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Contract Kills In A Procedural City: The Hit

Killers in the crowd

When I saw The Hit [official site] this morning, it took me a while to realise I'd read about the game before. That's partly because it's been a while since we heard anything about the game - two years - and partly because I have dreams that look a lot like The Hit. Dropped into a procedurally generated city, you have a target to kill, and should try to do so causing the minimum of commotion so as not to attract unwanted attention from the police and other players (solo play will be available too). It looks lovely, playing with social stealth and crowd behaviour in a way that tickles my fancy.

It's a good year for fans of hitting men, with Agent 47 back in business and Dishonored 2 just around the corner. The Hit looks like it might land somewhere between Spy Party and one of those ace Hitman levels where you're pushing through huge crowds and trying to keep track of a target.

You can buy The Hit now, though that'll only get you a very early build and prototypes for systems not yet implemented (or not yet complete). Dan Stubbs, the developer, says he hopes to launch on Steam Early Access soon and has been sharing some details about the features he's working on over at TIGsource. I'm particularly excited about the interiors, which look like convincing little places from which to observe and snipe. I want to jump up and down on the couches and beds.

The game as we first saw it two years ago has been almost completely rewritten, though it's based on the same design philosophy, but hopefully we'll get to see something more soon. There's mention of a free demo at some point in the future. Next up is more work on those interiors and a whole lot of other things:

"Now, I have a completely different visual style (I'm trying to bring it closer to the previous version, but destruction and interiors are a higher priority right now), much larger environment (1 square kilometer at present), many, many more NPCs (over 36,000 in my most recent test, but I've rewritten the navigation system since then, and I'm now aiming for 100,000 NPCs), and significant extra features like destruction, an in-game editor and a few things I'll show-off as I integrate them with the main game."

Most exciting though is the mention of TREE generation. Because, in ways that my mind cannot entirely comprehend, the creation of trees is somehow linked to the possibility of cats and dogs in a future build.

"The other thing I've been working on lately is a new tree generator. The main aesthetic is very blocky, so it's nice to have some more natural-looking shapes to break that up.

"I've also been getting my utility functions in order for the next (probably final, at least for a while...) update to the character generator. Trees have helped a lot with that. I should even be able to extend the body generator to allow for all sorts of bipeds and quadrupeds, so cats and dogs just got a little closer too."

YES. The next step, naturally, is to allow the player to take on the role of a hitdog. You can follow development of The Hit right here.

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