Dinosaurs General Gameplay Genetics System & Dinosaur Behavior

Welcome to the long awaited Part 4 where I can finally delve into the genetics system. Now that all of the pre-requisites are out of the way it should be easier to explain the driving force why I decided to make these series of threads. Going to briefly touch on some systems in the other parts that I am relying on to make this work and a few changes that we need to get out of the way immediately as I dive into the thick of it.

Genetic Points
Veterinarian
Paleobotany
(revamp)
ACU Ground Team




First I will discuss some up front changes that need to happen for the new Genetics System to work. This impacts some dinosaur behavior, genetic modifications, and expanding on some very narrowly defined features in the game.

Grazing is a necessity, herbivores need to be able to meet a minimum food requirement by grazing
Scavenging is a new behavior that applies to all carnivores and is the counterpart to grazing
Defecating is self-explanatory, only included this behavior for one very specific use case scenario
Stampede is a unique behavior for herbivores caused by excessive or prolonged stress responses
Pack Hunting is something we've all wanted, it is a general behavior and can also have special use cases
Swarming is unique to Compsognathus at present think packing hunting but larger numbers
Free Roaming by default only applies to Compsognathus but feel free to offer suggestions
Fencing is frankly too weak, it should be impossible for certain species to break stronger fence types even for very large species except under certain conditions

Visibility & Sight Range


In its current incarnation this is primarily concerned with guests being able to view your dinosaurs. This is no longer the case, visibility is now a vitally important system we will need. Every dinosaur and reptile is going to have a certain preset range of sight in which they are able to perform actions. Carnivores will need to be able to have prey in their sight range in order to hunt be it a goat, cow, or a herbivore. Herbivores conversely will need sight range in order to detect and respond to threats whether that be fleeing with the herd or rallying to meet the threat. Different species will have different sight ranges, some shorter, some longer, and they can be genetically modified as well.

The day/night cycle and weather phenomena are critically important to sight, visibility will typically drop off during night and dense fog events, for example.




Genetic Modifications

There is no longer a dinosaur rating penalty by applying any genetic modification to a species. Additionally, Genetic Points are now required to modify a species' genome. Skins are classified as cosmetics and will not fall under the "skin" category.


Hidden Variables

This is a new feature I will be discussing today, but suffice it to say it relates to how genetic modifications work and I need to make sure you realize there are some changes I have gone ahead and made, so you understand why I made some decisions. The following two genetic modifications are now reclassified as hidden variables and you cannot research or modify your dinosaurs with them. Additionally, there are a number of unique hidden variables that are highly species dependent.


  • Aggressive Instincts
  • Rapid Stress Response

New & Modified Traits

Resilience - (Modified) - [applies to illness only]
Agility (New) - [movement speed increase]
Fast Recovery (New) - [applies to injuries only]
Adaptability (New) - [weather resistance]
Sight Range (New) - [increases vision range]

New Genetic Modification Stats

  • Brain Ageing - Primary: Lifespan, Secondary: Viability
  • Cardio Strength - Primary: Viability, Secondary: Lifespan
  • Hyperefficient Blood - Primary: Attack, Secondary: Agility + Fast Recovery
  • Immune Response - Primary: Resilience, Secondary: Adaptability
  • Increased Bone Density - Primary: Defense, Secondary: Resilience
  • Intensive Repair - Primary: Fast Recovery, Secondary: Resilience + Viability
  • Intuitive Learning - Primary: Lifespan, Secondary: Attack
  • Ocular Enhancement - Primary: Sight Range, Secondary: Adaptability
  • Rapid Metabolism - Primary: Fast Recovery, Secondary: Defense
  • Reaction Speed - Primary: Agility, Secondary: Fast Recovery
  • Robust Digestion - Primary: Adaptability; Secondary: Resilience
  • Skin Toughness - Primary: Defense, Secondary: Resilience + Adaptability
  • Strong Muscle Fibers - Primary: Agility, Secondary: Sight Range
  • Tooth Hardness - Primary: Attack, Secondary: Resilience

I'll give you time to go over the above yourselves. I only added one new modification "Ocular Enhancement" to accommodate the addition of sight range. I tried to balance them out, so there wasn't too clear a best choice. However, I left Hyperefficient Blood as really good, but it will remain highly costly to use especially now that Genetic Points are a resource. Similarly, I made Skin Toughness and Intensive Repair as Defense and Healing oriented equivalents to Hyperefficient Blood. Finally, you will notice I intentionally omitted any of the modifications introduced in the Secrets of Dr. Wu since frankly those modifications were much more dynamic and interesting in the first place... and well the skins are skins.




The Genetics System

We begin with the reason I made all these changes in the first place. Perhaps I am the only one that has felt so strongly about the current genetics system, but the current iteration is very basic. To start, any modification that actually just straight up hurts your dinosaur's rating is immediately discouraging you from using certain modifications in certain slots. This is counterintuitive and makes the less desirable modifications even worse choices, so I have done away with this limitation. Past that, there is no real difference between a modification and any other upgrade in the game. That is why I primarily decided there had to be some weight to it, to make them more valuable and desirable hence, Genetic Points. This new resource is scarce and forces you to make choices about the fossils you receive from digs.

This wasn't enough of a distinction though and the Genetic Points also melded well with Paleobotany and Veterinarian services, so they were used there accomplishing their goal of creating more decision making. Since I wanted to incorporate more weather and disaster events in my proposal, there needed to be avenues of counterplay or a combination of different systems. That is why there is an adaptability trait now and the prominence of resilience was reduced, so it was a trait that did a bit less of everything to keep your dinosaurs healthy. I also didn't like how some of the choices in the game were obviously ignored like "Aggressive Instincts" or were always one of the best choices like "Tooth Hardness." So, I thought of a new way to make Aggressive Instincts work, it would only impact behavior by inducing aggression or "agitation" as is seen during many campaign missions. Tooth Hardness might appear relatively the same on the surface as well, but I have found some more creative solutions on a per species basis to incentivize experimentation or face the consequences.

The next question was how do I present these new features without making it too complicated, well, I already gave you the answer "per species" this could amount to a lot of work, but at the same time it doesn't have to apply to every species. There is enough universal or generic behavior and room where I think its okay if not every species is an individual unto itself, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for some variety. The UI itself conveys a lot in terms of creating an impression and desire to interact with the game. While the current genetics UI is functional, it is uninteresting for the most part. We need an overhaul of how information is presented in the UI for the genetics system and how it presents things to the user, and I happen to recall some footage Frontier released a while back that gave a very positive impression that did just that.


Secrets of Dr. Wu Trailer

Skip to 0:27. What do you see? That looks like an exciting UI that promises possibilities.




I will get into the specifics of that particular moment later on, but you get the gist of the idea now. Before we get to something like hybrids though what about the regular dinosaurs, the ones you will be primarily using? Well, Frontier has again given a visual guide for us already and its been up for ages:

Genetic Modification Screen.png


3D Model Screen



The User Interface

What does our Genetics UI need to look like, well something similar to what we see in the 3D model panel. The specimen in the center of your screen, 360 degree rotation, default animation, but there is a key difference. On either side of the animal, there will be a series of boxes arranged vertically, you have probably seen it before, its very common in character creation screens used in RPGs and other video games. These boxes will list the names of body parts corresponding with the animal in question. Clicking on one of these boxes will produce a dropdown menu with the name, icon, stats, and a brief description of the genetic modifications that can be applied to the specimen and in that particular slot. I'll leave it to you to picture all the visual flourish Frontier could add, but here are some of mine: cosmetic changes (beyond skin swaps), animations of DNA strands being spliced together, images of tissue and cellular structures enlarged to give you a better visual representation that you are say, modifying an animal's muscle tissue or its blood pressure by equipping Strong Muscle Fibers or Hyperefficient Blood.

This knocks out two birds with one stone instantly. The long standing gripe from the community about the lack of visual representation of an equipped skin will be no more as the 3D model will dynamically update if there is a visual change accompanied with a genetic modification. At the same time, it will feel more like you are designing and creating your own dinosaur, but within manageable confines so that Frontier can control what modifications and body part slots each animal may have. If later on they decide to expand features on a particular animal, it should be pretty simple to make an update to the UI and add in the new functionality. This is a much more solid foundation and direction to take with the Genetics system.

This is also critically important in order for you to understand the new gameplay features incorporated as part of this system. I have many examples to present you so that you understand just how dramatic this would turn the game on its head.




Engineering Prehistoric Life

Specimen: Pachycephalosaurus
Body Part: Cranium/Skull/Head
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Stalwart (Rapid Metabolism + Group Adaptation)

[Pachys gain ability to fight off Medium Carnivores in a group]
Hidden Variable: Concussion
[Pachys headbutting will now cause them to suffer concussions that could lead to coma and death]


I gave you a quick example there and it should be pretty self-explanatory, but allow me to get into just a little detail.

