Hold the Line
Intended Player Count: 1 - 10
Hold the Line is a multiplayer and singleplayer game focused on battlefield combat where players lead an individual squad. The maps are filled with NPC squads of infantry, vehicles and field artillery. Using their squads and abilities, players must break the lines of the enemy and gain supremacy over the field.
The multiplayer has been tested with up to 400 NPCs! Bandwidth used for the game host was comparable to playing Battlefield 1 or similar games. The CPU load is light on clients.
The game's AI uses a Recast system for basic navigation. The real advantage, however, comes from the flexible AI logic system developed solely for my projects. Emergent AI behavior can be achieved by giving individual characters independence of thought. This, however, can create challenges to design if you want them to also work together.
A balance was achieved by creating a system that allows individual AI to scale itself up and down based on the needs of a situation; a second layer allows them to think and move together. On top of this, like a synchronization gear, a mechanism allows the AI to evenly spread its thinking without constantly calling expensive global variables.
The result is an AI experience that sees them hold formation, identify and move to cover and work together as squads to overcome battlefield obstacles, such as infantry encountering a tank.
The simple building system allows players to create defenses to hold strategic areas on the battlefield. NPC soldiers will be able to navigate in and around objects and structures and recognize locations where they can take cover.
Powerful weapons can destroy objects, reducing them to debris. If parts of a structure are no longer supported, they will fall as well. Anything build by players and any ambient structures can be toppled, opening more strategic choices.
Below is a list of squad types already implemented, more are in development and more abilities will be added over time.
3 Bolt-action Rifles, 2 Semi-automatic Rifles
Abilities: Frag-Rifle Grenade, AT Rifle Grenade
3 LMGs, 2 Semi-automatic Rifles
Abilities: AT Rocket Laucher
3 SMGs, 2 Semi-automatic Rifles
Abilities: Frag Grenade Volley, Sticky Bomb
1 SMG, 1 Bolt-action Rifle, 2 Semi-automatic Rifles
Abilities: AT Mine, Able to Build Advanced Defenses
AT/Field Gun Battery:
2 Field Guns, 4 Crewmen
Abilities: Switch between HE/AT Rounds
2 Medium Tanks
Abilities: None (To be added)
Air and sea unit prototypes are functioning but need artwork.
Hold The Line
The premiere innovative mode featured in the game. This mode is won by forcing the opposing team from the map. Battle lines are established and AI divisions switch back and forth from offensive and defensive stances. By supporting the AI, players are able to push the enemy lines back. Victory is achieved when most of the map has been captured by one team.
This mode centers around the classic point capture style game. There are several strategic points which must be captured and held. Victory is achieved when one team holds the majority of the points long enough or if the enemy force is depleted.
About the Development
Hold the Line was started in late 2015, but was shelved due to a lack of time. In the past few months, I began work on several projects again, including this one. If this kick-starter succeeds, I will devote all my effort to this project solely.
Music in video by The United States Army Field Band and the Musopen Symphony.
Some sound effects were processed from raw sounds obtained from a variety of sources, full list included with the game.
Some new mechanics have been in the works based on user feedback. These mechanics are far from ready but in the meantime you can play one of the original concept maps, based in the 1700s. Also, the AI tank squads have been added to the WW2 maps. Use the link below the video for the Windows version.
After playing with a few people and talking it over, there were a few good conclusions we came to.
1. A large scale battle is cool, but does it make for good gameplay?
While playing, you often find yourself surrounded by combat while fighting a small engagement yourself. And while you are having an impact, it feels too far removed to really make it seem like progress is being made.
2. A multiplayer-based game requires a player-base to really work well.
The future direction will focus on making the primary game-mode a mission based, RPG-like war game. The current game gives a good combat base to work off. To accomplish this, a great deal of content and new mechanics need to be developed. In order to work towards this, I will be starting a separate project which will allow me to experiment with more open-world mechanics while using a graphically simple style.
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Greenlight is dead, but Valve has Greenlit the project anyway. The new D-Day map features a seamless air and land assault with multiple phases.
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