In this issue…

Actually, I’m not sure what’s in this issue as I’m going to adlib as I go along.

I spent the last 2 weeks testing out possible loadouts for my new profile in The Hunter – Call of the Wild as I wait with many other players for the new scoring system release date. In the course of that wait I’ve photographed lots of Fallow Deer as I’ve re-run the early challenges time and again. They’re still spotty and the males have horns…

I’ve also experienced the missing tracks / corpse issue a number of times. For those playing the game regularly, this has been an issue for a very long time. What happens is… You shoot an animal and you know where you shot it. You go to the spot where you shot the animal and find the blood splatter then, because you saw which way the animal ran after you shot it, you follow where the tracks should be… Guess what – there are no tracks. You circle around because you know they have to be there but… Nothing! I point-blanked a female Red Deer with my shotgun – in self defense I should add (she would have mowed me down otherwise) and this was the blood splatter at the site where I shot her……That looks a pretty major lung wound to me and the little lady should go down within a few yards. In fact, that pink you can see on the hand held device means she’s dead. But – no tracks and no body 😦 Like the rest of the community I’m just glad that consecutive harvests no longer affect your score when you subsequently shoot another animal and actually find the body!

So what happens to the tracks? Sometimes they appear suspended in mid-air – I have seen this myself at night and I’ve seen daytime shots of the same issue from fellow members of the community. Other times they may appear a distance from the actual kill point and the lateral shift seems to also apply to where the body will eventually be found in those cases. And then there will be the no tracks at all variant. In the latter case I have found that moving away from the area where you made the kill and wandering around for a while (10 mins or so) will result in the blood from your victim miraculously appearing for you to track and find the body. This is an ongoing issue that the developers are working hard to resolve and I’m sure they will get there eventually.

It would be wrong to think that only The Hunter – COTW has these issues. I’ve experienced a similar ongoing problem with the fish in The Fisherman – Fishing Planet. Most of the time you sling your hook, suitably baited, and wait for a bite. You hope your choice of tackle, hook size and bait will entice the fish you are seeking. 95% of the time the bite will be a fish that you would expect to take the bait – maybe not the one you wanted but that’s what fishing is about. Then you get the big one… The Really Big one! You find yourself fighting a fish that you tire out… and then it regains its strength and goes on another run… time and time again. You’ve just hooked the Glitch-Fish. How do you know that this is what’s on the end of your line? You check the wear and tear of the line, rod and reel – If they haven’t moved from where they were before then you have a spooky fish and can probably set up a clothing brand 😉 There is only one way out of this. You have to put your line into the red like this……guess what – it won’t snap like it should and after a bit more fight you’ll bring the Glitch-Fish in. At which point you’ll discover another amazing thing about the Glitch-Fish – it then metamorphoses into a run of the mill Bass (for example) that should never have troubled your equipment in the first place!

These are the joys of playing simulation games that do their best to mimic real life – sometimes the behaviour algorithms for wild animals prove to be beyond what the processing can reliably produce. And as for the Truck Simulator games… You can rely on the AI to do some very un-human behaviours – except in France where everybody knows that Cedez le Passage means that some drivers won’t Cedez le Passage 😉 I know the dev’s of all these games are doing their best to get the AI to behave as true to life as possible – my thanks for their efforts.

Earlier this pm, Expansive Worlds tweeted that there will be an important announcement tomorrow – hopefully that signals the release of the new scoring system for The hunter – COTW. I’m looking forward to that release and I’ll then start afresh with my chosen beginners loadout 🙂

May I begin this post by wishing you all a Happy New Year! I’ve had a nice relaxing start to 2020 with an hour of fishing on Mudwater River. It’s a very pleasant way to start the day 🙂

This was actually a continuation of a fishing visit that I started yesterday. I’m here for 2 reasons – 1, to make some money after I splashed out on a Kayak and 2, to try and catch a unique Spotted Gar and a trophy Freshwater Drum. Both rods are equipped with sinker tackle. The one on the left is set up for Drum with Nightcrawler (Earthworm) as bait on a 6lb line. I can’t be guaranteed Drum as the only catch on that rod – Nightcrawlers will attract small Bass and Catfish that feed on the bottom. I have cast the line to where that green and white marker is – a place I’ve marked as good for Drum after some trial and error fishing over several visits. The marker is only visible to me – other anglers in the same session won’t see it. The rod on the right is set up for Gar and baited with Medium Cutbait – basically chopped up bits of fish – on an 8lb line. I could use Minnows or Shiners as bait but then I’ll also be attracting the local Pickerel population and I specifically want Gar. The only other fish that might be interested is Bowfin but I normally find them in different parts of the river. I have cast to a place midway between the two closest dead branches. The river bed drops sharply there from 1ft to 3ft and predators like to hang around in the dip waiting for unsuspecting small fish to swim over the edge.

