Dev Blog 8/15
Devblog for the week of August 13
This past month has included great changes for the game, and things are progressing rapidly. We have almost completed the art for the monsters, the level design has been entirely reworked and is re-entering construction phase, the crafting system is already completed and the stealth system is mid-way through development. These changes are breathing new life into the game, and we are very excited to tell you more.
Our first topic is audio. We happen to have a musician, composer, and audio designer/engineer as one of the founding members of our team. Audio is, often times, one of those difficult-to-fill roles in an indie team and, as such, we feel very fortunate to have Alex on board. We plan to heavily revamp the audio in the game and make full use of our in-house composer. Along with the map expansion comes several new original compositions, music-driven side stories, and a whole new set of foley and SFX. This should feature one of my favorite topics, proceduralism, as a centerpiece for the music in the forest. To achieve this, we are using a new (to our studio) middleware, Wwise, to greatly improve the quality of the audio in the game. While Unreal 4 has its own audio engine (If you have played the existing version of the game, you have probably heard a lot of it) and it works well, Wwise will allow us to go on and model realistic sound such as audio occlusion, spatialization, and much more. It will be a huge difference to the game, making the entire level feel more realistic and lively, and further build horror when you do things like walk into a room or worse, have something walk into a room behind you. On top of the middleware, we are also moving to live-recording some of the music for specific portions of the game. While this does not apply to ambient music right now, there are a lot of instances of music in the game that benefited heavily from the natural feel of live-recorded instruments so we’ve been bringing in some very skilled musicians and recording music, which has been a ton of fun.
Next, we can speak a little about the changes to stealth and how stealth will play out in the game. For those of you who have kept up with Prisoner since its early days, you will know that stealth has become more and more present in the game as it continues to evolve as a fun and intriguing gameplay experience. As we begin to introduce traps to the game and expand the game’s map, navigation has become a bigger gameplay element, so we are continuing to focus on stealth design and stealth gameplay. We have been building and designing buildings that are specifically geared toward stealth and creating interesting situations as players attempt to fulfill some requirements for crafting. This means, primarily, making levels that force players to think through their actions and plan accordingly. These buildings will have multiple pathways through them, each with their own caveats. Coupled with the traps, this should allow multiple different solutions for each “stealth puzzle” that will keep players interested throughout the game. Couple that with a few key changes to the level as the game goes on and players should find the new buildings consistently interesting over the duration of the game. Naturally, this means yet another big update to the guard AI, which will cover more cases, flow between game states more fluidly, and drive players to greater extremes than was previously required. More to come on this topic later.
Finally, we want to cover some of our community outreach efforts. We want to cover all of our bases as much as possible and social media is no exception. We have become more active on our social media lately, efforts are continuing in this department always, but we feel that we have progressed well. We are doing regular polls on our twitter to involve our audience as much as possible (many of them are questions about these devblogs), started a discord server, and are posting development pictures on our instagram regularly! All of these can be found on our newly rebuilt website. We are going to have a significant amount of content being published in the near future including trailers and, very tentatively, a small playable demo for the game. We are hopeful to coordinate with other content creators from the community to help a smooth and exciting release for all of this content. If you have any questions or want to get involved with the relaunch of Prisoner, please reach out to us on social media or via the contact page of our website, www.high5studios.com, for more information.
Tugboat, Lead Designer, High Five Studios