I wish I could say this came to me in my sleep, but…

I had an idea the other night, for a feature I could add to The Hit. I was something completely ridiculous, and if I hadn’t been severely lacking in both sleep and critical faculties, I might’ve thrown it in the obscenely large pile of discarded ideas I keep next to my desk (it’s there to remind me to be realistic).

I’m planning to add in-game editing tools for everything, which will probably live in a separate, violence-free environment to The Hit (I suppose that’s a reveal, because I don’t think I’ve mentioned it publicly yet). Users will be able to create movies, interactive experiences or full-length games, and share them with friends. It’ll all be open, so if somebody makes something cool, other users can remix it, and hopefully other developers will be able to take apart a sequence and recreate it in their own games.

Absolutely everything in The Hit will be available to use, so if you want to take animals from the zoo (another reveal, but it’s way down the list), and recreate an African plain with a herd of 10,000 elephants, that will be possible.

What I didn’t think was possible was any way to integrate these sequences into The Hit game.

Until the other night.

After some thinking about how this is going to work, and assuming I can get this game funded, I’m going to confirm it now: The Hit will have dreams.

Initially, they’ll just be randomised, so I expect most of the dreams your character has will be broken, unfinished, and heavily involving buildings which resemble penises.

But I’ll improve it, and I’ll figure out ways of tying the dreams to events in the stories you’re currently playing, and the places you’ve been. At its simplest level, if you go to the zoo, you’ll be more likely to get dreams which feature animals. Later on, it may become possible to link the dreams thematically with recent events, like having a stock of naked-in-a-public-place type dreams, for when you’ve got a promotion review coming up (is that four reveals? I’ve lost count), or some vivid, psychadelic dreams if your agent gets drugged (five).

Okay, now that’s out the way, I’m going to stick that firmly in my future development pile and get back to making the core game. I’m still working on the first video trailer, which should be out soon, and building the framework for all this dynamic stuff (which is all going better than I could’ve hoped).

See you around the city soon, Agent.

 

A Quick Beg

If the sight of starving game developers begging for coffee offends you, please skip this next paragraph.

I’m still broke, sleep-deprived and desperately trying to avoid the lure of freelance work so I can get v1 of this game into your hands ASAP, so if anybody would like to buy me a coffee, please click this link, and thanks.  CoffeeMe

Dan

13 thoughts on “I wish I could say this came to me in my sleep, but…”

    1. Well, you’ve called me a name, but it’s a nice one, so I’ll forgive you this one time.

      The Peter Molyneux story I’ve heard most often is where he talks about being able to carve your name into a tree as a child (this was the first Fable, I believe), then coming back many years later to see that the carving has grown, aged and twisted with the tree. It’s a cool idea, but the systems that would be needed to support that kind of feature didn’t exist at the time. With Allegorithmic’s Substance textures, and some clever coding, it could probably be done now, but I still haven’t seen anything even remotely like it.

      There’s nothing in this blog post which I, or someone else hasn’t already done. I’m just putting a bunch of simple, proven things together in a way that hasn’t been done before. I’ve even described the most complicated bits in a recent Gamasutra article (Here, if you’d like to read it: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DanStubbs/20140402/214565/Dynamic_Narrative_in_The_Hit.php). There’s a few parts in there where I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to implement them, but that’s why I’m doing this. Even if I completely fail at the dynamic narrative stuff, I’ll still have a game which I think is worth playing.

      Don’t make the mistake of assuming that, just because it hasn’t already been done, it isn’t possible. Especially if you think that AAA game developers are the only ones who can come up with new technology. That’s just naïve. AAA game development is usually at least five years behind the leading edge, simply because everything has to be locked down and budgeted for at the start. There’s almost no research done on new narrative techniques on AAA games, because investors won’t take a risk on unproven technology.

      To me, that’s completely insane, as is resigning myself to the ‘hardcore’ gamers’ belief that ‘indies can only make casual games and crap versions of AAA games’. If you want to know hardcore, speak to someone who’s shipped a game.