1. Select your species
2. Select a body part
3. Select your modification


Once you have selected these, the dropdown menu/panel will display a 4th field called "Synergy" which is a bonus field to put it mildly. It will give you a brief description detailing some form of new ability or behavior that will be unlocked if you add the listed modifications. However, what is not told to you is that activating this synergy also introduces a hidden variable which creates an unexpected consequence for your actions. Think of hidden variables as the most Jurassic thing ever, the hubris of man trying to play god and messing with the genetics of a living creature brings along with it all sorts of undesirable repercussions.


I don't think I could describe it in any simpler terms, so instead, I am just going to go proceed with some different examples of the system to show you the broad swath of possibilities this presents. I included a brief legend for the table, so you can better understand what is representing what, its very much in life with the example already given.



Dinosaur Genetic Scenarios

Synergy: (Yellow)
Effect: (Orange)
Hidden Variable: (Red)



Specimen: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Body Part: Head
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Charge (Strong Muscle Fibers)
[Rex now has a headbutt/charge attack]
Hidden Variable: Unrestrained [Rex can smash Concrete walls]
Specimen: Triceratops (Applies to Stegosaurus as well)
Body Part: Stomach
Modification: Robust Digestion
Synergy: Limber (Rapid Metabolism)
[Can consume wider range of paleo foods and more effective grazing]
Hidden Variable: Toxins [Triceratops now ingests toxins increasing odds of recurring illness]
Specimen: Majungasaurus
Body Part: Skin
Modification: Intensive Repair
Synergy: Infamous (Robust Digestion + Rapid Metabolism)
[Majunga gains double infamy rating + rapid healing]
Hidden Variable: Cannibalism [Majungasaurus can no longer tolerate its own species and is now hostile towards small carnivores and will eat them]
Specimen: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Body Part: Torso
Modification: Hyperefficient Blood
Synergy: Tyrant King (Skin Toughness + Cardio Strength)
[Doubles Attack value and obtains a Tail Whip attack]
Hidden Variable: Blind Spot [Rex's vision is now motion based]
Specimen: Triceratops
Body Part: Horns
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Gore (Strong Muscle Fibers)
[When squaring off in combat, Triceratops can gore its foes with its horns weakening them and creating a disease risk if they choose to disengage]
Hidden Variable: Blunted [Triceratops's horns are subject to wear and tear lowering its combat capabilities, left untreated they may break]
Specimen: Spinosaurus
Body Part: Tail
Modification: Cardio Strength
Synergy: Depths Hunter (Intuitive Learning + Brain Ageing)
[Spinosaurus can now hunt and swim in deep water]
Hidden Variable: Undeterred [Spinosaurus can escape its enclosure if deep waters connect the enclosure and outside world]
Specimen: Carnotaurus
Body Part: Skin
Modification: Skin Toughness
Synergy: Adaptive Camouflage (Hyperefficient Blood + Rapid Metabolism)
[Gains ability to blend in with surrounding environment]
Hidden Variable: Undetectable [Carnotaurus no longer appears on the map]
Specimen: Stegosaurus
Body Part: Tail
Modification: Reaction Speed
Synergy: Retaliation (Strong Muscle Fibers + Increased Bone Density)
[Deals double damage after being attacked]
Hidden Variable: Territorial [Stegosaurus become much less hospitable towards other herbivores]
Specimen: Baryonyx (Applies to Spinosaurids)
Body Part: Arms
Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers
Synergy: Heavy Claw (Cardio Strength + Reaction Speed)

[Baryonyx can use its arms in combat increasing attack rating]
Hidden Variable: Jawbreaker [Baryonyx becomes susceptible to jaw fractures]
Specimen: Ankylosaurus
Body Part: Osteoderm
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Indomitable
(Strong Muscle Fibers + Hyperefficient Blood)
[Doubles Defense value]
Hidden Variable: Unchained [Can smash concrete walls, increased resistance to electrified fencing, and tranquilizer tolerance (10 shots)]
Specimen: Dilophosaurus
Body Part: Frill
Modification: Immune Response
Synergy: Blind
(Reaction Speed)
[Venom temporarily blinds foes]
Hidden Variable: Deadly Toxin [Venom can cause paralysis]
Specimen: Troodon
Body Part: Eyes
Modification: Ocular Enhancement
Synergy: Night Vision
(Intuitive Learning + Tooth Hardness)
[Troodon obtains a large sight radius + perfect vision during Dense Fog and Night]
Hidden Variable: Nocturnal Menace [Troodon becomes nocturnal, inherits Aggressive Instincts, and a venomous bite]
Specimen: Compsognathus
Body Part: Stomach
Modification: Robust Digestion
Synergy: Pest Control
(Immune Response + Reaction Speed)
[Maintain general park hygiene by keeping enclosures free of rodents, waste, and corpses]
Hidden Variable: Carrion Spreader [Compsognathus becomes an incubator for disease which can rapidly spread across the park]
Specimen: Velociraptor
Body Part: Brain
Modification: Intuitive Learning
Synergy: Pack Leader
(Ocular Enhancement + Brain Ageing)
[Raptors can attack large carnivores] {Requires minimum 3 pack members}
Hidden Variable: Clever Girl [Raptors inherit Aggressive Instincts, tests fencing for weaknesses, climbs over unelectrified steel fencing, can dig under unelectrified concrete walls, and chews through unelectrified cable fencing]
Specimen: Parasaurolophus
Body Part: Chest
Modification: Cardio Strength
Synergy: Bioluminescence
(Rapid Metabolism)
[Parasaurs will glow varying colors {color variation depends on skin used} during night and weather that obstructs the sun]
Hidden Variable: Rapid Stress Response [Parasaurs will quickly become stressed and spur cross-species stampedes]
Specimen: Giganotosaurus
Body Part: Head
Modification: Group Adaptation
Synergy: Giant Slayer
(Brain Ageing + Intensive Repair)
[Giga can now hunt sauropods in groups of 3-4]
Hidden Variable: Relentless [Gigas will hunt relentlessly, killing for sport; comfort thresholds will swiftly drop if there is no longer prey to hunt]
Specimen: Pentaceratops (applies to all ceratopsids)
Body Part: Frill
Modification: Stress Inhibitor
Synergy: Herder
(Solitary Adaptation + Cross Species Adaptation)
[Increases population tolerance + Doubles social tolerance]
Hidden Variable: Hostility [Ceratopsids become very unfriendly and aggressive towards humans]
Specimen: Maiasaura
Body Part: Abdomen
Modification: Brain Ageing
Synergy: Survivor (Group Adaptation + Confined Spaces Adaptation)
[Can weather almost any natural disaster unscathed]
Hidden Variable: Breeder [Will rapidly multiply decimating population thresholds, but are extremely protective of their young]
Specimen: Gallimimus (applies to all ornithomimids)
Body Part: Legs
Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers
Synergy: Flock
[Grassland Adaptation]
[Gallimimus can exceed population requirements of herbivores sharing an enclosure with it, but prefers the company of its own species]
Hidden Variable: Stroke [Health risk introduced by the lack of a more controlled environment, Gallimimus is subject to having strokes]
Specimen: Dryosaurus
Body Part: Arms
Modification: Confined Space Adaptation
Synergy: Burrower
(Stress Inhibitor)
[Dryosaurus develops the ability to dig burrows to shelter from the elements and evade predators]
Hidden Variable: Seizure [Stress inhibitors have led to the unintended consequence of neurological damage causing Dryosaurus to experience seizures; which can be hard to detect while they shelter in their burrows]
Specimen: Homalocephale
Body Part: Head
Modification: Intuitive Learning
Synergy: Entertainer (Brain Ageing)
[Homalocephale becomes very sociable with guests and will play and perform actions that guests find entertaining]
Hidden Variable: Cardiac Arrest [Committed too much to the entertainment of guests, Homalocephale will overexert itself and can succumb to cardiac arrest]
Specimen: Albertosaurus (applies to all large carnivores)
Body Part: Teeth
Modification: Tooth Hardness
Synergy: Alpha Predator
(Cardio Strength + Skin Toughness)
[Doubles Attack + increases dinosaur rating]
Hidden Variable: Gum Disease [Will become stricken with disease, left untreated carnivore will lose its teeth, slip into a coma, and die]
Specimen: Iguanodon
Body Part: Thumbs
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Sentry
(Rapid Metabolism + Intensive Repair)
[Iguanodon will actively engage predators to defend the herd]
Hidden Variable: Cold-Blooded [Iguanodon is highly susceptible to developing frostbite when temperatures drop during night or cold weather events]
Specimen: Brachiosaurus
Body Part: Head
Modification: Hyperefficient Blood
Synergy: Visionary (Cardio Strength + Ocular Enhancement)
[Boasting a wide sight range Brachiosaurus can detect and alert herd to threats before they get close; circumvents dense fogs and sight impairing conditions]
Hidden Variable: Farsighted [Brachiosaurus has difficulties seeing objects up close and may accidentally step on small dinosaurs or become startled causing it to try and break out]
Specimen: Therizinosaurus
Body Part: Claws
Modification: Intensive Repair (Strong Muscle Fibers + Rapid Metabolism)
Synergy: Cutthroat [Boasting a wide range of attack, each swipe has a chance to cause a bleed effect]
Hidden Variable: Hemorrhage [During combat Therizinosaurus may accidentally injure itself causing it to self-inflict its bleed effect]
Specimen: Amargasaurus
Body Part: Neck
Modification: Brain Ageing (Immune Response + Intuitive Learning)
Synergy: Imposing [Brandishing a colorful sail the behavioral display can frighten and ward off small carnivores from the herd, 15% chance to thwart sauropod predator(s): Giganotosaurus]
Hidden Variable: Anemia [A side effect of its bold defensive display, Amargasaurus is susceptible to developing sickle cell anemia]
Specimen: Oviraptor
Body Part: Jaws
Modification: Tooth Hardness (Robust Digestion + Immune Response)
Synergy: Scavenger [Inherits the carnivore only scavenging behavior and lowers its food requirements]
Hidden Variable: Egg Snatcher [If breeding occurs in the park, Oviraptor will prioritize stealing and eating eggs and infant dinosaurs]




