Hunter's Moon
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Try out the combat here: Combat Testbed

Hunter's Moon (HM) is the first game we intend to develop using a new combat system. The combat engine will have many new unique features, but the basic idea is to bring extreme injury simulation into a real-time 3D game environment. Historically this kind of realism has been limited to turn based, and often 2D, games. With the injury simulation comes a very flexible, and hopefully realistic, combat engine that supports an extremely wide variety of melee and ranged weapons. Additionally we want to bring in equally realistic and flexible systems for displaying injuries, and handling small groups of opponent AI's. All of these systems are being designed to be as flexible, and modable, as possible. All of this tech doesn't make a game by itself, so the Hunter's Moon world provides an engaging context for everything to work within.

Hunter's Moon is set in a world where North America as we know it does not exist; instead there is only a much smaller continent, basically just Canada and Alaska without any of the other US states. On this continent there are two things:

  1. A lot of silver (in reality North America is already very rich in silver)
  2. Werewolves

The HM world has a long history, which you can read about on the About page. The idea covers a large space of time, and a lot of space too, but the game is focused on just one area, and one time. The area being essentially the east coast of North America, and the time being around 1750.

The game will be set during an early period of heavy colonisation. Humans are pushing deeper inland, purging the wolves as they go, the wolves are resisting and trying to survive. You will take the role of a hunter trying to earn fame and fortune by hunting wolves and completing bounties. The game will cover your career in a very rogue-like fashion, we want to maximise replayability by randomly generating as much of the experience as possible.

This image is not an in-game screenshot. It is a simple demonstration of what what sort of experience we are aiming for.

This image is not an in-game screenshot. It is a simple demonstration of what what sort of experience we are aiming for.

Our gameplay priorities are:

  • Replayability (through random generation)
  • Realistic and engaging combat (All the realism and flexibility means nothing if the combat isn't fun)
  • A serious horror atmosphere

We also aim to maximise configuration options so you can choose how the game plays and feels - This is needed for building a general combat engine, but it's also important generally. Everyone wants something different out of a game, you should be able to choose if you want to maximise/minimise the horror, the action, the realism, etc. We will do our best to allow for this.The plan for Hunter's Moon is to develop all of the big technologies up to a reasonable level by september 2014, at that point we will begin a crowd-funding campaign, probably using Kickstarter. We don't have the past history or reputation to feel comfortable starting up a funding campaign until we've proven our ideas, and we should have the needed resources to get us to that point. The hope is to get enough from the campaign to fund us for around a year during which we will work the tech into the complete HM game. Upon release of HM we will re-evaluate, perhaps turning to focus on developing the combat engine into a big general purpose simulator.

The idea of the simulator is that you would open it up, then say you wanted to run a custom simulation. This would give you a screen where you could chose a setting, e.g. jungle, office building, swamp, mountain, forest, etc. Then you pick an opponent e.g. raptor, alien, werewolf, zombie, human, etc. Next you say how many opponents you want, how you want them to behave, what you want to equip them with, etc. Finally you set and equip your character, such as a human with modern weaponry, futuristic weaponry, or how about 1800' (1,800 ft = 549 m)s revolvers and rifles? Whatever you want. Then you hit play and you're dropped into that exact scenario. Almost every element to choose from could also be modded or customised. We think this is a cool idea, and there won't be much holding us back from it once we have matured all the tech during HM's development.We are using the Unity3D engine for all development.

Game-play Features

Note: All screenshots are of extremely early prototypes. No assets are final, and many have considerable improvements or replacements already developed, but not yet integrated. The human and werewolf models are of particular note. They are simple placeholders and will be completely replaced as soon as possible. The blood effects are also highly primitive and a complete overhaul is in progress.

Swing Engine

The Swing Engine uses inverse-kinematics to allow the player to swing or stab a melee weapon in any angle the body can handle. This means you're no longer limited to just 4 different attack directions. This system lets us create new attacks with minimal animation requirements, it also offers the prospect of simulating physical impacts of the weapon, and having it deflect along with your arm, unless the force is enough to break your grip. It also applies to ranged weapons, although the advantages are less dramatic.

The Swing Engine is in the late prototype stage now, as in it is fully functional, but it's underdeveloped and we've learnt a lot while making it and there's quite a few changes we want to make.

Block Engine

The Block Engine is similar to the Swing Engine, but from the other side. Due to the nature of the Swing Engine, we can apply exactly the same principles to bring a weapon into position to block an incoming swing. Again, this allows for infinite variety, no single block animation/result for each direction of attack. The Block Engine is really built on top of the Swing Engine, and so is in a similar state of development.

Blood God

The Blood God is our system for all blood and gore effects. The system will handle blood spurts, drips, and sprays. Additionally it'll apply visual effects to individual limbs to show wounds/blood coatings. Lastly, it will show the blood on the ground, and hopefully on the trees and other environment objects. Every individual component has been tested, and the system to tie them all together has been designed, we just need the time after graduation to pull it all together.

Injury Simulator

The Injury Simulator is a big one. Put simply, it'll know when a sword or a bullet hits, it'll know if it makes it through and armour, it'll know what internal organs/components got hit, and then it'll simulate the injury: things like blood loss, motor/sensory function, bone state, breathing troubles, etc. The system is also being designed to expose as many of the body parameters as possible to easy editing, probably through XML.

We have a basic implementation of this running now to prove the concept. The final system design is pretty much done, all that remains is to finish implementing it. The design document for this is huge, and it's all extremely exciting for us.

