Breed Spotlight: Paso Fino

Breed Spotlight: Paso Fino

Paso Fino

A cousin to the Andalusians we talked about last week, the Paso Fino is a horse with two strains, one from Puerto Rico and the other from Columbia. While independently developed, both strains tend to be put together under the same umbrella as “Paso Fino” and many organizations register both, including on Astranar. This is an extra breed, so you will have to pay real-world funds in order to add it to your stable.

Paso Fino were bred by Spanish land owners to use on their plantations, using horses brought over from Spain (including Andalusians, Barbs, and jennets), and share their heritage with numerous other horses, including the American mustang. They are powerful for their size, but don’t have a consistent body type among them. The Puerto Rico line is said to have short backs with prominent withers and clean legs, at least. They are described as “lively,” with a natural eagerness to work and work with their rider.

Paso 1

The Paso Fino was bred for their endurance and the comfort of their rider. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to horse experts that this is an ambling horse, not a traditional trotting horse. Ambling gaits are lateral movement, which gives a much smoother ride for the rider instead of the bounce of the trot or rocking of a canter. They are one of the few remaining horse breeds who naturally walk that way, and in fact many breeders actively seek out those who transition between the gaits even if they have other, less desirable characteristics. While normally an endurance horse wouldn’t fit in among the dressage horses of Emerald, the ambling gaits give the Paso Fino the edge it needs to carve out its place in the show-circle.

Paso 2

Breed Characteristics:
Paso Fino are found in all solid colors, such as bay, grey, chestnut (red coat with red mane), palomino, black, buckskin, and sorrel (red coat with blonde mane, again for our purposes, see above). No markings are prohibited. There is also a rare eye color that is only available in the Paso Fino, called tiger’s eye, where the eye appears amber, yellow, or orange.

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                    3                                              Discipline:        3
Endurance:         4                                               Agility:              3
Strength:             4

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Breed Spotlight: Brumby Horse

Breed Spotlight: Brumby Horse

Brumby Horse

Another wild horse, the Brumby is the result of horses escaping, running wild, and forming new family groups called mobs or bands in Australia as it was being settled. While this makes them a bit tricky to identify, they are welcome additions to Astranar. They are a bonus horse, so in order to own one, you’ll need to purchase it with real-world currency.

Some of the Brumbies’ ancestors date back to lost or runaway horses of the European founders, but there are always more recent additions too. For the most part, they are a combination of “Capers”, Timor ponies, various mish-mash of British pony and horse breeds, and, to quote Wikipedia, “a significant number of Thoroughbreds and Arabians.” While the mobs inhabit many places across Australia, including national parks, they are widely regarded by some environmentalists, governments, and ecologists as pests. Other supporters however consider their survival necessary as preserving Australian history.

Brumby 1

Because they are such a mixture, there is no “breed standard,” and their pest/wild status appears to have prevented any kind of registry or breed book from being established either. One brumby may look very different from another, though depending on where in Australia the mob is from, they may lean one way or another. Because of them being good stock horses and Pony Club horses when domesticated, Astranar has offered to take on some of the population to help with the more densely populated areas. They live in the Citrine district, which has lush moors that must feel like home to these rugged horses.

Brumby 2

Breed Characteristics:
As a sign of their mixed heritage and breeding, brumby come in all varieties of coats, from solids to paints and all markings in between. Much like other breeds however, there is the presence of graying genes that can make some markings different than others. Because the brumby are imported to help with the population in Australia that are becoming too prevalent and into problem territory, Astranar only has geldings and mares for sale.

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                    3                                              Discipline:       3
Endurance:         4                                               Agility:             3
Strength:             4

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Breed Spotlight: Camargue Horse

Breed Spotlight: Camargue Horse

Camargue Horse

In contrast to our last breed spotlight, the Camargue horse is an ancient breed indigenous to the south of France. The breed book managed in Astranar is what is referred to as Camargue hors berceau because they are born outside of that region. It is an optional horse, so you will have to pay real-world funds for it.

