How long/hard is it for Frontier to make animals?

I recall there being an article interview where PZ proclaimed and lauded how quick/cheap it was to make the animals of PZ. Is there a source for this claim? While I would like to make the argument of the DLC packs being too sparing/expensive, I want to be properly researched before I start saying anything.
 
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I think they mentioned once that they need multiple Months for a completely new Animal with a completely new Rig and Animations. But some Rigs and Animations can be re-used for other Species which makes it possible to finish some Animals faster
 
As we haven't the possibilities to look into Frontiers workpapers, employee accounting and such things and can't sit with a little whip and a stopwatch on the dev's desks, I think any answer is pure speculation.
We could ask our fortune telling glas sphere about it...
 
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I think they mentioned once that they need multiple Months for a completely new Animal with a completely new Rig and Animations. But some Rigs and Animations can be re-used for other Species which makes it possible to finish some Animals faster
I remember reading the same. Basically one month for totally new animal rig, and while they didn't say this I would think much less time 1-2 weeks, to adjust existing rigs to make similar animals. I think the longer the game goes on, the possibility does exist we might get DLC more often or possibly larger (i'd say more often is more likely) due to not needing as many brand new rigs to be created.
 
I remember reading the same. Basically one month for totally new animal rig, and while they didn't say this I would think much less time 1-2 weeks, to adjust existing rigs to make similar animals.
I'm not convinced about that. It ignores the other 60% of animal creation. It isn't just manipulating a digital skeleton and slapping on a skin, they have to add new animations (even with rigs built from existing rigs, like with the jaguar and polar bear, and even the dingo), find recordings of the animals' sounds, create the Zoopedia entry, programme in the animal's specific needs and requirements, and so on and so forth. Some of this might be easier to do than other parts, but 1-2 weeks is an absurdly optimistic time frame, IMO.

I've always suspected that the first three DLC packs were in the making probably concurrently with the base game. I don't remember who said it, but someone mentioned that a roadmap for a company like Frontier is typically a year long, so if we assume that year started in November 2019 at the game's launch then it follows that they had already done some rudimentary (at least) work on the Arctic, SA, and Australia packs. If that's the case, to me it implies that these things take a lot longer than a month per new animal and 1-2 weeks per re-rig.
 
I'm not convinced about that. It ignores the other 60% of animal creation. It isn't just manipulating a digital skeleton and slapping on a skin, they have to add new animations (even with rigs built from existing rigs, like with the jaguar and polar bear, and even the dingo), find recordings of the animals' sounds, create the Zoopedia entry, programme in the animal's specific needs and requirements, and so on and so forth. Some of this might be easier to do than other parts, but 1-2 weeks is an absurdly optimistic time frame, IMO.

I've always suspected that the first three DLC packs were in the making probably concurrently with the base game. I don't remember who said it, but someone mentioned that a roadmap for a company like Frontier is typically a year long, so if we assume that year started in November 2019 at the game's launch then it follows that they had already done some rudimentary (at least) work on the Arctic, SA, and Australia packs. If that's the case, to me it implies that these things take a lot longer than a month per new animal and 1-2 weeks per re-rig.
Very true, I guess what I was including in with the adjusting existing rigs were also counting animations, leaving some of the non animated behaviors and the various habitat requirements to code in to take the remaining 1-2 weeks. Still, it could be very optimistic at that, which is why I say I think rather than know. I'm definitely no coder.

And it's likely you're right about the first few packs. It would be highly unlikely for a company to roll out a game like planet zoo without having a roadmap of a year, more likely at least a general roadmap of 2-3 years, and having put in some work for the first years of additional content while working on the base game. There's no way that the Arctic DLC wasn't "mostly" done by the time the official base game released. I'm not saying that it should have been included either, btw, what I'm saying is that if a game developer waited to release a base game until all the "current" projects were finished, so as to include them in the base game, who knows when the base game would have actually released. And that doesn't take into account additional income such DLC would generate to fund additional DLC after that.
 
I'm not convinced about that. It ignores the other 60% of animal creation. It isn't just manipulating a digital skeleton and slapping on a skin, they have to add new animations (even with rigs built from existing rigs, like with the jaguar and polar bear, and even the dingo), find recordings of the animals' sounds, create the Zoopedia entry, programme in the animal's specific needs and requirements, and so on and so forth. Some of this might be easier to do than other parts, but 1-2 weeks is an absurdly optimistic time frame, IMO.
I believe you're overestimating the amount of time most of this work entails though. The visual part of the animal (rig, textures, models, etc.) are one thing and require quite a lot of time. It's perfectly possible Frontier uses a similar system we used back in the day in our modding team, where you have a basic mesh of some animals (for instance a big cat mesh), which you can from there on out resculpt said basic mesh to the animal you need; or they can have a bunch of mesh assets like claws, teeth, hooves, horns etc. to lighten the work load. But overall, together with the sound design, this takes up the majority of the time. So that's your 60% of the animal creation, not the other way around

But animal needs and requirements are parameters you need to adjust, most likely with their own piece of software where you input the animals parameters and that produces a base programmed animal. People seem to think that we as developers write every piece of code of our project by hand, but that's not the case. Next to actual product development (aka development that directly influences the project), we also do a lot of dev-development (development to make the lives of your dev team easier and indirectly influences the project.) A lot of processes are automated, so that we don't have to do everything by hand, because that wouldn't be efficient at all. It would be more unlikely that Frontier does not have such systems in place and that all of their animals are coded by hand, especially given that the game has over 80 animals already. Most likely they have their own "TMTK" software to add in animals. Because keep in mind as well, a majority of work that was put in early on was put in to make it easier to add animals later. That's how development usually goes, we try to code stuff in a way that future selves don't hate us and we have less work.

Besides, there are multiple people working on an animal at once, so whilst some people do research for multiple animals, others do sound-design for multiple animals, etc. All of this happens at several stages, so it's hard to pinpoint it to a specific stretch of time, but a full month of 7-8 hour work days for a single animal is far from absurd. It's perfectly do-able, and I wouldn't be surprised if the time frame is even shorter. We're talking about a professional team here, with full work days and a company that's known for being able to tackle big projects.

We surely shouldn't over-estimate the amount of work, but we shouldn't underestimate it either. Frontier most likely had put in hours and hours and hours into the process of making animals, which means it's for sure quite streamlined by now. But that's only because so much effort was put into it at the start.
 
You might be right - I guess the bottom line is that none of us actually know, we're all just theorising (as is usual when it comes to Frontier 😅).
I wish they'd explain more about the process of doing the actual work in the "Developer Journals". I love reading them, but I wish the technical process was explained a bit more.
 
Even if I repeat myself: As long as we can't sit with little whips and stoppwatches on the desks of the devs, there is no reason to ask for how long they exactly need. Even if they told us....

What would you say to them? "Hey, devs, you've got 3 months until we demand 4 brandnew animals" - something like that? 🤣
 
Even if I repeat myself: As long as we can't sit with little whips and stoppwatches on the desks of the devs, there is no reason to ask for how long they exactly need. Even if they told us....

What would you say to them? "Hey, devs, you've got 3 months until we demand 4 brandnew animals" - something like that? 🤣
Hey Frontier, where's my Aye-aye, Green Peafowl and Petting Zoo Animals! whipcrack😂
 
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