Off Grid is a 3rd person stealth hacking game where data is your most powerful weapon. Off Grid forgoes combat for hacking tools and ingenuity, and is completely moddable.
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Available: Coming 2019

 

Recent updates View all (33)

December 11

Improving AI Performance

Hi all, Steve here!

There's been some monstrous performance spikes in our AI, and I've spent time over the last month working to mitigate this issue. Two significant changes have been made to improve this:

1 - the addition of a pool of Dictionaries to store states, and

2 - making each state item immutable

This vastly reduces object creation, which is slow, and reduces the number of objects in existence, which helps reduce memory fragmentation (another Bad Thing) - which, being C#, is harder to control than in C++.


DICTIONARY POOL

So what's a Dictionary Pool, you may ask! Well, at its simplest (which this is), it's a big list of pre-made Dictionaries, each with a flag on to indicate if it's being used.

When we want a Dictionary, we grab one from the pool, put it in a list of 'in-use' Dictionaries, and mark it as being used. When the object using it is destroyed, we mark it as free, and put it back in the pool for someone else to use. The key here is to be very strict on who is using your object! It's critical that nobody is using it when it's marked as free, or the whole concept breaks down.

IMMUTABILITY

And immutable states? Immutability is another weird software-engineer-y word. In english, it means something that never changes. But that's perhaps misleading when it comes to thinking about objects in Unity - what use is an object you cannot alter?

The answer is that while you can't change the object, you can create a new one to reflect this change. This means you have precisely one instance of any particular combination of object. For us, this means that instead of creating hundreds of thousands (no exaggeration) of states, all duplicates of one another, we create... about seventy. The overhead of querying a Dictionary for the instance of the state we want is much, much less than creating a tiny object, then destroying it, repeatedly.




These two changes weren't trivial, as such, but were fairly self contained, and only produced a handful of super frustrating bugs that I had to then work against for a week or two.



Back within 60fps, but still a lot of garbage to deal with!

But the good news is that performance improved drastically! We are now back to 60fps within the editor on my machine, mostly. Which was a relief because I feared for a moment or two that I'd accidentally extended the AI system in such a way that it would never be useful in a finished game, which would have been embarrassing.

-Steve


If you haven’t already - be sure to wishlist and follow OFF GRID! Each wishlist makes a big difference to us, and we really appreciate your support!
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November 19

Sprint Update 19.11.18: The Longest Sprint

Hello! This Sprint Update is a long time coming - there's been a lot going on, including a successful Kickstarter! Successful Kickstarter has a nice ring to it, eh!?

If you followed along with the Kickstarter (and hopefully you did!) you will have had a lot of updates to read in the meantime. Nevertheless, here is the detail of what we have been busy with throughout this epic sprint as we prepared for and ran our first ever crowdfunding campaign:

AI
- Pooled dictionaries in AI state
- Immutable AI state
- Inevitable fixes for above
- Extra cost for guards using stairs
- Fixes to AI planning
- Fixes for OffMeshLinks / AI using doors
- Tracked down a bug relating to door GUIDs / saving and loading
- Noise documentation
- Updated AI used in the Harbour scene
- Fixed a drone navigation crash
- Added mechanisms for AI to prefer particular devices based on their personality
- Added mechanisms to allow AI Actions based on their personality + Documentation for this

Controls
- Added UI to remap controls in main menu
- Checked/updated all control settings & defaults
- Limited repeat rate on analog gamepad sticks when moving around UI
- Added dataview range control on mouse & keyboard


Apps being configured: choose if you want them available in the app wheel or radial menu.

App system
- Completed new app system
- added App system Lua API
- unavailable apps are now hidden from Apps menu
- If app can't be added to either appwheel or radial, it's now hidden in the App Menu (for exaple the password cracking is currently an app, but shouldn't be controlled by the player directly)
- Apps are added to AppMenu, AppWheel and Radial menus when the app becomes available
- Only execute currently selected app (instead of all active ones) when selecting a target+app in radial menu
- Update loop for apps (so apps can run in background and do things continuously/over longer time)
- Apply app action cost (both per-action, and for app cost over time for a continuously running app)
- Status windows for apps
- Support for displaying an icon and/or a piece of text
- Support for changing icon & color
- Rewrote Light Monitor app using new API
- Created "Send Data" app (lets you send a file to currenlty targeted chaarcter or device)

Lua API additions
- Lua API for audio RTPC
- Added normal (scaled) time support for scheduler API
- Added notification messages to UI Lua API
- Player API additions to get social profile data for currently targeted character

Bugs fixed
- Player character walking/crawling sounds get swapped after crawling first time
- Removed hack that re-assigns all materials in scenes (original Unity issue that required this has been fixed so the hack isn't needed any more)
- 1st person targeting should maintain the direction player is currently looking at
- Character profile data displays color codes in UI rather than colored rich text
- Fixed notification message UI animation setup
- Fixed file viewer not displaying images
- Fixed card scanners missing UI markers whe usign the Help app

Apostle level
- Checked all atmos colliders, added new ones where needed
- Blocked staircase from lobby to 1st floor
- Blocked door in 1st floor that would otherwise allow player to skip half of the floor
- Checked navigation layers
- Checked colliders, changed some to simpler ones, added some that were missing
- Fixed colliders with negative sizes
- Fixed typos in some device scripts
- Checked all doors and assigned correct door groups and access levels
- Removed drone from rooftop
- Replaced a few hunded cardboard box models in level with prefab versions
- Fixed missing/wrong static tags around the level
- Removed some leftover invisible collliders blocking player and the AI movement
- Fixed props not correctly aligned to walls/floor
- Redesigned first floor of Apostle HQ
- Implementated new hackable device

Art
- Creation of activist and hacker characters
- Prop and asset creation for new levels
- Set dressing and environment art for the Apostle level


Models of the real life hackers featuring in OFF GRID.

