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The Flock Official Thread
Posted: 16 November 2012 05:50 PM
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Project Lead: Greg Rice

From the opening moments of a baby bird hatching out of its egg, learning to find food, and ultimately taking to the skies, The Flock will take players on a dramatic journey across the planet.  Along the way they’ll be confronted with many of the perils that face birds during migration from unpredictable weather to groups of hunters.  With controls that aim to really nail the feel of a bird in flight, players will soar through beautifully rendered 3D landscapes drafting off of each other to save energy and make better time in hopes of finishing their journey and arriving safely with the rest of their flock.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:39 AM
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Hey guys, this game would be rad.  Like that awesome dream you always had as a kid where you were flying over a beautiful forest.  You guys had that dream too, right?  Let me know if you have questions and I’ll answer them right here in this fancy forum thread!

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Posted: 19 November 2012 04:02 PM
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This could be incredible if done right. I really hope it gets more votes, best of luck, Greg!

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Posted: 19 November 2012 04:46 PM
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This game needs to happen. I love the idea of a loose-objective game that simulates the feeling of flight. The idea of a casual and atmospheric multiplayer reminds me of Endless Ocean 2 on the Wii.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:06 PM
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I cast my vote for this project, as it sounded like the best game concept of the bunch to me. I was torn, though, as to whether I should vote for the best concept or the most realistic project. I have to be honest, this does not sound like the best concept for a two week project. The card games are probably the most realistic two week projects of the bunch. However, I see no-one else went with the realistic projects, either, so what the hell, I might as well go for my favorite concept, too, I guess.

edit: I just realized I can vote for however many games I want to. I had assumed, as I imagine many others had, too, that I could only cast one vote.

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 11:38 PM by DF Greg ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:23 PM
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this is just too good to not make. journey with 500 people plus combat and pooping

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Posted: 19 November 2012 07:19 PM
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Can I be a peregrine falcon?

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:28 PM
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Guys, check out this incredible video I found:

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:36 PM
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Orusaka - 19 November 2012 05:06 PM

I cast my vote for this project, as it sounded like the best game concept of the bunch to me. I was torn, though, as to whether I should vote for the best concept or the most realistic project. I have to be honest, this does not sound like the best concept for a two week project. The card games are probably the most realistic two week projects of the bunch. However, I see no-one else went with the realistic projects, either, so what the hell, I might as well go for my favorite concept, too, I guess.

edit: I just realized I can vote for however many games I want to. I had assumed, as I imagine many others had, too, that I could only cast one vote.

Thanks for the confidence man!  There are actually a few things that might make this easer than you would think.  Most importantly, the prototype would only need one character model.  You could alter the patterns on the bird to add variety to the visuals, but the modeler could just make one awesome bird!

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 11:39 PM by DF Greg ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:22 AM
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I think I played this game in 1987.

Little known fact: the second player could control the birds.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:27 AM
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These choices are getting tougher with each thread I read through.

I’ll just say that I have long imagined a game like this. Nothing crazy or outrageous, just simple flight and the peace of it. And while I thought about a virtual forest of sorts with all kinds of animals, it’s the bird flight that was most appealing. It’s hard to find games like this. Moreso co-op games that aren’t about shooting up a squad of other dudes.

Journey is a recent example of a quiet, cooperative experience, and when I read this I imagine something similar. Not up there trying to shoot up bird dudes (maybe peck at ‘em I guess, for that bit of drama), just fly alongside them and enjoy the journey.

Good luck, Greg.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:05 AM
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I reckon this game would be awesome if it combined the amazing graphics of Flower with a multiplayer experience of cooperation.
Very promising. Good Luck Greg!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 11:41 AM
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Out of the bunch this one was the one that caught my attention more than the rest. It’s different and I think it would be quite the experience to play.
Good luck!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:29 PM
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Yep, you guys are right on track with the thatgamecompany references.  They’re totally an inspiration!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:34 PM
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This is a really cool concept. I hope it comes back in some forms, even if it doesn’t win.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:53 PM
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Greg, this idea is super cool!

I’ve always loved birds and became fascinated by flocking at one point.  I’d love to go to a place like Otmoor in England some November and see all the starlings.

There is a fairly simple algorithm for modeling flocking behavior called the “Boids” algorithm, created by Craig Reynolds an early computer graphics researcher:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boids
Basically, each member of a flock tries to get or stay close to its fellows, but not too close, and face in the general direction those around them are facing.

Last year I made a sketch in Processing that uses an implementation of the algorithm:
http://vectorpoem.com/floq

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 12:56 PM by DF JP LeBreton ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:09 PM
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I had to vote for this because it’s so different.

I mean sure I want a space station but to be part of a flock of birds!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:35 PM
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Those flocking videos are flocking amazing.

