Derange #3: The Hivemind

Hello once again, horror fans. In my previous update, I described some of the ways that Derange seeks to emulate the traditional tropes of 90s survival horror. Following in the footsteps of Resident Evil and Silent Hill isn’t all there is to Derange, however. If all I’ve managed to do in the final product is retread what’s already come before, then what’s the point in playing it when you could just stick to the classics? In this update, I’m going to introduce just one of the unique new features in Derange that aims to do things a little differently: the Hivemind System.

Sounds cool, you say, but what is it? Well, to put it simply, the Hivemind System is a mechanic that allows Derange‘s enemies to react to and learn from your actions as a player. It’s kind of like the AI Director in Left 4 Dead, but with more of an emphasis on keeping the game tense and catching you off guard. As you play Derange, the monsters you encounter in the mansion will “remember” your movements and communicate with each other, eventually manifesting new behaviors and abilities in direct response to your actions. The goal, of course, is to make the enemies unpredictable. In other traditional survival horror games, most enemies are static and are easy to deal with once you’ve memorized their movement patterns and what they’re capable of. In Derange, however, the monsters will “evolve” to adapt to how you’re playing, ensuring they’ll always be a threat.

Hivemind2

The Hivemind changes enemy properties on the fly.

So, how does it work? At its core, the Hivemind System “watches” what actions you’re performing in the game and adjusts the enemies accordingly. Let’s say you’re playing cautiously, carefully evading enemies, avoiding fights and stockpiling your healing items. In this case, the Hivemind System will enter “offense mode”, making all of the enemies faster and more aggressive so they have a better chance of catching you. The longer you continue to play cautiously, the more aggressive the enemies will become – they’ll learn to open doors, will use more effective hunting tactics against you, and their attacks will deal more damage.

Hivemind

Saving often tells the Hivemind you’re playing cautiously.

What if you’re playing a more aggressive game though, killing every enemy you find and dealing with threats in a more pragmatic manner? The Hivemind System will start to play defensive instead, mutating the enemies so they become gradually harder to kill and making them more likely to gang up on you rather than attack one by one. These are just a couple of examples; there are dozens of different variables at play that will affect what the Hivemind System does next. It’s capable of reacting to almost anything you do, and nearly every possible action in the game can cause its “play style” to change. The end result is that hopefully you’ll feel like you’re being hunted by something intelligent and calculating, something doing everything in its power to destroy you.

That’s all for today. Next time, we’ll cover Derange’s dual protagonists and how your choices can affect the game.

About dgrixti

Indie game developer and writer. Founder of Dark Gaia Studios and creator of Legionwood, One Night and Mythos: The Beginning.
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