About this project
Sir, You Are Being Hunted pits you against well-dressed robots in a bleak British landscape...
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LATEST UPDATE: 48 hours to go! And a thankyou video.
PREVIOUS UPDATES: Multiplayer unlocked! Customisation stretch goal announced.
A design for the t-shirt and a brand new video. Take a look!
We've announced a multiplayer stretch goal at £80,000. Please help us get there!
We're funded! Thanks, everyone. Check out our stretch goals just here. Three of them have already been unlocked.
You can find all our other updates, including our gameplay video, over here.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a single-player first-person game of desperate survival in a world where mechanical aristocrats hunt humans for sport.
Our game world is brought to life by what we call The British Countryside Generator: a procedural engine that means that every player gets a different experience. We can generate the islands on which the action takes place in mere seconds, creating unique, highly detailed environments and an experience that is different each time you play. Thanks to the work we've done with this engine, Sir, You Are Being Hunted takes place in a recognizably British landscape, the inhabitants of which are a mockery of the aristocratic gent and his ecosystem.
We love our weird heritage of British science fiction and horror, and we're aiming to bring it to life with some of the best tools that game development has to offer.
Robots meet and drink tea in abandoned villages, poachers lurk in reed-beds, and red-eyed hounds patrol the moor: these are the things you will be dealing with as you fight for survival across our open-world environments.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted gathers up elements of our favourite things: exploration, non-linearity, AI interaction, survival, robots, sinister butlers, and hot drinks, and blends them into a rich pixelly pulp.
Combat is a big part of the game, but choose your battles wisely. This is primarily a challenge of brainy stealth: so flee across the countryside, hide in dense woodland, and sneak into villages to loot the haunted buildings for biscuits and shotgun shells. The approach you take in escaping the island is up to you.
And do be careful: you are being hunted.
What Are The Key Game Features?
Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a first-person game set in an open world. Your mission is to escape from the archipelago on which you have been stranded. That means surviving being hunted, looting abandoned buildings, and collecting up scattered fragments of a mysterious machine which should enable you to get home.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted includes:
- Procedural tools to generate, save, and explore your own landscapes.
- Open-ended gameplay: choose how you want to play. Complete the game non-lethally, or use whatever you can find to bring down the tweedbot menace.
- A Thief-style visibility-meter combined with our own foliage-based stealth system.
- Unique generative soundtrack.
- A disembodied sinister butler!
- No DRM!
- Varied loot including weapons, traps, booze, marmalade, tea, something that may or may not be bacon, and a dead rabbit.
- Fires to cook that rabbit on. (And other things besides!)
- Mac, Windows and Linux versions.
- Strange lore and pipe-smoking moustache-wearing mechanical locals.
Please note that all of what we've listed here is already present in our prototype, but much of it is currently in a early, undeveloped state. Kickstarter will help us deliver the game with final, professional art. It already looks pretty good, but we want it to look and sound breath-taking.
What Will Kickstarter Money Do?
The target we're aiming for here is going to allow us to complete the task that we've already put so much time and effort into. We've invested so much in the prototype, as you can see in these screenshots and videos, but they nevertheless contain lots of placeholder material - particularly in animation and audio - and now we need your help to make that into a full-fledged game.
We don't have a full time artist, so Kickstarter money will be vital to helping us commission the art and animation we need to fill the game up with exciting assets: new biomes to explore, new buildings to explore, more robots to flee from and do battle against, more strange things to collect up and pack your inventory with. Most importantly, we need money to tweak the systems that will bring this project to life: the robots themselves.
The robots need quality animations, and lots of them, which does not come cheap. They also need better-developed AI, which is all about giving our two programmers more time with their tools. Furnishing our robots with intelligence and personality is no simple task, and we need time and money to get on with it. This project is about us making the kind of game we want to play, and as experienced and dedicated gamers, we know that this is the kind of game many of you will want to play, too. It's an open-ended experience which you'll decide the pace and direction of as you play.
The better we do here on Kickstarter, the deeper that experience will become in the finished game.
But Who Are You Guys?
Big Robot consists of two full-time team members, two part-time team members, and a small supporting cast of artists. We've already produced two games: generative music sequencer puzzle game AVSEQ, which you can find on Steam, and Fallen City, a BIMA-award nominated educational game about the value of cities which was commissioned by Channel 4. You can find that freely available on the C4 website.
Jim Rossignol initially founded Big Robot to produce the Channel 4-commissioned educational game, Fallen City, and then went on to focus on projects based on generative and procedural design, thanks to his creative work with Tom Betts. Jim is a veteran games journalist and author of the book This Gaming Life, which was published by the University Of Michigan in 2008. Many of you will already be familiar with him from his day job at the PC-gaming website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, or from his time writing for outlets such as PC Gamer or Wired magazine. Jim is the creative lead on Sir, You Are Being Hunted, and is responsible for the overall direction of the project.
James Carey is our lead designer and production co-ordinator. You may know him from his work on Bohemia Interative's Arma II, his time at Total War devs, The Creative Assembly, or from our own previous games Fallen City and AVSEQ. James has a hand in all aspects of the game, and is particularly interested in simulationist approaches to design.
