WolfQuest

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Not to be confused with Balto II: Wolf Quest.
WolfQuest
WolfQuestlogo.PNG
Logo for WolfQuest
Developer(s) Minnesota Zoo,
Eduweb
Publisher(s) Eduweb
Engine Unity
Platform(s) Windows, Mac
Release date(s)
  • October 31, 2007 (Demo)
  • December 21, 2007 (Episode 1)
  • April 23, 2008 (Episode 1 Deluxe)
  • January 1, 2010 (Episode 2)
  • October 5, 2011 (Episode 2 Deluxe)
  • November 17, 2015 (WolfQuest 2.7)
Genre(s) 3D Life simulation
Mode(s) Single-player,
Multiplayer

WolfQuest is a 3D wildlife simulation video game developed by the Minnesota Zoo and game developer company Eduweb. The game's main purpose is to help players understand wolves and the roles they play in nature by being virtually incarnated as a gray wolf themselves. WolfQuest challenges players to learn about wolf ecology by living the life of a wild wolf in Yellowstone National Park and is a family-friendly, fun game for people of all ages.

A community forum is also available to learn about the game and download the latest version, as well as post tips and strategies, ask questions of wolf experts, share personal wolf artwork and stories, test their wolf knowledge with online polls and quizzes, compete for prizes, and participate in partner promotions[1] at: http://wolfquest.org/bb

The game was originally funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Best Buy, and other foundations and donors and distributed as a free download for Mac and Windows computer. In November 2015, Eduweb released a WolfQuest 2.7, an improved and expanded version of the game for purchase. While the old, free version of the game remains available, development efforts are now focused on WolfQuest 2.7.

History[edit]

  • The demo was released on October 31, 2007.
  • The first episode of the game was released on December 21, 2007 as a free downloadable game for Macintosh and Windows computers.
  • The official deluxe version was released on April 23, 2008.[2]
  • A second episode of the game called Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack was released on January 1, 2010.[3]
  • WolfQuest 2.5, also known as Survival of the Pack: Deluxe was released on October 5, 2011.
  • WolfQuest 2.7, a greatly improved and expanded version of the game' was released for Mac and Windows computers on November 17, 2015.[4][5] Versions for iPad and Android/Kindle tablets are expected to be released in mid-2016.[6]
  • Patches have been released every 2–6 weeks since 2.7's release, including 2.7.1, which featured a new Emotes panel offering more choices of wolf behavior and expression.
  • On March 25, 2016, WolfQuest 2.7 was released on Steam. It has a 'Very Positive' rating with over 120 reviews.
  • Eduweb has announced additional updates to be released in the summer of 2016.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay is divided into two parts – single player, where players are able to play in a "story mode" type adventure, and multiplayer, where players are able to play in real-time with up to 4 other people in a game server.

Singleplayer[edit]

WolfQuest was initially developed episodically, and these episodes now form the main single-player game arc:

Amethyst Mountain[edit]

In single player, the player must survive as a dispersal gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park. To do so they must hunt elk and hares, or feed off elk carcasses. They must also avoid dangers such as grizzly bears, coyotes, red foxes and non-dispersal wolves. However, it is possible to fight off the bears and coyotes by chasing them, and fight off other wolves. They have the option to find a mate, which, when successful, will follow and aid the player throughout the rest of the game. In order to find a mate, the player must first earn 800 experience points, mainly by hunting elk, and then search for a mate which can be found in all territories.

In-game screenshot of Amethyst Mountain

When creating their wolf character, players are free to choose the gender, fur coloration, stats, and name of their wolf. There are a variety of pelts to choose from (black, sable, timber, white and gray), with two sliders that let players change the tints of the guard hairs and undercoat of the wolf. WolfQuest 2.7 added many new customization features, including more pelts as well as injuries and a radio collar. Just like real wolves, males are larger in size than females.[7] The maximum strength for males is also higher than that of females.

Slough Creek[edit]

Upon leaving Amethyst Mountain, players (with their mate) enter the Slough Creek map and search for a den to raise pups in a new location, Slough Creek. However, after finding a densite, the player must scent mark the area around the den to make it safe from predators and stranger wolves. After completion, the player will obtain pups. Ravenous bears, coyotes, eagles, cougars, and wolves roam the earth, posing a new threat to young pups as they wait to snatch one up under a novice parent's nose. At the end, you, your mate, and your surviving pups must make a journey for the summer den in the Douglas fir forests. But the player, the player's mate, and pups will run into grizzlies, coyotes, eagles and drowning. The only way pups can get across the river, is by finding a shallow sandbar. Wolf territories will also expand, so the player cannot take an easy way out.

In the game, players have the opportunity (though not a mandatory option) to raid a cattle ranch for extra food in the Night Mission. The player sneaks around in the dark at a cow ranch, and searches for the calf to kill and feed to his/her pups. However, doing so is extremely dangerous and can result in being shot - a warning that the player is close to being shot, is hearing dogs barking. The player has approximately a minute to find the calf and kill it and consume it.

