Robot News Regarding: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

By Jim Rossignol on June 29th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.


WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION POST AHEAD. LOVE YOU GUYS!

So for the past two years I’ve been multi-classing with game dev studio Big Robot, and we’ve been doing some stuff, which we’ve talked about before on RPS. The thing we’re most excited about, though, is what we’re working on right now, which is called Sir, You Are Being Hunted. It is a procedurally-generated first-person, open world game, with some sneaking, some shooting, some tweedpunk adversaries, and plenty of fleeing in terror. We’re now making excellent progress towards something playable, and have a few images to show for it.

More on this below.

Right now we’re working on two fronts. There’s the AI, to make the hunters actually hunt you, and even fight each other. And there’s the British Countryside Generator, to make the world look a bit like the British Isles, but abandoned, wintery, desolate, and recognisably rural. Like so:


The idea – which programmer Tom Betts will no doubt detail on our blog at some later date – was get around us having to populate and craft many kilometres of open countryside by hand, and to develop a terrain generator which could make a diverse landscape which instead of being abstract – as our previous work had been – actually represented something we were familiar with, which was British rural landscape. It had to be interestingly complicated, organic, and also avoid the sameness that often pervades generated environments. It’s really coming along:


The villages also look pretty good:

Remember that none of this stuff is hand-placed. While we’ve pre-made things like the buildings, the naturalistic layout is all mathematically defined. Every map generation will be different, and players can expect to end up playing through quite different worlds on each game.

Someone commented a while back that it was “disingenuous” of me to say that the game is “lo-fi”, because it looks good. Well yes, it does look good, and I am pleased with our visual work, but it’s also definitely lo-fi. Lo-fi does not necessarily mean “ugly”, it just means that we are not using super hi-res textures, or high-poly models, or lots of visual shader cleverness, or lots of hi-fidelity art to make our world come to life. Instead, it’s being done with Tom’s clever maths, and our own careful art direction. It’s down to the inventiveness of our coders, and the talent of our handsome outsourced artist, that it still looks lovely.

An artificial gentleman catches up with me:

A hunter engages another hunter patrol:

There’s still a lot of content that still needs to go in – tricky for a small team with no full-time artist! – but I think the impression we were trying to capture is just about there. Our tweedpunk artificial gentlemen are beginning to come to life, too, and our second coder Dan Puzey is currently slaving away on making the systems that will allow players to utilise a bit of stealth as they struggle to escape the flooded landscape they find themselves in. It’s a small step, but I can’t say how pleased I am to announce that our robots now react to audio, and that we can throw stones and other objects to cause guards to investigate the disturbance caused. It’s vital, thrilling stuff for this project.

And what would the guard robots be guarding? Well, I don’t want to take too much time explaining back-story, because it will be made plain by the game world, and because I dislike exposition. But they’ll often be protecting whatever it is that is leaving a trail of smoke in this field:


Oh, mystery! Mystery!

Anyway, right now we’re working towards a build that is workable enough and presentable enough for us to produce a detailed video of some in-game activity. That video will appear first on RPS, of course. I hope you’ll like it.

Finally, the flooded streets of our British summer:

No release date for Sir, yet. But we’re working on it…

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141 Comments »

  1. Toberoth says:

    Looking good, Jim!

    And the game.

    • Harlander says:

      The visual style is rather gorgeous, yes.

    • Toberoth says:

      Mind you, it’s not too late to change it to a rave simulator called Sir, You Are Getting Munted.

      Or a crash simulator called Sir, You Are Being Shunted.

      thinkaboutit

      • Toberoth says:

        Or a jubilee sim called Street, You Are Being Bunted.

        Or a gangster sim called Gir’, You Is Gettin’ Fronted.

        Or a malnourishment sim called Sir, You Are Being Stunted.

        Or… Oh god, I have a million of these.

        • Fire_Storm says:

          A topical football management title:

          Roy, You are being punted.

          • Lambchops says:

            A stationery management game called “Pencil, you are getting blunted.”

          • Chris D says:

            A game in which you play an intelligence officer tasked with briefing David Cameron on how he’s being referred to on twitter called… actually, never mind.

          • Lambchops says:

            @ Chris

            I have decided not to explain to my coworkers why I’ve just burst into a fit of giggles! Good work, sir.

          • roryok says:

            A duelling sim called Sir, You Are Being Affronted

          • Toberoth says:

            Or indeed a Cambridge undergrad simulator called “My Lord, You Are Being Punted.”

