Animal

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Animals are the creatures that inhabit the habitable worlds. The term animals broadly encompasses every mobile living creature, including insects, spiders, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, whales, birds, or whatever you call them; there are far too many animal species to give them formal names automatically. Avatars are animals in many respects; their bodies are constructed using the same DNA and physical attributes of their bodies are based on the same parameters.

Animals are not present on all planets, only those with suitable environments. Animals naturally occur on planets in the inner, habitable or outer orbit zones with standard or tainted atmospheres that have a density range of 15% to 85%. As a rule of thumb, animals exist in most planetary environments that support plant life.

Animals vary in size. Small insignificant animals are not represented in the game. The smallest animals are about the size of a rat. The largest animals tower among the tallest skyscrapers and eat spacecraft whole.

Species

Animals eat things. Animals fill ecological roles in the environments of planets based largely on their diets.

Animal species are distributed in each resource zone based on terrain altitude above sea level, relative vegetation density, and time of day. Terrain is considered to be one of four altitudes: high land, low land, sea level, and underwater. Vegetation density is considered to be one of three densities: forest, savanna, and desert. Time of day is based on actual solar light level and is considered to be dark, dim, or bright. Each combination of terrain altitude, vegetation density, and time of day is considered to be a different specie area for distribution of animal species.

Within each specie area, seven species of animals reside. All four of the ecological roles are represented in each specie area with two carnivores, two herbivores, one omnivore, and two scavengers.

(Three altitudes X three vegetation densities + one undersea) X three times of day X seven species = 210 different species of animals in each resource zone.

Animal species are stored using a compact string of data, referred to as its DNA. The DNA of animals in Hazeron is capable of describing quadrillions of combinations. The 3D model representation of each animal specie is synthesized from its DNA. Not all DNA attributes are visible on the model, particularly those related to its behavior. After traveling to many worlds you may see an animal that reminds you of another animal you saw elsewhere but it is unlikely to be identical.

Mega Creatures

Animals found on worlds in the inner and outer orbit zones have a chance to be much bigger then those found in the habitable orbit zone.

Gas Giant Creatures

The ocean of a gas giant with an Exotic atmosphere might have strange underwater creatures.

Specie Names

Species can be named by players. The name of a specie applies to its exact combination of DNA. Animal species can be named by all players. A sentient specie can only be named by a player who is that sentient specie.

A specie that is named will show that specie name to all players who spot the creature. Specie names are shared by all players across the Universe.

After a specie is named, only the person who named the specie can change the name of the specie. This is done simply by naming the specie again.

There are several ways to name a specie:

  • Spot - Use the spot command, default ` or ~ keys, to spot a creature. The Thoughts channel on the Comm (F3) window has a button for assigning a name to the last specie that was spotted. The creature must be in your scene at the time the name is assigned. The name assignment will fail if the creature moves away or died before you have entered a name.
  • Carcass - up an carcass from a creature. Right-click the carcass in your inventory and select the Name Specie option.
  • DNA Sample - Collect a DNA sample of a creature using a DNA sample kit. Right-click the DNA sample in your inventory and select the Name Specie option.

Behavior

Animal behavior is primarily geared toward eating. Animals do not display mating or procreation behavior.

Animals have temperaments regarding threats or prey they detect in their vicinity. Some animals will tolerate the presence of other animals; others will not. When an animal attacks another animal, it is not always looking for food. It could feel threatened. It may be asserting a claim to its territory. It might be looking for a host for its young.

Animals perceive their environments using their senses. Animals see, hear, and smell other animals, including people, depending upon the acuity of their eyes, ears, and nose. Many factors such as relative sizes, ecological roles, and temperament affect their reaction to the things they perceive.

Animals move through their environment using assorted forms of locomotion. Many animals walk or slither on the ground with the aid of arms or legs. Some animals fly through the air using wings and others swim in the sea. Animals even burrow through the ground to forage for food or hunt for prey. Amphibious creatures are equally at home on land and in the sea; triphibious creatures take to the air as well. Aquaerial creatures live in the sea and fly through the air but they are not comfortable on land.

Combat

Animals attack threats or prey using their physical body. Animals may bite, claw or kick depending upon how they are physically equipped. Quite often, animals boast some form of specialized natural weapon.

Natural animal weaponry harms its target in several possible ways. Contact weapons physically strike the target, such as the stinging tail of a scorpion. Some weapons affect all creatures within a short distance of the animal, such as the shock from an electric eel. Animals even use projectile weapons, such as spitting cobras and skunks. In the realm of science fiction, psionic powers exist, allowing some creatures to attack their targets using forces concentrated within their own minds.

Natural weaponry has many possible affects upon the victim. Physical weapons bludgeon, slash or pierce the flesh of the opponent. Other weapons inflict harm of various sorts, such as acid, poison or disease. The severity of a weapon's harmfulness varies with different species and it is proportional to the size of the animal.

Death

An animal falls to the ground when it is mortally wounded. While lying on the ground in its death throes, an animal can be saved with prompt medical attention.

An animal that has fallen to the ground can be picked up. Look at the animal and press the E key. If the animal's body is not too large, you will pick it up and carry it on your back. While an animal is carried on your back, it's bleeding is stabilized. The animal will stay unconscious at its current health level until you drop it by pressing the E key.

Once the animal dies, its body is replaced by an animal carcass commodity. Amphibious creatures with thin skin will leave a fish carcass commodity instead. The slight difference is due to the ability to produce leather from the animal carcass; leather cannot be produced from a fish carcass.