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.
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:
3D Object Sprays
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.
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:
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
Faster queue & matchmaking times
All players can play their desired role
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Scaffolds & Doors
Hunters in Hide Or Die have always been designed to be overpowered. It was sort of required due to the large number of survivors we had in matches previously and was our counter to ensure Hunters couldn't be bullied by survivors. It is tough in this genre because the two sides are ultimately playing two different games with different abilities and objectives. Obviously they have seen their balancing changes, just as survivors have, but with the nature of the new game mode and frequent encounters we're happy to let you know they are still powerful and should be feared. In the previous game modes there were guns/offensive weapons which have now been removed in the Extraction game mode.
With Hide Or Die we originally set out to try and alter the way the genre handles what role you play in a match. Previously in LMS we would spawn a random darkness orb and the first person to reach it would become Hunter. In the Escape game mode you could switch back and forth between the roles essentially as you wished. This really made it difficult to control the Survivor and Hunter populations as well as how frequent and how long encounters between the two would be. In the new version of Hide Or Die you can pre-select what role you want to matchmake for.
When you get into a match as a Hunter you will become corrupted at the designated Darkness Site that is unique to each map. Their style from the Escape game mode in Bale County lives on in this new version of the game.
Scaffolds & Doors
These two structures play a big part in how Survivors traverse the map, but as a general rule of thumb you always want there to be a counter for these sorts of things in this genre. So of course, Hunters can destroy scaffolding and locked doors, and do it much faster than Survivors can repair them (only scaffolds).
This is the Hunter's main tracking tool and all of them have access to it. You can enter and exit this mode as you wish. When you enter the mode you can see the general location of Survivors on your screen. Once you get close to them the circle appears in 3D in the world instead of your screen. This shows their last know area and doesn't update once you are in it. Previously this mode made you super fast to traverse the large maps, but in this new mode it is used more for tracking. It still is the fastest way to move, but the speed gradually increases the longer you are in it.
Probably the most important part of this entire rework is the Hunter's melee attack. It deals the most damage, is the most commonly used, and if it doesn't feel right or work the entire Hunter character will feel sluggish. Gone are the days of hitting survivors through walls, whiffing attacks when the survivor is right in front of you, and hits not registering when you think they should have. There are two aspects to the Hunter melee, the quick hit and the lunge hit. If you tap attack you swing very quickly and catch that survivor trying to run by you. If you click and hold the attack you will get a nice smooth lunge towards the survivor running away and help you close ground to successfully land the attack.
The most time we spent on Hunters was on designing, creating, and refining their perks and augments. These fundamentally alter their respective hunter's gameplay and play style. A few examples of some of these are: damage dealing sonar pings, lighting striking holodomes, exploding jackboxes, and hideable destroying sledgehammers. There are vast numbers of builds you can put together to tweak your favorite Hunter's playstyle to yours. Perks, Augments, and your Character Loadout are explained in detail a little further down.
You can expect an entirely new trailer shortly before launch that summarizes the gameplay, just as we did before the early access launch. We have been testing internally for months now to iron out the most prominent issues, tweak balancing, and solidify the experience to keep you coming back for more. Here are just a couple of quick clips from alpha testing to hold you over until the trailer drops.
Perks, Augments, & Items
A/S/M Score - Awareness, Strength, Mobility
Perks, Augments, & Items
Meaningful gameplay altering progression has been fully reworked with the Dark Path and the Character Loadout. For you to understand how both of those function we first need to explain how our gameplay progression has evolved into 3 categories: Perks, Augments, and Items.
Perks: These have the biggest gameplay altering effects which may allow for entirely new functionality or abilities and are unique to their respective characters. They are the largest contribution to your character's A/S/M, which will be explained further below. At launch there will be 9 unique Perks per character.
Augments: Think of these as mini-perks with smaller tweaks to specific actions, playstyles, or effects. Not as significant as perks, but just as important to help shape your character and get you the A/S/M bonus you are after. At launch there will be 18 unique Augments for Survivors, 8 unique Augments per Hunter, and 10 shared Augments for Hunters.
Items: Consumable items you can bring into a match. Most items are one use per life, but a few more powerful items are one use per match (ie. first-aid kit). These can also be found scarcely scattered throughout the level while you play, but bringing it into the match with you ensures you'll have access to it when you need it.
All 3 of the above are earned through the Dark Path - explained below. Certain items can also be obtained through the County Card Season Pass, but are primarily found in your Dark Path.
Dark Path is the way you unlock Perks, Augments, Items, and level up your characters in Hide or Die. With each match played you collect Darkness Points (DP) which can be used to purchase Perks, Augments, and Items in your character specific Dark Path. Purchase the required amount (shown on the right hand side) in your Dark Path and your character will level up.
Lets first start with generating your Dark Path. When you first unlock a character and open the Dark Path, or after completing a level, a new Dark Path will be generated. Your first task is to reveal one of many possible endpoints. This costs DP to do and can be done multiple times. By doing this you will reveal the rarity of the item at that endpoint in your Dark Path. It is best to search for Legendary and Very Rare endpoints before revealing a path point and starting your Dark Path.
Perks: Legendary & Very Rare
Augments: Very Rare & Rare
Items: Rare & Common
Below we'll walk you through a Level 1 Dark Path and explain it in a bit more detail.