          • abandonhope says:

            Or a marital sex game called: Dear, I’m done for I have grunted.

          • jimangi says:

            You may make a game about Krogan clones and call it ‘Graaar, you are being Grunted’.

          • cassus says:

            Or an online dating site simulator called – Fat old pathetic lonely guy, you are being taunted :,(

      • Zakski says:

        I wonder if we would get something approaching “garfield without garfield” if we created an account that blocked every user that punned

  2. Shakermaker says:

    This game can’t come quick enough. It looks marvelous. Will there be some kind of ‘pre-order and play the alpha / beta’ program?

  3. tlarn says:

    Sir, you had me at “procedurally generated.”

  4. Malk_Content says:

    I reckon the thing at the end of that smoke is fire, in which players must steal to rediscover its secrets and become a post-apocalyptic prometheus.

  5. Axyl says:

    I sat for a couple of mins trying to come with a suitable way of expressing my excitement over this game…
    I failed, so I’ll just say this…

    OMFGIWANTTHISSOHARDSHUTUPANDTAKEMYMONEYRIGHTNAO!!!!!oneone

    Hmm.. that wasn’t half bad actually. :P

  6. sonofsanta says:

    More random generation fun (because it’s easier than real coding so always a pleasant distraction): you should totally have local paper boards outside some houses with random headlines on them. “Councillor caught liaising with ferret”, “Local boy becomes goldfish” and so on and so forth.

    Also, a British-themed Stalker-inspired indie game sounds, more or less, like the perfect game. Good work sir.

    Also: I demand a cameo from your artist’s moustache. That is magnificent.

    Also also: I need a new way to start non-sequiturs. And to stop editing comments once I’ve made them.

    • edit says:

      Random generation “easier” than “real coding”? Procedural generation creates MORE coding work, because asset creation becomes a part of the code rather than solely the work of an artist in some other software. With procedural content, you are not just creating the content, but coding the very procedure by which the content is created. If we’re going to make distinctions between how “real” or “hardcore” different coding techniques are, procedural content is decidedly deeper and more hardcore than simply loading assets from the disk. Also, there’s no such thing as randomness on a computer (or in reality, I’d argue). :)

      • El Stevo says:

        He’s talking about randomly (alright, pseudo-randomly) generating newspaper headlines. Which is easy.

        • sonofsanta says:

          Aye, that. randomHeadlinePortionA() && randomVerb() && randomHeadlinePortionB().

          Funkiest November on record.
          Your views: sky habitat to be built in $town
          Police confess no leads in case of dancing pheasant

          etc. etc.

  7. Ian says:

    But will you be able to TALK to the robots?

  8. Inigo says:

    make the world look a bit like the British Isles, but abandoned, wintery, desolate

    In other words – like the British Isles.

  9. MistyMike says:

    One thing I’m noticing a lot recently is how British people like to explore/ponder about their britishness. I mean, that’s a good thing, cosmopolitan types are not fun.

    • The Tupper says:

      Man, you’d love the Quebecois then.

    • maninahat says:

      It’s a common source of confusion to them. Their sense of identity is based around listing small pleasures (which typically include rain, slippers and sausage rolls). I think a lack of general patriotism causes the British to try and rally around whatever they have in common – a love of tea and sarcasm.

  10. Cinnamon says:

    For some reason I find it annoying that it isn’t called, “you sir, are being hunted.” I like my killer robot game names to be more confrontational than subservient.

    But it’s not often you see a game that makes you think of 70s BBC horror science fiction.

  11. Conor says:

    Oh my. My fancy has well and truly been tickled.

  12. Chris D says:

    Personally I am shocked, shocked and apalled, that RPS wouid even consider not giving us all the juicy details on what looks to be one of the most interesting titles on the horizon just on the flimsy excuse that one of them also happens to be developing it.

  13. db1331 says:

    Sir, You Are Being Hunted 2 will be better.

  14. FFabian says:

    I bet there is a 0-Day DLC.

    • phuzz says:

      That’s not as bad as the DRM which will kill your gran if you so much as dare to look away from the game as you are playing it.
      Also, it will delete every other program off your computer, just to make sure you can’t copy it. Of course, this includes Windows, so you won’t be able to actually play the game, but that’s ok, if it was more lax then the terrorists would win of course.

  15. jkz says:

    Just what we need, another Battlefield/COD clone.

