GDC 2012: IO Interactive Focusing on Quality Rather Than Quantity When it Comes to Crowds in Hitman: Absolution
Written Wednesday, March 07, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
“Many of you will remember in Hitman : Blood Money, we had this famous scene in Mardi Gras, a scene where Hitman follows a giant chicken through the streets”… a street paved with NPCs who roamed the streets.
“What can we actually do different this time?” pondered Kasper Fauerby, the Lead Programmer at IO Interactive during his talk on crowds in Hitman: Absolution at this year’s GDC.
“I was personally really impressed when I saw that level in Mardi Gras in Blood Money, I had never seen that many characters before on-screen and the fact that it’s running on PS2, it made it more impressive.”
“Looking at it today,” continued Fauerby, “the guys have no containment and have very limited behaviour. So I thought about it for a while and thought, you know what, if we do crowds in Hitman, we should do quality over quantity.”
“They actually need to be able do something this time,” said Fauerby, noting that IO settled on a “reasonable” number of characters in crowds that was around 1200 characters, with 500 of those on-screen at the same time. The gamer, however, should be unable to distinguish a crowd character from an actor NPC.
Fauerby stated that the crowds in Hitman: Absolution are designed to seem more intelligent and react more like a crowd in real-life. Whether that means people cheering, smoking, speaking on their phones, waving or sitting on a bench, it’s all about believability.
Pull out a gun or act abnormally, expect to attract their attention, whether that’s just a few people turning their heads or the crowd scattering for safety as sheer panic sets in. It’s all about reactivity.
They’ve even gone so far as to eliminate the amount of “twins” in the crowd too, by tweaking the height of the character models, switching the colour of their clothes and so on.
Hitman: Absolution is scheduled for a 2012 release.