A few things I think make the idea for Flock really compelling: it’s about something outside of the game world.  It wouldn’t just be a fantasy, or a set of rules, it would be about something that exists independently of the game.  I think a game like Flock would make me think about birds in ways I haven’t ever done before.  It would guide my imagination in a totally surprising direction.  I’ve been a marine, a jedi, and a god in games; a man and a woman; a robot, a car, and a spaceship; but I can’t remember ever being anything like a real bird.  I love the idea for this game and would be delighted to see it developed.

And the title could be the basis for endless bad puns!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 06:03 PM
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DF Greg - 19 November 2012 11:28 PM

Guys, check out this incredible video I found:

I actually pitched a game at the start of the year in which a big component was flocking movement. I used this exact video! It was a big inspiration (also, filmed on the river Shannon which isn’t *too far from where I grew up in Ireland).

Some great starling shots in the Tree of Life if you haven’t seen it, and Winged Migration is a film that would probably be a good touchstone too.

Definitely voting for this, for feel and the possible art. Love it. Lots of interesting directions to take it. I still want to return to my somewhat related game concept in my spare time once I finish some other projects, so this makes me wistful. raspberry

Good luck Greg!

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 06:13 PM by Rustymonk ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:04 PM
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DF JP LeBreton - 20 November 2012 12:53 PM

Greg, this idea is super cool!

Last year I made a sketch in Processing that uses an implementation of the algorithm:
http://vectorpoem.com/floq

This is super rad dude!

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Posted: 21 November 2012 04:37 AM
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This idea is fantastic and by far my favourite, though it may be a bit serious in comparison to previous DF games. What about taking this idea to a couple of flock experts/researchers at a university and develop something in collaboration with them and some other developers in your spare time? It would be a shame if the idea got shelved because it didn’t make it due to internet voting.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 04:43 AM
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I love good looking nature games, like Endless Ocean which was mentioned. If this can be done with realistic graphics, it could be great. But that’s also the part I’m worried about, that it will end up not looking good enough.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 03:52 PM
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DF Greg - 19 November 2012 11:39 AM

Hey guys, this game would be rad.  Like that awesome dream you always had as a kid where you were flying over a beautiful forest.  You guys had that dream too, right?  Let me know if you have questions and I’ll answer them right here in this fancy forum thread!

Hey Greg!

I think it’s an amazing concept. And yes, I totally had that dream many, many times when I was young. The flying was so… different and amazing than flying in a plane…
I could see this project go really really well (like the journey has, oh my god was this game amazing…) and I would definitely buy that game. So I instantly gave you a vote but I think you should let us in in some more details (if you already have some).
But what exactly are your plans with this concept? Is it always “just” flying or will you have to land? Search for food?
I’m eager to hear more smile

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Posted: 21 November 2012 06:03 PM
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I love the idea a lot, Greg! Top 5 pick when I saw the initial video. When you were talking about it, I thought back to thatgamecompany’s first construct when they were still in college, Cloud. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_(video_game) )

I loved how it centered on just the sensation of flying that you get in a dream. Have you played it, Greg? What kind of ‘drama’ will the ducks face on their trek from the frozen north, south to Cabo?

EDIT Maybe I should read the previous posts before getting ahead of myself and reposting previously asked questions because i’m dum. Sorry!

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 06:06 PM by Handsolo ]
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Posted: 21 November 2012 09:37 PM
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Greg, I must say THIS is the game I want to win. Some of the other games may have more core/mainstream appeal, but this game idea just rocks. I had almost word for word this idea for a game the past two summers whenever I saw flocks of birds (murmurations and other flocks) perform maneuvers like in the video you linked. I really hope this wins, because I’ve been wanting this game to exist for years now.

Good luck. smile

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Posted: 22 November 2012 01:14 AM
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I actually really like the concept of this game. In a market saturated with lord of the rings and star wars, a game like this that explores a new topic is something that should exist on principle alone. Even if it doesn’t make top four, you did a good thing just by pitching it, and I hope you pitch more things like it.

I mentioned in one of the other amnesia fortnight threads that one of the things that made me unsure about this game is that I wasn’t sure I entirely understood the concept. I definitely understand the part about it being essentially a sort of migration simulator, but I was curious what some of your ideas were for introducing goals and challenges.

You’ve mentioned a couple of them in your initial post, but I think one thing that might give me pause in just comparing this idea to a game like Journey is that Journey has the benefit of letting the player walk and climb over things, examine them from different angles, interact with them, and so on. The idea of being a bird in flight is enjoyable because flight is enjoyable. It’s relaxing. But are you at all concerned that it might turn out to feel like the flight equivalent of Desert Bus? I’m wondering what the more moment-to-moment experience would be like, if you’re ready/willing to talk about that. (I understand that it’s WAY early, so maybe not. That’s totally cool.)

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