  16. abraxas says:

    Jim, since I’ve now looked at your screenshots on 5 different screens (screenies here on RPS on 2 different monitors at work and from your Twitter on my phone and 2 different monitors at home) I can honestly say that 95% of them are too damn dark. Especially so on my phone, but that’s probably a set-brigthness-pretty-low-to-save-battery problem stemming from my side rather than yours.

    Probably the best example is the screenshot where you say “The villages also look pretty good” and all I see are pretty clouds and maybe the silhouette of a single house on the left and a whole lot of black darkness.

    I realize all these things are happening at night and all but so far I can only say “you made a really pretty sky” and not much else. This is the first time I can actually kind of make out what the Hunters look like.

    I don’t mean to be an asshat or anything, I’m very interested in this. I’d just actually like to, ya know, see things on screenshots.

    Sneaky Edit: The last screenshot in this article being a notable exception to all of my bitching up there!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Heh. I actually brightened those because they looked too dark. I must have the brightest monitor in the world :(

      Anyone else finding them too dark?

      • abraxas says:

        Maybe it is me who has the darkest monitors in the world :(
        Clicking on them and looking at them fullsized definitely helps with (apparently only my?) brightness problem. Or maybe I’m just going blind in my old age, recently turning 31 and all. The joy of youth has left me and with it my eyesight it seems.

        • Mistabashi says:

          They really look absolutely perfect to me, if you’re really having trouble making it out then perhaps you need to calibrate your screens. In particular, make sure you don’t have the contrast turned up too high, that’s one of the things I see people doing all the time and it’ll ruin the picture.

      • Torgen says:

        Look suitably moody and fine to me.

        I’m still trying to decide how I feel about members of different robotic hunting clubs shooting each other, though. Do human hunting clubs in Britain go to war?

      • Benkyo says:

        No. If they are all night-time shots they could if anything do with being darker. Dark is good.

      • widowfactory says:

        There are screenshots there? I thought they were just black boxes to break up the text. Does the game have day / night cycles? It seems to be in permanent dusk by the looks of things. Would add a tactical dimension too

      • Jams O'Donnell says:

        They’re a little dark, but we’re looking at them out of context and placed against a white background, so it’s hard to see if it’s a problem or not.

        You should send me a playable build so I can do some science and get back to you with a verdict.

      • AmateurScience says:

        Yes, but then I read RPS whilst wearing sunglasses, because that’s just how I roll.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      I can see them just fine.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Have you been to an optometrist lately? Could be detached retinas.

    • Elltot says:

      They’re dark for me too, though I am in a horribly dingy office in the Midlands.

  17. BreadBitten says:

    Is it strange that I always read the game’s title in Tony Jay’s voice in my mind?

  18. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Looks great, hope you’re not submitting to the igf in october, because i am & i could do without the competition :P

  19. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    a bit like the British Isles, but abandoned, wintery, desolate, and recognisably rural

    So exactly like the British Isles, then?

  20. Urthman says:

    I think it’s disingenuous for you to pretend I meant anything more than a goofy compliment when I called you disingenuous for being all “aw-shucks, it’s just lo-fi” humble about something that looks this good.

    I understood that it was just a straightforward description of your approach to the graphics and would never seriously accuse an RPS writer of being humble.

  21. Turquoise Days says:

    Bay windows are a criminally underused feature in videogame design, and I’d like to thank you for sticking bits onto your houseboxes.

  22. GameCat says:

    Sir, You Are Awesome. Did you guys have estimated release date? I can’t wait to play this game.

  23. Nallen says:

    Can you go inside?

  24. The First Door says:

    Those screen shots look brilliant! Well done Jim and team!

    I’m actually quite excited to play around in an open world environment based on the British Countryside. It’ll make a nice change to the urban environments you normally see.

  25. Amnesiac says:

    “No release date for Sir, yet. But we’re working on it…”

    Work harder!

    Desperate to play this.

  26. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    Oh it really does look superb, doesn’t it?

    Once they’ve got the whole thing down, I do hope – in addition to all the primary gameplay mechanics they’ve got set up – they chuck a couple of bog-standard FPS game modes in there, too. Whilst the devious hunting/sneaking/etc stuff they have worked out will be the meat and veg of it, if you’ve got the environment/shooting worked out you may as well drop CTF in there or something. Would be great to have as many options for gameplay as possible in such a nifty looking environment.