Unraveling the Possibilities

That is a pretty exhaustive list, all but the last 3 species are currently in the game, but I thought they were interesting enough to include. The duplicates are intentional, they demonstrate that not every single species has to have only one synergy, and some synergies apply to multiple different species. Depending on how you think to balance it, you could have 2 synergies and 2 hidden variables at play with the right combination of modifications to activate both. Likewise all synergies are optional so you have a degree of control over the risks you introduce to your park.

There are some more broadly defined or generic behaviors in the table such as those possessed by Maiasaura or Velociraptor. However, only raptors can hunt "large carnivores," Only Maisaura can "rapidly breed" at such a rate. A similar distinction is with Pentaceratops, the hidden variable makes ceratopsids aggressive "exclusively towards humans," or Parasaurolophus alone being able to cause a "cross-species stampede." These are small distinctions, but unique to the specimen; however, things like pack hunting, breeding, stampedes, etc. are general behaviors those in the table are with small caveats.

I was also very on the nose with inspirations taken from the Jurassic novels, films, video games, and paleontological facts & myths about dinosaurs while others are just things I came up with based on my own gameplay ideas. I didn't use every genetic modification in the game, I just wanted to give you some detailed examples.

Moreover, you can logically tie different diseases and medical conditions together where it makes sense.



The Compy

Compsognathus is the only species by default that has the swarm and free roaming behaviors, so it only makes sense with this freedom these little guys have that they are the harbingers of disease. You could easily imagine these guys transmitting Rabies, Hookworms, or E. Coli to the species they are being used to clean up after. They are even more effective disease spreaders because of the inherited scavenging behavior and the modifications required for its synergy which makes them more resistant to the diseases they carry. Ultimately, they'll spread disease faster than they'll succumb to it. The interactions to stop these little guys is also pretty unique, due to their size you will need Rangers (Jurassic Park era) or ACU Ground teams (Jurassic World era) to round them up.



The Velociraptor

Okay, we all saw this one coming. The raptors are far too iconic in the Jurassic franchise to not be a special golden child like the Rex. The primary reason we need more robust fencing is for these guys. No one is more a master of escape than the Velociraptor. To put it bluntly, you don't have electrified fencing, you are going to have a bad time.

Light Steel Fence = Climbs over
Electrified Light Steel Fence = Not Durable (can break)
Heavy Steel Fence = Climbs over
Electrified Heavy Steel Fence = Contained
Light Cable Fence = Chews through
Electrified Cable Fence = Contained
Heavy Cable Fence = Chews through (takes a while)
(new)
Electrified Heavy Cable Fence = Contained [Based on Classic Rex Paddock]
Concrete Wall = Digs under
Electrified Concrete Wall = Contained


Cable fencing triggers a special response from raptors assuming its not electrified.



Conclusions

I tried hard to make each species in the table unique and to highlight the flexibility of the variables involved. No matter the weather condition, time of day, or which species you use there is at least one species that has some emergent gameplay it can create. You will always feel engaged, always have a goal to progress towards, and there will always be something going on that will make Jurassic World Evolution, feel fun and exciting.

This doesn't even limit campaign scenarios which in themselves can serve as tutorials to teach you about the Genetics system. There will still be plenty of values you will have to discover on your own in the course of gameplay. Respiratory Malaise is the prime example of a campaign specific ailment, so missions could still have unique objectives, (Ex: Lysine Contingency) but give you an idea of potential hidden variables. Needless to say this would make missions more interesting and inject a lot of variety into the gameplay.

Sure, I bet this would all be imbalanced with everything I proposed, but the point was primarily the ideas and giving Frontier room to manage such a system. It would start out pretty basic with some generic hidden variables. Aggressive Instincts are carnivore only, and Rapid Stress Response is herbivore only, and then build out from there by adding 1-2 unique variables at a time for a couple of species until you can flesh out a full roster. Similarly, the nonstop aggression carnivores had early in the game's life kind of makes a comeback recycled as the Giga's hidden variable, so I took some consideration in that regard.




Breeding, Nesting, & Parenting

I held off on discussing this in much detail before so as not to ruin the special role this sort of feature plays. There was interest in this area, so I would like to expand upon it. So, immediately discussing it this is both a critical dinosaur behavior and the defacto hidden variable.

Breeding is the default hidden variable for all species that have been genetically modified by introducing a 1% risk which increases with each subsequent modification.

If you unlock a synergy for a dinosaur, consider the associated hidden variable as in addition to the breeding variable.

In a clear reference to Jurassic Park, whenever you genetically modify a dinosaur whether it be cosmetic or otherwise you are introducing a major hidden variable into your park. A single genetic modification will cause a 1% risk that your dinosaur will breed. How you want to balance this is still up in the air, but it could be as little as a 1% chance per Day/Night cycle, month, season, etc. --- the calendar could be checked from the Storm Defense Station. You can add 0.5-1% per modification as balancing requires with each animal's hidden variable only able to trigger once per animal.

There will be no notification that this is happening, it will be up to the player to discover these. For instance, if you notice your comfort thresholds in an enclosure are off or you discover a nest it will be clear what is going on. This also means the introduction of genders, by default all the animals are female with that percentage creating the possibility for a modified species to change gender to male. So, if you incubated 4 modified Parasaurs, each of the 4 would have the associated % risk.

It should be apparent that this means you multiply the actual risk of breeding based on the number of modified species you incubate.

Requirements

2+ adults of the same species
Genetically modified animal (minimum 1)
Not bred previously (exception Maisaura)
Share the same enclosure
Healthy and within comfort thresholds




Behavior & Parenting

Most of the species are not going to make their nests out in the open. Parents will build their nests near water or under the protection of foliage. Keep a close eye on the enclosures themselves and any change in behavior of your dinosaurs for indication that breeding may have occurred. Pregnant dinosaurs, for instance, will move slower, appear slightly larger, and will spend more time where their nests are located.

Most species will be very protective of their clutch of eggs, Maisaura being by far the most aggressive as they are quick to respond with force. Behavior may vary a bit between species with carnivores generally less nurturing on average. This extends to the different sexes, female Maiasaura will defend theirs nests, but the males' behavior may not be too dissimilar to what it is normally. Tyrannosaur parents, in contrast, might be extremely protective of their young distinct from the behavior of other carnivores. Each sex can have differences in how they parent depending on the species.

The hatchlings themselves will mostly behave akin to adults except clingy and a bit more playful. Using the T-Rex again, species still have social tolerances, parents may only tolerate 1-2 young before their social requirements are exceeded. If more than 2 young are present, an intolerant parent may eat one of their young resolving the comfort issue. Carnivores & herbivores will have some distinctions in parenting style broadly as well. Adult herbivores will naturally surround the young and keep them towards the center of the herd. For carnivores, the young will follow the parents or stay unattended in their nests for brief periods of time. Both carnivore and herbivore parents will, however, respond with tremendous aggression if anything approaches their young.

Siblings and other young dinosaurs may have playful interactions with one another, but this is typically only for herbivores. Carnivores primarily produce less young and they tend to not have high social requirements or much tolerance for other species. Large carnivores will also respond with aggression towards small carnivores they can normally share enclosures with if they approach their nests/young whereas small carnivores may seek to save their young by relocating their nests.

As the hatchlings grow into juveniles things will start to streamline. Juveniles will obtain stats, but these will not match an adult until full maturity is achieved. Juveniles, however, can defend themselves and fight as they behave with more independence from their parents. The children will also inherit their parent's genetic modifications as a consequence, so you really got to watch out.



Special Case

Breeding is an extremely dangerous hidden variable. Never underestimate how quickly you can lose control once this factor kicks in. One last distinction is that Maisaura as a rapid breeder can breed multiple times breaking the standard 1 animal breeding restriction. Moreover, if there is a conflict between two modified species who breed, 1 animal's breeding variable will trigger, the second animal's will not, so the second animal can find a new mate to breed with later on. In practice, that means if a male is present and breeds with a female, but it was the female's breeding variable that was triggered, the male can still breed with a different female.