      So yeah, thanks for comparing me to one of the most well-known and respected (and yeah, joked about) developers working today. I’ll try not to take that one too hard.

      1. It wasn’t intended as a really negative comment, just a cheery throw-away joke about how on a tangent this blog post is to all the previous ones – “dynamic narrative in a game about assassins and cops” to “oh, and there’s a zoo! and you can let the animals out! and there’s dreams!”; it’s pretty out there purely in design terms.

        I agree with you about all the dynamic narrative stuff & the way in which people with a particular goal can be in a better position to achieve it than a company playing it safe.

        1. Fair enough, I apologise for being defensive. I’ve never done anything on this scale before, and I’m still expecting people to tell me I’m crazy, so that was totally my paranoia speaking.

          Half the fun of this is finding out what I can do with the systems I’m making. I’m going to share everything eventually, because I’m dying to see what other developers, artists and writers could do with these tools. Until they’re in players’ hands though, I need to tone down my Molyneux-level excitement.

          The AAA thing fascinates me, because I think it’s a completely broken model. I’d love to see what a publisher with deep pockets could do if they were more open and ‘Indie’. I guess Valve is the closest we have to that. They’re still a walled garden though.

          Thanks for putting up with my ramblings,

          Dan

  1. (You’re crazy!)
    Hopefully it’ll turn out to be the good kind of crazy where you’re also a genius.

    It seems likely.

    Happy Coding!

  2. I don’t know whether you’ll complete this or not, or whether it’s actually reasonable, but I’m hoping with all my heart that you do. <.<

    This game has all the ingredients to make the perfect Roleplayer's paradise, and that's something I and many other RPers are very interested in. Storytelling is one of the elements that makes RP so addictive, and this appears to be something you're focusing on. :)

    I don't know whether you're planning to make this an MMO or have Private Servers, but I'm hoping for private servers. Even if it's just an option, they're almost a necessity for Dedicated Roleplay, so I'm gonna request that you do for this reason alone.

    I hope you do manage to finish this project. It has so much potential it's ridiculous, and I really feel it will become something special.

    Good luck. ^.^

  3. Hi,

    stumbled across your game today, and pretty much already read everything I can find about it.

    just wanted to say this is probably the fastest I’ve ever been hyped for something (hopefully not) long before it’s even out, and I really hope this project can come to fruition, seeing as it’s probably one of the best ideas for a game I’ve ever seen.

    Best of luck!

  4. Just wanna say I like where this is goin’. I’ve always envisioned a multiplayer mode in Hitman playing out similarly to this. The fact that you’ve been listed as a potential example of emergent storytelling on reddit’s what brought me here, and it’s also what’s got me hooked. If you’ve got a demo ready, then I’m ready to play it!

    But first! I’ve got a couple questions I doubt anyone’s asked you yet. So if you thought you could lie low from inquiring minds *or* the press forever, you, sir, are wrong indeed. First off, you make mention of starting off with only a pistol and a cell phone. This, coupled with the trailer’s displaying a weapon wheel, implies that there’s going to be other weapons in this game. Some are quite obvious, I think; sniper rifle, silenced weapons, maybe a melee weapon or two, but what exactly are you planning to introduce to the Hitman’s Armory at this point in time?

    Secondly, considering the possibility of characters, NPCs and targets being created from ‘the cloud’, would it be possible for a special character to BECOME a target themselves? Sub-question: would it be possible for targets to be police officers, or high-ranking officials… maybe even a Mayor?

    And finally… this ties into question number one. Is there going to be an economic system in play here? Like, say, kill a target, you get paid, use that cash to buy weapons, ammo, etc. Cash reward would scale up depending on the difficulty of the hit or value to a ‘plot’, that sort of stuff.

    (Okay, one last question. Was the upcoming Watch Dogs an inspiration for this game?)

