missions

Run! It's the cops!

Stealth missions usually revolve around you not being noticed or identified as trespasser by the civilian NPCs around you, but what happens if they do?

He’s ready.

He’s ready.

A regular civilian NPC such as a researcher, office worker, or even a building night guard would pose absolutely no challenge to a Spy DNA agent, which would make missions boring. To help up the ante a bit, we’ve added the police.

The “police” NPCs will have a non-zero “combat tactics” skill, and depending on their experience level they’ll have other relevant skills, such as Pistols or Observation, to name a couple. This will make them more formidable opponents than your typical night guard. They will also arrive at the scene expecting trouble and will definitely carry weapons.

“You’re under arrest!”

“You’re under arrest!”

When civilian NPCs see something that we’ve defined as crime (picking a lock, using specific items, being in restricted areas, etc.) or if they see something that would hint at criminal activity (an unconscious body for example), they won’t go after the perpetrators or investigate the crime themselves, they’ll call the cops instead.

When the NPC “calls the cops” we start a countdown until the police units are spawned on the map. How soon they arrive depends on how remote an area is, among other things.

We’re playing super-spies, so when the Police Dispatcher activates the response units, your character will pick that up on their police scanner. The dispatcher will state how far out the response units are at regular intervals, to give you an idea of how urgently you need to get your character out of the area.

On stealth missions, getting arrested by the police will result in mission failure, as will shooting any civilians, so our heroes should ideally clear out before the law enforcement officers show up.

New demo update

We hit an important milestone a few days ago: Now we can play missions all the way though, which starts when a mission is generated at the base, continues to mission planning, infiltration and team selection, mission execution, and finally, return to base.

Here’s a video we made of the full mission sequence all the way through successful completion.

At this point, the development here at Shy Snake has shifted gears towards stabilizing and polishing the release. Here is a quick list of the top issues resolved this month:

1: Added grass and ground cover to generated maps
2: Addressed performance issues with having lots of trees on a map
3: Added the mini-map in the HUD (For the body-cam fans, don’t fret, it is still available)
4: Fog of war visualization on the map
5: Viewing characters when obstructed by building walls or roof
6: Loading times optimization

We’ve been optimizing our development for the end goal of shipping the Spy DNA game. So we have often delayed or skipped short-term objectives if they didn’t help to get us to the end goal. As a result we are a bit behind on the playtest, but pretty much on schedule for the demo and early access.

BugTrackerCapture.PNG

Here’s a view of our internal bug tracker:

Let me explain what these milestones mean to us.

First playtest:
At this point we feel the game is mechanically complete. The core player experience is in place and should give the player a good representation of what to expect in the final product.

First demo:
Everything in the playtest with more mission and character progression. Save/Load must be robust and the base fully functional.

Early access:
Everything in the demo plus access to the full party. The first chapter of the story line has to be playable and several side quests need to be finished. A lot of the bugs in the 0.4 bucket are not necessary for 0.4, we just haven’t created the 0.5 bucket yet.

During early access we will be adding content and polishing the animation and AI systems along with fixing any issues that come up.

We had a few bloopers getting ready to record the video. In one case, I wanted to make sure when a character went down they dropped their weapon. But I forgot to mark the weapon dropped in one case and this happened.

Then while recording the playthough a few missions failed painfully early.

2018-09-01-karstens-nightmare.png

So with that I will leave it, and please enjoy the first public video of a full mission playthrough.

Procedural map generation in Spy DNA

by Jason Sams

It’s been a while since I wrote my last update. I’ve been hard at work on a few things. But as promised in the last update, today we will talk about mission maps.

We have the core of the map generation up and running. We have tested it generating maps from 128 meters square to 2 kilometers.  Map generation times are pretty good; just a few seconds in most cases.  

Procedural map of a wooded rural area with roads and trees

Procedural map of a wooded rural area with roads and trees

The maps are complete with bushes and trees. We are planning to add grass too, but that is a little harder to do without hurting performance, so it may not make our first Early Access release.

The size of the map will have a large effect on the time a mission takes to complete, and the general flow of a mission. For example, on a small 256 or 128 square meter map, there is no reason to bring any sniper weapons with you on a mission. Most of the regular rifles are “good enough” at those ranges while being much more useful up close.

Closer view of a procedural map, showing transition from sandy to grassy terrain

Closer view of a procedural map, showing transition from sandy to grassy terrain

We understand our players will have a variety of play styles. So we will be adding an option to the settings to adjust the map size to larger or smaller to mirror what you enjoy most. This will apply a +1 or -1 to the map size settings. The supported map sizes are 128, 256, 512, 1024, and 2048 meters. At the default settings all missions will be on maps from 256 to 1024 meters. So applying the +1 would change that to 512 to 2048. 

When you start a mission, you will be able to see all of the terrain. We assume that in the future you'll still have satellites and drones to recon the area before you deploy. Hidden or movable items such as enemy patrols will be hidden by the fog of war until a team member manages to spot them. Once spotted, they will be marked on the map. If you lose contact, the marker will remain at the last position a team member saw them.

With the upcoming demo we will be using the procedural maps to allow the player to generate skirmishes. We want everyone to have a chance to try out our unique combat system and get a feel for the game.