I should also note, that I did not include any flying or aquatic reptiles in the examples, but those too could or would function under this system too.



Engineering a Monster [Hybrids]


Secrets of Dr. Wu Trailer
We've finally made it, its time to talk hybrids.


Please refer again to this embedded trailer for the Secrets of Dr. Wu. Pause at 0:30 take a look at that interface, that is a more in-depth UI we could really use.

In fact, from about 0:20 - 0:50 we have some excellent possibilities presented by Frontier themselves on how this might look like for our hybrid interface. You have to select your species from the archived list of specimens, have some form of blueprint or pre-existing knowledge of the species you must splice together in order to combine their gene sequences. Great visuals, but as always there is one step further I want to go with the hybrids. These should sort of be like your endgame, the culmination of all your progress that will require a significant time commitment and investment. You should feel like you were working towards this from the moment you started the game. All throughout your adventures on Las Cinco Muertes you'll be saving, preparing, collecting resources, and acquiring knowledge until you are finally ready to make hybrids a reality.




Indominus Rex

You'll need a security mission unlock near the end of the game in order to begin researching Indominus Rex. You'll also need high reputations with all 3 Divisions which would also apply to Challenge Mode too.

Now let's get onto some of the requirements, using Indominus Rex as our prime example.

100% genome - Tyrannosaurus Rex
100% genome - Velociraptor
100% genome - Giganotosaurus
100% genome - Majungasaurus
100% genome - Carnotsaurus

Immediately its obvious that the100% genome requirement remains, but the number of species required has expanded more in line with the lore of Indominus. However, were this it that would still be too easy, so things are about to get more complicated.

100% genome - Therizinosaurus
100% genome - Rugops
100% genome - Pyconemosaurus
100% genome - Quilmesaurus
100% genome - Viavenator
100% genome - Deinosuchus




Delving Deep

Now all these other species not currently in the game are requirements to make Indominus Rex. If Frontier wants to add all of these to the game in a dinosaur pack or long rumored sequel, more power to them (hint: Therizinosaurus), but its not necessary and arguably more challenging without adding a bunch of dinosaurs no one is particularly requesting to the game. Instead, this goes back to Part 1 when I was discussing the dig sites. Remember, when I briefly mentioned something about special Genetic Points? Well, this is what I was alluding to back then, and how some randomness actually makes this more difficult than it sounds.

Like the normal genetics system you will have to spend Genetic Points, for hybrids we are talking a truck load of Genetic Points and raw cash at that. However, that includes collecting Genetic Points of specific species like Rugops which cannot be obtained like ordinary fossils. Rugops, for this example, would be a reputation reward with a paleontology group. The only way to discover Rugops fossils would be if you build a good rapport in the Fossil Market with this specific group and raise it to a level that they unlock Rugops for fossil extraction at the Kem Kem Beds and the new digsite "
Echkar Formation."

Viavenator may be different, to get this it is a random find when dig teams are sent to South America. Because of that, it can be difficult to 100% this genome meaning you should be consistently sending expeditions. These dig sites won't deplete if you still haven't 100% Viavenator, but you will just come back with random finds and fossils of species you already have 100% genome. This is good for farming genetic points for gene modifications, in addition to some spare cash while still working towards your primary goal.




Modern Solutions

That would give you a couple of ways to obtain the 100% genome of the primary species needed to make Indominus Rex, now all that is left is to fill in the gaps in the sequence.

100% genome - Tree Frog
100% genome - Cuttlefish
100% genome - Pit Viper

These last three aren't prehistoric species at all, but modern species. You know all those generic fossils you find on digs, there is more we can do with them than just sell them for cash. We just need to add a few new fossils to uncover and you can redeem them for genetic points. New players are most likely going to make the mistake of selling all this stuff for cash early on and wind up realizing their importance later on when they are trying to engineer Indominus. Experienced players or Jurassic nerds will likely get the reference early on and start stockpiling as soon as possible.

The Cybersecurity issues I detailed in Part 3 can also slow you down, so to avoid your DNA extraction and research being stalled, it might be good to consider vital infrastructure to keep your hybrid project on track.

We want that constant feeling that you are progressing, but stretched across the game, so it doesn't become the most tedious thing in the world once you get the mission objective to create Indominus Rex. The reward will be a unique specimen that will be pose quite the challenge.

Hybrid Specimen: Indominus Rex
Required Modification: Cardio Strength [Other modifications are optional]
Required Synergy: Untamable King (Intuitive Learning + Tooth Hardness + Hyperefficient Blood)
[Inherits synergies of component species]
Hidden Variable: Diabolus Rex [Aggressive Instincts + Solitary Adaptation + Stress Inhibitor Immunity]

Indominus Rex is best thought of as the final creation of the campaign, so its also going to vary a bit from the other hybrids. It's the most difficult to unlock and thanks to how much info we have on it, there is a reason its hidden variable is called "Diabolus Rex" as it will live up to its name. Not only does it get all the cool synergies of its component species, but it also inherits all of their hidden variables too. Let me just quickly list them for you:

Inherited Synergies:

Charge
Pack Leader [Indominus can assume role as Velociraptors' alpha]
Adaptive Camouflage
Infamous
Giant Slayer


Hidden Variables:

Unrestrained
Clever Girl
[Fence testing only]
Undetectable
Cannibalism
Relentless




Indominus has no breeding risk and it only gains one behavior of Velociraptors. You can reference the table for what the named effects do specifically, but basically Carnotaurus gives it the camouflage, Giga gives it the ability to kill sauropods, raptors can allow it to be a pack leader albeit short-lived, the Rex gives it the ability perform a lunging attack, and Majunga gives it absurd healing and infamy bonuses.

Additionally, Indominus is immune to stress inhibitors, intolerant of other species, always irritable, can smash concrete walls, tests electrified fencing for weaknesses, has no map icon, will eat its own kind, and it will never cease in its rampage.



[Hybrids]
Specimen: Indoraptor
Required Modification: Intuitive Learning
Required Synergy: Night Terror (Tooth Hardness + Reaction Speed + Ocular Enhancements)
[Obtains Pack Leader synergy with Velociraptors + Night Vision]
Hidden Variable: Clever Boy [Inherits Clever Girl hidden variable + Nocturnal Camouflage preventing map detection at night]
Specimen: Spinoraptor
Required Modification: Hyperefficent Blood
Required Synergy: Depths Hunters (Rapid Metabolism + Tooth Hardness)
[Spinoraptor gains a swimming ability]
Hidden Variable: Tranquillizer Immunity [Cannot be tranquilized + requires aquatic fencing if enclosure is connected to deep waters]
Specimen: Ankylodocus
Required Modification: Skin Toughness
Required Synergy: Crusher (Increased Bone Density + Strong Muscle Fibers)
[Can break through any fencing, wall, or barrier type and can break bones during combat]
Hidden Variable: Flailing [Ankylodocus has poor control over its clubbed tail when in motion and can inadvertently harm other species]
Specimen: Stegoceratops
Required Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers (Cardio Strength + Hyperefficient Blood)
Required Synergy: Impaler
[Introduces a small probability that Stegoceratops may impale an opposing dinosaur in combat causing it to hemorrhage]
Hidden Variable: Immovable [Stegoceratops risks a chance that its horns may get caught in foes or obstacles leaving it defenseless]


Defining a Hybrid

Hybrids cannot breed

Unique to hybrids is their inability to breed whatsoever. They must all be genetically engineered. Once you have Indominus Rex, consider the hybrids as post game content, they aren't particularly hard to unlock maybe an end game scenario like how Secrets of Dr. Wu continues where the base game leaves off.

Mandatory Synergies

Further setting them apart, the hybrids are spliced together from 2+ species and have mandatory synergies in order to incubate. They inherently have unique synergies and hidden variables unlike any ordinary species.

Higher Stats

All hybrids have higher base stats than other species, the difference can be made up through genetic modifications.

Unique Genetic Points

Indominus Rex's requirement for Cuttlefish and Pit Viper DNA is a good example of hybrids requiring special properties to create. Expedition findings are critical if you wish to have any hybrids in your park. Once the requirements are met, the hybrids are unlocked and do not need these special genetic points to make more.



Final Conclusions

I want to reiterate though that this is not an exhaustive list of every single behavior or genetic possibility. There are many species and modifications I didn't list, for balance and variety's sake we might need new modifications to use, or trimming back on some of the crazier ideas. When it comes things like breeding there are all sort of prerequisites to get Maiasaura and Oviraptor working right. You need to include new models, animations, physics, and AI to get some of the more involved features suggested working. Hatchlings and Juvenile species would create a mountain of work for Frontier, so don't get your hopes up. However, at the end of the day, the goal was to improve the Genetics system and in the process create a more dynamic game where the hidden variables lead to organic gameplay in and of themselves.

After a tremendous amount of thought and care, I delved into the most minute details of this new genetics system. It is exceedingly ambitious, broad, complex, and difficult to implement, but if even a fraction of this serves to assist Frontier in the next incarnation of Jurassic World Evolution, it will have been worth it. For all its shortcomings and missed opportunities, I still love the game and the promise yet to be had.