Multiplayer[edit]

In multiplayer, the objectives of the game are the same with two exceptions. The player co-operates with a maximum of 5 wolves including themselves, and can have no game-sanctioned mate. (Regardless, some players still say that other players are their mates.) Public multiplayer games allow anyone to join, but restrict chat to a set of canned phrases. Private games require a game-name and password and allow text and voice chats. (Text chats are filtered through a standard badwords list.) Players are encouraged to report report any behavior that breaks the multiplayer rules.

Players in multiplayer can start rallies and hunt bull elk. Bull elk have more meat than female elk and are many times harder to kill. Players may bite elk in the neck or back legs while hunting. WolfQuest 2.7 added a multiplayer mode to the Slough Creek mission arc, so players can raise pups together and journey to the rendezvous site.

Lost River[edit]

A new map was included with WolfQuest 2.7. Called Lost River, it depicts a fictional valley outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and features both wilderness and urban areas. Humans have abandoned the valley but left clues about some sort of catastrophe. Players are left to speculate what might have happened. This map is available for both single-player and multiplayer games.

Other in-game animals[edit]

WolfQuest Episode 2 Slough Creek: Survival of the Pack[edit]

In-game Screenshot of Slough Creek

Episode 2.5 Survival of the Pack: Deluxe[edit]

In August 2010, WolfQuest held an "idea contest" via the WolfQuest Community Forum, which can be found here. The winner for the "Big Idea" section of the contest was Exiah, with her idea "Time and Weather", which affects hunting with weather and time. The winner for the "Game Enhancement" section was Cama, with his idea "I need a rest!", where players can make their wolves sit or lie down to regain stamina faster than they would standing still.

Survival of the Pack: Deluxe was released on October 5, 2011 with several new features added to it, as well as "I need a rest", weather and time was also added. It includes both episodes: Amethyst Mountain and Slough Creek. Players can press "R" to sit, and pressing it again, to cause their wolf to lie down. The "Z" button will cause a dialogue box to appear, asking the player which time of day they would like to sleep until (Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night). Weather includes snow: rain, lightning and fire, and affects scents seen in scent-view.

Shortly after the Survival of the Pack: Deluxe release, the version, 2.5.1 came out on October 11, 2011, and was a minor bug fix update to WolfQuest 2.5 (which added weather effects, changing times of day, a new phrase chat, improved lexicon chat safeguards, and more). This version fixed bugs with female wolf choice in single-player, seeing other wolves sit and lie down in multi-player, and a few other minor bugs.

Development Hiatus and Resumption[edit]

Between 2011 and January 2014, there were no plans for further development for several years. WolfQuest originally planned to make an episode 3 and an episode 4, as stated in the site's frequently asked questions page, located at http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewforum.php?f=22. However, on November 28, 2011, the following was announced on the WolfQuest Community Forums:

"We're glad so many people were so excited for the release of episode 2.5 (WolfQuest: Survival of the Pack Deluxe), and we're hoping everyone is enjoying it. But of course, along with a new release always comes the question: what's next?? As you all should be aware, WolfQuest development is determined by funding. While we continue to discuss possible options for expansion of the game and WolfQuest community, we (the WolfQuest Team) are not currently working on any new releases. If that changes, we will be sure to let you all know. Thank you all for playing the game and conversing on these forums; we hope to continue adding new forum content and game updates if more funding becomes available."[8]

However, in spring 2014, Eduweb announced that a tablet version of the game was under development, to be released in the near future. Development took more time than anticipated, and platform support was expanded to include Mac and Windows computer. This new version, called *WolfQuest 2.7, released in November 2015 for Mac and Windows and expected in mid-2016 for tablets, included the entire game, plus a number of enhancements and new features.[9] Following Eduweb's plans to continue with the project's development, the community forums and website will remain online and freely accessible for the foreseeable future, rendering the 2012 announcement null and void as of 2014.[10] It has been stated that with strong sales of version 2.7, a third episode may be a possibility.[11]

NSF grant[edit]

On September 2006, The National Science Foundation awarded the Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb a USD $508,253 informal education grant to develop WolfQuest. This makes it the first video game funded by the National Science Foundation, under grant number 0610427.[12][13]

Awards[edit]

WolfQuest won a few awards at Unite 2008, a developer's conference. It received Special Recognition Awards in two different categories, Best Serious Game and Best Multiplayer.[14] WolfQuest also won the Education Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and a Bronze MUSE Award from the American Association of Museums.

"The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design judging programs on their ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes and behavior, show innovation, and measure success."

Criticism[edit]

WolfQuest was cited by Senator Tom Coburn in his Wastebook 2010 report about government spending:

• The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf "avatar" video game called "WolfQuest."[15]

See also[edit]

  • Wolf, a similar DOS game

References[edit]

External links[edit]