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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsHidden Asset (isometric stealth/assassination) LIVE ON KICKSTARTER!
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Author Topic: Hidden Asset (isometric stealth/assassination) LIVE ON KICKSTARTER!  (Read 66632 times)
Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2011, 11:55:47 PM »

Thanks! Development on Ascii Sector has been pretty slow for the past couple of months, but I've got a new game dev friendly job now, so I hope to get that game back on track.
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« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2011, 01:33:02 PM »

Awesome videos.
I did some comments on the videos.
Take my tips, please:
- I know now you haven't code, but It would be nice the NPC react to the shoots, not only in the dialog in their head, but they should stop, try to look at the player (looking randomly if they can't see him), an angry emoticon pop up on top of them, and then start walking again.
- Also the others NPC should run (fear) when they see someone dieing or a corpse, It should feel more realistic.

But anyway, you have some solid videos that look pretty cool.
Keep up the nice work.
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2011, 11:32:33 PM »

Thanks for your comments! All that stuff is planned. AI is just pretty much the last thing I'll be adding to the engine. Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2011, 12:00:59 AM »

Development Video #13
July 5th

I wanted to post this three days ago, but my webhost's servers got knocked out following massive downpour here in Copenhagen (two months' worth of rain in two hours!), so the website's been down for three days. Now it's back up, however, so here's a new development video for Hostile Takeover...


New stuff in this video:

   * Left-clicking on an NPC will make the player follow him/her
   * When doing an aimed shot, the more the target is in shadow, the harder he/she will be to see and the more the crosshairs will shake
   * Added button that toggles Combat Mode on/off
   * When in Combat Mode, right-clicking will do an attack (fire a weapon if the target is far away or do a melee attack if the target is on an adjacent tile)
   * When Combat Mode is off, right-clicking does the default action for whatever you clicked on (talk to a character, open/close a door, search through a drawer, and so on...)
   * Started adding scripting support, which means that dialogues are now working
   * Added the interface for character dialogue

I think I'll start working a bit more on environments now. I'll probably start by adding functionality for doors, windows and line-of-sight. I may also do some of the environment art/objects that I know I'll need for the game's first mission -- I'm getting a bit tired of looking at the crappy temp stuff.

In the video, you'll probably notice that the sprite for the character I'm talking to (your contact for the first mission) doesn't really match his portrait. So I'll either make full unique sprites for him at some point, or just add his clothing sprites to the default pool of character sprites. I do plan to have unique character sprites for some main characters anyway, though, so they don't all have the same age and body type as the default sprites.
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« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2011, 12:33:30 AM »

Design Ideas
July 12th

I wanted to write a blog post about some of the design ideas I have for Hostile Takeover. A lot of the stuff I've been adding to the engine so far has focused on shooting, which has probably given off the impression that Hostile Takeover will be a very action oriented game. It won't.

While shooting and melee combat will certainly play a part (you are, after all, an assassin), the game will equally be about avoiding direct confrontations through sneaking, diversions and puzzle solving. And I don't mean puzzle solving in the sense of sliding around tiles to open a door (watch that end up in the finished game now!), but more in the sense of figuring out how to use your environment to gain access to locked off areas or tricking guards into leaving their post.

For each assassination job, there's a maximum payout that you can earn for completing it. But the less stealthy you are and the more suspicion you raise in NPCs, the less you'll get paid. Specifically, there will be a meter that tracks your level of Suspicion. Shooting characters that aren't your target will raise your Suspicion, as will being spotted in restricted areas. Saying the wrong things to characters may also raise it (you might try telling a receptionist that you have an appointment with your target, but she checks the schedule and figures out that you're lying).

Furthermore, all weapons will have two Suspicion ratings. One for when the weapon is concealed in your inventory, and one for when you've armed yourself with it and is carrying it openly (I imagine the latter will just be double the former). This means that while you could just take along your entire arsenal for a job and shoot everybody, your Suspicion rating will be sky-high and your payout will suffer - giving you less cash for buying more and new equipment for future jobs. Figuring out the least amount of equipment required to successfully complete a job will be key. I also hope that this will provide the game's missions with some form of replayability in that even though you've managed to finish a job, there's always the possibility that there might be a way to finish it with a smaller amount of Suspicion being generated.

The Hitman series is obviously an inspiration, but I always felt those games (at least the earlier ones - I haven't played through the later ones) were too cut up into completely separate missions. Sure, there was some semblance of an overarching plot, but that didn't really come into play in the specific missions all that much. What I want to do is give the game somewhat of an old adventure game feel in that items or information you get from one location or job, or characters you meet earlier in the game, will come into play in later jobs. There might also be multiple jobs for you to chose from at some points, but finishing one before the other may give you certain benefits. It'll still be somewhat linear, though. I'm not making an RPG with a branching storyline. As cool as that might be, I'll still want the game finished at some point!

