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1067276 Posts in 43576 Topics- by 35617 Members - Latest Member: xenixl

November 28, 2014, 05:17:21 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsProcedurally generated stealth game (with March 12 alpha update)
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Author Topic: Procedurally generated stealth game (with March 12 alpha update)  (Read 2174 times)
2DArray
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« on: November 09, 2012, 03:55:53 PM »

Ahoy there!  I've been doing game dev for a really long time now - until recently I only worked in Flash (some releases: Company of Myself, Fixation, Spewer, Fisher-Diver, Viricide, You Find Yourself in a Room), but a little while ago I picked up a copy of Unity and have been loving the shit out of it.

I've been plugging away on a self-generating stealth game for a few months now, and I'd love to get some feedback from you guys!  I'm eventually hoping to sell this thing on Steam, by the way.

I keep a devlog at my website, so these images are coming from there.

While a lot of the game is coming together, the player character is still placeholder art.  He's a robot who consumes furniture so he can convert it into fuel.  Here he is gobbling up some stuff:



The game takes place in a gigantic and mysteriously abandoned company campus.  Taking a cue from roguelikes, each level is randomly generated and the player is never allowed to retry if they screw things up.  This is particularly interesting to me in the context of a stealth game, since I find stealth gameplay to be the least fun when it boils down to trial-and-error.

Anyway, here's the game's wall generator at work:



There's a one in three chance that a generated wall layout will be forced to be symmetrical, like the one above.

Finally, here's a somewhat lengthy (~9 minute) video of a friend of mine playing the game.  This video is a few weeks old so it's a little out of date by now, but it's still a solid slice of how the game plays.

Click me

So how's it looking?  Any questions/concerns?  I don't have a public demo available yet because the game needs some tutorial stuff first or it won't make any sense, but if anyone wants to try it out I can shoot over a build.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 02:48:25 PM by 2DArray » Logged
poe
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 03:57:31 PM »

This looks fantastic. I'll definitely keep an eye on this.
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Peregrinus
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 04:44:37 PM »

This looks nice! Kind of remind me when I was younger playing Ocarina of Time and having to sneak in that castle.

And I agree with the trial and error in sneak game. I use to play Thief : The Dark Project which I thought was awesome. But after a couple of time you failed, you manage to succeed because "you know" where are all the guards in part due to everything being static.

I was wondering thought, what is the background of the game? I mean, what does explain the fact that that little robots has to steal furniture and that the "guards" never notice them disappearing?

Otherwise, great game, looks forward to it! Smiley
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2DArray
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 05:21:32 PM »

The game's setup is supposed to be mysterious at first, so it's okay if things are a little confusing.  I wrote a whole slew of story entries (twenty four in total) that the player will unlock alongside the other gameplay mechanics that gradually get introduced as you play more.  I'm hoping that me and my sound guy (David Carney) will be able to get full voiceovers for all of them.

Basically, the game takes place in a "subtle" post-apocalypse setting:  I'm a little tired of burning buildings and zombies, but the end of the world is still pretty interesting.  The enemies in the game are all installations of the same AI, which was developed by the company whose campus the player is exploring.  They're all programmed to be automatically affiliated with property of the company, so they're not too happy about somebody showing up and swiping everything.

For the moment, it's just a shitty excuse, but let's pretend that the enemy bots don't have enough onboard RAM to store anything past very short-term memory.  I might not have to resort to actually using it if I can find a nice way to make the gameplay AI a little more clever about noticing the furniture disappearing, though...
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2DArray
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 01:52:39 PM »

Hello again - let me know if double posts are frowned upon here.

Anyway, I've got a new video!  This shows some new tutorial features and various other updates.  Now that the tutorial is working, it's almost time to start testing the game with people online...

Click me for 1:30 video
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eigenbom
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 02:00:42 PM »

looks cool Smiley
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2DArray
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 11:42:16 PM »

Here's an animation showing the player character (who just received some shiny new art assets) crouching and uncrouching.  He's a robot that's supposed to look like an exclamation point instead of mimicking human features.