Let me know your thoughts and let's keep this conversation going.


I also want to thank everyone who stuck with me and read this to the very end. Going to keep an eye on this thread if anyone has questions or just want to keep the discussion going.​
 
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You've certainly put a lot of thought into this! You should take a look at the formatting of your post, as some of the text is white and disappears, somehow.

Thank you for the feedback and the suggestions.

Glad to hear the acknowledgement!

I will definitely we working on the formatting, its always continuously being tweaked and improved. Been encountering a few weird issues with the embedded trailers as well.

That all said, I am quite happy that this thread of all my suggestions is on the radar. Always trying to be optimistic while considering what kind of strain this might place on the development team to even consider.
 
Welcome to the long awaited Part 4 where I can finally delve into the genetics system. Now that all of the pre-requisites are out of the way it should be easier to explain the driving force why I decided to make these series of threads. Going to briefly touch on some systems in the other parts that I am relying on to make this work and a few changes that we need to get out of the way immediately as I dive into the thick of it.

Genetic Points
Veterinarian
Paleobotany
(revamp)
ACU Ground Team




First I will discuss some up front changes that need to happen for the new Genetics System to work. This impacts some dinosaur behavior, genetic modifications, and expanding on some very narrowly defined features in the game.

Grazing is a necessity, herbivores need to be able to meet a minimum food requirement by grazing
Scavenging is a new behavior that applies to all carnivores and is the counterpart to grazing
Defecating is self-explanatory, only included this behavior for one very specific use case scenario
Stampede is a unique behavior for herbivores caused by excessive or prolonged stress responses
Pack Hunting is something we've all wanted, it is a general behavior and can also have special use cases
Swarming is unique to Compsognathus at present think packing hunting but larger numbers
Free Roaming by default only applies to Compsognathus but feel free to offer suggestions
Fencing is frankly too weak, it should be impossible for certain species to break stronger fence types even for very large species except under certain conditions

Visibility & Sight Range


In its current incarnation this is primarily concerned with guests being able to view your dinosaurs. This is no longer the case, visibility is now a vitally important system we will need. Every dinosaur and reptile is going to have a certain preset range of sight in which they are able to perform actions. Carnivores will need to be able to have prey in their sight range in order to hunt be it a goat, cow, or a herbivore. Herbivores conversely will need sight range in order to detect and respond to threats whether that be fleeing with the herd or rallying to meet the threat. Different species will have different sight ranges, some shorter, some longer, and they can be genetically modified as well.

The day/night cycle and weather phenomena are critically important to sight, visibility will typically drop off during night and dense fog events, for example.




Genetic Modifications

There is no longer a dinosaur rating penalty by applying any genetic modification to a species. Additionally, Genetic Points are now required to modify a species' genome. Skins are classified as cosmetics and will not fall under the "skin" category.


Hidden Variables

This is a new feature I will be discussing today, but suffice it to say it relates to how genetic modifications work and I need to make sure you realize there are some changes I have gone ahead and made, so you understand why I made some decisions. The following two genetic modifications are now reclassified as hidden variables and you cannot research or modify your dinosaurs with them. Additionally, there are a number of unique hidden variables that are highly species dependent.


  • Aggressive Instincts
  • Rapid Stress Response

New & Modified Traits

Resilience - (Modified) - [applies to illness only]
Agility (New) - [movement speed increase]
Fast Recovery (New) - [applies to injuries only]
Adaptability (New) - [weather resistance]
Sight Range (New) - [increases vision range]

New Genetic Modification Stats

  • Brain Ageing - Primary: Lifespan, Secondary: Viability
  • Cardio Strength - Primary: Viability, Secondary: Lifespan
  • Hyperefficient Blood - Primary: Attack, Secondary: Agility + Fast Recovery
  • Immune Response - Primary: Resilience, Secondary: Adaptability
  • Increased Bone Density - Primary: Defense, Secondary: Resilience
  • Intensive Repair - Primary: Fast Recovery, Secondary: Resilience + Viability
  • Intuitive Learning - Primary: Lifespan, Secondary: Attack
  • Ocular Enhancement - Primary: Sight Range, Secondary: Adaptability
  • Rapid Metabolism - Primary: Fast Recovery, Secondary: Defense
  • Reaction Speed - Primary: Agility, Secondary: Fast Recovery
  • Robust Digestion - Primary: Adaptability; Secondary: Resilience
  • Skin Toughness - Primary: Defense, Secondary: Resilience + Adaptability
  • Strong Muscle Fibers - Primary: Agility, Secondary: Sight Range
  • Tooth Hardness - Primary: Attack, Secondary: Resilience

I'll give you time to go over the above yourselves. I only added one new modification "Ocular Enhancement" to accommodate the addition of sight range. I tried to balance them out, so there wasn't too clear a best choice. However, I left Hyperefficient Blood as really good, but it will remain highly costly to use especially now that Genetic Points are a resource. Similarly, I made Skin Toughness and Intensive Repair as Defense and Healing oriented equivalents to Hyperefficient Blood. Finally, you will notice I intentionally omitted any of the modifications introduced in the Secrets of Dr. Wu since frankly those modifications were much more dynamic and interesting in the first place... and well the skins are skins.




The Genetics System

We begin with the reason I made all these changes in the first place. Perhaps I am the only one that has felt so strongly about the current genetics system, but the current iteration is very basic. To start, any modification that actually just straight up hurts your dinosaur's rating is immediately discouraging you from using certain modifications in certain slots. This is counterintuitive and makes the less desirable modifications even worse choices, so I have done away with this limitation altogether. Past that there is no real difference between a modification and any other upgrade in the game. That is why I primarily decided there had to be some weight to it, to make them more valuable and desirable hence Genetic Points. This new resource is scarce and forces you to make choices about the fossils you receive from digs that create that feeling of progression.

This wasn't enough of a distinction though and the Genetic Points also melded well with Paleobotany and Veterinarian services, so they were used there and did accomplish making you have to make some hard choices, but that alone isn't enough of a fix. Since I wanted to incorporate more weather and disaster events in my proposal, there needed to be avenues of counterplay or a combination of different systems. That is why there is an adaptability trait now and the prominence of resilience was reduced, so it was a trait that did a bit less of everything to keep your dinosaurs healthy. I also didn't like how some of the choices in the game were obviously ignored like "Aggressive Instincts" or were always one of the best choices like "Tooth Hardness." So, I thought of a new way to make Aggressive Instincts work without the need for wasting a slot to modify your dinosaurs on a trait that only ever discouraged you from wanting to use it. Tooth Hardness might appear relatively the same on the surface as well, but I have found some more creative solutions on a per species basis to incentivize experimentation or face the consequences.

The next question was how do I present these new features without making it too complicated, well, I already gave you the answer "per species" this could amount to a lot of work, but at the same time it doesn't have to apply to every species. There is enough universal or generic behavior and room where I think its okay if not every species is an individual unto itself, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for some variety scattered about among our increasingly long list of dinosaurs and possibly aquatic and flying reptiles to come. The UI itself conveys a lot in terms of creating an impression and desire to interact with the game. While the current genetics UI is functional, it is uninteresting for the most part. We need an overhaul of how information is presented in the UI for the genetics system and how it presents things to the user and I recall some footage Frontier released a while back that gave a very positive impression that did just that.


Secrets of Dr. Wu Trailer

Skip to 0:27. What do you see? That looks like an exciting UI that promises possibilities.




I will get into the specifics of that particular moment later on, but you get the gist of the idea now. Before we get to something like hybrids though what about the regular dinosaurs, the ones you will be primarily using? Well, Frontier has again given a visual guide for us already and its been up for ages:

View attachment 225104

3D Model Screen

What does our Genetics UI need to look like, well something similar to what we see in the 3D model panel. The specimen in the center of your screen, 360 degree rotation, default animation, but here is the difference. On either side of the animal, to its right and to its left on the screen will be a series of boxes arranged vertically, you have probably seen it before, its very common in character creation screens used in RPGs and other video games. These boxes will list the names of body parts corresponding with the animal in question. Clicking on one of these boxes will produce a dropdown menu with the name, icon, stats, and a brief description of the genetic modifications that can be applied to specimen and in that particular slot. I'll leave it to you to picture all the visual flourish Frontier could add, but here are some of mine: cosmetic changes (beyond skin swaps), animations of DNA strands being spliced together, images of tissue and cellular structures enlarged to give you a better visual representation that you are say, modifying an animal's muscle tissue or its blood pressure by equipping Strong Muscle Fibers or Hyperefficient Blood.


This knocks out two birds with one stone instantly. The long standing gripe from the community about the lack of visual representation of an equipped skin will be no more as the 3D model will dynamically update if there is a visual change accompanied with a genetic modification. At the same time, it will feel more like you are designing and creating your own dinosaur, but within manageable confines so that Frontier can control what modifications and body part slots each animal may have. If later on they decide to expand features on a particular animal, it should be pretty simple to make an update to the UI and add in the new functionality. This is a much more solid foundation and direction to take with the Genetics system.

