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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Critters & Monsters

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

“Critter” is an affectionate name for the animals in TUG. Critters come in all shapes and sizes and are uniquely varied to exist in each biome found throughout the world.

A critter can fall into one of three categories:

  • Predator, which is any critter that hunts other critters for food
  • Prey, which refers to any critter that happens to fall into the category of food for another critter
  • Other, which includes any critter that does not fall into a typical predator-prey relationship

More is needed when defining a critter’s type than just calling it a “predator” or a “prey” or something else; these critters need to have visual identifiers to better define their type and behavior. For example, prey will appear in herds and near grazing areas, or may be the singular skittish beast foraging in the woods, always on the lookout for bigger critters wanting to make them a quick snack. These behavioral cues play a huge part for the Seed when they are hunting for food, or when they are hoping to trap the more dangerous critters: predators. Predators will be seen cautiously stalking their prey or viciously guarding their territory. Predators lurk in tall grasses, or can be found hoarding their kill in a cave den. Knowing these behaviors is a matter between life and death for the wary Seed. Not watching out for the signs, and wandering into what is thought to be an unoccupied cave could turn out to be a very bad mistake!

In addition to where they will roam, critters will also be defined by how they move and what type of decisions they make in their daily routines. As previously mentioned, moving in herds is one of these basic movement behaviors that most prey will follow when moving through a grazing area. Prey using this herd behavior graze in a general area and will remain within range of the rest of the herd. A variation on this behavior is flocking. This style of movement is more commonly found in birds, but any critter that relies on a lead animal defining its actions can be considered part of a flock and will follow that lead’s actions and spacing amongst flock mates. Finally, we have patrolling critters. This behavior is most common of predators who pace from spot to spot, looking for prey or guarding their territory. Critters on patrol are always on the lookout for opportunities to chase down prey, or a chance to take on anyone that threatens their territory.

Mythological beasts and monsters in our world attribute their origins to common animals described in fantastical ways, and the monsters of TUG share that same heritage. When you encounter a monster in TUG, its behaviors and appearance might remind you of some other critters you have encountered... but don’t be fooled, these creatures are far stranger than their critter origin!

Whether it is a leviathan terrorizing the water or a thunderbird in the skies signalling ominous weather conditions, the monsters of TUG will be incredibly varied. But don’t expect every monster to just be a conquest waiting to happen; much like their mythological cousins, monsters in TUG will also exist as keepers of lore or bearers of luck (or ill fortune for the unlucky few)!

So you might be thinking, what are some of the names of these monsters and critters in the game? Are they really called leviathans, or frogbats, or what? Well, as part of the exploratory nature of the game, the name is up to you! As you explore the world and encounter these monsters and critters, it will be your task to document their behavior, learn their activities and their nature, and most importantly, catalog their names!

Go forth, young Seedlings, and name all the livestock, the birds of the sky, and all the wild critters and monsters!


p.s. If you missed it, have a look at our video update from yesterday on the science of TUG! And to our newer followers, be sure to check out our earlier video updates on the design and technology of TUG!

p.p.s. As always, don’t forget to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube Channel, and join in the discussion on our Official Forums!


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    1. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @smaller, there will be a variety of resources available, and if you want to avoid animal-derived resources, then by all means! Getting predators to be universally friendly to you is a bit trickier... taming one or two here and there will definitely be possible, but getting them all to magically be nice to you just wouldn't make sense, logic-wise. HOWEVER, that being said... there will be certain lore-based paths you can take within the game that will reward and encourage pacifism towards creatures... can't say more. :P

    2. Clawdore on

      The mention of a leviathan terrorising the sea got me thinking; what is the underwater part of this world going to be like? I love all of the ideas and thought you've put into your world so far: the freedom and the possibility of creating your own experience and venturing into the unknown. One thing I'd really love to do in such a game is to be able to explore underwater. What sort of level of detail are you going for with underwater exploration? Hunting? Underwater building? Limiting it to how long you can hold your breath?

    3. Leelyn Pritchett on

      Ive been super curious about the AI. Fundamentally one of the systems Ive always been curious to see in application was a evolving AI. Where say a beast lives in a forest and as it moves around it mite move into a plains and pick up new traits. While losing old ones. In time species evolve not because they are added into the game. Rather because as they spread and duplicate, they become new species. Survival of the fittest always playing a part of course.

