Planet Zoo is currently being developed by Frontier Developments. They probably need no introduction as they also are the ones behind Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon. The game is a management and simulation game about creating your very own zoo. The game is set to release sometime in the Fall of 2019 for PC. You can view the announcement trailer and some information about the game with us here.
Another Planet Zoo Developer Journal has been posted, where Programmer Megan Brown and Senior Designer David Bamber discuss animal behaviours. See below for the major details about their developer post and how you can better manage your zoo.
Habitats and Socializing
There needs to be the correct types of terrain and environments for the animals. There also needs to be somewhere where they can take shelter if they dislike being out in certain weather conditions. Meaning, weather can impact your zoo and your animals’ welfare. For example, rain and snow will make a habitat colder which may have a positive or negative consequence on your animals. Timber Wolves especially would love a snow drift or two.
Of course we all know that keeping your animals happy is a very important part of being a good zookeeper. The animals require a habitat well suited to their needs and desires as well as ongoing care and attention. Habitats need to be spacious enough for the number of animals they contain. That might be a few, depending on the species, because some animals need to socialize more than others. Plain Zebras for that matter will get unhappy very quickly if it finds itself alone.
Shelters and Privacy
Shelters are vital because the animals need a space where they can hide when they are stressed. They can become stressed due to weather conditions or if too many guests are peering in at them. Animals need some peace and some privacy too! Some animals are shy so avoid making a path all around the enclosure. The developers suggest to put windows in the walls at strategic points or a one-way glass instead. Keep an eye on your animals’ behaviour when it seems that they are always hiding. Another example of behaviour is when they lie down in a manner that shows that they are sick.
Food Quality and Other Necessities
You’ll also need to take care of food, water, enrichment items, and the habitat cleanliness. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of zookeepers. Something you may find new is what the developers had to say about food: Food quality is another thing you’ll want to take into account, as it improves the nutritional welfare of your animals. You can research better quality foods for each species, but this will carry an increased cost, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it. Higher welfare animals have the potential to live longer, raise young more successfully, and be more appealing to guests.
Speaking of cleanliness, we felt the need to share the following quote from David, the Senior Designer: I don’t think we can talk about animal behaviour without talking about dung… it’s always a fun aspect to work on (my YouTube recommendations list is now very specific)! We’ve tried to pay special attention to the size, shape, number of ‘boli’ in a pile, and frequency compared to eating rates. We wanted to make sure this vital aspect of zookeeper work is properly represented, and some animals will need extra keepers simply to keep up with the volume of dung (I’m looking at you Elephants!). We know from our conversations with keepers that this less glamourous side of animal care is time consuming, but is absolutely vital to keeping them fit and healthy. By the way, every piece of dung is a physics object that rolls downhill!
The mating system compared to Zoo Tycoon will be a little more detailed this time around. Specifically, who will mate with whom. In real life animals have hugely varied mating habits. This ranges from monogamy to polygamy and to seemingly no mating rules at all! This is a more realistic approach to real-life wildlife. To give some examples: with West African Lions, only the Alpha male will be allowed to mate with the females in his pride. Reticulated Giraffes however will mate with any member of the opposite sex.
You can even build habitats for pairs and juveniles, ‘bachelor’ groups of young males, or related family groups. Each species has a range of group sizes and gender mixes it is happy with. Therefore, dig into the Zoopedia to research and plan your populations. The developers go on to say: Maintaining a diverse gene pool is very important, especially if you want your population to remain healthy. Inbreeding between closely related animals will lead to reduced fertility rates and increased chances of catching nasty diseases, so to maintain a healthy group, you will need to make sure mating does not occur between related animals and may need to periodically introduce new individuals to maintain diversity.
Frontier Developments also mention the following: Another example of this is how West African Lions interact with each other as a group. If you put more than one adult male in with an adult female then those animals are going to fight for dominance, and the winner of that fight will become the Alpha of the lions in that habitat. This grants him the sole rights to mating with the females and producing offspring, so if you want specific creatures to breed you’ll need to keep this in mind.
The developers have been posting different animals that they are confirming will be in the game via Twitter. Each week we get a new reveal along with #ZoopediaFacts about them. The most recent animal is this little cutie-pie below. In one of their Twitch videos, they mention that different species of animals, such as tortoises, will change depending on the island they are on.
Planet Zoo will be appearing at E3’s PC Gaming Show on June 10th, 2019 where they’ll be on stage to reveal the first gameplay trailer for Planet Zoo! We’ll finally get to see how enclosures are constructed and the movements of some animals! Stay tuned with us at myPotatoGames as we learn more about this game!