Stealth deathmatch is coming along quite nicely. I've inevitably been sidetracked by work on Modular Combat, but nothing that's overly limited Stealth's development. The core gameplay mechanics are in place, as are about half of the weapon upgrades, though things may change during testing. I'd like to explain our core gameplay mechanics, and then describe some of the weapon upgrades that are currently implemented.
First and foremost: all players are invisible. All players also have a new panel on their HUD, that shows the distance (in metres) to the nearest other player. When you move, you become slightly visible - its proportional to your speed, so if you sprint, you become quite noticable, and if you crouch-walk slowly, you're still pretty difficult to spot. We haven't gone down the road of predator-style refraction or warping effects, because those are generally more noticable than just affecting transparency.
When you shoot, you become visible for a short time. This depends on the relative power of your weapon, so while a pistol or smg shot will only make you slightly visible, and only for a fraction of a second, firing an RPG round will leave you fully visible for several seconds. Its also cumulative, so firing many SMG rounds in quick succession adds up quite quickly! Lastly, if you're fully visible already (fired the RPG, or SMG grenade, for example), firing again will keep you visible for even longer.
That summarises our core gameplay. You'll likely find that these few changes significantly alter how the game plays, and how it feels. It works well both one-on-one and with large groups.
In addition to the above, we're currently working on a weapon upgrade system - players can select to upgrade any one of their weapons, which gives that weapon an advantage, generally related to the cloaking mechanics in some way. We're trying to determine if only one upgrade is enough, or whether two feels more appropriate. Right now, we have upgrades implemented on about half of the weapons.
We want each of our weapon upgrades to be functionally interesting - so there are no straight damage boost upgrades. All our upgrades are designed to come with some kind of a 'downside' - though these tend to be reasonably mild. There is one upgrade for each weapon, and players can have one upgrade (possibly 2 in the future) at any time. The upgraded weapon can be easily changed through an in-game menu, and will take effect next time you respawn.
Here are some specifics on the upgrades that are pretty much finalised:
- The upgraded pistol will not decloak you when you shoot. It also removes tracer effects from your bullets, but it decreases the fire rate somewhat.
- The SLAM upgrade replaces the red laser beam with an invisible infrared laser - but attaches a blinking light onto the SLAM itself, as without this, upgraded SLAMs were highly overpowered.
- The SMG upgrade fires bright red tracers that are highly visible - but it decloaks players that you hit.
- The upgraded grenade explode with an EMP blast - this cause the grenade to deal only very slight damage, but it decloaks everyone within line-of-sight for a second or two. To distinguish them from regular grenades, EMP grenades have a blue glow and trail, and also have a longer fuse time.
- The melee upgrade replaces the crowbar (which all players get by default) with the stunstick, and while this is drawn, movement will not affect your visibility. Your attacks are slower and decloak you more, however.
That's about all there is to say for now. Release shouldn't be more than a few weeks away, but due to work on other projects (e.g. Modular Combat), we can't be any more specific than that at this time. When it's done, and everything plays well, we will release. Until then, you'll have to just imagine me decloaking right in front of you and crowbarring you in the face!