    4. Missing avatar

      smaller on

      Will the game's mechanics leave an option for players to coexist with animals, even predatory ones, without having to harm them? Like, a way to discourage predators or make friends with them to avoid having to fight them, and alternate resources for food and clothing and other items (which may not necessarily be as *convenient* as animal-based resources, but will still suffice)?

    5. Missing avatar

      Chris Bench on

      But if you want to create mysterious critters with secret moves etc., don't you worry the players will create a wiki outside of the game as a website instead of building a "in-game library"? Or is that acceptable to you? Because I would love the idea of a "second Alexandria", how you called it, but I think it requires a certain self discipline of the players to gather informations in-game instead of just googling it. However, what would be incredibly awesome are critters, that adapt their behaviour to their environment, so that you get not only different species but also different populations! A herd of critters could be trustful to players, because they had never contact with a player, but an other herd of the same critter species could react scared or aggressive towards him, because it had bad experiences with other players. Or actual herd critters could become rogues or even look for another place to live because they are critically endangered. The sight of an expelled herd, wandering around the fields would be so exciting!

    6. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      YUsssSsss! Exactly! And then the world gets to figure out how to best centralize and organize all that information as well. We have to be the strangest developers in the world, to create an open world of problems, to let the players figure out :D... most counter intuitive design for games as the industry currently sees it.


    7. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      and i hope critters and monsters will have secrets (their habits, special moves, etc) so you if you have to face a dangerous and rare one (to get its scales to forge an awsome armor) you could go in a library from other players and search for information on where does it live or eat or if he has hidden characteristics (like if in danger it spits acid) and you have to spend time searching cause there's no a given book, but many written from players and different names for the same creatures maybe, so exciting!

    8. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      Think of what our own world was like, or may have been like so many thousands of years ago, with no single dialog of naming contentions in place. This dynamic feeds into story telling in its own rights... think of what happens when you see someone running from out of the forest and you ask what is wrong? And he explains "IDK, but I saw this big ol horned demon lookin thing coming out of some black pool so I had to GTFO". Or how these tall tales emerge within communities of these god toads that breathe fire, but those that go "myth busting" see its only a small frog that secretes alcohol of some sort. These are part of the philosophies of design for us, in allowing varieties of solutions to identified by the inhabitants of the world.

      But what becomes MORE interesting, is when and how do those names become socially acceptable? Does someone create the next library of Alexandria and attempt to catalog and name the worlds creatures? Do they become accepted? By who? Why? What conflicts arise because of it? EXCITING!


    9. Missing avatar

      Bruce Wane on

      I am very excited about your game! Go on!

    10. Elaine Kohrman on

      As a biologist who studied animal behavior in school, I'm crazy excited about this aspect of the game! I can forsee small poisonous/magical animals that look harmless except for their coloration, like poison arrow frogs. I would like to see packs of predators like wolves. Mothers defending a den of young. How about happily killing a bunch of prey (sheep) only to find out you've angered the predator (shepherd) that "owns" them?
      I think the critters will get 'common' names in the forums. It sounds like there will be no 'official' names.
      I love how the TUG world will feel like a real world! I like that the smart, observant player will have an advantage over the stupid, smashing player because the stupid player will blunder into danger.

    11. Missing avatar

      Taro Katajisto on

      Good point. No floating nametags for anything. I just assumed that because of every other mmo out there :) think that you actually might have to ask for someones name in a game and learn to know them by their looks :) I so can't wait wait for this game.

    12. Missing avatar

      Chohsan on

      Continuing on... since you won't see a floating name tag above the monsters different groups or players may have varying names for the same monster! There's no floating tag above your dog telling you it's a dog...

    13. Missing avatar

      Chohsan on

      I think a lot of you have misunderstood the naming policy. There will be no set or definite names given to any creature you meet in the game. You'll decide what you want to call the creatures you see in TUG. No animal starts off having a name until someone decides to give it one (e.g.: a dog wasn't called a dog until people decided to start calling it one).

