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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 #18 - The Hounds! The Hounds!

Hello, everyone! How have you been? Fancy a cup of tea? Well, let us put the kettle on and talk to you about the past couple of weeks.

While all the basic systems of the game are now in, we're now refining those and adding the rest of the NPCs. We've recently been able to add working hounds to the game. This is something we've wanted to put in from very early on (it was the second character model we had made after the Hunter) but we've been working on getting the Hunters more or less finished before we implemented their faithful companions (of death).

The Hounds are like supplementary NPCs for the Hunters themselves. They choose a master from the array of Hunters on the island when they spawn, and then follow them around in suitably loyal doggy fashion. Functionally, they act as a sort of sense-extender for the Hunters, ranging out around the Hunter squad with keener eyes and ears. 

Like the Hunters themselves if the dogs hear something odd they will investigate the sound, searching around its origin for a time until they either find the source or get bored and return to heel. If they spot the player they immediately head toward them and begin barking. This barking in turn creates noise which attracts the Hunters and it's this mechanism that draws the Hunters into the chase.

Now, Hunters, when simply searching for the player, are SLOWER than the player, which means that if they're not actively chasing you, you can outrun them. Hunters can just about keep pace if they CAN see you (in between the breaks in line of sight and pausing to fire!), but the dogs are much faster in this attacking state and so will eventually catch you. You can of course outsmart them by breaking line of sight and so on, but in a flat race on open ground they WILL catch you. If this happens they don't actually do a great deal of damage. Instead they pounce on you, pinning you to the floor for a period of time, barking all the while. This allows any searching Hunters to arrive at the scene of the disturbance and... well... you get the picture... It's one with blood in. And shotgun pellets. Initially we wanted the hounds to leap at you in the last few feet, giving the player a chance to dodge this attack, but we discovered a Xeno's paradox when trying to calculate the positions of the player relative to the pounce target. 

Essentially, we'd have had to make the the leaping dog curve in mid-air to keep track of the moving player or else the dog would NEVER hit so long as the player kept moving. We didn't want to have super-dogs that can turn in mid air so this has now been revised to a simple proximity check. If the dogs get close enough, they pin you. In practice this works basically the same as planned and has no real impact on play, but it's interesting how issues like these arise and how a design has to accommodate them.

The hound adds a lot to the way the game plays: you are going to want to be particularly careful of a hunting party with robo-hounds as part of their number, and listening out for barks is a good way of knowing there's trouble nearby. That's true of hunters, too, and they chatter with each other about tea and taxes when they're patrolling, giving you additional warning of their approach. You'll need it, too, because they're lethally smart when they get close.

You may also notice a new red light emanating from the Hunter's eye visor. Some recent feedback from close allies outside Big Robot alerted us to the possibility that our automatic gentlemen may be a little hard to spot in our lovely procedural landscapes. We're not sure about this yet, as we ourselves have become quite well attuned to spotting bots in the mist. At the moment we've added cones of light which help draw the eye and are considering having these as an option in Easy mode. They are actually more subtle in action than they can appear in these shots and they fade out as you get closer too. We're still not sure but it's certainly something we'll let more people (early access backers!) play with and give us feedback. It'll probably end up as an optional thing. 

Let's finish with a request for questions: ask us stuff! Ask things in the comments below, and we'll make the next update all about the answers to your questions.

Love you!

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Gnavin on

      I hate you guys. Dogs. Dogs are terrifying. They're faster than me, and they have natural weapons. D:

    2. Andy Havard on

      You've mentioned traps before (and shown the bear-trap off in a video) do you plan on having the robots use these or maybe having them set up other types of trap to trick the player? Will the robots always suicide charge when they locate the player or will there be times when they know you're trapped and surround you from a safe distance?

      P.S. Peter Jacob (below) mentions horns, i love this idea as it could add some real "shit has hit the fan" moments.

    3. Missing avatar

      Zona on

      How do you guys feel your AI compares to the Stalker games? Overall better? Worse? Are there things you've been aiming to improve? Differences?

    4. Allen Ibrahim on

      How much story is being written for Sir? It seems like the kind of game that tells its story through environments and encounters, but are there going to be traditional storytelling methods in the game (ie cutscenes, text logs, etc?)

    5. Matt on

      New mechanics sound interesting, although I too share the concerns about insta-pin because it sound like a hack and not at all realistic. Larger dogs really will follow your curve instead of cutting the angle, especially if they are larger and have more mass than a teacup. Maybe consider a squeaky toy as a distraction?

      I'm also concerned about having to leave the sound on to play. I can't think of much that will drive She Who Must Be Obeyed (Rumpole ref.) batty than listening to the sound of baying dogs for hours at a time. Please consider a visual indicator on the HUD for this (like Thief used).

    6. Peter Jacob on

      Hm, maybe a hunter with a horn. You'd want him dead first lest he activate that giant radius signal. Whole encounters can hinge on eliminating the horn guy unless the player thinks he can handle horde mode.

