Making A House Call: Intruder

By Andrew Smee on March 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Down a bit, down a bit - to the left - down - up a bit - oh, that's it. Thanks man, this jumper itches like hell.

Intruder is a forthcoming Unity-powered multiplayer tactical FPS that’s been in development for barely two months from a two man team and I’m already excited. As the team explains in their notes, inspiration is strongly felt from the SWAT series with the mission statement of “stealth and cunning over twitch gameplay”. The tense thinky combat is already on show, even if the build is so alpha nobody can see their own hands yet. What’s getting me so interested this early is how developers Superboss Games are handling doors. Click through for a demonstration video, but remember to check your six.

As you can see, opening doors isn’t as clumsy as running up to one and jabbing E to have it fly open regardless of where the hinges are. Rather, you’ll be using the mouse wheel to slowly crack open the door, letting you sneak the mirror cam in and scout out the room. The video description states that the “rate of scrolling determines how much/fast the door will open”. Which is brilliant, right? Controlling access to space so finely as you creep around waiting for death to pop up sits it squarely in the Amnesia park of horror, even if the developers only meant it to enable tactical planning.

The feeling of slowly pushing open a door when there’s the possibility of a bunch of humans with guns fixed squarely at the balsa wood inches from your face is a frightening prospect. There’s a lot of potential to be had with these kinds of tension-building systems, and I’d love a multiplayer game played in constant crouch mode, waiting, anticipating, dreading combat. The mirror cam also shown in that video would be key in making me sweat – the feeling of being watched by hidden players, eyes on the back of my head. Or the thrill of spying on the other team as I work on a plan to take them down. It’s a feeling Superboss seem intent on capturing, explaining in the introductory video below that Intruder will be “more about using the gadgets and the environment, thinking ahead of your opponent as opposed to just being the twitchiest or the fastest.”

This was released a scant month ago and already shows a winning adherence to simulation, with gravity and wind affecting bullet trajectory amongst other features expanded upon its original incarnation as an aborted Unreal mod. Check out more development notes on their site over here.

One to watch.

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46 Comments »

  1. Gap Gen says:

    Can you enter a building by means other than the doors, though?

    Perhaps you can come intruder window?

  2. simoroth says:

    Looks interesting at this early stage. Although I presume that it will just be buried by the 30 other on-line FPS games that will come out the same month.

  3. DaftPunk says:

    You could open doors like that in Chaos Theory from 2005 and RvS(Rainbow Six 2003)!

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yep, opening the door a crack and throwing in a flashbang, or opening the door gradually and sweeping the room with your gunsight as you did it was a pretty standard tactic.

    • Mitchk says:

      I was going to comment on Raven Shield having the scrolley door mechanic. I suppose FPS’s are running out of ideas a bit!

  4. Blackcompany says:

    Does RPS have awards for Best Alt Text Ever? Because seriously…this one might win it all!

  5. Kdansky says:

    And again, Iron-sights for no reason. I don’t need a sensitivity switch for my Mouse.

    • Terragot says:

      This.

      Iron sights was a clever design for adding precision to joystick control, but it becomes a hindrance when using a mouse. The sudden change of mouse sensitivity, the loss of screen visibility and the unknown cross-hair location only create frustration for me.

      On the flip side, Iron sights come in many, many different forms, but I’m yet to see a game work this into a beneficial mechanic. Maybe zooming right into the iron sights for all weapons, ala sniper scopes would work well as a design, as long as cross-hairs and hip firing accuracy were to be removed from the game, so the feeling of having to aim doesn’t feel so redundant. Could add another layer to choosing the sight which you feel most comfortable with.

      What I’d love to see from an FPS is the throwing out of this run and gun mentality. A deep gun handling mechanic (visions of an amnesia interactive controlled reload system – easy to learn difficult to master).

      Other than that, I’d simply prefer a zoom function, like the steyr aug from CS.

      So far this game looks like its doing what it has set out to do well, but what it wants to do seems to be aplenty on the market.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Would love to see shooters abandon the run and gun mentality myself. Its the primary reason I avoid them. Maybe some sort of stop-to-fire mechanic….a la “You can’t shoot your gun while sprinting/running/leaping around.” Also, perhaps powerful weapons like rocket launchers, sniper rifles, etc, have a much harder recoil and longer reload time than less powerful weapons. Rage did a good job with this, balancing the power of a weapon with the time it took to reload and aim it once more.
        .
        Just my two cents.

        • Dozer says:

          How about Armed Assault then? Good luck hitting anything unless you’re prone and with your sights up.

        • Terragot says:

          Yes, you wouldn’t even need to punish the player with simply just reload times, if you allow players to actively participate in the action of reloading a gun (and i’ve seen this shown in a tech demo in unity which can be found….here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/677391/Demo.html (R to enter reload mode, mouse to drag clip out and in, mouse to cock gun, R to exit reload mode) you deepen the lethality of guns through their sheer complexity and management. Do I really want to fire a magazine through that door at the chance of a lucky kill if I’m only going to have to disassemble my gun after match / by replacement parts / reload the gun?