Hopefully this will have given you a better understanding of what the finished game will play like. But, of course, the game is in early development, so everything is still subject to change.
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2011, 07:57:11 AM »

First environment assets
July 17th

I've been working on assets for one of the environments encountered in the game's first mission: the parking lot outside the building where your target is.


(Click to enlarge)

There isn't much stuff yet, but it's a start! If you look closely, you'll notice a small red dot in the lower corner of the gray car's windshield. This red dot blinks to indicate that the car has an alarm. Car alarms can be triggered and act as diversions to lure guards away from their post or drown out gunfire. That's just one of the ways you'll be using the environment to stealthily kill your target.
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« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2011, 01:02:05 PM »

Nice and informative devlog. A few points that came to mind while reading through this:

* Ditch the drag and drop from the inventory. Right click puts gun to the right hand, left click to left, shift + click drops it. I've learned from a few hours of Minecraft (without the shift shortcut) that too much of drag and drop can ruin even the greatest game...

* I don't see what you gain from the slots for each hand, except if you plan to make some kind of dual shooting etc. Now it seems to be just another inventory slot. Of course, putting it behind a hotkey would make it useful.

* Just a visual thing, but right now everyone's walking around dressed in skintight latex and leather. If you'd throw in some more baggy clothes, maybe a trench coat or a hoodie, the npc's would stand out from one and other. Like TF2 and friends showed us, silhouette is pretty important for graphics, and these guys all have the same silhouette right now.

All in all, I love what you have going on here. I've always loved these fallout'ish graphics, and from what you have here, the gameplay seems pretty solid.
By the way, this clothing system you have here just screams for customizable avatar. I'd love to go all Deadpool on this thing... I mean, there's nothing like a good old lawsuit from Marvel, right?

Sorry if this didn't make any sense, I'm trying to write this from an on-screen qwerty...
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2011, 12:15:53 PM »

Nice and informative devlog.

Thanks!

* Ditch the drag and drop from the inventory. Right click puts gun to the right hand, left click to left, shift + click drops it. I've learned from a few hours of Minecraft (without the shift shortcut) that too much of drag and drop can ruin even the greatest game...

Drag and drop is a lot more intuitive. You'll also be dragging items from your inventory onto things in the game world, for example to give items to NPCs or open doors with keycards. But don't worry, you won't be doing anywhere near as much inventory management as you do in Minecraft.

* I don't see what you gain from the slots for each hand, except if you plan to make some kind of dual shooting etc. Now it seems to be just another inventory slot. Of course, putting it behind a hotkey would make it useful.

You can have a ranged weapon in one hand and a melee weapon in the other. Also, if you get shot in one arm, you'll probably want to switch your weapon to the other hand.

* Just a visual thing, but right now everyone's walking around dressed in skintight latex and leather. If you'd throw in some more baggy clothes, maybe a trench coat or a hoodie, the npc's would stand out from one and other. Like TF2 and friends showed us, silhouette is pretty important for graphics, and these guys all have the same silhouette right now.

There'll be more and more varied clothing for the full game. I'm using a limited selection for the demo, since making the clothing subsprites takes quite a bit of time (there's about 24,000 subsprites for the character looks currently in the game).

By the way, this clothing system you have here just screams for customizable avatar. I'd love to go all Deadpool on this thing... I mean, there's nothing like a good old lawsuit from Marvel, right?

The game probably won't have a customizable avatar. Beyond the issue of cutscene images relying on a specific avatar look, I'll also be making unique animations for the player's character. If the look of the player's character was to be customizable, I'd have to make clothing subsprites for all the clothing items in the game just for these special player animations, instead of just making them for the player's clothes.

I missed the Deadpool reference?
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« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2011, 12:45:28 PM »

Heh, car alarms are a nice touch. I definitely want to try to abuse those.
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« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2011, 11:23:52 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadpool
Otherwise, pretty solid points.
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2011, 12:01:03 AM »

Ahh, of course. I'd forgotten he's a mercenary. I was just thinking "pyschotic superhero" and couldn't quite get it to fit. Grin
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« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2011, 12:18:26 AM »

Wow! This is looking GREAT

I love the fallout-y feel. Your animations are also fantastic.

If you need a writer/playtester, let me know!

I also keep a blog with a decent readership (~200hits/day), so if you want some promo or just want to see how I write, you can check it out here: http://mediocritycodex.blogspot.com
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #52 on: July 28, 2011, 12:01:38 AM »

Gentleman

I'll certainly need playtesters at some point. My plan is to release the current version when the basic engine is completely up and running, and then make incremental changes and improvements to that until it's a complete demo. I'll then start working on the full game, which I'll need playtesters for when it's done. Which will probably be in a couple of years, at least...

