Here’s A Procedurally Generated Permadeath Stealth Game

By Nathan Grayson on November 15th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Eli Piilonen – he of clever (and admirably top-hat-clad) time-echo puzzler The Company of Myself, among many others – has plans. Big plans. He’s making a stealth game – of which, happily, there are roughly a billion of these days – but his is different. Very different. Excitingly different. But also worrisomely different. Different different different. There. Now you probably hate that word. Anyway, the still-untitled sneaker sees players heist their way through increasingly complex procedurally generated levels of a sci-fi office building. And if you fail? Well sorry, friend. No do-overs.

Granted, that’s just a brief look at the tutorial. Another video (below) gives a far better – not to mention lengthier – impression of what the game will be like once the training wheels come off your strange baseball-bat-on-rollerblades main character.

It’s an interesting mix of elements, too. Your central objectives generally involve stealing as much furniture as possible and navigating to a key that’ll lower the gate on your exit. However, both are double-edged swords. Furniture, you see, also acts as your central source of cover, so the more you take, the less you’ll be able to hide. Meanwhile, wrapping your sticky fingers around the key switches enemies into a state of heightened awareness and – apparently in some cases – teleportation.

I’m of multiple minds about this. Mainly, I’m a bit worried that margin for error could be an issue. After all, even the best stealth games tend to focus on pattern recognition and occasional trial-and-error. So adding enemies that can randomly teleport and the inability to ever try that specific level again to the mix could create a cauldron-bubbling formula for frustration. That said, those constraints might also force Piilonen to take the emphasis off precision puzzle-solving and move a bit more in the direction of on-the-fly improvisation. Honestly, I’d quite like to see more stealth games strike a good balance with that approach, so more power to him if that’s the case.

For now, check out the longer walkthrough video to see how Untitled Procedurally Generated Stealth Game With Permadeath Elements And Some Kind Of Segway Monster For A Main Character (definitely not the final title, but I kind of wish it was) is coming along.

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32 Comments »

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  1. Totally heterosexual says:

    Even this guy’s name is sorta stealth related. No way this could go wrong!

  2. Taidan says:

    Wow, almost nailed every current game-design buzzword in one there.

    Disappointed that “sandbox” is notably absent.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I am very rarely disappointed if “sandbox” is absent.

      • phelix says:

        I miss the times when ‘sandbox’ actually meant ‘giving the player tools and an environment to use them on’ rather than ‘not entirely an interactive movie’.

      • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

        Emergent?

  3. ArcaneSaint says:

    Isn’t this kinda what Monaco tried to do (minus the permadeath)?
    If so, then I’m looking forward to the correctional facility designer simulator game he will release a few years from now.

    EDIT: D’oh, screwed up, meant Subversion instead of Monaco.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      Monaco was a stealth game, but not procedurally generated, or (I believe) permadeath (I’m not saying you’re claiming it is, I can read), so it doesn’t really have much in common with this at all.

      • epmode says:

        Why are you guys talking about Monaco in the past tense? I’m pretty sure it’s still in development. Subversion is the dead one.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Where the hell is monaco anyway?

  4. Frank says:

    I think random teleportation might have referred to guards’ moving furniture, not themselves (e.g., from 6:05 on the second video)…?

    • povu says:

      Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant. Randomly teleporting guards would just lead to frustration since you could get discovered through plain bad luck by having a guard appear in front of you. That would suck. But teleporting furniture is nice.

  5. Persus-9 says:

    That looks brilliant to me. It looks like my sort of stealth game, the sort where running like hell and sitting around for ages waiting for the situation to improve are both very viable strategies. I love the main character as well. I want to be a mysterious thief bot who eats furniture. Given how much I enjoyed ‘In the company of myself’ and ‘fixation’ I’d actually be willing to pre-order this if the price were right.

  6. dreadmullet says:

    “Procedurally Generated Permadeath Stealth Game” ticked all of the boxes for me. It is one of my dream games I wish to play someday, which made me very excited when I read the title. But then I watched the first video. You play as a… baseball bat, and you eat furniture? What. Just… what.

  7. brkl says:

    Fact: This guy’s last name is Finnish and would translate into English as “small hiding place”. I swear to God that’s true.

    EDIT: And I can’t believe I wasn’t the first to say this. We’re a small nation, but online all the damn time.

  8. The Random One says:

    I’m not really into stealth games, but I have to say I am amazed at how he created some great tension by letting you hide behind furniture but also giving you the goal of stealing said furniture, and even more amazed at how apparently you steal furniture by eating it.