Refreshed, reloaded -- buffing Downfall Inc

About two weeks ago, I finished a rough version of a demo for Downfall, Inc, after a few restless nights. Honestly, I felt deflated. I didn't feel good about the project, so I let it be for a few weeks. I worked on some other ideas for a short while, but as always, I came back.

It always does me good to take a break when I lose motivation, I come back ready to go. After playing the demo, I felt like the game was a little soulless. Something was missing. I started to look back at the very original concept, and it's heavier focus on infiltration. Which let me to a crossroads.

I could either focus on combat, or stealth.

Combat would inevitably draw comparisons to Hotline Miami. I doubt people would believe me if I told them Downfall, Inc was inspired by my love of Rainbow Six's Terrorist Hunt mode, Hitman, and Syndicate. It started life as a tech demo, I wanted to challenge myself to create a basic enemy A.I and top-down seemed like the easiest perspective to work with. I saw potential, and worked on it.

Regardless, Hotline Miami will always loom in the shadows. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I both admire and envy it, the pure simplicity of it's concept and it's silky smooth gameplay have made it one of the most loved (if not, the most loved) top down shooter of recent history. So, comparisons will always be drawn.

My aim was always to create a slower paced, more thoughtful shooter. I remember reading about the original Metal Gear on the early Japanese home computer, and how the restrictions of the technology meant only three enemies could be processed on one screen. This forced Kojima to take a different approach to gameplay. I didn't want to throw enemies at the player, so like Kojima I want to take a different approach. Not comparing myself to Kojima, of course.

What I've done today is to add some more features to the game to enhance the stealth portion. You can crouch, which lets you hide behind obstacles and under things like desks. So, now, rather than having to exit the room and hide around a wall, there are spaces inside each room that can conceal you. I've replaced the frag grenade with a throwing knife, which is recoverable, which gives you a silent insta-kill attack that rewards patience and accuracy. It's not your combat knife, which you always have and can't throw.

Next, I'm going to make it so players can pick up bodies and move them. The enemy will notice and react to bodies, alerting them. Because of this, I need to enable the player to cover their tracks and not punish them for a kill.

After this, I'm going to write in a global alert state which brings in reinforcements. In an effort to encourage the player to elude guards following an alert state, reinforcements probably wont stop coming until the player has been out of sight for a while.

Ah, it's 1am, I'm losing focus. Night

- Rob


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