September 2019 Dev Diary - Visit the Virtual Theatre
Posted 03 / 10 / 19
Hello everyone, and welcome to another Developer diary for Beyond a Steel Sky !
It wouldn’t quite be a sci-fi dystopian future without some cool tech, and even in the world of Beneath a Steel Sky there was tech in abundance.
Well, time has passed since the days of LINC, and things have evidently only gotten more technically advanced in Union City. How do we, as developers, keep up with an ever evolving, self imposed, Sci-Fi technological race? We play the same game.
The support holograms in Union City really “project” kindness and cooperation!
We’re using the Unreal Engine 4 as our game engine for Beyond a Steel Sky. Usually we’ve worked on our own in-house engine for previous projects as it gives us the control to make a super efficient tool for the game we’re making. But on this occasion we’ve gone a different route.
Flexible, powerful - it’s great! The Unreal Engine is helping facilitate our ambition like never before. It’s really allowed us to explore Virtual Theatre (VT) - a concept we first used back in our early days with Lure of the Temptress
So what are we working on right now?
Device Hacking is something we’re featuring quite a bit on footage these days. It’s a core mechanic in Beyond A Steel Sky that allows you to subvert the environment to your will to achieve necessary puzzle solutions, or just to mess with people.
We didn’t want players just walking up to things are miraculously hacking things, so we’ve implemented hacking to be done through a tool - how you get this tool is for you to find out later.
By moving data “nuggets” around between devices you can alter how they work. As seen in the Gameplay trailer, a bridge blocks your way and you don’t have authorisation to access it. What do you do? Why, swap the behaviour of course! Now, authorised personnel cannot control the bridge, but mischievous protagonists without authorisation can.
“I’m in.” Hacking in Beyond a Steel Sky is easy, and has so much potential!
Perhaps you can start to sense how much potential this has? Right now we’re also working on and refining the sheer amount of hackable possibilities - both in puzzles and in the environment in general. Watch this space!
Behaviours are another thing we’re working on in a big way right now. How do you make a living world more realistic?
This is a broad topic in Beyond a Steel Sky, but one way we’re doing this is putting extra attention into interacting with generic non-playable characters (NPC’s) and the world itself. For now we'll explain some of the basics.
For example, in most games if you walk up to 2 individuals having a conversation they’ll blindly keep talking whilst you press your face right in front of them and eerily look into their soul. Either that or they just don’t seem bothered that you barged into their conversation.
Not in Beyond A Steel Sky. Gaplanders, droids, and citizens alike will acknowledge you and will wrap up their conversations before they talk to you.
*Sigh* What now?
Behaviours don’t just go as far as conversations. We’re currently working on ways for your actions to have knock on consequences. If you break or block a vending machine at a public plaza, does the nearby Cafe get overwhelmed with new customers who can’t get a drink that the staff can’t watch you do your *cough* completely honest deeds? You’ll have to wait and see.
Access denied! The vending machine, now hacked, now alerts security when an authorised user tries to get a drink.
Look out though! We’re also adding behaviours for NPC’s whose job it is to go around fixing your… erm.... “Creative solutions”. Ultimately this is all part of Virtual Theatre (VT). You’re going to see a lot more of things like this as we go forward as we can’t fit it all in one page.
We’re also busy preparing for EGX London on 17th-20th October. For the first time ever you’ll be able to have a go at Beyond a Steel Sky - so we’re making sure it’s ready for you!
We’re adding more animations, dialogue, and ironing out bugs so the experience is the best it can be. We heard your feedback from the Gameplay Trailer, and we’re working even harder to get those animations polished sooner than scheduled.
That’s a little taster of what we’re working on for this month. We’ve still got plenty of things in store, and we’ll share the progress as we work on them.
Don’t forget to check out the new Beyond a Steel Sky Steam page that went Live this month and add it to your Wishlist!