or a certain radius, attached to them; anything that enters that sphere impacts the guests. So for example, if a guest wanders into the sphere of a staff building, they will see/hear this building and perceive that as "negative". If they walk around the building radius, they will not be affected by its presence.
Do we see this sphere of influence when placing or selecting the building?
 
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