This week we have added some placeholder audio, set the AI up to factor shadows and sound into their detection process, added a directional threat detector to the HUD, and added a new AI NPC to the game, in the form of the Civilian class.
New AI NPC – Civilian
We’ve added a Civilian NPC who will alert nearby Guard Dogs if they spot the player, then run and hide while the Guard Dogs move in for the kill. We aim to have three types of civilians in the final game, the Engineer (who will work more efficiently with robotic enemies), the Scientist/Doctor (who will be better at alerting human enemies) and the Facility workers (who will be able to lock doors or vents if they see you, etc).
In general, civilians will be the least dangerous enemies the player will encounter, but their ability to quickly alert other enemies makes them an ever present danger as the player explores the facility. We will be adding more types of human enemies over the next few weeks so we should have some interesting AI interactions to show!
One of the things we learned from demoing the game at GameBridge was that the 3D nature of movement in Daedalus can make it difficult to tell where someone may have spotted you from. At the time, the build contained only surveillance cameras, so with the addition of moving enemies it became clear that we needed to add some visual aid to the player to help them if they get spotted.
This will look a lot nicer in future builds, but already it makes a huge difference in helping the player avoid immediate detection.
Shadow and Distance visibility
Enemies are now aware of how lit the player is, so if the player hides in complete darkness, they won’t be seen. Speed and distance are also factored into the player’s visibility, if the player moves quickly in a lit up area, enemies will spot them faster. Likewise, the enemy will reach their alert stage later if the player is far away.
Each enemy will have slightly different detection parameters, so learning who can detect what will be a big part of passing through difficult areas.
Audio and AI Noise Detection
We have also added audio detection to the enemies. If the player creates a noise that is within the hearing threshold of an enemy, and the volume of the noise is sufficiently loud, the enemy will begin to investigate the source of the sound. We’ve also added basic audio to the drone, enemies and other miscellaneous sounds to help us test this.
More to follow next week! We are currently looking into adding a hacking minigame to computers in the environment, so if all goes well with that there will be an breakdown as to how it will work in the next update. Thanks for checking out the game! Next update will be on the 5th September!
Arriving a day later than promised, here is this week’s Daedalus update! We’ve been recording videos of the game to flesh out the state of the game so I will be linking to those as soon as they go up throughout the next few weeks.
In terms of progress, we have a new light/shadow detection meter, area information, new jeep vehicle and additions to AI behaviour.
We’ve added a Splinter Cell/Theif esque light detection system which allows players to hide in shadows. The number in the top left of the screens above shows how illuminated the player is. Unlike Thief or Splinter Cell, this will play a more subtle role in the game as the player is relatively small (compared to a human) and so remaining completely out of sight will be the main way to avoid detection. Shadows will be another tool in the player’s arsenal to avoid detection.
New vehicle – Jeep
The jeep is the fastest vehicle we have planned, it can be used to very quickly cover large distances. There will be variants of the jeep that include weapons etc, at the moment this is the standard transport jeep. In terms of being disguised as a jeep, the player will not necessarily be able to enter areas that a cargo truck can, but can evade security much more easily.
There have been some significant steps forward with the AI behaviour. At the moment, this is all being set up with the Guard Dog but we are at a point to begin setting up human enemies that can hear and have more individual quirks. The AI currently:
- Patrols waypoints that the level designer has placed. These are designated to areas, so for example a guard dog may be told to follow the “control room” waypoints. This can allow for other guards to take up a patrol if one is subdued as they will be instructed to follow the “control room” waypoints.
- Investigates moved objects. If any objects have moved in a room that shouldn’t have (designated by the level designer) then the AI will investigate them. If this keeps happening with the same enemy it will slowly raise their suspicion.
- The AI pursues the player through the environment, and will fire at the player if they are within range.
- If the enemy loses sight of the player they will immediately go to their last known location. If the player is seen to enter a room that the enemy knows it can patrol, it will enter and search the room.
- Objects and spaces can be designated as likely hiding points the player could use, if an AI is searching an area they will prioritize these spots in their search.
- Cameras now report the location of the player to the nearest enemy, who is then sent to find the player
- Lasers will do this as well, but can lock down objectives and eventually doors etc.
We will be uploading videos soon which will be able to cover the AI behaviour in more detail, so stay tuned!
Another addition is area text, this is simply a message at the top of the HUD that tells the player where they are, for example “security room” or “elevator shaft”. This will help with informing the player where they are and also should help in multiplayer games when describing areas, or in the singleplayer story if a character refers to an area.
Thanks for checking the blog! The next update will be on the 30th August (hopefully).
We’ve been working on a varied set of tasks this last week, with the main additions being vehicles, environment art assets, as well as improved menu/HUD, new AI behaviors and Split Screen Co-op.
One new entity the player will be able to hack are vehicles. In the world of Daedalus most vehicles will be self driven, and as such can be hacked into and commandeered. This will prove to be a useful way of travelling large distances without attracting too much suspicion, or for creating diversions. We may also implement challenge modes that utilize these unconventional ways of using vehicles.
The gif above shows the basic cargo truck, but we aim to add an APC, buggy/4×4 and perhaps some special command vehicles over the course of the next few weeks.
To help flesh out how the environment will look we’ve started to create basic whitebox meshes. These have helped to break up the box rooms we had earlier, although it’s very basic at the moment. Over the next few weeks we’ll have more detailed environments with new materials that should look very shiny. We’ve also swapped out some placeholder assets for slightly less placeholder-y assets, such as the mission collectables.
Another area we’ve tried to improve the general presentation of the game is the HUD and menus. This is still all a long way from the finished thing but it serves to help us identify and hone the flow of the menus, as well as what information is lacking in the HUD at the moment.
We will be aiming to add a threat indicator, speedometer and rangefinder/altitude meter to help the player navigate the 3D space efficiently, and also give them a helping hand as to where the may have been spotted from.
New AI Behavior
We’ve been working on fleshing out the AI, and to this end we’ve set up a basic system for investigating things that are out of place in the environment. For example, if a player knocked over a chair, even if no one has heard it a guard will realise it has moved and become suspicious.
In addition to this we’ve set up special waypoints for searching areas that are off the normal patrol route. This allows a level designer to place waypoints where they believe the player is most likely to hide, and ensuring the AI does not randomly search a room looking for the player in odd places. It is also now possible to tag an object as “hideable”, meaning that a guard will prioritize that object in their search as it is easy to hide in/on/under.
Whilst we had previously set up a competitive splitscreen mode, we now also have a co-operative splitscreen mode. This is simply a co-op variant of the time trial mode, in which both players work together to collect all the pickups in a level before a timer runs out (while remaining undetected).
Thanks for checking out the blog, more to follow next week on the 22nd!