For thousands of years, the Camargue horse has inhabited the marshes of southern France in their namesake region. They live in semi-feral family groups referred to as manade. It is a compact horse, with a short neck and deep chest. The mane and tail are noted as being very full, with the tail set low. Its limbs are strong, long, and in proportion, ending in solid and wide hooves that have developed due to their marsh living conditions. Their heads are frequently compared to Barbs, being heavy, square, with wide, expressive eyes, in contrast to their short ears. Pictures of them galloping through water are considered very romantic and are a popular image in posters.

Camargue 1

Because of their ancient association to the south of France, they can be tied to many other breeds, including Iberians, the Spanish jaca, the Chilean horse, the Criollo, Barbs, Arabians, and Thoroughbreds. The French government began setting breed books to protect the breed in 1976, especially as they continued to be cared for and used by the gardians, the Camargue version of cowboys who manage the black bulls for the bull fighting present in Southern France. With their calm temperament, intelligence, and hardy nature, they are valued for dressage, games unique to the gardians, and endurance riding, which helps explain why the Citrine district is eager to keep the breed book.

Camargue 2

Breed Characteristics:
Camargue horses are only available for purchase in grey/white. While foals are born dark brown or black, when they shed their fuzzy baby coats, they turn full white by maturity (and of adequate age to be sold).

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                   3                                              Discipline:        3
Endurance:         5                                               Agility:             3
Strength:             2

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Let’s Talk Racing!

Let’s Talk Racing!

As a horse themed game, one of the most prevalent mini-games that we feel should be in Mystic Riders is the different types of races. We don’t want the game to be focused on one type of race. We want to have different types of races to reflect different horse disciplines and give them different mechanics in the mini-games.

To be clear, when the player is out and exploring the world on their own, we don’t really care how well they clear a jump or how fast they get from one area to the other. They are discovering the map of the game and such things shouldn’t matter. When they enter a story race, or a competition race, or a daily race to train their horse, then the mechanics matter.

In Mystic Riders, we have decided on four different racing tracks: Agility, Dressage, Racing, and Show Jumping. Each of these tracks require different stat combinations between the horse and the rider.

The Agility track is Western riding including gymkhana. This is slalom gate racing, pole-bending, and barrel racing with pony flag racing as an experienced skill. The mechanics of these are doing them quickly and not hitting the equipment. The player would be using their standard movement keys. Just because there is no extra mechanics doesn’t mean that it is going to be easy to take those tight turns.

The Dressage track is cavaletti, dressage, reining, and trail riding as an experienced skill. These are skills that require the horse to have discipline. The player would be prompted to go at certain speeds and to follow a mini-game where they have to hit keys in a certain sequence in order to complete the moves. To get from one area to another, there can be arrows on the ground to tell them where to go and the colors could indicate speed.

The Racing track is flat racing, endurance racing, cross country, and steeple chase as an experienced skill. In the racing track, they’d have to learn to conserve their horse’s strength by keeping watch on an endurance meter. In cross country racing where there are jumps, they would have to jump by hitting the space bar in the right spot on gauge meter.

Lastly, the Show Jumping track is about the different types of show jumping: basic, six bar, faults, and for the experienced, faults converted. (We can cover what each of those means later.) In the show jumping mini game, the player would be required to approach the jump at the right angle and the right speed. As they approach the jump, there would be spots on the ground that they’d have to hit with their mouse at the right time. If they don’t, they miss the jump.

Hopefully, these mini-games will be familiar and at the same time, have a balance of being challenging enough to be interesting and easy enough not to be frustrating. Having seen similar mechanics in other games, these mechanics are possible. They’ve simply not been used in a MMORPG setting before.

We want the mechanics of the races to show how these different races take skill to succeed. And at the same time, give the players freedom to explore the world on their own at will. (Getting from point A to point B shouldn’t be a frustrating endeavor.)