Hands On: Due Process

By Graham Smith on July 10th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

All of this art will change, but I like the way it looks now.

Due Process is a tactical, team-based multiplayer first-person shooter inspired by SWAT, Rainbow Six and Counter-Strike. After I wrote about its first trailer, the developer’s invited me along to a testing session so I could play it for myself. It is, as the trailer asserts, “alpha as fuck.” It’s also tons of fun.

“I’m going to kick it.”

There’s a thud of a door being kicked open from the other side of the building. The gunfire, between two of our team and the criminals inside, begins immediately. “Blow it, blow it, blow it.”

Five seconds in.

I hit the clacker to detonate our wall charge, creating a hole in the side of the building that two of us rush inside. As soon as I’m clear of the blast smoke I spot an enemy looking straight at me. We exchange fire.

Ten seconds in.

I get the better of the defender, headshotting him and causing his blocky temporary model to collapse into its constituent primitives. At almost the same moment, my teammates do the same, each killing one counter-part on the opposing team. “ATTACKERS WIN” appears on screen. In total, the assault last just twelve seconds.

The planning, however, took three minutes.

This is the balance Due Process is trying to strike: the planning of old Rainbow Six (or perhaps of the looming Rainbow Six Siege) combined with the immediacy of Counter-Strike. It is already thrilling, even in the feature-light, white-boxed build I played with the dev team earlier this week.

As the attackers in this particular scenario, we started inside the back of a van parked adjacent to the building we needed to breach. One wall of the van is lined with equipment: assault rifles, pistols and ammo for both, plus grenades, flashbangs, nightvision goggles, riot shields, wall charges and door charges.

In order to make a plan, the four of us opened our map view – at this stage simply a camera placed above the procedurally-structured levels – and doodled on top of it while discussing tactics. A circle over the door we’d kick down first, an arrow to represent the route two of us would advance down with the use of a riot shield, an X to mark the spot where I’d place the wall charge.

There was some discussion. Which wall should we blow? Explosives can only be placed on thin walls, and we had the option of attacking from the west or the north. Should we rush for the power switch near the door and plunge the building into darkness, and if so should we take the nightvision goggles or rely on the flashlights mounted on our assault rifles?

When we’d made up our minds, we moved into position and executed it flawlessly. It doesn’t always go so smoothly, but the actual combat – from the first breach to the last crumbling body – is always over in a panicked flurry of gunfire and particle effects.

As if to demonstrate the highs and lows of success and failure, the next round proves considerably more difficult. We respawn back in our van, only this time there’s no wallcharge: equipment is persistent across rounds, and we used it during the last attack. The teams will swap and be re-stocked after three rounds, but for now we need to adapt our tactics.

So will our enemy. This newly generated building has two doors, both on the north side. Without a wallcharge those are our only route inside, and the predictability of our angle of attack gives the defending team a better opportunity to plan. In later versions, those tactics might involve moving couches and fridges into position, to block entrances and create cover. For now they’re limited to a smaller selection of guns, whatever they can steal from killed attackers, and the inherent advantage of having an entrenched position.

Doors have different properties indicated by their colour – some can be opened, some can be kicked from one side but not the other, and some require a bomb to blow open. On this occasion, we decide to kick in one at the same time as we blow the other. One of my teammates takes the door charge and, hands full, asks me to take the clacker. If I press the button before he plants the charge, or when someone is still too close to it, I’ll kill them.

I don’t do that. Instead I wait and then hammer the button at the right time. The clacker is programmed to work after a random number of button presses, creating a fun, movie-like experience of frantically hammering an explosive device until it works. When it does and the door blows open, an alarm begins to ring and we rush inside. It’s pitch black and we didn’t bring nightvision goggles; the defenders had turned off the lights.

I am killed almost instantly. Two of my teammates take out two of the defenders before themselves being killed. A third defender moves too close to a building exit and is shot by a circling UAV, a mechanic designed to stop the them from simply rushing outside. That makes it a one-on-one fight. We do not win.