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johnki
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 12:51:36 AM »

Man, I forgot to comment on this. Watching the map generator at work is pretty cool, and the gameplay looks interesting.
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 04:43:58 AM »

Looks great. The art style reminds me of those old computer graphics videos from the 90s which I loved so much. I really want to play this.
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 02:04:22 PM »

I just implemented the game's Challenge Mode, which consists of a bunch of hand-made trials that the player will unlock over time. The cool thing about these levels is that even though they all have custom layouts and such, the enemy and obstacle placement is still randomized, so the game's "no trial-and-error" methodology remains intact.

Here's the menu

And here's an album showing four generated variations of one Challenge.

I think it's also a really interesting complement to the main Campaign Mode (where the game has full control over level design) and gives some cool perspective about the scope of the content generators.
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 03:28:34 PM »

very excited.
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2DArray
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 09:39:20 AM »

Ahoy there!  I haven't posted here in forever, but luckily that's been because I've been off working on the game instead (...mostly, anyway).

The good news is that my project just reached it's one and only Big Bad Milestone:  The core gameplay is feature-complete.  There's still a significant amount of work left (an ending, story integration, audio, secrets, etc), but the main gameplay's general thrill value and replayability have always my biggest concerns with this project, so I wanted to spend the main portion of my working time on just the main gameplay mechanics.

I had a really...awkward set of design goals for the project (action game with no attack button, roguelike with as few RPG mechanics as possible, procedural levels with no handmade chunks, blah blah blah) and I'm generally really happy with how I handled the problems that they caused...

Anyway:  The reason that this is a Big Bad Milestone and not just a checked item in a to-do list is because now that the gameplay is fully fleshed out, I want to do some public testing so I can tweak it further and make it even more fun for an even longer amount of time.

So yeah - here are some links!  Note that while there's only one enemy and a few items available at first, you unlock more and more stuff to play with/against as you play the game more times.

Unity Web Player (~11 MB)
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/29134327/roboburglary/roboburglary.html

Windows
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?pn32linoz11sfpb

Windows (64 bit)
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?ce58g116cg7b6l1

Mac
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?cgksltjww2tzs03

Linux
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?q005657vtg99if5

There's 24 levels of unlocks to earn and they all add legitimate new game mechanics (instead of boring stuff like minor stat boosts) - I'd be insanely grateful if anyone can play the alpha enough to unlock all of them so we can talk about your experience with it, and I'll figure out a very special prize for the first person who does it...
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 09:50:21 AM »

well, hot diggity! I remember seeing the post about this on RPS and getting really excited, glad to see that it is here as well. Action + Stealth + RL is a nice combination on paper, looking forward to seeing how it plays.
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Greg Game Man
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2013, 10:09:34 AM »

Great game! I only played the first building so far, but i'm really liking it.

Two things:
- the way the walls fade out is kinda distracting, id prefer they just fade if they're in the way, fade in when they're not.
- slight delay on key-presses, check your input settings (sensitivity)

Will play more later Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2013, 10:45:57 AM »

Ok got a few run throughs through in... got to 3-3 on my second try:

- It is really hard to tell the FOV of the sentries. I am guessing that it is a pretty narrow cone, but couldn't fully tell.
- It was difficult to tell the state of the sentries. I think there were 3 states? Patrolling, Alerted, and Shooting. Couldn't tell what put them into alerted, and how it ramped into shooting. I don't know if you need to go all the way into the dishonored lightning bolts or not, but it might be helpful.
- second the control issues. In unity, if you are using the getAxis, there is some pretty rugged smoothing going on the keyboard inputs. I am guessing that speed up / slow down could actually be on you, to deal with the speed of the sentries though?

Get some sound on this jam! It desperately needs an audio connection for the alert states, and the lasers and the eating and everything.

Beautiful over all though. Will spend some more time with it.
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2DArray
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2013, 02:29:16 PM »

Thanks for the feedback so far!

The sentry fov is just something that you get a feel for over time...or at least that's how it is for now.  If it seems too obtuse, let me know, but it doesn't look like people take too long to get a general idea about how big it is.