Image 1: A selection of endpoints you can choose from to reveal their rarity
Image 2: A couple of rarities have been revealed
Image 3: I revealed the Very Rare endpoint's path and have found a Perk called 'Selfless'
Image 4: I purchase a flashbang item which also reveals the two connected path points
Image 5: This level only allows 4 purchases so I work my way towards the 'Selfless' Perk
Image 6: Next purchase will level up, so I grab the 'Shadow Wielder' Augment while I can
On the right hand side you will see your current progress towards leveling up your character. After completing the last purchase of a level you will go through a level up animation and will be greeted with a new Dark Path generation and start the process over again. As you level up, your Dark Path will require more purchases and become more complicated to navigate. Required purchases to level up range between 4 and 10 path points and increases as you level up. This means you'll need to plan ahead so you can get the Perks, Augments, and Items you want! As a general rule of thumb you will find the best Perks and Augments further away from the center. Here is a video example of a low level Dark Path:
Your Character Loadout is where you will define your character's playstyle, equip gameplay altering abilities, and A/S/M score. You are allowed to equip two perks, two augments, and one item. There are no restrictions other than that to how many or how few you can equip.
A: Awareness S: Strength M: Mobility
As you equip various perks and augments your A/S/M score will change to reflect your character's play style. You can see this by the radial triangle chart next to your equipped loadout items. If an attribute crosses the middle yellow triangle (a score of 5 or more) you will get the yellow bonus ability as seen to the left. Get all the way to the outer red triangle and you will get a more powerful ability for that category. Abilities do not stack per attribute (ie. can only have either a yellow or red ability bonus, but not both).
Each Perk and Augment affects each attribute differently. Perks will affect an attribute either 1, 2, or 3 points. Whereas Augments will affect attributes either 0, 1, or 2 points. You can see how they will affect your A/S/M in their respective Perk Info Card which can be found in the Character Loadout or the Dark Path.
You should spend time carefully balancing your A/S/M Triangle to get the ideal loadout and bonus abilities perfectly suited for your play-style. We've put together a clip showing how equipping your loadout will change your A/S/M score and enable ability bonuses. Your loadout will also be embedded into your Nametag wherever it appears in game.
So Why Launch with this Update?
This is a great question and something we discussed a lot internally. Simply it comes down to two things.
Player population. A full release will bring in many new players and bring back existing players, boosting the size of the community. This is necessary to revive a game which has no active player base at the moment. Putting out an update will not bring nearly enough new players and existing players back into the game to support the game long term.
The primary argument against this is that the game doesn't have everything we want to have in it. We would like to add in even more content like characters, maps, and game modes. What we saw is that most successful multiplayer games continue to update with content over time and we're at a point where we have the solid foundation to do so. Early access games are buggy, not stable, and have poor performance - we've worked to ensure Hide or Die does not have these sorts of issues anymore. We are confident we can deliver a fully releasable, stable product now - so we are.
Kickstarter Backer Rewards
With our kickstarter ending back in June of 2018 we started the journey to create Hide Or Die full-time. There were a lot of big things we set out to do, a lot of rewards promised (the vast majority had been fulfilled with the Early Access launch in August 2019), and a few changes in direction as we tried to make Hide Or Die the best we could from player feedback.
When we started VecFour Digital nearly 2 years ago, we did it with the intention of creating a sustainable business creating multiple games over the course of many years. An important part of that is establishing trust with our community. The best way to do that is to deliver on the things you promised and provide more than the minimum required. There are three rewards we have not fulfilled yet: Krampus Hunter, Undertaker Hunter, and the Culdesac Residence.
Every in-game reward has been reworked and polished (including backer heads). We could have left the old and marked them as delivered, but as we upgraded the game we thought it was the right thing to do to put in the effort to upgrade the backer rewards as well. You will be receiving new redeemable codes when the game launches. We hope you like them.
Culdesac Residence was originally planned to be integrated into the second Bale County map. Due to the changes of the smaller maps, it is just not possible to put them all in (there are a lot). We're still finishing up the work on creating Backerville, a free roam map that you can access from the menu, which will be released in a patch before the end of Season One. The tombstone rewards will also be included in this map. This will enshrine you forever into the Hide Or Die universe.
We are happy to announce that Krampus will be available on launch, to backers of his tier and above, as an exclusive Hunter for Season One. You will receive a redeemable code to access him. We will be handling the Undertaker Hunter the same way in Season 02.
Backers at the Graffiti and Tombstone reward tiers will be receiving codes to redeem them as items integrated with our Graffiti and 3D Object Spray systems. This will allow these backers to place them anywhere they want to allow them to get that perfect screenshot.
How Do I Play?
Join our discord: https://discord.gg/hideordie
If you own the game, fill out this application: https://forms.gle/68fU7HtrW2qwgFy18
If you fit the specifications we need, we'll add you to the testing group channel in discord.
VecFour Digital Developers will ping the group whenever a testing session is available, and servers are deployed.
With that we want to say thank you for your patience and support in development ever since we started along this journey 2 years ago. We're proud of the feature sets and changes we've implemented and are excited to get Hide or Die out the door, but even more excited to build a sustained community who will enjoy Hide Or Die for a long time. We hope you give it a shot and let us know what you think. Thank you.
Chat with us on Discord:
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