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Survival and stealth in a procedurally-generated world! Sir, You Are Being Hunted is tweedpunk robo-horror from Big Robot Games.
4,906 backers pledged £92,551 to help bring this project to life.

Update #16 - Hello From February!

Posted by Big Robot (Creator)

Hello! How are you? We've been quiet. That's because we've been so busy.

Sir, You Are Now Town Planning

Yep, we've decided to scrap the Hunting/Robot aspects of Sir and turn it into a sort of SimVillage tower defence cod management thinger, where hordes of Nimbies try to prevent you erecting wind turbines in the Lower Field! No, wait. Joking. So very joking. We've actually been building blood and tea and robots as usual, and that means it's time for another exciting (albeit somewhat overdue) Sir You Are Being Hunted project progress update! 

This month, which has been our busiest ever - among other stuff which we'll get to - we've continued to work on UI implementation. People have been asking us to show screens of the world generation UI so here you go: 

We think you'll agree it's splendid and proper. The sliders and buttons you can see on the shot don't represent the final cut of tweakable landscape/world features you'll be presented with when you generate a world, but you get the idea. Soon we'll be adding environmental knobs and levers for weather and day/night cycle speed, checkboxes for enemy types, you'll be able to adjust the number of pieces of the Strange Device you have to find, stuff like that. Basically we want to give you the tools to tailor the experience to your own liking. Because that's the neat think about generating your game world procedurally. This new functionality has thrown up a few new, if not unexpected, challenges. For example, one of the ways we make our procedurally generated islands 'feel' British is by lining any roads with walls and hedges. If you don't live here, a quick Google-drive around pretty much any rural part of the UK will reveal that this sort of lining is an iconic and instantly recognisable part of our landscape. 

The way we do this is to first place villages, then connect them with roads, then suck the field cells around the road segments into line to create coherent boarders of walls, hedges, fences and so on. Combined with some other cleverness, you end up with a sort of Platonic British Countryside. The essence of the place without actually being a 1:1 simulation so to speak. A distilled impression of the UK. You can tell we're very proud of it... 

(Above: Complex inter-village road network.) 

Now, when you let a player get their wandering hands on the values and variables that dictate the make up of this world you inevitably run the risk of them breaking the balance. BUT THAT'S OK. We now have a bunch of preset values for various landscape 'themes' such as woody, farmland, fens, hills and so on, so that players get some guideline settings as a base before they start tweaking. You can just randomise everything of course, or just go with the themes – you'll still get a unique world each time – but we know people will get a kick out of fine-tuning the space they want to be mercilessly pursued in. Now that framework is in, we're starting to look at developing more varied environments. This essentially means adding new scenery objects (building types, flora etc) and textures for the landscape as well as additional region types. At the minute while all islands in the world are unique (and can in fact feel VERY different to play, an entirely forested island is not at all like one crammed with wheat fields...) they are still made up of the same things. Eventually we want you to be able to choose from sets of objects per island. So you might have a wilder north island, covered in conifers, shacks and wooden fences, but in the south you'd find industry and drystone walls, with smaller areas of broadleaved woodland instead. We're still messing with the fundamental nature of the world generation on a more basic level too. The way we randomise the distribution of villages is currently under scrutiny (Radial? Shaken grid? Something else? Hmm...) and we're constantly play-testing to see how these changes effect the feel of our islands. 

 In fact, what is more exciting, is that this has been the first month where we've actually been able to play Sir for extended periods as a standalone game outside the Unity IDE. We can't tell you how good this feels. To be able to double click a link on your desktop, see a presentable front end, load a game you generated with shiny UI sliders and started playing yesterday, then spend several hours terrified and fleeing for your life from your own creations is thrilling and a huge morale boost for the team. For the last few weeks Sir You Are Being Hunted feels like a 'proper game' to play, something helped by the recent inclusion of our sinister butler's voice over. Mr Walters has advice about the world, and implies a bit about what's been going on in this robot-haunted Britain. So much other stuff has come together this month listing it all would be... well it would be the DONE column of our Task List, but we're not going to show you that... But some highlights include: Working melee combat with axes! (excellent when combined with traps for those sweet, sweet stealth kills...). Improved Bot Audio! Spectacular Sunrises! Fully functioning Device Collecting system (including counter and depositing functionality! - this last thing basically makes current builds of Sir 'a game you can play with a goal and an end and everything'.)

