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Better Bug Behavior

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Ladybug behavior when threatened:


https://factslist.net/2013/02/amazing-facts-about-ladybugs/#:~:text=As a defense mechanism%2C lady,their predators from eating them.

Not mentioned in either of these, but another defense mechanism employed by the ladybug is to tuck in their legs, hunkering to the ground and relying on their hard elytra to protect them. This seems to mainly be used against other insects, such as ants. Of course, the best defense the ladybug has against other insects is the wings underneath its elytra.

One should note that unlike in Grounded, Ladybugs don't attack other insects to defend themselves (well, unless you consider that toxic goo they emit from their legs an attack) and are instead defensive. That said, it would be possible to make a non-aggressive ladybug that still poses a considerable challenge to the player; as their defenses aren't easy to get past. First, the player will need to get past that moat of toxic ooze the ladybug excretes, then they need to get past that elytra, which might require a specific tool or the targeting of key spots. And then of course they have to do all this without letting the ladybug fly away home. Of course, in order for the ladybug to fly away, they must open up their elytra, exposing their soft wings and body to the player and giving them a small window of opportunity to do severe damage before the ladybug peaces out.

Another important feature about ladybugs is that they are delicious and nutritious; so they should drop meat, and lots of it. Wolf spiders and orb weavers will attack ladybugs for their meat, however they will also have to deal with a ladybug's defenses. On that note, pretty much all insects 


https://www.jcehrlich.com/blog/its-fall-here-come-the-stink-bugs/#:~:text=They are called stink bugs,or around your home challenging.


I'll be frank here; the devs got the stinkbugs all wrong. They're missing the long, needlelike mouths stinkbugs have, and they are herbivores, and thus wouldn't attack the player. Much like ladybugs, the Stinkbug adopts a more defensive strategy when threatened, releasing a foul odor and relying on their armor to protect them while they shuffle away. Apparently armor and odor are very common defense mechanisms amongst beetles.

Bombardier Beetles:


While they tend to stick together when not looking for their next meal, at night they roam around seeking prey. Their boiling and odorous liquid is primarily used as a defense mechanism. The provided link shows that the bombadier beetle's defense works against wolf spiders, but what it doesn't mention is that it is primarily used to defend itself against ants, who are their most common predators.

Orb Weavers:

https://bugguide.net/node/view/1972#:~:text=Behavior%3A,lot of pest-type insects.

These guys are a bunch of cowards; who rely on their web to catch prey and flee at the first sign of danger. If you get caught in one of their webs, then they will approach you; if you attack it, it will likely retreat for a bit, likely waiting for you to get tangled even more. Their webs are complex in their patterns, with both non-sticky threads for them to walk on, and sticky ones to catch prey. The sticky ones will glimmer in light. Orb weavers bite their prey, injecting paralyzing venom, then wrap them up and take them to the top of their web, where they wait for the prey to die before eating. This would mean it would be possible to scare away an orb weaver and steal its food.

To implement this sort of behavior in grounded, Orb weavers would need special web platforms they can climb on, similar to how aphids can climb up grass. Orb Weavers could either have the capacity to build these webs themselves, or webs for them can be created in various parts of the map. It would be interesting to see an enemy AI that is also capable of basebuilding, though that might prove tricky to program. I should note that their camping nature would limit the locations they would appear. They likely wouldn't live close to wolf spiders, as the two would try to eat one another.

Wolf Spiders:

https://www.thoughtco.com/wolf-spiders-family-lycosidae-1968565#:~:text=Special Behaviors of Wolf Spiders&text=Wolf spiders rely on camouflage,to hold an insect catch.

Hoo boy. These guys. These guys are the stuff of nightmares. They will try to rush you when you're unaware of their presence, and have very keen senses. Thank God these guys only hunt at night.

Interactions between Ants and Ladybugs:


Ants attack:

When Ants attack, they don't just bite; they grip their prey in their mandibles and pull them back to the nest. There, the prey gets swarmed, bitten, and torn apart to feed the colony. If the prey puts up enough of a fight, they'll be swarmed and torn apart on the spot, and then get dragged to the nest in pieces. We can see the aftermath of this behavior in the poor teen that came before us, but we currently do not see this behavior in game. Of course, implementing this behavior would involve invoking the dreaded grappling rules, so its understandable if the developers choose not to carry over this specific behavior for them.

On one hand, this behavior could make ants easier to deal with on an individual level, as they generally won't try to kill you on the spot, instead trying to take you back to the nest. This would then give you the perfect opportunity to attack them, which would probably make them release you and scamper off if you don't finish them off yourself. On the other hand, their tendency to rip things apart like Attila the Hun would make fighting swarms of ants incredibly difficult. To balance this, swarms of ants shouldn't attack you unless you actually kill one.

Speaking of killing ants, killing ants releases an alarm pheromone that alerts the rest of the ants to the threat. This behavior does seem to be present in the game. I should note that unlike the other arthropods discussed here, Ants are not delicious and nutritious, and in fact are unappetizing to many predators, including most spiders. Some particularly vicious spiders, like the wolf spider, will prey on ants, but will likely stick to hit and run tactics to avoid becoming prey themselves.

Ant interactions with aphids


Maybe there could be an aphid farm near the ant hill, or perhaps there could be an underground farm of "root" aphids (which are tan instead of green) inside the ant hill. Whichever route is taken, it will likely require the creation of 2 new insect classes; a "domesticated" aphid that doesn't stray from the farm, and a "shepherd" ant that watches over the aphid "flock" and defends them from predators. There would be a couple worker ants maintaining the farm, and you could throw in a soldier ant guard for good measure. Since soldier ants already attack players if they aren't wearing armor, the soldier ant won't require a new class. There might also be an aphid farm on one of the flowers in the garden. Orb Weavers do often set up shop near aphid and caterpillar farms.

Edited by Gearhart
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  • Gearhart changed the title to Better Bug Behavior
  • 1 month later...

Huh, I thought I mentioned it here, but I guess I forgot;

Most spiders, including all three spiders currently in game, are solitary predators. They don't cooperate, and in fact most species have no qualms with cannibalism, even eating their own children. The devs stated the liked the idea in Doom where enemies would fight one another allowing you to wait it out and finish off the victor, but not only is this not possible in Grounded due to health being reset upon exiting aggro, but many enemies that should attack one another don't.

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