Hide or Die: The Launch

Updated: May 24, 2021

Welcome back, it has been quite a while. The last time we had an update was back at the end of September, where we discussed our early access launch of Hide or Die, the things that went well and things that didn't work so well.

At the time, despite many large and small early access updates we were unable to retain a large enough active player base to consistently fill servers for both Escape and Last Man Standing game modes, both of which required large numbers of players to function properly. For these reasons we began limiting the total number of regions supported and cutting back game mode availability.


Over the past 6 months we have been retooling every facet of the game; from our characters and animation systems to our backend and matchmaking code. It has all been improved, polished, and in many instances completely reworked from scratch. This isn't a revival of an old game, it is an almost entirely new game. In this update we aim to breakdown the changes, discuss our plans for the future, and tell you how you can get involved in helping us prepare for launch.

Why These Changes?

Before jumping into each of the many changes we've made, it's important to understand why we made these changes.


In many cases the quality was simply not where we wanted it to be. Our characters, maps, and game performance are good examples of this. Both characters and maps have been completely reworked from scratch to meet new standards we wanted to hold ourselves to. In other cases we wanted to create more flexible systems which could handle expansion and new features in the future. Our matchmaking, server deployment, and player progression systems are good examples of this. Going forward we hope to be able to support Hide or Die with tons of new content, like new game modes, maps, perks & character augments, cosmetics, and more. Hide Or Die will fully launch out of early access on Steam on May 1st @ 1pm EST / 7pm CET with a launch discount for $14.99, if you already own the game, it will update automatically. There will be NA, EU, & ASIA servers. We now have the ability to spin up more dedicated server regions relatively easily if there is a player base in other areas. With the full release on Steam, we will be launching the first "Season" of content. Below we will dive into Season One details, with many of these changes being made to allow us to support the addition of new content over time through these Seasonal Updates.

Character Changes
  • New base meshes with much better proportions. All clothing items updated and re-fitted to these new base characters

  • Full customization of facial features. Dozens of sliders, selections and toggles for facial feature customization

  • Multiple body types, skin tones, and textures

  • Fully reworked layered clothing system to prevent clipping clothing

  • Facial animation and expression system

  • Dozens of new shirts, pants, jackets, and skirts to customize your survivors

  • Additional and vastly improved hair style options

  • Improved skin and hair shading

The two new characters above are not pre-set/unchangeable assets, they were created using our very in depth character customizer and we're excited to see what your survivor will look like. One thing to also notice with these improved characters are their improved animations. Notice how much more natural the character stands and fits in the scene. This combined with our new facial animations make the characters feel much more believable. We also have a very flexible clothing pipeline set up that lets us easily change materials, colors, and styles across a wide variety of clothing options. This new pipeline will allow us to easily implement new clothing options and consistently keep content fresh with our seasonal updates. We'll get into the details of all of the cosmetics in that section below, but here we have a video of just smashing that randomize button for the male and female characters. Towards the end of the video, each section is clicked through so you can get an idea of the number of customization options that will be available to you.

Cosmetic Unlocks & Progression
  • County Card - Season Pass System

  • Cosmetic Crate Level Rewards

Cosmetics are broken down into several sub categories:

  • Shirts

  • Pants

  • Shoes

  • Hats

  • Nametags

  • Graffiti Sprays

  • 3D Object Sprays

  • Hunter Skins

Both the County Card, and Cosmetic Crates are COMPLETELY FREE. You do not need to pay a single cent to unlock, be given, use, or receive items from these systems. Instead these systems are intended to provide players with unique and exclusive unlocks just by playing the game.


County Card

Similar to other Season Passes in games, but free! As you complete matches you will make progress towards County Card Tiers. Progress is determined both by play time and how well you played. Each time you complete a tier, you get the item contained within that tier.

With each season a new county card will be released, with all new items. Items earned in the County Card can not be earned outside the County Card. In the video below we have an example of you gaining some progress in the County Card and then scrolling around a bit to check out what you should grind for next!