          • Donjo says:

            That’s really cool… quite like modern run and gunners but I’d much rather use mechanics like this. Really would make the weapon seem tactile and lethal.

      • blackjackshelak says:

        I think part of the problem is that some games assume that pressing your face against your gun and pressing you gun against your shoulder are things that have to happen at the same time. So you’re either hugging your gun like the extra pillow from the empty side of a lonely bed, or you’re firing from the hip doing your best impression of a prohibition-era Tommy gunner (or alternatively, Rambo). Many of these games also insist on inserting muzzle sway as a combination of “added realism” and punishment for choosing to use the mechanic that they’ve essentially forced you into. I have seen at least one game that does a decent job of what you’re describing though.

        Killing Floor doesn’t offer any inherent bonus to accuracy for aiming down the sights, and neither does it punish you for aiming without them. While I believe it DOES have a crosshair option, it’s left off by default. I’ve found this system to work very well, as it doesn’t take too much time to get used to lining up shots at close/medium range without iron sights, and you always have them for those longer range situations where they actually help. Some of what Tripwire have done in Red Orchestra 2 concerning sights is quite good, but then we’re dealing with the issue of not only aiming down the sight, but also holding your breath as becoming necessary for any decent amount of accuracy.

        Now I’m not entirely against the idea of “hip firing” being a thing, but I honestly believe that there are much better ways to implement it than what we see in most games. The idea behind it is generally somewhere along the lines of improved mobility at the cost of accuracy. This is fine, and a tradeoff that I’d be happy to make in certain situations (especially whenever I happen to be carrying a shotgun or machine pistol). The problem comes when there’s no middle ground. There is no way to maintain a reasonable amount of accuracy without tip-toeing around the map with your gun against your cheek, and there is no way to go any faster other than allowing said gun to rest loose against it’s sling.

        I guess in summary, I’d be happy with a game that assumed I ALWAYS had my gun against my shoulder, until I told it I’d like to go for a jog. I don’t even need a crosshair to be happy, just the knowledge that it won’t cause my rifle of choice to suddenly shoot in patterns so loose they’d embarrass a blindfolded lawn dart thrower should I choose to remove my weapon from my face for a moment to possibly scratch my nose or enjoy the view unimpeded by a glowing red light.

    • Highstorm says:

      To each their own, I guess. I personally tend to shy away from shooters if they don’t have ironsights. It’s always bothered me in Source games like the HLs and L4Ds.

      • wodin says:

        Whenever I play a game without iron sights it never feels right. Having some cross hair floating in the air. So I for one prefer ironsights, to me every game that uses them feels and usually gameplay wise is going for realism over run and gun.

        I tried Backlight and found it OK (obviously going for a old school shooter feel but felt right the game has iron sights). I then tried Tribes Ascend and hated it. Really hated it. Way to quick for me and yes it didn’t have iron sights.

      • YourMessageHere says:

        I too love iron sights – for me, it’s the best thing in FPS since a reload button. Gives a sense of realism, provides another way that functionally similar guns can feel and behave differently, allows you to trade off accuracy for speed. Going back to CS now, everything just feels wrong.

        • Kdansky says:

          >Gives a sense of realism
          If you’ve ever held a gun, you’d know that shooting it has no resemblance whatsoever to this mechanic. I don’t put the stock centered in front of my nose, covering up the target completely. It’s especially ridiculous because realism has nothing to do with these games where reloading happens in less than a second, and the left-over bullets from one magazine magically appear in the next one. Lastly, realism isn’t good for games.

          > provides another way that functionally similar guns can feel and behave differently,
          I will accept that. Some guns should come with sniper sights. Some should not. But you should not be arbitrarily forced to use it for every shot, which is what most games do. Your bullets will veer widely if you don’t press both mouse buttons for EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT.

          >allows you to trade off accuracy for speed
          Why in the seven hells would I want to do that? I’m accurate with my mouse already, and changing the sensitivity every few seconds only makes aiming harder because I can’t rely on muscle memory. That’s like buying WiFi cables.

  6. iZen says:

    Raven Shield already had the door thing. In MP, nobody would use it, because you knew the maps, and you knew where the enemies might probably be after X seconds. Aside, opening slowly would just cause the dudes on the other side to empty their mags on the door, killing you before u got a chance to do anything else. (bullet penetration is also realistic ;) ) The safest way through a door was opening it and rushing through guns blazing.
    I think its partly due to bad level design. FPS with a high-sim factor need kinda open-world maps with dozens of angles and paths, not just battle arenas. While the challenge of good map design is already a hard one, the other part is even worse:
    If it works in real life, it doesnt necessarily work in a game.
    Even a very realistic game will allow the play to rush, guns blazing. And many will do that, because it works. Its more efficient, because you don’t have just one live (in comparison to reallife, not meant gamemode-wise). People are not afraid to die and will usually be content having the same or more kills than deaths. As long as that whole principle still applies (would need revolutionary point-tracking rewarding teamwork etc.) all those fancy gadgets will be nothing but beautiful decorations.

