Dog Park Derby (cont.)

“Beagle-and-Samoyed-running-and-playing-together-at-the-dog-park” from Dog Parks and Your Dog: Are They a Match? –

If you haven’t yet read the original post on this topic, check it out here.

Since last night’s post, I’ve continued thinking about the absurdist dog park MOBA that I’ve been calling “Dog Park Derby”. I thought I’d take a moment today to clarify some things that I left a bit vague and/or confusing yesterday and propose a couple more character ideas.

How exactly do you win or lose the game?

Winning is all about finding ways to create situations in which your dog will be able to complete their goal. Since goals change from dog to dog, and from game to game, a player will have to think on their feet and react quickly to changes in their dog’s behavior and the actions of the other players to keep their dog focused on the goal.

You can’t really lose the game. If you aren’t having luck with a particular dog/owner combo at a particular park, you can leave the park (quit the match) and try again with a different combo at a different (randomly selected) park. This is fine to do, and will likely be common for new players who are still learning what dog/owner playstyles they prefer.

If you meet your dog’s goal, you can opt to leave the dog park, thereby claiming victory, experience points, and some amount of in-game currency to be spent on skins, emotes, etc. Alternatively, you can stick around and try to accomplish bonus goals that are assigned upon completion of your dog’s main goal. Leaving the park with a bonus goal or two under your belt will earn you more experience points and in-game currency, as well as a ‘bonus box’ which can yield bonus accessories and partial credit towards skins for the owner or dog you used.

What will the relevant resources be (Health, Mana, etc.)?

As this is not meant to be a fighting game, I don’t want to give the dogs (or owners) health bars. Rather, each dog will have an “energy” bar that depletes with exercise and can fill as the dogs rest, get treats, and get excited. Some dogs will have a bar representing progress towards their goal, though not all goals will be represented this way. I think it would be fun for owners to have a “patience” bar, which functions much like “mana” in other games. Using abilities costs patience, and when an owner’s patience is depleted, they cannot use any abilities until it recovers. Some owners might have an “anger” bar that fills as they use abilities. When it is full, the character might undergo some temporary transformation with new abilities and stats as their anger bar quickly depletes. As I mentioned in the last post, most abilities will have cooldowns, and a dog’s ability cooldown will be determined by the control/obedience combined stat.

Will there by any level-up mechanic or item store during matches?

This is tricky, as I think playing with different character builds is part of what makes MOBAs so fun. The problem with this game, of course, is that the staggered entry-exit mechanic will mean that when you enter a new match, other players will already have been there for some amount of time. If those players are already stronger than you, it will be really hard (and unfun) to try to catch up. I think an even playing-field makes more sense, though perhaps players can level up their character between matches and are then placed in games with other players of similar level. This would allow build variety and creativity for the various owner/dog combinations, while ensuring fair competition in-game.

How exactly will the dog AI work?

Understanding this game mechanic will be crucial if players want to have success in “Dog Park Derby”. To get a sense of how the dog behavior might work, think of each dog as a spinning top that, left to its own devices, would drift to and fro across a flat surface. Dogs with higher obedience are faster spinning tops, less likely to make erratic movements. The owner forms a crater-like depression in this imaginary surface, steepest towards the edges and shallow towards the middle. In this way, the owner exerts “concave” influence on their dog, exerting a stronger pull the further away the dog drifts. Other objects exert a “convex” influence. Imagine them making a depression in the surface like a dumbbell on a trampoline: shallow towards the edges, steeper in the middle. Dog pee will be like this, as will other dogs. Once the dog is within a certain radius of a particular object, one of several possible actions can trigger towards that object. The dog’s energy, owner’s control, and certain abilities will make such actions more or less likely.


That’s all for questions; here are two new characters.

  • Tech Exec
    • Control: 45
    • Passive Ability: Pressed for Time
      • Using an active ability decreases the cooldown of all other active abilities by 1 second.
    • Ability 1: Leave that Alone – cooldown 6 seconds
      • Tech Exec interrupts the current activity of her dog, preventing it from engaging in a new activity with the same object for 5 seconds.
    • Ability 2: Take a Loud Phone Call – cooldown 8 seconds
      • Tech Exec takes a very important business call, preventing other owners and dogs within a 60 unit radius from using sound-based abilities.
    • Ability 3: Drone Delivery Service – cooldown 10 seconds
      • Tech Exec orders a drone to deliver an object to a location within 50 units. For 3 seconds after casting, Tech Exec can reactivate the ability to cycle through four possible objects. The object she chooses is delivered after 4 seconds of the initial cast. The possible objects are:
        • Robo-squirrel: an animatronic squirrel that will run around the park for 10 seconds tempting nearby dogs to chase it.
        • Fire Hydrant: a red fire hydrant that will attract nearby dogs who are then likely to pee on it, increasing its attractive effect. Lasts for 30 seconds
        • Paleo Bowl: a nutrient-rich bowl that Tech Exec can walk over to consume, giving her 1.5x movement speed, +15 control and -2 second cooldown reduction for 10 seconds.
        • Trampoline: a launch-pad that orients itself away from Tech Exec, and tosses any owners or dogs that walk over it 40 units in that direction. Lasts for 5 seconds.
      • Available dogs: Buddy, Geronimo, Dexter, Jade
  • Tweeny Bopper
    • Control: 15
    • Passive Ability: A Lot of Responsibility
      • When he is within 10 units of his dog, Tweeny Bopper’s abilities gain 1.3x range and have 25% reduced cooldown
    • Ability 1: Walking the Dog – cooldown 8 seconds
      • Tweeny Bopper tosses a yoyo out in front of him, maxing out at 30 units. The first dog it contacts is pulled towards him. Once the dog reaches 10 units from Tweeny Bopper, it circles him (clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on the angle of approach). Tweeny can then recast this ability at any point in the circle. Once the dog has completed a 360° rotation, it is automatically released.
    • Ability 2: A Little Help Over Here – cooldown 10 seconds
      • Tweeny Bopper calls for help in a 50 unit, 15° cone in front of him. Owners struck by this ability walk towards him for 3 seconds. During this time their control is temporarily reduced to 0.
    • Ability 3: Giddy Up – cooldown 12 seconds
      • Tweeny hitches a ride on his dog, controlling its movement for 3 seconds then unable to control their movement at all for 3 seconds.
    • Available dogs: Pipsqueak, Jade, Vigo, Lucy

That’s all for today. I’ll include more dog overviews as well as detailed descriptions of some of the dog goals the next time I write about the game.

One thought on “Dog Park Derby (cont.)

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