Hunters can be unlocked in the County Card, however after the season is completed, all players will unlock the hunters from the previous season automatically. We aim to release 1 new hunter with each season moving forward as well as all new maps and cosmetics.

Cosmetic Crates Cosmetic Crates contain items that can not be found in the County Card and are only obtained by leveling up your characters. There are Common, Rare, and Legendary crates. They have 1, 2, and 3 cosmetics in them respectively.

They are granted to you at the following levels for each character:

  • Character Lv 2: Common (1 cosmetic item)

  • Character Lv 5 and 15: Rare (2 cosmetic items)

  • Character Lv 10 and 20: Legendary (3 cosmetic items)

Each character has a level cap of 20. We plan on creating a "prestige" system in the future that will allow you to reset your character rank for even more exclusive unlocks. But for now, level cap is set at 20. With these crates, you can earn 5 crates per character.


Clothing Cosmetics You can customize your entire survivor's outfit by equipping a wide variety of shirts, pants, shoes, and hats. You are granted a default set of clothing when you log in the first time and can unlock additional clothing by just playing the game and completing County Card progress, or leveling up your characters that grant you cosmetic crates you can open. We have a system in place that will allow us to implement new clothing items with relative ease going forward and should hopefully make mid-season updates possible!

Other Cosmetics In addition to survivor clothing you can unlock Nametags, Graffiti Sprays, 3D Object Sprays, and Hunter Skins. All of these help you express your unique style and sets you apart from the rest.

Nametags are displayed in Steam lobbies, pre and post game result screens, as well as the in-game scoreboard and spectate screens. These let you show off your style or intimidate other players.

Graffiti Sprays are essentially the typical sprays you would find in other games, but we take it a step further. After you spray your Graffiti it will begin to decay over the course of the match. So if you return to an earlier spray you placed, you will see that it has had some wear and tear. This is also replicated efficiently across the server so it will look the same for all players at any point in time. In the video below the decay time was sped up so you can more easily see the effect that is normally drawn out over the course of a match.

3D Object Sprays take the traditional graffiti spray to another level. They are essentially small, sometimes animated, objects that you can place around the map to give players spooks, laughs, or in some cases a taunt. Here is a showcase of a 3D Object Spray called Butterfly Boom.

Hunter Skins are visual changes to the Hunter characters. Change up the colors and materials of Stitches' overalls, dress Sledge up like he is on vacation, or give Scientist some flair. We have a variety of skins that will let you show off your favorite Hunters in new ways. If you're going to do some killin' you might as well look good doing it.

Game Mode Changes
  • New Base Game Mode "3v1: Extraction"

Kicking off with Season One we are launching a 3v1 game mode called Extraction which pits 3 survivors against 1 hunter in a much more intense and fast paced version of Hide or Die. The broad overview of the game mode is as follows and will be explained in more detail later in this post.

  • Survivors exit hatches into the world and the Hunter starts at a local darkness site

  • Survivors need to extract a required number of darkness to power the tower

  • Once that is completed escape hatches will become available to open

  • Survivors need to escape and the Hunter needs to prevent them from all of the above

  • If survivors fail to power the tower, and the Hunter doesn't get to them first, the darkness will fill the world and kill them.

At face value this overview comes across as quite simple, but it is important for the core game rules to be easily explained, digested, and understood. Without a simply understood core, all of the layers of complexity we've added can not mesh together well. This mode will ensure that game play mechanics can easily be refined if need be and shift with the player population. We've been focused on providing a polished Hide Or Die experience that can establish a consistent player base before moving onto larger and more ambitious game modes in the future. There are several reasons we decided to compress down to a 3v1 game mode, some of which are:

  1. Easier to balance - direct interactions between Hunters and Survivors are much more frequent and consistent. Tweaks to balancing variables can be done and felt much quicker

  2. Faster queue & matchmaking times

  3. All players can play their desired role

  4. Overall a more intense and enjoyable experience.

Why specifically 3 Players instead of any other number? The short answer is we found it was much more intense than any other count of players we tested. Simply put there is a 1/3 chance that you will be targeted by the hunter. This means throughout the match each survivor has several encounters with the hunter, whereas in previous game modes the engagements with hunters were infrequent and short lived. This game mode completely changes that - survivors must work together to complete objectives and rescue each other when in danger or once killed. It is important to establish a consistent player base with a game mode that is less brutal for brand new players, easy to get into matches, and game rules that are quick to understand.


