Development is going great lately, we managed to put together a lot of material for a test build to show at GDC, and even if the build is very rough, the results have been quite positive so far.
So, let’s do a quick recap on how things are going so far.
We focused most of our attention into making a realistic artificial intelligence. Both policemen and rioters have the same psychological skeleton, meaning that anyone can potentially end up doing anything depending on the surrounding circumstances. Of course, rebels are much more “free” to do whatever they want, while policemen are more strainded to their rules and orders. This doesn’t mean though that a policeman can’t decide out of the bloom to pick up a rock and throw it to someone because he’s angry at him or her for some reason.
Artificial Intelligence is definitely coming out very nicely, and it’s definitely going to be one the most developed and unpredictable sides in RIOT.
Game mechanics are also coming out pretty well, even if we still need to implement a lot of material to make it work how it should. While rioters can be dragged around and can be instigated to be more peaceful or violent, policemen need to follow specific commands given by the player to execute their actions, depending on the unit type. Keep in mind that both sides can be controlled on the same screen at the same time in versus mode, giving the players the chance of fighting (or peacefully solving the situation for the professional players) in the same room, on the same device.
In one or two months from now, once we polish the playable level, we’re going to finally start testing the prototype until RIOT will be fully playable, realistic, accurate, fun and challenging. Considering the gameplay variation and the AI complexity, I’m very curious to see what’s going to come out, and what kind of tactics/solutions we can all come up with in each different level/situation.
Variety and random events are also something that I personally decided to focus on a lot. As for the animations, most of them are completed, at least for the main characters. There are about 1500 frames of different animated actions for each character, plus several hundreds of different clothes, gear, hats, masks, etc. Dozen of semi-randomly generated civilian vehicles have also been completed, and now I’m finally focusing on completing all the customizable vehicles for the police as well, for at least all the main campaigns. Basically it’s impossible to play the same map and have a similar outcome every time, both on a visual and gameplay aspect.
The reason why it took us so long to have some visual results, is because we decided to create a nice, user friendly map editor, so that users can create and hopefully upload their maps by their own. This requires a lot of preparation, but at the same time it will give us the chance of creating many more maps in a much shorter period of time.
Customizable random elements can also be added to the scene, any object can be placed either in a single spot or in a whole custom painted area, in a way to play either a very specific scenario, or possibly something with an incredible amount of random variety (from rocks to vehicles to spawning points or exploding trucks and tanks).
The actual backgrounds are what I’m focusing right now. Not too many have been completed yet, even if most of them have been carefully planned out and ready to be created in a way that every element can be used in the map editor. I’m going to need some concentration and spit quite some blood to make all this come to life, so bare with us as we do our best to make it happen.
Cut scenes also require some time, also because we want to implement the possibility of having a cutscene editor in-game as well. Yes, this means that if things work out how they should, you would be able to create your own personal cut-scenes as well as your own personal backgrounds. Cut-scenes with randomly generated characters? Very much possible.
WHEN IS IT COMING OUT?
This is definitely hard to predict, even if we’re pretty sure that it’s probably going to come out during the second half of this year. Considering that the game went through a s**t ton of issues last year, and development never officially started seriously till November 2013, I can say that me and my team have been delivering a lot of great results so far. We’re predicting to have some great stuff in a few months from now. Now that we almost have a proper working scene, we need to boost out a lot of backgrounds, fix up the gameplay, test it out with many beta testers for a while (possibly people who experienced riots both from a policeman or a protester point of view), polish the game, and optimize performance for mobile and tablets.
How long all this is going to take, we can’t officially predict. But as we mentioned earlier, we don’t want to deliver anything until the project is completely finished. Also we do want to release it and play it ourselves soon, so that is keeping us working like insane psychopaths, possibly more than we ever did in our lives before.
So quick recap. Lots of things have been made, lots of things need to be done. Considering actual development started picking up well at full throttle in November, we’ve been moving like a high speed train since then. Predictions? Aiming for the second half of 2014. That is our main goal of course, but no promises.