Currently, carrion birds are an entirely random occurance. They start out with a low chance of occuring, then the chance rises with each beast the monster eats. This can lead to some very unfun moments for either side.
For instance, I’ve had games where as the monster, I would start the round by juking the hunters with my starting tracks, head off to some corner of the map to start feeding, and get hit with carrion birds for my first feed. Followed shortly by narrowly escaping the hunters, just to have the next thing I eat set them off. I’ve also had games where I got absolutely no birds at all until I was more than halfway through stage 2, at which point I didn’t care much that I was found out, I was more than prepared for a fight.
In both of these cases, which occured more than a fair share of times, the game felt pretty unfun for one side. In the former case, for the monster, who’s forced into an engagement right off the bat, and in the latter, for the hunters, who spend 10-15 minutes walking around aimlessly hoping for the monster to make a mistake and reveal himself.
I think that, rather than being almost entirely random, carrion bird spawning should be deterministic. Something like after every X animals eaten, the next one is guaranteed to attract birds, and then some events change what that X is either negatively or positively.
So here’s some comletely random numbers that are probably horrifically imbalanced to kinda show what I’m getting at.
Assume it takes 10 animals eaten to attract birds.
- Each animal eaten lowers the number by 1.
- Sneaking for X distance: -1 animal
- Travelling Y distance without entering combat with the hunters: -1
- Tagged with long-term tracking (UAV, dust, etc): +2
- Trapped in the arena: +5
And so on.
Any time the number is at or below 0, and the monster eats, birds are attracted and the number is reset back to 10.
Ultimately what this would accomplish is to make it so that if the monster is evading the hunters constantly, they’re eventually guaranteed to get birds, and those who are engaging with the hunters don’t get them as frequently, but they’re not as necessary. And it’s still punishing to go for easy, low meat animals rather than bigger 3-4 meats, just without the randomness either screwing you or the hunters.