Lastly we wanted to show you some teasers for the ongoing work on new NPCs. 

Exciting! There'll be more about those guys in next update... And probably a video in the meantime. Oh and a survey for those physical rewards, which are well on their way.

But you probably all just want that game build as soon as possible? Well, we're getting there!

Right, let's put the kettle on. There's still lots to do. More soon!


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    1. DavidT on

      Will the robot horses be obstructed by trees ad other dense brush? It seems rather obvious but maybe a large heavy robot could break through dead soggy trees.
      Also, are the islands connected by land, or will you have to swim from one to another?

    2. Big Robot Creator on

      Oliver: That is a list of the islands int he archipelago. if you look directly beneath that list you can see text reading "Selected Island", that shows you which of the five islands you are currently defining.

      There will be significant hills, yes.

      Albert: We're going to ship a couple of really good pre-generated islands for you guys to play, so you can take a look at those before you get to selecting random settings for islands. We might be able to throw in some other tools later, too, if we have the time and resources.

    3. albert on

      As the actual UI gets built, make sure there is an option for those who dont want to get down and dirty with the sliders/want to be surprised with the world they get. Having both options available, plus your presets/random buttons as a middle ground, will be great!
      And echoing others, really looking forward to playing...

    4. Missing avatar

      Oliver Vantini on

      Great update (if late).

      Unless i am just being absolutely idiotic but what does the, under Build a New Archipelago options, what does the North, South etc options actually do? I'd assume that a northern archipelago would be more snowy and a southern have a 'warmer' climate.

      Also are we going to see significant hills and/or mountains? I recently went to Torbay, Devon and was surprised at how hilly it was compared to London and the surrounding areas.

    5. Mark Newcombe on

      Nice update gents. Thrilled to hear that you are now getting to play your game and enjoying the experience. Should be awesome by the time we get to be hunted.....

    6. Big Robot Creator on

      The rocket horse has some other stuff going on with it, as you'll see once it's animated and in-game. We think it'll work.

      re Signposts: yes, these are coming, and we have village name signs (with randomised names) already in.

      re Sharing: you'll be able to share save files of any generation. The system isn't seed-based, so we can't share it in the same way that, say, Minecraft does.

    7. Missing avatar

      CdrJameson on

      Good point about the hedges/walls. Our maps have special symbols for roads that DON'T have something at the side of them, and it feels kind of exposed driving along them...

      Can I suggest another quintessentially British countryside thing? Signposts.
      Possibly finger post style, as seen around Somerset.

      When you go abroad you notice how incompletely they signpost things.

      Presumably you know where villages are from the generation, and which roads go where.
      Just generate a randomly plausible name (Chipping/Greater/Market/Sheepy/Great + ton/ford/ney/etc.) then texture it onto a finger post.

      (Here's a quickly googled example -

      Lashings of atmosphere.

    8. Abigail Palmer on

      I kind of agree with Mariusz; coggy skeletal legs would feel more in-character for steampunk than the "jet pack" sort of propulsion, and scarier too. The jets have their own charm, though.

      This project is teasing me so much, I desperately want to play, haha.

    9. gandalf.nho

      Great update and curious to know more about the new NPCs.

    10. Steve on

      Great to hear it's going smoothly, thanks for keeping us in the loop. Very excited for this!

    11. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      Following that Star Wars Walker thought.. the way they sound when they are walking along has a distinctive and recognisable sound.. in a game like this, sound is going to play a very important role on many levels..

    12. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      Have to agree with Mariusz.. I like all I am seeing and it is very exciting to see things coming along as well as they are. I was only looking at your website yesterday to see if there was an update and then today I get one in my inbox....