This is also critically important in order for you to understand the new gameplay features incorporated as part of this system. I have many examples to present you so that you understand just how dramatic this would turn the game on its head.




Engineering Prehistoric Life


Specimen: Pachycephalosaurus
Body Part: Cranium/Skull/Head
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Stalwart (Rapid Metabolism + Group Adaptation)

[Pachys gain ability to fight off Medium Carnivores in a group]
Hidden Variable: Concussion
[Pachys headbutting will now cause them to suffer concussions that could lead to coma and death]


I gave you a quick example there and it should be pretty self-explanatory, but allow me to get into just a little detail.

1. Select your species
2. Select a body part
3. Select your modificatio
n

Once you have selected these, the dropdown menu/panel will display a 4th field called "Synergy" which is a bonus field to put it mildly. It will give you a brief description detailing some form of new ability or behavior that will be unlocked if you add the additional modifications listed. However, what is not told to you is that activating this synergy also introduces a hidden variable which creates an unexpected consequence for your action. Think of hidden variables as the most Jurassic thing ever, the hubris of man trying to play god and messing with the genetics of a living creature brings along with it all sorts of undesirable repercussions.


I don't think I could describe it in any simpler terms, so instead, I am now just going to go ahead and proceed with some different examples of Synergies & Hidden Variables to show you the broad swath of possibilities this presents. I included a brief legend for the table, so you can better understand what is representing what, its very much in life with the example already given.




Dinosaur Genetic Scenarios

Synergy: (Yellow)
Effect: (Orange)
Hidden Variable: (Red)



Specimen: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Body Part: Head
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Charge (Strong Muscle Fibers)
[Rex now has a headbutt/charge attack]
Hidden Variable: Unrestrained [Rex can smash Concrete walls]
Specimen: Triceratops (Applies to Stegosaurus as well)
Body Part: Stomach
Modification: Robust Digestion
Synergy: Limber (Rapid Metabolism)
[Can consume wider range of paleo foods and more effective grazing]
Hidden Variable: Toxins [Triceratops now ingests toxins increasing odds of recurring illness]
Specimen: Majungasaurus
Body Part: Skin
Modification: Intensive Repair
Synergy: Infamous (Robust Digestion + Rapid Metabolism)
[Majunga gains double infamy rating + rapid healing]
Hidden Variable: Cannibalism [Majunga can no longer tolerate its own species nor small carnivores and will eat them]
Specimen: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Body Part: Torso
Modification: Hyperefficient Blood
Synergy: Tyrant King (Skin Toughness + Cardio Strength)
[Doubles Attack value and obtains a Tail Whip attack]
Hidden Variable: Blind Spot [Rex's vision is now motion based]
Specimen: Triceratops
Body Part: Horns
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Gore (Strong Muscle Fibers)
[When squaring off in combat, Triceratops can gore its foes with its horns weakening them and creating a disease risk if they choose to disengage]
Hidden Variable: Blunted [Triceratops's horns are subject to wear and tear lowering its combat capabilities, left untreated they may break]
Specimen: Spinosaurus
Body Part: Tail
Modification: Cardio Strength
Synergy: Depths Hunter (Intuitive Learning + Brain Ageing)
[Spinosaurus can now hunt and swim in deep water]
Hidden Variable: Unrestrained [Spinosaurus can escape its enclosure if deep waters connect the enclosure and outside world]
Specimen: Carnotaurus
Body Part: Skin
Modification: Skin Toughness
Synergy: Adaptive Camouflage (Hyperefficient Blood + Rapid Metabolism)
[Gains ability to blend in with surrounding environment]
Hidden Variable: Undetectable [Carnotaurus no longer appears on the map]
Specimen: Stegosaurus
Body Part: Tail
Modification: Reaction Speed
Synergy: Retaliation (Strong Muscle Fibers + Increased Bone Density)
[Deals double damage after being attacked]
Hidden Variable: Territorial [Stegosaurus become much less hospitable towards other herbivores]
Specimen: Baryonyx (Applies to Spinosaurids)
Body Part: Arms
Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers
Synergy: Heavy Claw (Cardio Strength + Reaction Speed)

[Baryonyx can use its arms in combat increasing attack rating]
Hidden Variable: Jawbreaker [Baryonyx becomes susceptible to jaw fractures]
Specimen: Ankylosaurus
Body Part: Osteoderm
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Indomitable
(Strong Muscle Fibers + Hyperefficient Blood)
[Doubles Defense value]
Hidden Variable: Unchained [Can smash concrete walls, increased resistance to electrified fencing, and tranquilizer tolerance (10 shots)]
Specimen: Dilophosaurus
Body Part: Frill
Modification: Immune Response
Synergy: Blind
(Reaction Speed)
[Venom temporarily blinds foes]
Hidden Variable: Deadly Toxin [Venom can cause paralysis]
Specimen: Troodon
Body Part: Eyes
Modification: Ocular Enhancement
Synergy: Night Vision
(Intuitive Learning + Tooth Hardness)
[Troodon obtains a large sight radius + perfect vision during Dense Fog and Night]
Hidden Variable: Nocturnal Menace [Troodon becomes nocturnal, inherits Aggressive Instincts, and a venomous bite]
Specimen: Compsognathus
Body Part: Stomach
Modification: Robust Digestion
Synergy: Pest Control
(Immune Response + Reaction Speed)
[Maintain general park hygiene by keeping enclosures free of rodents, waste, and corpses]
Hidden Variable: Carrion Spreader [Compsognathus becomes an incubator for disease which can rapidly spread across the park]
Specimen: Velociraptor
Body Part: Brain
Modification: Intuitive Learning
Synergy: Pack Leader
(Ocular Enhancement + Brain Ageing)
[Raptors can attack large carnivores] {Requires minimum 3 pack members}
Hidden Variable: Clever Girl [Raptors inherit Aggressive Instincts, test fencing for weakness, and can dig or climb under/over unelectrified fencing of any type]
Specimen: Parasaurolophus
Body Part: Chest
Modification: Cardio Strength
Synergy: Bioluminescence
(Rapid Metabolism)
[Parasaurs will glow varying colors {color variation depends on skin used} during night and weather that obstructs the sun]
Hidden Variable: Rapid Stress Response [Parasaurs will quickly become stressed and spur cross-species stampedes]
Specimen: Giganotosaurus
Body Part: Head
Modification: Group Adaptation
Synergy: Giant Slayer
(Brain Ageing + Intensive Repair)
[Giga can now hunt sauropods in groups of 3-4]
Hidden Variable: Relentless [Gigas will hunt relentlessly, killing for sport; comfort thresholds will swiftly drop if there is no longer prey to hunt]
Specimen: Pentaceratops (applies to all ceratopsids)
Body Part: Frill
Modification: Stress Inhibitor
Synergy: Herder
(Solitary Adaptation + Cross Species Adaptation)
[Increases population tolerance + Doubles social tolerance]
Hidden Variable: Aggressive Instincts [Ceratopsids become very unfriendly and aggressive towards humans]
Specimen: Maiasaura
Body Part: Abdomen
Modification: Brain Ageing
Synergy: Survivor (Group Adaptation + Confined Spaces Adaptation)
[Can weather almost any natural disaster unscathed]
Hidden Variable: Breeder [Will rapidly multiply decimating population thresholds, but are extremely protective of their young]
Specimen: Gallimimus (applies to all ornithomimids)
Body Part: Legs
Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers
Synergy: Flock
[Grassland Adaptation]
[Gallimimus can exceed population requirements of herbivores sharing an enclosure with it, but prefers the company of its own species]
Hidden Variable: Stroke [Health risk introduced by the lack of a more controlled environment, Gallimimus is subject to having strokes]
Specimen: Dryosaurus
Body Part: Arms
Modification: Confined Space Adaptation
Synergy: Burrower
(Stress Inhibitor)
[Dryosaurus develops the ability to dig burrows to shelter from the elements and evade predators]
Hidden Variable: Seizure [Stress inhibitors have led to the unintended consequence of neurological damage causing Dryosaurus to experience seizures; which can be hard to detect while they shelter in their burrows]
Specimen: Homalocephale
Body Part: Head
Modification: Intuitive Learning
Synergy: Entertainer (Brain Ageing)
[Homalocephale becomes very sociable with guests and will play and perform actions that guests find entertaining]
Hidden Variable: Cardiac Arrest [Committed too much to the entertainment of guests, Homalocephale will overexert itself and can succumb to cardiac arrest]
Specimen: Albertosaurus (applies to all large carnivores)
Body Part: Teeth
Modification: Tooth Hardness
Synergy: Alpha Predator
(Cardio Strength + Skin Toughness)
[Doubles Attack + increases dinosaur rating]
Hidden Variable: Gum Disease [Will become stricken with disease, left untreated carnivore will lose its teeth, slip into a coma, and die]
Specimen: Iguanodon
Body Part: Thumbs
Modification: Increased Bone Density
Synergy: Sentry
(Rapid Metabolism + Intensive Repair)
[Iguanodon will actively engage predators to defend the herd]
Hidden Variable: Cold-Blooded [Iguanodon is highly susceptible to developing frostbite when temperatures drop during night or cold weather events]
Specimen: Brachiosaurus
Body Part: Head
Modification: Hyperefficient Blood
Synergy: Visionary (Cardio Strength + Ocular Enhancement)
[Boasting a wide sight range Brachiosaurus can detect and alert herd to threats before they get close; circumvents dense fogs and sight impairing conditions]
Hidden Variable: Farsighted [Brachiosaurus has difficulties seeing objects up close and may accidentally step on small dinosaurs or become startled causing it to try and break out]
Specimen: Therizinosaurus
Body Part: Claws
Modification: Intensive Repair (Strong Muscle Fibers + Rapid Metabolism)
Synergy: Cutthroat [Boasting a wide range of attack, each swipe has a chance to cause a bleed effect]
Hidden Variable: Hemorrhage [During combat Therizinosaurus may accidentally injure itself causing it to self-inflict its bleed effect]
Specimen: Amargasaurus
Body Part: Neck
Modification: Brain Ageing (Immune Response + Intuitive Learning)
Synergy: Imposing [Brandishing a colorful sail the behavioral display can frighten and ward off small carnivores from the herd, 15% chance to thwart sauropod predator(s): Giganotosaurus]
Hidden Variable: Anemia [A side effect of its bold defensive display, Amargasaurus is susceptible to developing sickle cell anemia]
Specimen: Oviraptor
Body Part: Jaws
Modification: Tooth Hardness (Robust Digestion + Immune Response)
Synergy: Scavenger [Inherits the carnivore only scavenging behavior and lowers its food requirements]
Hidden Variable: Egg Snatcher [If breeding occurs in the park, Oviraptor will prioritize stealing and eating eggs and infant dinosaurs]




