Hostile A.I Update, and Friendly A.I Addition!

I had somewhat of an epiphany today. I'd been tweaking the enemy A.I, and it was at a smooth and functional level. I was play testing the game, and after a few attempts I started to notice a glaring flaw in the general concept.

The idea of enemies not attacking or searching for the player unless they've seen him with a weapon drawn began to make less and less sense from a gameplay perspective. You always had the initiative, the surprise, and the advantage. Once you'd taken a shot, too, it descended into a brief gunfight.

As there was no stealth system of any kind, it seemed entirely pointless.

I just couldn't see it working on larger levels, as you'd be able to just walk through the map, kill the target and then run away. There was no real challenge, and enemies felt pretty pathetic.

I decided, after this play testing, to abandon that side of the game and focus entirely on the tactical shooter aspect.

Friendly AI

I moved to point A, the supporting character to B. Once in position, I moved up and opened fire, simultaneously instructing the character to move into view. The enemies were caught in a crossfire and annihilated.

To this effect, I created a friendly AI follower, who can be ordered around by the player. They are pretty competent, able to abandon move orders in order to make a pre-emptive strike on an enemy about to shoot at them. They can be told to wait, follow or move. More commands are planned, such as change facing, throw grenade, and breach. It was quite fun co-operating with this companion, as it allowed me to set up ambushes and synchronised room entries.

I'll be honest here, part of this recent epiphany came from my recent time playing Hotline Miami 2. I'd played the first early in the development of Downfall, Inc, but it didn't really bother me. However, playing the sequel made me realise that I was emulating aspects (such as weapon throwing) and watering down the concept. This is partially why I switched back to the tactical, methodical elements. That, and it just didn't play nice before.

- Rob


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