Monday, 11 November 2019

It's the little things

Here's a secret,
Inside the world of Out of Line, there are little bugs that roam around the factory. These bugs live their own happy lives doing the things they like to do more, like eat, sleep and play.
But when San comes along, they see in him someone who they can play with, someone they can have fun and maybe even help.

Bugs in Spine, from Esoteric Software

 "And there they were, in a pack of three, strutting along the grass and moss that grew over the years on top of all the machinery. As San watched them move out of the cave in the ground they were hiding in, they stopped and watched back. Silence. Both the creatures and San stood still for a moment, like two cats trying to predict each others movements. San took the first step and they did the same, even if was not just one step as their tiny feet and legs needed to take 4 or 5 steps to match him. A few more steps and some more mimicking and, after a while, San and the little things were hoping and moving about as if they had been friends for a very long time.
For a moment, San forgot where he was and the danger he was in and happiness filled the air."

Simulating AI and cooperative gameplay

For the bugs to work properly, it was first necessary to design around them. Artificial Intelligence is still a long way to become what people think it will become, so every videogame uses just a rudimentary form of AI for basic actions, functions or sometime just even simple scripts that make it look like the character has real life.

A section of one of Out of Line's level

The little bugs following San around

In Out of Line our AI is just that, chained scripts that perform counter to what the player does. They wait for triggers, delays, changes and other small things that the player does and then react accordingly. This allows us to design some cool and interesting puzzles based around the "intelligent" bugs that help out San.

Until next time,
Snug as a bug in a rug with a mug!

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