For the sentries, their states are three main parts that overlap:  Their blinking red light means that they know you're in the room, and indicates that an enemy is more likely to teleport furniture around to try and find you.  On top of that, each one individually opens up (and stays open) when they personally spot you for the first time.  Since it takes a little bit of time for the transform-into-attack-mode animation to play, the first encounter with each baddie is given a bit of a delay before the shooting starts and becomes a little more forgiving than any repeat offense.  Finally, if an enemy has seen you within the last ten seconds, he'll spin around while he moves so he can look for you in all directions at once.

Phew!

It'll probably take the average player a significant amount of time to fully understand all of these rules, but they ultimately boil down to "don't get seen or shit will suck and you'll have to either get out of there or find a safe hiding spot where you can wait it out."  This seems like a pretty intuitive kind of behavior in a stealth/survival setting, so I don't really think that a misunderstanding of the states will cause any serious problems.

That keyboard thing does sound like a problem, though.  Might be one of those things that I just can't notice anymore because it's already been janky for so long.  I'll look into it!

I've got my normal sound guy working with me on the game, but his contributions won't be available to the audience until the game is released (I think this'll be a nice surprise for people who've already played the alpha version).  He's awesome and the audio will be awesome.

Oh, and I can't use regular alpha fade-outs for the outer walls of the building because it breaks z-sorting, so it had to be something with cutoff alpha instead.  I went with stripey bands instead of blobs because it seemed...like...more fun, I dunno.  I'm pretty sure that players learn to phase it out really fast.  Oh, and I allow the player to leave a wall partially hidden because it allows a very minor extra bit of exploration - if you sit still and look at a partially hidden wall, you can see the bands slowly animating.  I'm a total sucker for dumb little shit like this and the game is packed full of it, but I don't have any better explanation for it than that.
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jonbro
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2013, 12:56:55 AM »

Cool, I figured it was something I could get a feel for eventually, and it is nice to not have everything with a gui element stuck to it. I definitely don't thing you need a tutorial for it either, it was just something I was a bit confused about. I am not the most knowledgeable of the stealth genre (pretty much just dishonored + what ever stealth mission are stuck into other games), so I don't know how these things are communicated.
A while back, they were talking on the idle thumbs podcast about the crispness of the stealth in mark of the ninja, and it sounded like that game did a really good job of communicating the enemy states. I haven't played it though.
For the keyboard thing, I have noticed that the Input.getAxis smoothing is much less worse on gamepads with unity, so if you have one with an analog stick, you might want to try that?
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2013, 07:51:29 AM »

Played a few levels and having fun. A couple of ideas - Menu font had little black pixels in outline, looked rough. - And you could turn the "comments & ideas" URL into a clickable button that opens the webpage.
I don't know why Fuel changed to Food, but then again a general sense of confusion seems to be the aim Smiley
I look forward to having another go at this later.
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2DArray
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2013, 09:36:57 AM »

Mark of the Ninja aims to give the player as much information about the state of the game as possible, and it works out really well (ninjas must notice everything around them, after all!).  I don't think it would be as appropriate in this game, though - this is supposed to feel more like a survival situation rather than a heist or other intrusion.

As far as "not being knowledgable of the stealth genre," that's totally, totally fine.  This is an action game that plays pretty differently from a lot of other action games, so there's no assumption that anyone will already understand the basics at the outset (like what you'd see in a lot of current FPS games, for instance).  Lots of roguelikes have this problem, too, so I tried extra hard to design the rules in ways that would make sense to Average Joe and Regular Jane instead of just the stealth pros and roguelike vets.  Faces can see you, lasers can burn you, food is good, crouching makes you harder to see but slower to move, etc.
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johnki
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2013, 12:03:28 PM »

Man, I haven't played this since shortly after the last build. Hiding feels hard again haha. Then again, I'm also getting quite a few really open levels and it almost feels like the AI know where stuff is going missing now.

Anyways, I'm determined. I'm going to make it at least halfway to the end of the progression meter. Eventually.
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