The man behind the majority of the maths involved is Tom Betts, a veteran programmer with a keen interest in generative and procedural systems. Tom designed and wrote our generative music puzzle game AVSEQ, and has been working on digital installations and in videogame academia for many years. Tom's work is what powers our procedural world generation, and he has also created a generative music system which will be furnished by audio from digital artist Andy Holbrook.
Dan Puzey, who has been our consultant programmer, helping with all aspect of the project, is a lead architect for a major commercial software company. We've been enormously lucky to have him working with us in his spare time.
Our art needs have been met by a small team of talented freelancers. Talented indie devs Frogames' lead artist Christophe Canon has helped produce 3D models and textures, while Martin Davies (PC Gamer contributor and talented illustrator) has produced our beautiful hand-drawn 2D art and UI elements. Sir, You Are Being Hunted is being made in Unity Pro, with our own procedural terrain engine, the British Countryside Generator.
What About Stretch Goals?
Stretch goals are additional features that we can promise if we hit higher levels of funding, now that the £40,000 goal has been reached. Here's what we're planning.
£45,000 - The Landowner UNLOCKED
At this amount we'll be expanding our NPC roster with “The Landowner.” This chap is an aberrant mechanical ultra-toff. He's a leader among hunters, and the nightmare gaze of his glowing monocle means near-certain death, and at the very least lots of peril. With The Landowner in play, the player is truly in trouble – his tracking skills and his riflemanship are peerless. Fear him.
£50,000 - Hunting! UNLOCKED
This stretch goal will allow us to include additional wildlife-slaying functionality. You will be able to hunt pheasants and rabbits and then cook them for sustenance. This will provide a complementary mode of survival for players aside from scavenging, as well as furnishing the world of Sir with more life. (And death.)
£55,000 - The Castle Biome UNLOCKED
A completely new island type on which a ruined castle is procedurally generated across the entire island. This will provide the game with both a radically different terrain, and an atmospheric arena in which to be systematically hunted down and shot. (We're really excited about this one – more proc-gen makes Tom happy.)
£60,000 - Hot Air Balloon Spotter Patrols UNLOCKED
This will probably take a little bit of explaining. Basically, the robots will man a hot air balloon which will make passes over the islands. From there they'll be able to direct hunters on the ground, and take pot-shots at you if and when they spot you. This adds some verticality to think about, especially as balloons are silent most of the time. Keep your eyes on the skies! These balloon patrols might be slow moving, but they will provide platforms for the hunters to snipe and spot you over a large area at any one time, and as such should provide serious jeopardy.
£70,000 - The Riders UNLOCKED
£80,000 - Multiplayer UNLOCKED
It goes without saying that multiplayer is an extremely complex undertaking in its own right, and because the focus of Sir is on a single-player game, we are not going to promise multiplayer on release. We are a tiny team, and must hit one objective at time. What we will do, however, is provide a multiplayer component to all backers when this goal is unlocked, soon after the initial release of the game. We've had plans for multiplayer for a long time, and we agree with those of you who have suggested that some manner of multiplayer suits the nature of the game.
Currently we're planning a 4-player game, where the players can compete or co-operate with each other as they are hunted by the robots. Only one player can get off the island, and so winning will require getting others to sacrifice themselves, or you to sacrifice others. The choice, we hope, will be one that drives the game.
Well, we can dream, eh?
£100,000 - Character Customisation!
This is something that will benefit both the single-player game and the multi-player expansion to come. Right now we're planning a standard player avatar for multiplayer, and we hadn't anticipated any character creation for single-player. What we'd like to do, however, is to add character creation and customisation to the whole game, so that the avatar you create can appear in both your solo experience, and in whatever you do online.
What this means is a character creation screen where you can name your avatar, customise their appearance – moustaches, tweeds, boots, monocles, and other accessories – so that you have a unique character in the game world. Furthermore you'll be able to choose a number of “talents” that will have an affect in both the single and multi-player game. These will allow you to push your specialisation towards a particular direction: perhaps increasingly your constitution for a vitality bonus, or pushing up your stealth ability with the appropriate selection.
These won't be “classes” or anything like that, but more like a couple of abilities from something like a talent tree. Small bonuses that push your advantages this way or that. This doesn't mean we're looking at other RPG elements – the game will still be about your skill and what you find in the world. It just allows you a little more depth in focusing how you want to play the game.
But there's more! This feature will allow us to add an optional (turn it off if you don't want to use it) third-person view. The game is still first-person, don't worry! We're just adding another option, which we hope will bring another layer of depth to the single-player game, and should help with stealth activities, as well as letting you see the character you have put together. We only have just over four days to unlock this final goal.
Let's make it happen!
Risks and challenges
There are challenges in any game design project, but we are formidably equipped to deal with them. Our team each have years of experience in their respective fields, and we've shipped two games - Fallen City for Channel 4 and AVSEQ on Steam - as a team. But more importantly: we are making the game we want to play. That alone means we cannot afford to fail.
We've already proven that the game can be made - we have a working prototype which you've probably already seen in the videos and images on this page - the challenge now is to polish that prototype into a mature and engaging experience: one that will be memorable and unusual. Our goal is to create something genuinely interesting, and we're well on the way to doing that.
With your help, we'll bring home a veritable trophy of a game.
So please Pledge!
Every dollar brings us closer to making this the game it deserves to be. We absolutely need your involvement to bring Sir, You Are Being Hunted to maturity. We can't wait to have you play it.
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