    7. Missing avatar

      NKA on

      I like the red eye visor, but will be there an option to turn that off? Maybe make two difficulty options, Normal (with the eye visor) and Hardcore/Deadly (without the eye visor)? Or something in that lines...

    8. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      With regards the dogs.. I also feel that, the way it was explained, the dogs are a little bit overpowered in their ability to get 100% successful pin when within a certain proximity.. but perhaps there is more to it, in regards to them actually achieving that close proximity, that will make it seem more realistic.

      With regards the cones.. I'd prefer them to be a lot more subtle and not cones at all.. more like a beam of light that is not a solid colour but instead a little bit textured so it looks like a laser beam that is cutting through the mist for a short distance.. and when they look directly at you, you get that laser beam "flare" effect.. this would mean that the beam on a robot in the distance would not be very visible but if they looked directly at you, there'd be that flare or flash that is characteristic of a direct laser beam..

    9. euansmith
      Superbacker
      on

      I rather like the beams of light coming from the Hunters' eye slots as they resemble the light beams issuing from the eyes of mechanical men and ghosts in early Science Fiction and Paranormal story illustrations.

      This is all looking really rather spiffing.

    10. Stian on

      Awrrrooooo!!!

      You should have killer cats too. Cats are evil.

    11. Missing avatar

      Zona on

      Like someone else said, I think having the AI of the dog overcompensate for its jump to get around the issue you were having would work better than having the dog always pin the player when they're close enough. If that's possible at least. And then the collision check on top of that. The way that it's phrased in the update sounds like there's no chance at all of it missing which doesn't sound good. And the red cones are fine as long as they're an option. Either as part of a lower difficulty level or just a checkbox in the options. Being able to choose any color for these would be cool too, as well as compensate for colorblind people.

    12. Daniel P.L. Kelly on

      It would be nice to have a way to occasionally disorient a dog... like if you time a punch on their nose as they leap at you or something. If successful, the dog could run in random directions barking... potentially drawing hunters away from the player.

    13. John Stewart on

      Aha! What about a clockwork rabbit decoy, which you can send scampering in one direction, with the dogs hopefully chasing after it? Sort of like flare/chaff decoys in flight sims but with more floppity-flopishness.

    14. John Stewart on

      What about target leading, i.e. the dog jumps at where you WILL be if you don't change course or speed? Plus, a limited proximity grab to allow for a betoothed canine head lunge. That way you'd need skill to avoid a leap by judging a course change carefully, which means trying to keep an eye on the dog or at least judging when the leap happens. Maybe if the dog has audible thumping footfalls you can listen for when it hurls itself into the air. OK, maybe no then, if the code's already written.... :)

      Ah, I feel like a nice cup of tea now!

    15. DavidT on

      Is there a way to counteract the dogs while you are pinned by them? Maybe a QuickTime event like in call of duty or something else.
      Also, how will the dogs react around rival groups of robots?

    16. Andrew Tsai on

      PC settings questions - will you implement the following quality of life features: borderless fullscreen windowed, cloud save game syncing, inverted Y and X axis options, uncapped framerate, multimonitor settings (Eyefinity), will the game run on integrated GPUs, e.g. HD4000? Remapple keys, controller settings, mouse acceleration options? And how open to modding will the game be?

    17. Frank on

      How about random and deliberate distractions for the hunters?

      Random: Dogs bark at a bunny.

      Deliberate: Player attaches a dog-barking noisemaker to a tree/house, which the hunters must walk up to to deactivate. The noisemaker could be activated in the standard ways (timer, remote, proximity to a real bot dog).

    18. Missing avatar

      Todd Williamson on

      Is there any way to disable or immobilize the hounds?

    19. James Butler on

      Very interesting to follow the development - can't wait for the final game (here's hoping my Macbook can run it)!!

      Still very intrigued and would like to hear more about the extent to which tea and biscuits play a role, though. ;)

    20. Missing avatar

      marad on

      How about a collision check for pinning down? If the player had a collision mesh, you could check for collision between it and the dog, while the latter is pouncing. That would be quite realistic, I think. Just a thought...

    21. selim13 on

      Nice!
      For some reasone, I want to hug those dogs ._.

    22. Missing avatar

      John Richardson on

      What is the difference between the GBP75, GBP60 and the GBP 40 options? The 75 and 60 difference seems to be just the tee shirt, but the tee shirt is now included in the 40 option. Does this mean you get two tee shirts from GBP45 up??

    23. Missing avatar

      Joel Benford on

      "You may also notice a new red light emanating from the Hunter's eye visor. Some recent feedback from close allies outside Big Robot alerted us to the possibility that our automatic gentlemen may be a little hard to spot in our lovely procedural landscapes. "

      Red light. Green landscape. 10-20% or males red-green colourblind to some extent.

      Make it a configurable colour if you do it.

    24. Shakermaker on

      Quite obvious question:
      Can you give a global time frame for when early access will start?