That is a pretty exhaustive list, all but the last 3 species are currently in the game, but I thought they were interesting enough to include. The duplicates are also intentional, they demonstrate that not every single species has to have only one synergy. Depending on how you think to balance it, you could have 2 synergies and 2 hidden variables at play with the right combination of modifications to activate both.

I was also very on the nose with inspirations taken from the Jurassic novels, films, or video games while others are just things I came up with based on my own interpretations/gameplay ideas. I didn't use every genetic modification in the game, I just wanted to give you some detailed examples.

Moreover, you can logically tie different diseases and medical conditions together where it makes sense. The Compy, for example, is the only species by default that has swarm and free roaming behavior, and dinosaurs can defecate, so it only makes sense with all the nasty things these swarmy little guys do that they are the harbingers of disease. You could easily imagine these guys transmitting Rabies, Hookworms, or E. Coli to the species they are being used to clean up after. They are even more effective not just because of the inherited scavenging behavior all carnivores receive, but the modifications used for the synergy also make them more resistant to the diseases they carry, so they can spread them faster than they'll succumb themselves. The interactions to stop these little guys is also pretty unique, due to their size you will need Rangers (Jurassic Park era) or ACU Ground teams (Jurassic World era) to round them up.

Other modifications apply to more than one species, so keep that in mind. You also don't have to activate a synergy thus the hidden variable isn't activated either. A T-Rex could have the modification for the charge attack or it could have the alpha predator modification. Triceratops and Stegosaurus can be stricken by the same toxins issue, but each could also opt for a different modification entirely, so there is a lot of room to customize your species and limit the number of hidden variables you could experience. The campaign would teach you how some of this works through missions without explicitly telling you its a hidden variable. There will still be plenty of values you will have to discover on your own. Respiratory Malaise is the prime example of a campaign specific ailment, so missions could still have unique objectives, (Ex: Lysine Contingency) but give you an idea of potential hidden variables as well.

Sure, I bet this would all be imbalanced with everything else I proposed, but the point was primarily the idea and giving Frontier room to manage and actually add to this sort of system gradually over time rather than putting undue pressure to try and get this work done up front.

I also waited to the very end to point out a few things you may have noticed in the table. Pack hunting and breeding are just two features that are mentioned in the table, but these are not features exclusive to the species listed. For instance, raptors hunting "large carnivores" is exclusive to the Velociraptor but pack hunting is not, for Deinonychus has it too. Similarly, Maisaura being a devastating mass breeder is exclusive to it, but breeding itself does not belong solely to Maisaura.



Breeding, Nesting, & Parenting

To begin things, I held off on discussing this in more detail, so as not to ruin the special role this sort of features plays. There was interest in this area, so I would like to expand upon it. So, immediately discussing it this is both a critical dinosaur behavior and the defacto hidden variable.

Breeding is the default hidden variable for all species that have been genetically modified by introducing a 1% risk which increases with each subsequent modification.

If you unlock a synergy for a dinosaur, consider the associated hidden variable as in addition to the breeding variable.

In a clear reference to Jurassic Park, whenever you genetically modify a dinosaur whether it be cosmetic or otherwise you are introducing a major hidden variable into your park. A single genetic modification will cause a 1% risk that your dinosaur will breed. How you want to balance this is still up in the air, but it could be as little as a 1% chance per Day/Night cycle, month, season, etc. the calendar could be checked from the Storm Defense Station. You can add 0.5-1% per modification as balancing requires with each animal's hidden variable only able to trigger once per animal.

There will be no notification that this is happening, it will be up to the player to discover these. For instance, if you notice your comfort thresholds in an enclosure are off or you discover a nest it will be clear what is going on. This also means the introduction of genders, by default all the animals are female with that percentage creating the possibility for a modified species to change gender to male. So, if you incubated 4 modified Parasaurs, each of the 4 would have the associated % risk.

It should be apparent that this means you multiply the actual risk of breeding based on the number of modified species you incubate.



Behavior & Parenting

You will need 2+ of the same species in an enclosure for the breeding to occur. Most of the species are not going to make their nests out in the open. Parents will build their nests near water or under the protection of foliage. Keep a close eye on the enclosures themselves and any change in behavior of your dinosaurs for indication that breeding may have occured. Pregnant dinosaurs, for instance, will move slower, appear slightly larger, and will spend more time near where the nests are located.

Most species will be very protective of their clutch of eggs, Maisaura is by far the most aggressive though as they are quick to respond with force. Behavior may vary a bit between species with carnivores generally less nurturing on average. This extends to the different sexs, female Maiasaura will defend theirs nests, but the males' behavior may not be too dissimilar to what it is normally. Tyrannosaur parents, in contrast, might be extremely protective of their young a contrast in behavior from other carnivores and differences in how the sexes manage parenting between species.

Speaking of the young, there will be hatchlings. Unique models would be a given, the babies will mostly behave akin to adults, but social tolerance is another issue to keep in mind. Using the T-Rex as another example, parents may only tolerate 1-2 young before their social requirements are exceeded. If more than 2 young are present, an intolerant parent may eat one of their young resolving the comfort issue. Young dinosaurs will stay close to a parent 90% of the time, for herbivores the herd itself will surround the young and keep them towards the center of the herd. For carnivores, the young will just follow a parent closely. Parents will also respond with tremendous aggression if anything approaches their infants.

Siblings and other young dinosaurs may have playful interactions with one another. This will primarily effect herbivores as carnivores produce less young and they tend to not have high social requirements or much tolerance for other species. Large carnivores, for instance, will respond with aggression towards small carnivores if they approach their nests/young while small carnivores may seek to save their young and relocate their nests.

As the hatchlings grow into juveniles things will start to streamline. Juveniles will have stats, but will not match an adult until full maturity is achieved. Juveniles, however, can defend themselves and fight as they behave with more independence from their parents. The children will also inherit their parent's genetic modifications as a consequence, so you really got to watch out.



Breeding is an extremely dangerous hidden variable. Never underestimate how quickly you can lose control once this factor kicks in. One last distinction is that Maisaura as a rapid breeder can breed multiple times breaking the standard 1 animal breeding restriction. Moreover, if there is a conflict between two modified species who breed, 1 animal's breeding variable will trigger, the second animal's will not, so the second animal can find a new mate to breed with later on. In practice, that means if a male is present and breeds with a female, but it was the female's breeding variable that was triggered, the male can still breed with a different female.​




I should also note, that I did not include any flying or aquatic reptiles in the examples, but those too could or would function under this system too.




Engineering a Monster [Hybrids]


We've finally made it, its time to talk hybrids.

Secrets of Dr. Wu Trailer

Please refer again to this embedded trailer for the Secrets of Dr. Wu. Pause at 0:30 take a look at that interface, that is a more in-depth UI we could really use.

In fact, from about 0:20 - 0:50 we have some excellent possibilities presented by Frontier themselves on how this might look like for our hybrid interface. You have to select your species from the archived list of specimens, have some form of blueprint or pre-existing knowledge of the species you must splice together in order to combine their gene sequences. Great visuals, but as always there is one step further I want to go with the hybrids. These should sort of be like your endgame, the culmination of all your progress that will require a significant time commitment and investment. You should feel like you were working towards this from the moment you started the game. All throughout your adventures on Las Cinco Muertes you'll be saving, preparing, collecting resources, and acquiring knowledge until you are finally ready to make hybrids a reality.