    • Terragot says:

      “If it works in real life, it doesn’t necessarily work in a game.” Too true, I fear the mechanics of the game wont mesh with a multilayer design. What would be needed would be some form of fear of death, a hard one to provoke even in a rogue-like perma-death setting so it’s going to be a real challenge to fit it into a multilayer twitch shooter environment.

      Many have tried this realistic, tactical approach to competitive multilayer and it is just so damn hard to get right, I’ve never felt anyone achieve it without giving in to arcady, slick mechanics. The mechanics on display here just don’t fit a competitive environment, they’re more suited to a survival-esque game where pacing is denoted subjectively by the player. If you’re racing for the win, against an opponent who is mind fucking you with the threat of thinking and acting faster than you, are you really going to creak a door open and stick a non lethal camera through giving yourself away as defenceless?

      • Highstorm says:

        I always appreciated having one life per round in Counter-Strike. It wasn’t perfect for instilling a sense of self-preservation, but it certainly went a long way towards it. Instant-respawn mechanics inherently kill any fear of death – because what’s the real downside if you’re back in the action 3 seconds later? If you have to wait 5-10 minutes for the round to end or the last of your/their team to die, you end up playing safer allowing tactics, stealth and surprise to really shine.

    • Dervish says:

      It’s an overlooked point about multiplayer game design in general. The question is, how do you promote the kind of tactics you want without “gamey” reasons for doing so? I don’t think the lack of real death is an insurmountable obstacle, nor is rushing always going to be effective–it’s easy to imagine a WW1 trench map, for example, where it’s not. Yeah, you’ll always have stubborn players, but most people–including the diehard competitive players–will use the “right” tactics if they notice that they result in a greater success rate. But it’s definitely true that realistic weapon modeling won’t be enough if you’re still building Counterstrike-style maps. Aside from the overall layout, elements of randomization (spawn location, window positions, assorted cover/concealment) can further tip the balance in favor of cautious tactics rather than memorization.

      But anyway, it’s all sort of off the point for the gadgets featured, because (as demonstrated) they’re for when you’re trying to remain undetected, not when you’re clearing a room you know is occupied. In those cases, “rush” tactics are used in real life as well.

    • Slushy_ says:

      At the moment if you die , you become a spectator. For me personally, that is enough incentive to be cautious.

  7. Shooop says:

    Controlling access to space so finely as you creep around waiting for death to pop up sits it squarely in the Amnesia park of horror, even if the developers only meant it to enable tactical planning.

    That’s how real-world gunfights in houses actually go.

  8. Dozer says:

    ‘permanent crouch mode’ multiplayer. My brothers and I had some very tense games of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Multiplayer Demo on our home LAN. It was the only game all the home computers could run. Three players, all against all, makes a very nice dynamic. We’d all be crouching to avoid making footstep noises, and straining our ears into the headsets to listen for clues as to where anyone else is. If I shoot at David, I’ll probably get him, but Fraser will hear and know where I am and unless I’m very cautious I’ll get a bullet through the face if I loiter near any of the windows. On the other hand, if I’m sneaky, I might anticipate where Fraser will go to look for me and pre-empt him with a well-placed KAR-98 round.

    The game felt more like Silent Hunter than Call of Duty. Now there’s a game which rewards very careful listening!

  9. Mordsung says:

    We need more of these real tactical shooters, not the “I say I’m a tactical shooter, but that just means one side looks like terrorists and they use real weapons but it still plays like an arcade game” shooters.

  10. SiHy_ says:

    I really like the look of this game; a multiplayer shooter that even people with terrible reactions can play. Plus I love the way indie developers are posting regular videos about the updates of their games. I don’t know if this was already a common thing but it’s really interesting.

  11. rockman29 says:

    Holy crap!

    This and the Wing Commander… I never hear of these from any other site…

    Go RPS :D

  12. ankh says:

    I can’t wait to run around in this game with a shotgun pwning noobs while they are opening doors slowly with their mouse wheel. Day one buy!

  13. wodin says:

    Looks promising I must say. Lots of work need on the animations though very impressive obviously considering how quickly they have got to this point.

  14. YourMessageHere says:

    This looks great, even at this early stage. I’m all for it.

    Must admit, I really rather like the Mies van der Rohe-style all white maps. Hope they don’t do too much texturing, it looks sort of stylish, kind of Mirror’s Edge but with slowness and caution rather than speed and wild abandon (and sensible controls instead of shit ones, but that’s something else.

  15. Geen says:

    Shut up, take my money. As a rule, anything inspired by MGS gets my buy.

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