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