You'll need a security mission unlock near the end of the game in order to begin researching Indominus Rex. You'll also need high reputations with all 3 Divisions which would also apply to Challenge Mode too.

Now let's get onto some of the requirements, using Indominus Rex as our prime example.

100% genome - Tyrannosaurus Rex
100% genome - Velociraptor
100% genome - Giganotosaurus
100% genome - Majungasaurus
100% genome - Carnotsaurus

Immediately its obvious that the100% genome requirement remains, but the number of species required has expanded more in line with the lore of Indominus. However, were this it that would still be too easy, so things are about to get more complicated.

100% genome - Therizinosaurus
100% genome - Rugops
100% genome - Pyconemosaurus
100% genome - Quilmesaurus
100% genome - Viavenator
100% genome - Deinosuchus




Now all these other species not currently in the game are requirements to make Indominus Rex. If Frontier wants to add all of these to the game in a dinosaur pack or long rumored sequel, more power to them (hint: Therizinosaurus), but its not necessary and arguably more challenging without adding a bunch of dinosaurs no one is particularly requesting to the game. Instead, this goes back to Part 1 when I was discussing the dig sites. Remember, when I briefly mentioned something about special Genetic Points? Well, this is what I was alluding to back then, and how some randomness actually makes this more difficult than it sounds.

Like the normal genetics system you will have to spend Genetic Points, for hybrids we are talking a truck load of Genetic Points and raw cash at that. However, that includes collecting Genetic Points of specific species like Rugops which cannot be obtained like ordinary fossils. Rugops, for this example, would be a reputation reward with a paleontology group. The only way to discover Rugops fossils would be if you build a good rapport in the Fossil Market with this specific group and raise it to a level that they unlock Rugops for fossil extraction at the Kem Kem Beds and the new digsite "
Echkar Formation."

Viavenator may be different, to get this it is a random find when dig teams are sent to South America. Because of that, it can be difficult to 100% this genome meaning you should be consistently sending expeditions. These dig sites won't deplete if you still haven't 100% Viavenator, but you will just come back with random finds and fossils of species you already have 100% genome. This is good for farming genetic points for gene modifications, in addition to some spare cash while still working towards your primary goal.




That would give you a couple of ways to obtain the 100% genome of the primary species needed to make Indominus Rex, now all that is left is to fill in the gaps in the sequence.

100% genome - Tree Frog
100% genome - Cuttlefish
100% genome - Pit Viper

These last three aren't prehistoric species at all, but modern species. You know all those generic fossils you find on digs, there is more we can do with them than just sell them for cash. We just need to add a few new fossils to uncover and you can redeem them for genetic points. New players are most likely going to make the mistake of selling all this stuff for cash early on and wind up realizing their importance later on when they are trying to engineer Indominus. Experienced players or Jurassic nerds will likely get the reference early on and start stockpiling as soon as possible.

The Cybersecurity issues I detailed in Part 3 can also slow you down, so to avoid your DNA extraction and research being stalled, it might be good to consider vital infrastructure to keep your hybrid project on track.

We want that constant feeling that you are progressing, but stretched across the game, so it doesn't become the most tedious thing in the world once you get the mission objective to create Indominus Rex. The reward will be a unique specimen that will be pose quite the challenge.

Hybrid Specimen: Indominus Rex
Required Modification: Cardio Strength [Other modifications are optional]
Required Synergy: Untamable King (Intuitive Learning + Tooth Hardness + Hyperefficient Blood)
[Inherits synergies of component species]
Hidden Variable: Diabolus Rex [Aggressive Instincts + Solitary Adaptation + Stress Inhibitor Immunity]

Indominus Rex is best thought of as the final creation of the campaign, so its also going to vary a bit from the other hybrids. It's the most difficult to unlock and thanks to how much info we have on it, there is a reason its hidden variable is called "Diabolus Rex" as it will live up to its name. Not only does it get all the cool synergies of its component species, but it also inherits all of their hidden variables too. Let me just quickly list them for you:

Inherited Synergies:

Charge
Pack Leader [Indominus can assume role as Velociraptors' alpha]
Adaptive Camouflage
Infamous
Giant Slayer


Hidden Variables:

Unrestrained
Clever Girl
[Fence testing only]
Undetectable
Cannibalism
Relentless





Indominus has no breeding risk and it only gains one behavior of Velociraptors. You can reference the table for what the named effects do specifically, but basically Carnotaurus gives it the camouflage, Giga gives it the ability to kill sauropods, raptors can allow it to be a pack leader albeit short-lived, the Rex gives it the ability perform a lunging attack, and Majunga gives it absurd healing and infamy bonuses.

Additionally, Indominus is immune to stress inhibitors, intolerant of other species, always irritable, can smash concrete walls, tests electrified fencing for weaknesses, has no map icon, will eat its own kind, and it will never cease in its rampage.



[Hybrids]
Specimen: Indoraptor
Required Modification: Intuitive Learning
Required Synergy: Night Terror (Tooth Hardness + Reaction Speed + Ocular Enhancements)
[Obtains Pack Leader synergy with Velociraptors + Night Vision]
Hidden Variable: Clever Boy [Inherits Clever Girl hidden variable + Nocturnal Camouflage preventing map detection at night]
Specimen: Spinoraptor
Required Modification: Hyperefficent Blood
Required Synergy: Depths Hunters (Rapid Metabolism + Tooth Hardness)
[Spinoraptor gains a swimming ability]
Hidden Variable: Tranquillizer Immunity [Cannot be tranquilized + requires aquatic fencing if enclosure is connected to deep waters]
Specimen: Ankylodocus
Required Modification: Skin Toughness
Required Synergy: Crusher (Increased Bone Density + Strong Muscle Fibers)
[Can break through any fencing, wall, or barrier type and can break bones during combat]
Hidden Variable: Flailing [Ankylodocus has poor control over its clubbed tail when in motion and can inadvertently harm other species]
Specimen: Stegoceratops
Required Modification: Strong Muscle Fibers (Cardio Strength + Hyperefficient Blood)
Required Synergy: Impaler
[Introduces a small probability that Stegoceratops may impale an opposing dinosaur in combat causing it to hemorrhage]
Hidden Variable: Immovable [Stegoceratops risks a chance that its horns may get caught in foes or obstacles leaving it defenseless]





Hybrids cannot breed

Unique to hybrids is their inability to breed whatsoever. They must all be genetically engineered. Once you have Indominus Rex, consider the hybrids as post game content, they aren't particularly hard to unlock maybe an end game scenario like how Secrets of Dr. Wu continues where the base game leaves off.

Mandatory Synergies

Further setting them apart, the hybrids are spliced together from 2+ species and have mandatory synergies in order to incubate. They inherently have unique synergies and hidden variables unlike any ordinary species.

Higher Stats

All hybrids have higher base stats than other species, the difference can be made up through genetic modifications.

Unique Genetic Points

Indominus Rex's requirement for Cuttlefish and Pit Viper DNA is a good example of hybrids requiring special properties to create. Expedition findings are critical if you wish to have any hybrids in your park. Once the requirements are met, the hybrids are unlocked and do not need these special genetic points to make more.



I want to reiterate though that this is not an exhaustive list of every single behavior or genetic possibility. There are many species and modifications I didn't list, for balance and variety's sake we might need new modifications to use, or trimming back on some of the crazier ideas. When it comes things like breeding there are all sort of prerequisites to get Maiasaura and Oviraptor working right. You need to include new models, animations, physics, and AI to get some of the more involved features suggested working. Hatchlings and Juvenile species would create a mountain of work for Frontier, so don't get your hopes up. Let me know your thoughts and let's keep this conversation going.


I also waant to thank everyone who stuck with me and read this to the very end. Going to keep an eye on this thread if anyone has questions or just want to keep the discussion going.​
I have to be honest with you...the original suggestion was already great. When I saw today that you introduced nesting and breeding into this suggestion and the careful way you write, I can only say...excellent! Even I myself, who am a detailer, couldn't make a suggestion as good as yours! Regarding the genetic modifications you mentioned before, it was great, very detailed!

I really liked it! Awesome! :)
 
I have to be honest with you...the original suggestion was already great. When I saw today that you introduced nesting and breeding into this suggestion and the careful way you write, I can only say...excellent! Even I myself, who am a detailer, couldn't make a suggestion as good as yours! Regarding the genetic modifications you mentioned before, it was great, very detailed!

I really liked it! Awesome! :)
I am glad you like it.

I am continuing to iterate and improve upon this especially now that our senior community manager has taken notice. Formatting is ongoing for improved legibility, excess text is being trimmed, and I have made a few noteworthy changes. Ankylosaurus and especially Iguanodon have had adjustments in their hidden variables. Further changes are to be expected until I have finished going through the entire post.
 
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