EVIL GAMES

Daedalus – SitRep #7

A shorter update this week as we’ve spent most of it focussing on adding the computer hacking minigame. We’ve also recently started whiteboxing of the first level of the campaign mode.

Cracking Mode

The quadcopter the player controls in Daedalus is fragile, vulnerable and has no offensive capabilities. In order to complete certain tasks it is necessary for the player to hack into computers and terminals and use these to their advantage. However, being a secure facility, most of the computers are protected from hacking attempts. In order to successfully hack a computer, the player must succeed in a minigame we’ve dubbed “Cracking Mode”.

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The inspiration for this mode comes from the action points style systems found in turn based strategy games. The player must create a path (from the left edge of the screen to right) that avoids alarms and reach a goal. A goal can be anything that is linked to the computer, such as a camera or turret. The  player places a node which fill a cell in a column, allowing them to move into the next column on the right. Each computer has a finite number of nodes the player can place before an alarm is set off, with nodes such as the “boost” giving the player a free move.

The player has five nodes they can place (we may expand this over time to more):

  • Step – Simply takes a step to the next cell on the right. Only works if the cell to the right is empty, a boost or a goal. Is the cheapest to use, subtracting one move from the available move limit.
  • Break – Must be used when the next cell to the right is a “Block” cell. This breaks through these cells, but is slightly more expensive to use. At the moment this costs -3 moves.
  • Suppress – Must be used when the next cell is an alert cell. If any other node is used on an alert cell the base alarm is raised, so it is very important to use the Suppress node properly. This is also the most expensive node to use, so avoiding alert cells is the best way to go.
  • Branch – Splits the path into two (or more if branching from a branch). This costs -2 to use and is a double edged sword, as the player will need to manage two or more paths at once. The advantage is that it is possible to unlock multiple goals at the same time, but the danger is that if one path hits an alert then the alarm will be raised.
  • Merge – Merges multiple paths, so if there are two, they become one. This is useful in those situations where multiple paths will hit an alert, so it is necessary to merge them into one to avoid setting the alarm off.

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New Environment – Basement

We’ve just started working on the first level in the campaign mode, specifically the basement of one of the buildings the player will enter in the first mission. This area will be fleshed out over the next few weeks so I’ll keep adding screenshots to show the environment art progress.

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It’s only a small area so we aim to get it looking very polished over the next few weeks.

Drink Up at The Printworks!

Link to DrinkUp! tickets at Eventbrite

Our Managing Director also runs Update Events, and has just announced DrinkUp, a social mixer for game developers and business service providers. Taking place on October 9th at The Printworks in Manchester, game developers from across the UK will enjoy access to an exclusive area within Shooters Sports Bar. This includes private bar, free pool tables and a range of TVs and projectors that will be used to showcase games.

You can find all the details on the Eventbrite page here.

We’ll be giving attendees the chance to play Daedalus throughout the night, so if you’re in the area, grab a ticket, meet game devs and play Daedalus!

Thanks for reading! More to come next week!

Daedalus – Sitrep #6

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).

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The player has alerted a civilian who runs to the nearest guard dog for help

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!

Threat Indicator

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.

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An arrow will appear to let the player know the enemy can see them from a certain direction. The colour indicates how clearly they can see the player.

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!

Daedalus – SitRep #5

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.

Light/Dark Meter

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.

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New vehicle – Jeep

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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.

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AI Improvements 

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.
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A guard dog searches the room for the player

We will be uploading videos soon which will be able to cover the AI behaviour in more detail, so stay tuned!

Area Text 

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).