    14. Philip Bretschneider on

      I have an idea for the naming policy i think there should be some kind of journal where you can document all the creatures you have encountered. So in that journal there would be a drawing of the creature (pre drawn) and on the other side of the book you can write down anything you want this will be in you inventory and if you drop it other people can read what you wrote. In that way we can avoid the dickfish of fuckasaurus as Taro said.

    15. Missing avatar

      Taro Katajisto on

      My only concern is the naming policy. No single player should be allowed to name a creature. But perhaps one could suggest a few options from which the scientific circle could choose the most fitting one. This way you can avoid having animals like dickfish or fuckasaurus and like.

    16. Missing avatar

      Sharky on

      Again, LOVE the complexity of this idea! *If* you can pull off this complex system without a shit-load of bugs and problems, it will be *amazing*! But, I will say, my only concern with everything you guys have been saying is, are you biting off more than you can chew? This, and so many other systems you've talked about thus far (golems, seed development, tools/crafting, etc) is a very lofty idea, very complex and innovative, but also, a LOT of work. I'd love to see all these systems in a game, but I wouldn't want them watered down and made boring because you took on to much and (at the end of the day, you are a business, and you have deadlines/budget limits) you guys weren't able to actually give each system the time and effort they require because you had too many/too much.
      Looking forward to seeing how the implementation of said systems in game goes! Quite an exciting game!

    17. Devon Mullane on

      HOORAY! Yes, it is obvious that you guys clearly have a clue. Small gripe, but that got me in XCOM. "The men have gotten to calling them blah de blah" Really? Last I checked I was in control of them and I never called them that. I don't know what a Muton is, but you should really watch out for those bruisers. Thank you for letting us define the world ourselves, that is perhaps the greatest gift this game can possibly offer, ownership of our world.

    18. Missing avatar

      Terry Carruthers on

      An excerpt from flawds journal: "[T]he wild Nom. This small creatures most identifiable feature is it's mono, but extremely diversified, colorful and breezy fur, that grows evenly from its torso to conceal most of its body.. .[E]asily mistake for a Puffly plant, especially if it's during its Float season... Usually peering out from within its furry shroud the Nom seems to evolved proportionately large eyes and a along flexible neck that allows it to look in almost any direction relative to its front... Further study is required..."

    19. palenoue on

      I'm curious about the "Other" type of critters. The ones that aren't predators but are too big/poisonous/tough/magical to be prey. For example, wild boars are ferocious fighters, most native predators avoid them unless there's nothing else to eat, while hippos aren't predators but they'll attack almost anything when in a bad mood, which they often are.
      In a magic world we should expect to see critters that protect themselves in magical ways, like they might have an enchanted aura that reflects intent. Thus a predator who gets too close believes their prey is going to attack and eat them so it runs off, while another critter who poses no danger gets the sense that this magical critter is also peaceful so grazing next to it isn't a problem. They could drift from one herd to another with no complications.
      This could be really interesting to see in a game. You need to get this emo-mirror critter for crafting, but if you attack it you're damaging yourself more than the critter. If you grow emotionally fond of the critter you will believe it is fond of you, but that's just a reflection of your emotions, the critter itself doesn't care. So what do you do?
      I like games that put in this extra level of thought. It's one thing to throw magical creatures into the game, another to consider how they integrate into their ecosystem.

    20. Nicole Crenshaw on

      @NerdKingdom Rad! I didn't know that was the tiger. Look at those little teef [and horns? AWW YISS!]!

    21. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Nicole, there actually was one in Thursday's update on Companions!!!
      Look, there he is, right there in the middle!!! :D

    22. Nicole Crenshaw on

      Speaking of critters and monsters and pets...Is it possible to get a concept sketch of the Sabre Tiger companion critter in one of the upcoming updates for those who have pledged on that tier?

    23. Missing avatar

      Burnen_thyme on

      I like the fact you are going for diversity, i'm quite happy to see animals with the exact same behaviour but a different model. It doesn't change gameplay much but it just makes the world more full and interesting :)

    24. Fearlessjay on

      Sounds cool.

      So will it be like a hierarchy where some predators could be prey to bigger ones, or is it more just one or the other?