With Season 02, we are planning to add the Last Man Standing game mode back into the game, with up to 16 players and AI. With future Seasons we aim to add additional modes and are currently also evaluating other limited time modes such as 6v2 Extraction and other one life modes.

New Maps
  • Carnival

  • Overpass

  • Slaughterhouse

With this new mode in place we decided to fully revisit our map design and build out maps more suited for this gameplay. We will have 3 maps for this new mode at launch, with more in the works for future Seasons. Check them out!

Overpass: A narrow yet open map with scattered shanty shacks under a bridge into the metropolitan city. Take refuge in the hovels clustered on each side of the river; dare not get caught in the middle. Although helpful items may find their way into these impoverished homes, but hurry, the Darkness waits for no one.


Carnival: Try to escape the darkness in the abandoned theme park once known as Wonder World. Broken-down attractions, concession stands, theme park rides, and seemingly endless mazes will likely bring your unavoidable death. Care to look around for some items in the game stalls or dare get lost in the Fun House? This certainly won’t be a walk in the park.


Slaughterhouse: The smell of blood fills the air and foggy alleyways of this tightly packed slaughterhouse. Rows of dead animals line the interiors and vast factory complexes dot the horizon. It is easy to lose your way as you traverse between buildings and over rooftops. Death is around every corner and even above you, so don't forget to look up.

Survivor Gameplay Overhaul
  • Sliding

  • Super Sprint

  • Scaffolds

  • Rescues

  • Health System

  • Extractor Objective

  • Escape Hatches

With any asymmetrical style game one side will be more commonly played than the other, with Hide or Die this is the role of our survivors. With the full release we decided to make some significant changes to alter the way survivors interact with both the world and the hunter. Mobility was a large focus, both in level design and character features.


Sliding

Pretty self explanatory with this one. If you are sprinting or super sprinting you can press the crouch key to perform a slide. At the basic level, a slide is a transition from sprinting to crouching smoothly. This is perfect for getting into a hiding spot in a pinch.

Super Sprint

As with most games movement speed is a huge variable for balancing. It impacts everything from required level sizes, to how easy it is aim and hit targets - even in games with primarily melee combat (like ours). Game designers have turned to movement based features like Sprint to add another tool to the players toolkit. Think of Super Sprint as another tool.


Currently there are 5 movement states; prone, crouching, walking, sprinting, and now super sprinting. Sound plays a big role in all these states, so constantly running around is not a wise idea. Of course if a hunter is chasing you, its best to run as quickly as possible. Standard Survivor sprint is unlimited, however it is always slower than every hunter's sprint speed (which is also unlimited for them). Meaning if you are only sprinting, the hunter will close their distance very quickly. This is where Super Sprint comes in as it allows a very quick speed burst that can help you quickly round a corner or weave between objects to then hide or (if very well timed) avoid a hunter melee hit. Super sprinting requires stamina to activate so you'll need to manage that carefully.

If you combine sliding and super sprint, you will create a quick way to get into a hiding spot at further distances.


Scaffolds

Your best friend in a chase is a trusty scaffold, which are scattered throughout the level. They are perfect for sliding through. As a killer, you can destroy scaffolds by attacking them and Survivors can repair them. You can find them by looking for the red lights on top or the orange tarp covering them.

Once you have mastered sliding, super sprinting, and combing the two, you'll find scaffolding an important part of getting away in a chase. Find a nearby scaffold, time your slide right, and you will put distance between you and a hunter in a chase. The video below showcases all of them combined with the addition of using the 'look over your shoulder' feature.