Other
- Enabled ultrawide display reoslutions
- Added headers support in popup menus (menu item with no function becomes a header automatically)
- Added splash screens when starting the game
- Data colors now ignore alpha value set in scripts and instead use pre-defined opacity to make sure things look correct in data view and in UI
- Opened studio Discord!
- Built a new website for the game
- Quick update of studio website with new Semaeopus logo

Kickstarter

Updated build for Itch.io demo
- Removed options menu from build
- Removed other levels from the build
- Forced loading straight to Apostle level in demo build
- Added Kickstarter campagn ad in main menu
- Disabled save game loading (makes no sense for a single-level demo and would cause issues when loading a save where the demo level is already completed)

Campaign Prep
- Campaign page drafting, review, and finalising
- Reward drafting, review, and finalising
- Contact push
- Press push
- Newsletters
- Update planning: every 3-4 days to all channels
- News release drafting
- Daily social media scheduling
- Streaming planning

Events and promotion
- Game Dev Camp, Lisbon - Rich and Steve spoke
- IndieCade, LA - Rich spoke
- Sweden Games Conference - Rich spoke, Off Grid demoed within Indicator and Off Grid won the Indicator award!
- Inside Intel, London - an art exhibition on privacy & surveillance
- PlayUK, a videogame curation put on by the British Council in Macedonia
- Dev Space Winter Mixer, London
- Closing party and livestream to countdown to the Kickstarter campaign's end!


The final moments of the Kickstarter campaign!

Whew! A long list to match a long, bountiful Sprint!

To top all of this off, the team travelled to Dundee, Scotland last week to attend the UK Games Fund Awards. Semaeopus was nominated for the 'Smart Studio' Award, and we were looking forward to a fun celebration together after the month of hard graft. When the category for 'Smart Studio' was up, we were absolutely stunned to hear 'Semaeopus' announced as the winners!


Award winners! Sarah, Steve & Pontus pictured with the award presenter.

A successful Kickstarter, two new awards, and loooooads of new supporters - we are so grateful to each and every one of you that has helped make the last couple of months so successful!

There's been SO much going on - expect to hear more from individual members of the team as we each wrap up from the last couple of months.

What's next?

It's onwards and upwards now. We're working on getting our FIRST ACCESS programme off the ground. Anyone that backed at the PENTESTER level or above can expect to hear from us soon about what is to come.

One of the two main goals of the crowdfunding campaign was to provide a bit of additional resource to support more open production of Off Grid. We're busy getting our ducks back in a row after the Kickstarter, and can't wait to move forward with you all behind us.

THANKS EVERYONE!

The Off Grid Team
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Reviews

“Who needs a shotgun? Off Grid makes data your most powerful weapon.”
The Verge

“Off Grid takes a satirical approach to the Big Brother problems that Snowden uncovered, and even the Snowden narrative itself.”
Kill Screen

“It's a work of politics and a work of entertainment that's immediately interesting purely by virtue of the world in which it exists, and the fact that it exists within it. It's the perfect, Adornian thing: it's worthy of attention not in spite of its politics, or its commercial sale, or it's entertainment value, but because of all of them at once.”
Eurogamer

About This Game

Off Grid is a 3rd person stealth hacking game where data is your most powerful weapon. Off Grid forgoes combat for hacking tools and ingenuity, and is completely moddable.

Gameplay utilises unique mechanics that allow you to manipulate the world and people around you with the data they unwittingly leave behind. It’s a stealth game where the player can truly hack and manipulate objects in the environment.

Players, modders, and hackers will be able to use the game to create new and interesting levels with stories about surveillance, hacking and the internet of things.

Features:


  • Stealth and hacking gameplay based on use of data and environments rather than weapons and combat

  • Hack into lifelike simulated networks and data with realistic hacking techniques and tools including SSH, sidejacking, and social engineering of the AI

  • Contemporary storyline and missions related to real-world events surrounding data privacy and mass surveillance

  • Fully moddable content encouraging players to create new and interesting levels, whether complete fantasy or mimicking hacking in the real world around them

  • Outstanding audio and original soundtrack from Jonas Jensen and Lyndon Holland, the BAFTA-winning composer from the game Virginia

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 2300 or AMD FX6120
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce GTX 550 Ti or Radeon HD 6770
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 10 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.8+
    • Processor: 2011 or newer Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia or ATi GPU with 2GB Memory
    • Storage: 10 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 16.4 or equivalent
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 2300 or AMD FX6120
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce GTX 550 Ti or Radeon HD 6770
    • Storage: 10 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: RISC architecture is gonna change everything
    • Processor: P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium
    • Graphics: 3Dfx Voodoo capable GFX card
    • Sound Card: The Sound Blaster 1.0 ( "Killer Kard")
    • Additional Notes: 28.8 KBPS Modem

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