    Godspeed, Mr. Rossingol et al!

  27. Walsh says:

    They need monocles or else they aren’t true gentlemen robots.

  28. LeiterJakab says:

    The skybox looks gorgeous!

  29. Maniacal says:

    This looks pretty neat, I like the premise.

  30. MythArcana says:

    This sounds interesting and quite a feat to pull off. The graphics look like xBaWKx Skyrim meets Redneck Rampage, which is fine with me. If there is some depth to this game, it could fill that old Deer Hunter 5 gap, but in reverse with a twist?

  31. Nick says:

    Ever thought of asking Steven Fry if he’d read the title in his best Jeeves voice for your menu screen, Resident Evil style?

  32. ghosted says:

    It’s tea isn’t it. They’re after a nice cup of Rosy Lee.

  33. Fanbuoy says:

    I would really love to see Jim write a WIT about this! I haven’t looked it up, but I think that would probably be a historic first.

  34. Skabooga says:

    It suddenly hits me that the art direction reminds me a little bit of Ecstatica. Especially the grass. Which is awesome!

  35. JBantha says:

    “No release date for Sir, yet. But we’re working on it…”
    But the walker principle is working against you.

  36. Jimbo says:

    I think you should write the Wot I Think and not even acknowledge that you had anything to do with it. Also use always-on DRM and release it in the US a month earlier than anywhere else. DO IT.

  37. hyperYoda says:

    I’ve been reading RPS for a while without feeling the need to register and comment. However, this game has me really excited! I am going to buy the poo out of this game when it comes out

  38. Sinnorfin says:

    You’ve nailed BOTH most important elements to an open world game..and that is the Top and the Bottom. Landscape, water, grass is awesome, and the Sky just rocks!

    Lets admit many of us got through the slow beginnings of Morrowind because of landscape and sky.:)

  39. Marcin says:

    As I said on the tweeterverse, it looks lovely. I really like the “painterly” (yes i know it’s overused, but apt here) aesthetic on the sky and trees.

    Have you messed about with *very* slightly irregular shapes for building fixtures, like windows and chimneys to match the other objects? As it is, they stand out a wee bit (yes I know it’s a prealpha :)).

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Nothing like that yet, but we may get there. Right now the plan is to get a small diversity of buildings working within the proc-gen landscape and just get it playable. Which is harder than it sounds! :D

  40. hyperYoda says:

    Have you guys thought about extensions using the same engine? I can imagine a game where instead of robots you have zombies, kinda like Day Z but single player and in the UK landscape. That’d be cool.

  41. Resin says:

    Quite remarkable, I must say.

  42. jhng says:

    I’m getting quite a strong 70s Dr Who vibe. This is very exciting for me and makes me do heavy breathing that sounds increasingly wheezy and Tardis-like.

  43. Resin says:

    I look forward to distracting robotic hunters by throwing pebbles.

  44. hello_mr.Trout says:

    i just recently finished stalker:COP (again), and one of the things i noticed was that evenso walking around a desolate abondoned environment is an amazing reward in itself, it felt kind of static to a certain degree- occasionally you would run into mutants/wild beasts and feel like you were part of a dynamic environment, but then you kill them and are back to being a solitary player. i think the day/night cycles goes a long way to making a world more dynamic, with weather also playing a big role, but i wanted to ask – have you considered implementing any type of neutral mobs/creatures? just something as peripheral as birds flying overhead, or small blue butterflies emerging from the swampy marshes could go a long way to making the player feel more engaged/immersed. robotic sheep perhaps? i realise that this would require more art assets/programming imput, especially as regards how they would interact with your already established AI routines, but it seems like it would add lots to the game.
    anyway, i think it looks fantastic so far :D

  45. Iskariot says:

    So this is a single player off-line game?
    Please tell me it is so, because I very, very, very much like the concept of this game, but if this is multi-player only or even another f-ing MMO, then it is not for me… sadly.

  46. crinkles esq. says:

    The landscape shots do look really, really lovely. Are the trees generated via a fractal algorithm, or are they 3d models? I think the landscape actually looks so nice that it makes the low-poly hunters look a bit out-of-place in the world.

    I can’t say I have much idea about the gameplay, but it’s certainly promising, good sir.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think the level of detail is actually pretty similar in-game, especially close up.

      The trees are just 3D models. It would probably be possible to generate them, but that’d be a lot more CPU load on generation of the level, which we don’t need.

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