I plan on doing all the writing myself. It's actually what I'm looking forward to the most.
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« Reply #53 on: July 28, 2011, 12:45:29 AM »

sounds good! Love to see that you're planning on taking your time with this project. I also love anything that remotely resembles fallout because of its nice balance of visual feedback and reliance on flavor text.

The combat animations look good so far too. Excellent work on the engine Smiley
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #54 on: September 10, 2011, 06:11:30 AM »

Z-layering
September 10th

The world of Hostile Takeover has been pretty flat for a while. There's been no z-layer, meaning that everything has been on the same level. That's changed now. In the below images, you can see a building that's currently 2 stories high (it'll probably be 4 stories when done, but there's really no limit to how many z-layers I can add). When you enter such a building, none of the layers above will be drawn, giving you an unhindered view of the level you're on.

   
(Click to enlarge)

I've also added doors that automatically open and close when you need to pass through them, as well as windows. I'm currently working on adding elevators to transport you between the levels of a building (I really don't want to make an animation for walking up/down stairs -- at least not yet). You can already see the elevator doors on the first level of the building.

One final thing I've been working on is the map editor. It runs completely in the game engine, so I just press 'D' (for 'developer mode') when playing to move walls and stuff around. I'll probably include the map editor with the game to allow players to make their own maps. Along with the scripting language, this will let players create missions for the game, so there will probably be two modes: the campaign with the full story and individual player made missions.

The map editor is still a bit buggy. It works fine for my own purposes as I'm aware of its limitations (such as placement of walls and stuff only working as intended when the map isn't rotated), but I need to clean it up a bit before it can be used by other people. Look for it in the next development video, which I'll probably make when I've got elevators working.
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« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2011, 01:17:18 PM »

Shadows or no shadows?
September 21st

I'm currently optimizing the map drawing code for Hostile Takeover's isometric engine. It's basically all about minimizing the amount of tiles and layers that the code has to loop through each frame to check for stuff to draw - and also trying to minimize the amount of texture bindings for OpenGL. Anyway, as part of this, I tried disabling the wall shadows (which I originally added to create an ambient occlusion effect) to see if they had any substantial impact on the time it takes to draw a frame. They don't really, which didn't surprise me much, but the test has left me with doubt as to whether or not wall shadows should even be in the game.

The image on the left is with wall shadows, the image on the right is without:

   
(Click to enlarge)

On one hand, I think the wall shadows make the structures pop a bit more and make everything feel less flat. On the other, I can't shake the feeling that the wall shadows make it seem as if the walls are floating ever so slightly above the ground. So I can't decide if I should keep them in or discard them. What do you think?

By the way, the shadow for the "Hensley International" sign is also missing in the right-hand image. That's just because I completely disabled environment shadows for this test. Stuff like that sign will have shadows - that much I've decided on. Of course, it might just be weird if walls don't have shadows when everything else does...
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« Reply #56 on: September 22, 2011, 10:01:38 AM »

I think the shadows would be good, but yeah, it DOES look like the walls are floating an inch off the pavement. And I think the direction they're cast in implies some weird sun positioning, especially in consideration of the sign shadow and the pedestrians shading/shadow underneath them and the car's shading.. it's all very oddly in contrast with each other.

edit: ok, yeah, the problem as I see it is that the wall is very brightly lit, but the shadow implies a cast ever so slightly from behind. meanwhile the characters imply that the sun is somewhere behind the observer and slightly off to the right perhaps. basically the wall shadows would be behind the structures in this view.
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #57 on: September 25, 2011, 09:51:21 AM »

Yeah, the shadow directions don't make much sense from a rational point of view. Smiley The reason for this oddness is that you're able to rotate the map and view it from 4 different angles, and if the shadows had to make sense, I'd have to make 4 version of all sprites with the 4 different sun positions and shadows. So I just decided to have the sun behind the observer so there aren't clearly visible shadows on characters and objects, but have their cast shadows directly beneath them.

I think I can make the wall shadows a bit fainter to decrease the floating effect they create. I kinda want to keep them, I think.
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« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2011, 02:16:10 AM »

Icons
October 10th

I think I've come up with a solution for the floating wall problem. I'll just make a shadow stripe that runs along the bottom of walls on the ground, so it looks like the shadow is cast on the ground and the wall, not on the ground below the wall. I haven't quite implemented it yet, but it shouldn't be too hard.

In other news, I've been making some cursor icons while finishing up the optimization stuff. These are the ones I've got so far that cover the player actions currently planned for the game:



I'm pleased with most of them, but I'm not sure if the middle one is clear enough. Can you tell what it is? And can you guess what action it signifies?
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« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2011, 02:26:35 AM »

it's hard to tell ... maybe a fist, for punching?
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