The Three Horse Categories

The Three Horse Categories

Game Dev Becca has been posting about the different horse breeds we want to have in Astranar. Some of them are more special than others, such as your starter horse straight out of the Mirror World.

There are three different horse types in Mystic Riders. While each breed of horses will have their own set of special starting stats that align with the type of racing they excel at, they are separated into three distinct groups. We have what are considered regular horses, those horses that have a sport or Baroque body conformation and are in general considered warmbloods. We have draft horses, those with larger or cob body conformations and thicker barrels. Lastly, there are ponies. These are smaller than regular horses and in some cases are the origins of the bigger ones.

To get the full experience of Mystic Riders and to be able to explore the map completely, the player is going to have to own a regular horse, a draft horse, and a pony. (Don’t worry, we’ll help them out to get the currency they need.) The magical starter horse is considered a regular horse even though its closest normal world cousin is the Fjord Horse.

There are 4 draft horses and 3 different pony breeds for the player to choose from and 17 extra regular horses for the player to buy. (Plus some magical horses they can befriend and tame in the Mirror World.) There is also one breed of carriage horse in Astranar that the player will interact with but can’t buy.

The regular horses in Astranar are like the horses of the rest of the world, they’re good for eventing, showing, and for doing trail rides. These are the pleasure riding horses of the world. In Astranar they are commonly seen doing the different races around the districts, being transportation, and are by far the most common horse type in the country. Regular horses excel at dressage or flat racing. They can also be seen doing circus events.

Draft horses are available and are better suited to do farm work and forestry. They have the special ability of having higher endurance and can traverse deep into the marshes of Astranar where regular horses and ponies would get far too tired to go. If the player needs to move a tree trunk, or a bunch of rocks, or go into the marshlands, they’re going to need a draft horse. Draft horses are also better suited to show jumping.

Ponies are the smallest type of horse and are much sturdier than the average person would believe, though they are slower than a regular horse. The ponies are the agilest of the different horse types and thus have the special ability to be able to climb high up into the mountains where regular horses and drafts simply don’t have the footing. Ponies are best at western riding such as pole bending and barrel riding. They can also pull small two wheeled carts and participate in driving competitions.

We want to be able to have all types of horses and ponies in the game, and at the same time, we want each of these horse types to be necessary instead of just yet another horse mount skin. The player will have a reason to use each horse on a semi-regular basis and to train their horses to do different things. A regular horse, a draft horse, and a pony are going to be the foundations of starting their own stable. And really, ponies help calm the other horses down.

Horses need friends!

As the player levels up and builds their My Stable, they’ll be able to purchase more horses to put in their stable. What type of horses and what they train them to do, is up to the player. Thus, once again, giving them a more customizable experience.

Each horse will come in an array of standard solid colors, and players can add markings to them if allowed by the breed in the horse stylist. (Unless the horse is a special breed like the Friesian or the Knabstrupper, in this case they’ll have special coats of different shades of black or different arrays of spots.)

There are so many horses, drafts, and ponies that could be added to Mystic Riders either through expansions or updates. So, there is a lot that can be done.

Breed Spotlight: New Forest Pony

Breed Spotlight: New Forest Pony

New Forest Pony

Another quasi-feral breed (it’s complicated), the New Forest Pony is far more regulated than its prior two contemporaries. Only purebloods can be added to the registry anymore, so Astranar is quite lucky to be able to start their own breed book. As a pony, the New Forest pony is one of the options for a pony-mount the player will need to complete the game and will be given a quest line for funds. Unfortunately, that isn’t in the same district as this pony resides. Maybe you can arrange your play-order of districts to help you pick it for your own pony friend?

This pony dates all the way back to the Ice Age! It is indigenous to the New Forest in southern England, where it continues to thrive to this day. They are amusingly enough described as being workman-like in their composition by the registry. They have a sloping shoulder, powerful hindquarters, and straight legs that end in rounded hooves. Their gates can be described as “free,” without being too over-exaggerated, so no dramatics here. They are usually intelligent, agile workers known for their sure-footed steps and speed.

New Forest 1

Despite being quite beloved in their home region for work and agility work, including gymkhana, show jumping, dressage, and other eventing, the New Forest Pony has been labeled a minority breed. Steps were taken to improve the quality of foals, and then in 1960, the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society began to publish their stud book. The pony found itself being exported throughout the world, and other countries began their own studbooks and registries that have helped the breed. Being from England, the moors and craggy shorelines of Citrine must feel like home, and they have their own studbook there.

New Forest 2

Breed Characteristics:
New Forest ponies are most commonly found in chestnut (red coat and mane for Mystic Rider purposes), bay, or grey. Other solid colors are possible, though blue eyes and excessive white markings (i.e. paints) are not allowed. Lighter coats palomino and sorrel (red coat with blonde mane, again for our purposes, see above) are only allowed in mares and geldings.

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                    1                                              Discipline:        3
Endurance:         2                                               Agility:             6
Strength:             3

* 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!”