How did our fishing go? Well, I didn’t get the trophy or unique fish I was hoping for but I reeled in several nice examples of both Drum and Gar and some baby Bass and a couple of Catfish. Here I’m having a fight with a 5.5lb Catfish……which was successfully landed……and here’s an average sized Drum……The Gar were all average too which was disappointing as I have caught trophy examples here in the past – here’s a shot from a previous visit……In real world Gar fishing you have to use special line and mind your fingers when you catch one! You don’t have to use sinker tackle for either of these fish types, it just seems to be the most effective method for me. I have caught both types of fish using spinners in the past and I have also caught Drum using a float set-up and Red Worm – but that’s very hit or miss.

A couple of other recent purchases for me have been Topwater lures – I have used these in the free-to-play game before but have only recently reached the required skill level to be able to buy them in this version of the game. These are specifically aimed at catching predators and once you’ve mastered the technique for each type they’re very effective. Here’s a Popper resembling a Fish…..complete with hooked Chain Pickerel 🙂 And here’s some of the available Topwater Lures in the shop. I chose the Frog Walker on the left…… and it’s already paid for itself in Chain Pickerel, Grass Pickerel and Northern Pike 🙂

I’ll have to show some Kayak fishing in another post – till next time 🙂

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post in this series and today marks a change in the content. I decided that this periodical which has been based around The Hunter – Call of the Wild should also be about Fishing; More specifically, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet. I covered the free-to-play Fishing Planet game some time back and reported that it was very addictive. I then took a break as I tried out other games to report on. The Hunter – COTW was one of those. At this point, some history will be of use – The Hunter was originally a free-to-play title. Then, after raising enough money to proceed, the developers released the purchase up front version which I have been covering in the Birdshot series. Fishing Planet has now gone down that same route with ‘The Fisherman’.

Just like The Hunter, the changes made to The Fisherman – Fishing Planet are relatively minor. However, the effect is major in terms of playability for most people. One of the key improvements is in the changes to the cost of travelling to each fishing venue and the purchasing of licenses to fish. It was one of the key gripes about the free-to-play version that travelling to locations other than your home pond was very expensive and so were the licenses to fish. If you wanted a permanent license then you needed to buy one using the baitcoin currency which did cost actual money. From personal experience this constrained my ability to go fishing elsewhere a lot. Like other players I found that I needed to go ‘money’ hunting to get the cash needed to go to other venues and once I was there it was very important to make sure that I covered my costs by catching valuable fish. The effect was that no one could go to a higher level venue and try to catch smaller fish that might be less common but had little monetary value because of that need to cover expenses.

The developers have clearly listened to the complaints. In The Fisherman – Fishing Planet (which is a pay up front game), the travel fees are half what they were in the free-to-play game and full permanent licenses are bought with the in-game cash rather than baitcoins. The result is that, apart from having to achieve the required proficiency level to open a venue, you can now choose freely without real-world financial concerns which ones you buy those licenses for. And when you go to a venue, there is no longer that pressure to catch the ‘cash’ fish. I don’t think I’ve explained that as well as I would like but hopefully you’ve got the gist.

The other key change was a much more detailed set of tutorials than in the free-to-play version (although those are now being added to that game too which is a good thing). This makes the game much more accessible to non-anglers and those who may have limited fishing experience like me, to get a fuller understanding of the equipment and how best to use it.

So, the upshot is that I can now afford to choose specific venues that I couldn’t afford in the free-to-play game like The Tiber River where there is this intriguing remnant of a dam……which, drifting a float tackle past the end with a minnow as bait tends to result in a bite by one of the species of Trout to be found here. From a different viewpoint you can see……a monastery that sits on the hillside above the dam and perhaps explains its presence. Did the monks construct the dam in medieval times to make a pool in which they could catch fish for the abbot’s table? Certainly, the still waters beside the dam provide some very nice Carp if you have the patience to wait for a bite…..There are Crucian and Common……to be caught here. In other parts of the river where the flow is swifter you can get some very large Trout like this Marbled that I caught……that was a battle as I use quite light equipment and lines – I haven’t reached a level yet that allows me to buy the most powerful equipment. But, in many ways, I love using this lighter gear as you can have some real tussles with the fish and sometimes they get away – isn’t that how a sport should be? 🙂 Here’s a couple of my favourite rods and set-ups……The one above is a feeder style rod with a quiver tip to indicate when there’s a bite – I tend to use it in this weighted configuration to hunt for bottom feeding fish when the current is slow. A large fish that I hooked below the dam (probably a big Common Carp) stripped all the line off the reel on this one resulting in the leader line breaking. So I had to try my larger sinker rod with the 10lb line and that brought in the trophy Common Carp pictured above……Below is my lightweight spinning rod – dragging the lure through the water attracts predators to take a bite……I’ve caught some great fish with this rod and reel but I lost two large Trout while fishing on the Tiber because they were able to out-manouever me and slip the hook so I pulled out the Jester – which is my joker in the pack……the heavier set-up with 8lb line brought in that trophy Marble Trout although it was still a long fight.

I think the developers have made a great pay-up-front version of Fishing Planet and I’d recommend this game for anyone seeking a different challenge to shooting zombie hoards or driving fast. There is one other aspect of this game that I should also mention – it is so peaceful and relaxing when fishing for small fry. I’ve needed that sort of relaxation this week and the game has helped me de-stress 🙂