      I also agree with Mariusz that the rocket powered horse is out of place with the rest of the game's art style.. I was thinking you could have some kind of Star Wars Walker style animation with more of a steampunk styling.. those big, fat feet of the walkers always reminded me of a draft horse.. so that would be more fitting with the setting than rocket powered stuff.

    13. Missing avatar

      Mariusz Kowalski on

      All great and I like the sinister giant stalker type robot.

      The horse with jet engines for legs is not that good though, too 'modern'. Should be more a mix of steampunk gears and exposed 'skeletal' construction. Would make it more sinister and also in keeping with the rest of the design.

    14. Missing avatar

      Svend Andersen

      Have you considered how people might share these settings? There is a lively community in Minecraft that shares "seeds" -- if people are likely to enjoy playing with the parameters of island generation, they're likely to enjoy sharing the results. And being able to use strings to set the random seed allows people to recommend that people try 'a nice cup of tea' or 'a few biscuits'.

      (And in the game, ho ho.)

    15. PeterD - Obs Ord / SR 3.93 on

      Oh I say! Splendid. Simply splendid! Well done that man!

    16. Missing avatar

      frank brimlad on

      great work guys; I do hope your humour comes through into the game, that opening paragraph was a treat. Pony on rockets sublime :)

    17. René M Jensen on

      Oh awesome thanks :D looks even better in fullscreen!.

    18. theAnton on

      Really looking forward to playing. :)

      If you are using Chrome you can right-click the images and select open image in new tab to view full size.

    19. Missing avatar on

      How about an option to just stroll down a road to see the scenery.....nobody trying to shoot you ........your scenery looks so good I would like to walk through it . Ted

    20. HanoverFiste on

      I don't know whether I love or hate your updates. It is all looking great & I'm getting antsy


    21. Big Robot Creator on

      Copy out the URL into a new tab for full size :)

    22. René M Jensen on

      I just wish the screenshots was fullscreen xD so i could see THE BETTER :D

    23. René M Jensen on

      So awesome still game came true :D cannot wait to play this, it looks so very fun and interesting.
      Very nice update.

    24. Brett Nieland on

      I love the sunrise! You guys are doing a thing of beauty in a context of horror. The definition of poignant .

    25. Missing avatar

      F Schultz on

      I have to agree with Wymer, I was pretty pissed at first. I'm glad I kept reading the update. XD

    26. Missing avatar

      Mr3Machine on

      Really love the look of this game, great update, keep up the good work!

    27. Stewart "Zoot" Wymer

      You know, when you started your update like that, I was just that close to coming over and force-feeding you carpet lint until you were sorry. Glad to see it was a fake-out :P Tally-ho, gentlemen; there are robots to be hunted back!

    28. Missing avatar

      Doymarn on

      Great update... can hear your own excitement in the article, means it's going to be a great game!

    29. Missing avatar

      Nick Connell on

      Astounding work, sirs! Continue to toil and quaff tea, I await the result of your great labours with breath bated.

    30. Rafael C.P. on

      The game is beautiful and the procedural generation is amazing!!!

      If you don't mind, I just want to give you a suggestion: wouldn't curvy roads be more realistic? For instance, in the first image, you have 2 villages (one in the center and other in the top-right corner) linked by a mirrored L-shaped road. The road in this middle cell (Voronoi, I suppose?) could be rounded and I think it would give more a feel of something built by biped things for biped things and not by machines (other than humanoid robots hehe) and traffic engineers for cars.

    31. thecaseace on

      Nice update - the graphics seem to have come on leaps and bounds too. That sunrise looks great.

    32. Moe Keir on

      This is so exciting!

    33. Missing avatar

      Hans on

      As the cat I am living with says : Meownnow !!! / Brew some stronger tea guys ... :-)

    34. Horace HonkyHorn

      Great update guys and loving the hovering horse. I can already imagine the panic I'll be in if I hear that trumpety thing going off nearby!

    35. Amy Worrall on

      Love the update! I'm so very much looking forwards to this game.