The Highwayman
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The Highwayman

by faders on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

The Highwayman is a solo tactical stealth game in which the player must pull off multiple robberies by recruiting a team of mercenaries and rob unique pieces of art.

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Game Presentation

The Highwayman is downloadable here.

The Highwayman is a solo tactical stealth game in which the player must pull off multiple robberies by recruiting a team of mercenaries and rob unique pieces of art.

You are the Highwayman, a hacker and robber. You must make a name for yourself by stealing famous art pieces. Beware not commit too much mistakes or the authorities will track you down.

Assemble your team

Hire a team of trained professional, ambitious amateur, ex-soldiers or dangerous lunatics. Pay them, make them work and they will benefits from useful traits. Neglect them and they will develop dangerous behaviour and maybe give intel about you to the authorities.

Equip them. Buy tools for them to sneak past any surveillance or give them weapons and body armor if you want to go loud. After all, you won’t have to pay a dead mercenary if the job is done.

Steal yourself some art

Infiltrate warehouses, museums and private collections. Find a way to bypass every security measure. Steal some of the most famous pieces of art you can, and then some !

Hack into the different network your the targeted place. All seeing cameras are now blind or are working for you and impenetrable gates are now wide open.

Fight your way out, if things gets messy.

Pull the string from your hideout

Manage your teams.

Send your teams on secondary missions if you don’t want them to lay around too much.

Keep an eye out for your suspicion meter. If it full, you will need to bail out as soon as possible.

The team

This game was made as a diploma project for Bellecour Ecole by our group of 3rd year.

Paul Lyaudet : Game Design, Programmer

Edgard Imbert : 3D Artist

Erwann Sigaud : 3D Artist

Jeremy Hours : Project Manager

Dorian Ribeiro : Level Designer

Léonard Savio : Level Designer

Benoît Deneaux : Programmer

Emmanuel Errard : Programmer, Sound Designer

Game Development

Context

This game is our final project as Game Design student. It was selected after being presented to a jury.

Here is how the original concept was :

The gameplay loop would be composed of 3 phases :

The hideout, where the player can recruit, organize and equip his mercenaries, the planning phase where the player will devise a plan and place his mercenaries and finalmly the execution phase where the player controls directly the mercenaries and execute the plan.

Left : the concept of the planning phase.

Center : Rainbow 6 Siege Spectator Mode was the inspiration for the execution phase, very similar to a classic strategy game.

Right : Roman Klčo -“Rick & Morty Garage” an art reference for the hideout.

The Hideout

The hideout is both the main menu and where the player can manage the mercenaries, equipment and missions.

It is a fantasized hacker lair : messy, dimly lit with many monitors and servers.

From a technical point of view, it is the most UI intensive scene of the game. Each screen is a UI Canvas with multiple windows.

Each screen has one or two windows. Each window is a menu.

The player can hire mercenaries and buy equipment, manage his teams and choose where to send them.

The planning phase

The most troublesome part of the game. The scope of this phase was too ambitious for us to make it properly along the execution phase.

In it, we wanted the player to be able to hack a limited number of devices to gain partial knowledge and control of the map. Computers, cameras, pagers, you name it. It would grant the player knowledge of the position of the guards, their patrol paths or controls of remotly controlled doors for example.

It was eventually too much for us and it was decided transfer as much content from this phase to the execution phase as possible and cut this phase from the game.

The robbery - execution phase

Level Design

The level acts like a maze in which the objectives are hidden. We wanted to give the player many options for hiding and bypassing security. There are many ways to access the different parts of the museum. Of course, nasty suprises can occur and a mercenary finding himself face to face with a guard is an unfortunate but frequent occurence.

The yellow squares are vents : a mercenary can enter them with a crowbar and navigate in the building through the vents.

Orange elements can be hacked; They are computers, cameras and remotely locked doors.

Violet areas are the shadows in which the mercenaries can hide in. That means guards and cameras must be very close to them to see them.

White areas surrounding most of the environment elements such as bushes or furnitures are areas in which the mercenaries will crouch, hiding them entirely from the guards' field of view.

Environment

We decided to go with a low poly style in order to save time. The camera isn't close to the level so, along with the lighting, the level can look nice overall.

Here is a parallel between the early production level and almost final level.

The lighting tremendously helped to make the level come to life. Each aisle of the museum is visually dinstinctive from the others, which help the player to navigate through the level.

Guard behaviour

The level can't be the sole challenge. There needs to be a more active opposition in the form of the building security system.

Guards are here to guard the building; They are predictable and either stay in place or follow a defined patrol path. Most of them are active in the aisle their are assigned to.

These guard have three states : passive, suspicious and alerted. Quite obviously, they start as passive and remain as such until an event lead them to be active - mercenary sighted, missing piece of art, corpse, previously locked door now open.

They have two different view range. The red cone shows the ordinary view range of a guard but if a mercenary in hidden in a shadow, only the white cone, representing the guard's lamp, can detect them. Guards also can't spot mercenaries crouched behind obstacles. This way, the player can maneuver near guards if necessary.

Some actions make noise - doors, gunshots - and the guards can pick up on them if close enough.

Guards can communicate. If a guard notices something and wants to investigate, he will call another guard near him to go with him. An alerted guard will also alert via radio the guards in the same aisle before heading to the alarm if he lost the mercenary or incapacitated him.

If the alarm is set, police units will arive after a delay. The player still has the time to bail out, with or without what he wants, or face more dangerous and numerous opponents.

Hacking

Hacking during a robbery is a feature inherited from the planning phase. Hacking is done in real time through small windows appearing during the robbery.

The player controls a small node travelling on a grid. There are 3 types of nodes : white node on which the player can be on, red nodes which eject the player out of the grid and blue nodes which triggers functions if the player reaches them.

The Highwayman is downloadable here.


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