There’s a lot of potential in Due Process, much of it in the details. If you’re a defender and you have an assault rifle with a flashlight on it, you can kill the power and then place that weapon on the ground as a standing light source while you hide in the shadows. It’s a neat distraction mechanic. Right now the game also contains an opti-wand for spying through doors, though the developers say it slows the game down too much; they want a mechanic that gives you the same sneaky info, but maintains the pace of the game. They’re also going to have different objectives in order to stop the attackers from taking too long planning their strategy outside; a bomb, maybe, ticking down towards disaster.

As for the art style, it sounds like the blocky character models won’t stay. They mention the recent movie Dredd – a sci-fi movie largely about breaching and clearing – as a source of visual inspiration for the final look of the game.

Whatever later versions of the game contain, and whatever they look like, it’s already fun. So let’s get this out of the way now.

I am sorry I am a child

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22 Comments »

  1. jpm224 says:

    Most anticipated 2014.

  2. johnkillzyou says:

    How would one go about playing this game in the near-future? Because this seems like my sort of game. If the pacing is as described, and the gunplay that vicious, this might be one of my favourites right up there with Intruder.

    E: Just watched the trailer. Now throwing money at the screen. Damn coins, now I’ll need a new monitor…

  3. MegaAndy says:

    The planning time sounds too long to me. Once played a few times I’d think you’ll get used to strategies that can be summarised and not take too much thought and time.

    The defence i would have thought would need even less time.

    Of course I could be completely wrong, I still really love the idea of it and I look forward to see it develop

    • Graham Smith says:

      Planning time is two minutes and on either team it passes quickly. Because each map is randomly generated, it takes a little while to pick cover positions, think about what the opposing team has in terms of equipment and how they might use it, etc. And stuff like a ticking bomb should compel people not to linger after their two minutes are up.

    • arbaard says:

      Due Process dev here. Since the maps are dynamically generated, planning remains super-important for every round. A bad or predictable plan consistently results in a complete wipe. Our more experienced testers have developed a shorthand, which means they can get decent plans out the door within 30 seconds, but the process of playing your enemy is still there–you still have to account for what your opponent is going to do, and that’s really the meat of the planning phase. It’s fantastic to see our players engage in the process of “we know that they know that we want to do this,” and so we’ll do this instead. It’s core to our game, and we’ll design Due Process so that it stays that way.

      • MegaAndy says:

        Thanks for the reply! Maybe a ready button for each team would help the experienced players that can plan in the shorter time

        Anyway, i shall keep my eye out for this!

  4. Gap Gen says:

    You have a huge gun-house pointed at you! I’m unsure weeing on it will deactivate it. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/14/jul/dueprocess3.jpg

  5. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I’d pay money to start playing right now. This looks like a grand time.

  6. stonetoes says:

    So is the multiplayer against other players or with other players against bots? Any mention of a single player element?

    • Graham Smith says:

      Team-based, so players on both sides. They’re a small team so I wouldn’t expect bots or singleplayer right now.

      • Radiant says:

        Any hope for a 2d planning/execute only 2 player version?
        Ie the best bit of rogue spear not any of the shooty bang bang I’m now rubbish at.

        Please lord jesus make this a real thing

  7. JB says:

    Seeing the boxmen (and how awesome this looks) makes me wish they’d get together with Alex at CrypticSea and make a Sub Rosa/Due Process/A New Zero mash-up. Tactical battle with planning, breaching and clearing.

    Colour me interested as it stands though!

  8. gayreth says:

    I’m glad that this game supports the creation of penises, but can you comment on it’s ability to support the creation of other forms of genitalia, and the interaction between them? This is, in my opinion, very important to the success of any tactical shooter that wishes to take itself seriously.

  9. Johnny Go-Time says:

    The planning montage in that vid is one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

    I was actually getting giddy as the alternating viewpoints built up to the cluster@#%@% which transpired…bouncing up & down and giggling like an idiot…Well done, devs!!

  10. The Random One says:

    Looks like the advent of creative games might replace the Seconds to Crate standard with Seconds to Penis.

  11. SooSiaal says:

    blocky temporary model”
    Which makes me hope it won’t stay like it is now

  12. Vin_Howard says:

    I think that’s sort of what they’re planning to do? They they’re going to use “low poly art” (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVZ2u9uLo1Y&feature=youtu.be&t=35m55s)