Rescues

One of the biggest pain points from our previous game modes were the one life nature of them. This made it very difficult to play with friends for extended periods of time and was frustrating. As with any game in this genre you need to work together with other survivors and have the ability to rescue them. In the 3v1 Extraction game mode, after a survivor dies, they will be placed into a coffin somewhere in the map. Survivors will need to locate them and rescue them out of the coffin to bring them back. Hunters also know their locations so it won't be an easy task. The rescuer and the rescuee will both be invulnerable and cloaked after a successful rescue.

When a survivor is put into a coffin all other survivors will be notified as seen above. Locate the the coffin and interact with it to rescue the survivor. While in a coffin you will be put into a spectate mode that will let you see yourself in the coffin and other survivors on their way to rescue you. Below are some images of what you will see in the spectate mode. The first image is what you will see upon entering a coffin and then you will be able to use your left and right mouse buttons to cycle through other survivors.


Health System

Previously your health was just a straight 0-100 value that could be reduced from arbitrary damage amounts from either AI, hunters, or the environment. We have revamped the health system to be very deliberate in how it functions.

In the image above you will find your health on the bottom and the two other survivors above yours. You start with 8 'Ticks' of health. All hunter damage will do either 1, 2, 3, or 4 ticks of damage to you. As you can see, the bottom player has received 6 ticks of damage, the player above them 4 ticks of damage, and the player at the top 0 ticks of damage.


Although the player at the top has received 0 ticks of damage, they do have 2 ticks of health filled in with black. The black ticks mean the player has previously been put into a coffin and rescued. Each time you die you lose 2 ticks of max health. The player at the top has died once. and the other two players have not been in coffins yet.

In this image you can see the top player has died twice and has not taken any damage since they have been rescued (all of their available ticks of health are white). The middle player has died once and been rescued as well as having not taken any damage since being rescued. And finally the bottom player has received 3 ticks of damage so far, but hasn't been killed yet. When using a first-aid kit you are able to replenish red ticks but not black ticks. If you want to replenish black ticks you will need to find the Painkillers item in the map and take those.


Each Hunter character has a variety of ways they can deal damage to you. Their main way is an up in your face melee attack which always deals 4 ticks of damage. Their other weapons will deal anywhere between 1-3 ticks. This along with the reduction in max health after each death builds up the tension as the match progresses and forces Hunters and Survivors to alter their strategy as the end of the match nears.


Extractor Objective

Those who have already played the game will be familiar with the extractors you could find littered across Bale County. You would interact with them and then be given an objective to either complete fuse boxes or fill up a generator with fuel. We have condensed these into a single, repeatable, and understandable objective. Below we'll walk you through how the Extractor Objective works.

  • Image 1: Locating an Extractor

  • Image 2: Interact with it to begin the objective

  • Image 3: Flip all switches to green to advance to next stage (3 stages required)

  • Image 4: Extractor is activated and extracting darkness for a limited time

  • Image 5: Locate gas cans nearby and fill up the extractor to increase extraction time

  • Image 6: Stay within the zone to extract the most amount of darkness. You collect 1 darkness per second if you activated the extractor and 1 darkness per second if you are in the zone. Other survivors who enter the zone will begin collecting 1 darkness per second as well. All of this contributes to the global darkness extracted objective as seen at the top of your ui.

Here is a quick video showing the process of activating, refueling, and extracting darkness from an extractor. Note the extraction zone decreases over time, and while its active survivors can refuel the extractor with gas cans scattered about the area. Doing this refuels the extractor allowing it to be on for longer, and increasing the size of the extraction zone.


Escape Hatches

If survivors are able to successfully extract the required darkness to power the tower, 2 out of 3 possible escape hatches will become available for them to open. The escape hatches take time to open so it is important to carefully approach them if the Hunter is nearby. Once opened all you need to do is jump in to safety. I have sped up the opening process so you can see the entire process more easily.

Hunter Gameplay Changes