AI

The AI in HM is currently extremely limited. However, this is the only area currently being developed as it is forming Foamy's final year project. A summary would be to say that it is going to be very cool, yet simple. More details can be found on the AI Testbed page.

Event viewer

 

The Event Biewer is the key components that make the injury simulator worthwhile. The current functionality is extremely simple, if you hold down the 'F' key, then the game pauses and the window shown above appears. This window gives you a textual description of the injuries sustained by all sides so far. The current implementation is far from our eventual goals. Here are the features we are going to implement for the future Event Viewer:

  • A diagram of the character showing the damage status of body parts
  • Coloured icons to quickly show pain, impairment, etc. for each part
  • A quick list of current side effects of injuries
  • Toggleable detailed text area with highlighted words/sections
  • The ability to filter event types from the text

The aim is to let you play just as easily without, or only quick, use of the event viewer as with detailed reading as events happen. Even if you don't want to read the events as they occur, you may be interested to read about them in detail afterwards. Maybe to see exactly why that headshot didn't kill the wolf instantly, or how frequently your chainmail saved your life.

Game-world

This is a world similar to ours where instead of finding America they found a smaller northern continent where the only natives were werewolves. The match-lock muskets, inexperience and unawareness of silver's properties made the mainland too dangerous for the humans and so they only colonised the smaller islands surrounding the continent. After a few centuries technology and understanding improved to the degree where humans could start taking and holding territory away from the shore. The game is then set a few generations later when the humans have several footholds along the coasts and are just now beginning to push into the deep interior in search of gold, silver and territory.

The discovery of the continent is also much later than the modern discovery of the Americas. This is mainly because Columbus and other early explorers focused to the south, Columbus didn't even see any mainland until his third trip. There are numerous islands in the HM world, but they are all to the north.

The Viking colonies wouldn't have been very successful either, they would have been completely unprepared to defend against the wolves.

Once the outer islands were discovered they were rapidly colonised, with a pleasant climate, no wolves, and no indigenous population. The wealth from these islands was not great enough to drive any major power balance shifts though. The best that could be done on the continent were a few coastal outposts for small scale hunting and prospecting, the wolves repelled any further development.

In the late 1600's the mineral wealth of the continent was discovered; this drove the major powers to claim territory at any cost. It didn't take long for the rumours and myths of silver's utility to be proven true. The start of the 1700s was a turning point.

The wolves suffered severe reactions to contact with silver. Skin contact caused rashes and general sickness for a while. A puncture by a silver weapon would cause terrible pain and necrosis to the area, but was generally survivable. However, if a silver shot became embedded in the wolf, even the strongest would be completely incapacitated within minutes, and dead within hours.

Humans gained ground along the coast rapidly. It wasn't long until the colonies resembled those along the east coast of North America in the same time period.

The game is set in this period, where the human colonies are well developed, but still close to the coast, and the wolf resistance is still a persistent threat. Additionally conflict between the colonial powers leads to a large conventional army presence.

Screenshots:

Hunter's Moon

For details and all the latest news on Hunter's Moon development:

See Here.

AI Testbed

For details and all the latest news on Foamy's AI Testbed development:

See Here.

GOM News

For all the latest news on the studio.

See here.

Foamy's Blog

To see recent news from Foamy, the lead developer for Hunter's Moon and the AI Testbed.

See Here.

Latest News

  • New quick status page

    See it here: Status

    I am really bad at keeping the blog up to date, and my plans have to change fairly frequently due to personal, professional, resource, and industry situation changes. This page is an attempt to have something that is quick enough to update that I am able to do it regularly. It also has very little information, so I don't have to worry about my confidence in prediction, or sharing things that are not ready. Every project that has been started will have an entry here that clearly states my current assessment of its status.

    {jcomments on}

     
  • New plans

    I think it's about time to talk about some longer term plans again. I've posted a bit about the current work on the ranged weapon interaction system, and also a bit on the HoO collaboration, but it's been a while since I said anything relating to our primary game ambitions.

    We have some new plans, but it's nothing drastic. The previous plan was to develop Hunter's Moon (the werewolves) and then using all the tech it used to build a general purpose combat simulator (GPCS, as yet unnamed). That plan heavily depended on having a year or so of solid full time development; probably funded through a kickstarter.

    Read more ...  
  • A sign of things to come

    With the musket and pistol kindly provided by the hearts of oak team all attention now focuses on the ranged weapon interaction system!

    I am super excited about this, and I think everyone will love what I've come up with.

    Time-scales are fuzzy, but hopefully not as long as it took to put the AI in place last year.

     
  • Colaboration with the Hearts of Oak team

    This is a big announcement that should have been made a while ago, but now that the AI is implemented on the combat testbed it can't wait.

    A few months ago I approached the lead developers for the Hearts of Oak project with a proposal for collaboration. Basically to provide our combat engine to them in return for publicity, assets, and the joy of contributing to such an important piece of work.

    A summary of the agreement is as follows:

     

    Read more ...  
  • Combat Testbed Updated to 1.3

    Big update with the addition of an AI bot to play against in single player! This is the first pass on the combat AI, a very important milestone.

    Full changelog:

    1.3 - 2015-01-03
    Added an AI bot for single player
        Added as a variety of the orange arena, in addition to empty, and one with training props as before
    Cosmetic improvements
        Added body tilt/lean during turning
    Fixes
        Made players collide again

    Get it here: Combat Testbed