    1. you got some good questions,

      I’m guessing maybe the weapon wheels might be like some sort of quick way to change inventory items, and there might be a more complex inventory that can be accessed, at the expense of movement and/or visibility, maybe sort of Arma 3 style, but with the weapon wheel having all the weapons and gadgets that you pick able to be selected on the go?

      what about attachments? I don’t mean like under-barrel grenade launcher or anything, nothing too drastic, but more like the upgrades in Hitman Blood Money, silencer, night sights, low velocity ammo, which could tie into some sort of Agency market type thing, which is where this economy could come in, start from the bottom with your pistol and phone, and after a couple kills, you can have that nice folding sniper rifle that fits like a glove in a small case.
      but what if the money could also be used on more legal things?
      buying vehicles, paying cab fares, gasoline (if there is any), or even houses or apartments or a hotel room or something.

      I may just be taking the role-playing part a wee bit too seriously, but it doesn’t hurt to think about it.

      about the whole npc/character thing, every city has it’s share of corrupt officials, I don’t see why govt. guys couldn’t end up becoming targets, I can only imagine assassinating the mayor being a “high tier” contract, a hit which would require lots of planning, and probably tons of ways to go about that task.
      oh gosh, I’m getting exited-er.

      now I have one question/suggestion,
      any way we could get air vehicles? or maybe at the least helicopters? sniping a hvt from a helicopter could be a viable option, what with a silencer, and the fact the rotors drown out most of the sounds, people might not even think about the shot coming from the helo,
      or better yet, steal or hijack a news chopper or something. kinda like at the beginning of Driver SF.

      planes probably wouldn’t have any use unless there is more than one city and lots of distance between them. unless your target is taking his clients for a ride around town in his private jet, it’d be a shame if there was an emergency on board and the plane nosedived into a field outside town, hopefully you can pop open the door and jump out before it’s too late.

      I dunno, just thought it could add a whole new dimension to the game.

      just had an idea as i was typing “dimension”

      yacht party, 11:00 pm. Everyone’s having a good time partying on some banker’s boat, until one of the party goers stumbles across the owner’s body in a bathroom.

      of course these things would come, if at all, at a MUCH later time.

  5. Okay, some questions for you.

    1. Why the hell is everyone saying such awesome things? Serious question. So many people have a great handle on the game, or are saying that this is the game they’ve dreamt of making one day. Is it just a very small number of very passionate people, or is The Hit a game that was bound to happen in some form eventually?

    2. It’s a shame that all the conversations I’m having are spread around the place, as it takes time away from development, and I’m ending up saying the same things to different people. So is there a better way to communicate than forums, emails and blogs?

    3. If I did create, say, a public Wiki on the site, and started posting everything I’m already planning to do, as well as all my notes and random thoughts, would you be willing to help me organise, analyse and expand on it, with no promise that you’d ever be paid? I’d actually love to open up the development considerably, as I think it could accelerate some aspects of it, but I’m not willing to give up creative or financial control of this project. I’d also love to say that I’ll pay everyone involved, but that’s not a promise I can make at the moment. If The Hit ends up making mega bucks, we can work something out then.

    4. Would you, or anyone else, also be willing to help me work out the logistics of organising an open, distributed development process, using The Hit as a test-case? Something along the lines of GitHub, perhaps, but for game design and asset creation? I’m sure there’s likely to be a million problems with this, but I think I have a way of making this work, and I also have an idea how powerful a distributed development process might be. If I’m right, and other games could be made this way, then I sure as hell want to play them.

    Thoughts?

    1. if I knew anything about website design and such, I’d love to help.
      alas, I am noob.

      but a wiki? that I can help with, never mind paying, I’m in it for the fact that yes, this is the game I’ve dreamt of making, and I really want to see it happen.

    2. Sure! I’d love to help out; you’ve got a lot on your plate and there’s probably loads of people who’re interested in helping this game along, if not just the game in general, so count me in! I don’t care about being paid; all you gotta do is keep us quiet about developed features until the time comes for ze big reveal. We’ll bring the manpower, you bring the code and the dev site.

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