Tag Archives: system

Gardening: How to make a plant self-watering system from plastic bottles

Method 2

Another way you can make a slow-release water irrigator from a plastic bottle is by poking four to five holes in the cap of a bottle.

Remove the cap from the plastic bottle, pop it down on a hard surface and using a drill or nail, poke several holes in the cap.

The more holes, the faster the water will flow from the bottle.

Making the holes too big will mean the water will flow from the bottle more quickly, but making them too small could mean they get clogged up with soil.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Holiday traffic light system 'under question' by travel expert – says NOT to cancel trips

Big changes were made to the travel traffic light system yesterday after a government meeting with health and travel advice officials. Most notably, Portugal was removed from the green list and added to the amber list. Some travel experts have criticised the Government on this move.

Paul Charles is one such travel expert who is not impressed with the Government’s travel traffic light system, calling it “incoherent” and “inconsistent”.

Mr Charles appeared on ITV via video call from Malta this morning. He said: “I’m sad to say there seems to be an incoherent policy from government, and certainly one that’s inconsistent.

“Just three weeks ago they were saying to people book your holiday to Portugal and elsewhere – if it’s on the green list, go for it.

“And now they’re turning round and saying well we’ve spotted a few infections, possible variants in Portugal, now we’ve got to reign back.

READ MORE: Green list update: 11 countries that could be made green ‘very soon’

Although Portugal will be added to the amber list on Tuesday, June 8, Mr Charles reminded viewers “it’s not illegal to travel to Portugal”.

“You can visit family for example – you can go for weddings or funerals,” the travel consultant said.

“If you’ve already booked you could still do that trip.

“It all depends whether you’re prepared to self-isolate when you come back and indeed pay for the costs of testing, which are pretty expensive as we know.”

Britons wanting to travel to a country on the amber list must quarantine for 10 days on return to the UK, as well as pay £60 or more for a coronavirus test.

However, if you have already booked a holiday to Portugal, Mr Charles recommended not cancelling your booking just yet.

He said: “But do not cancel your trip – wait for your airline, or tour operator, or travel agent to contact you so that you know what’s going to be happening.

“Because if you cancel it, you’re changing the contract and you’re changing the terms.

“So wait for you to be contacted by your agent operator or airline.”

Mr Charles claimed the lack of movement by Britons this summer will seriously affect the travel industry, saying: “Of course, the industry needs bookings to be coming in for the summer.

“We need ministers to be really clear now on what’s going to happen in July and August. Are they going to allow people to go away? Are they going to expand the green list?”

The travel consultant went on to say that he believed Portugal should have been moved “from green to the green watch list” instead of the amber list to “give people more time to work out their plans”.

“It flies in the face of all the advice they were giving and the reason why they set up the travel traffic light system in the first place and I think that system is now seriously under question,” Mr Charles said.

He added: “The travel sector has been pulled from pillar to post for at least 12 months now and dogged by inconsistencies of government policy.

“The sector needs a good summer this summer.

“If it doesn’t get it and the summer is squeezed, then we’re talking tens of thousands of job losses again across the sector.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Review: Maneater – You're Gonna Need A Better Combat System

Tripwire Interactive’s Maneater really does have itself a pretty killer premise. Letting players loose on its open world setting of Port Clovis as a deeply scarred bull shark in search of revenge, it’s an unashamedly silly, hyper violent and completely throwaway experience that should make for a pretty great videogame. It delivers in giving you the motivation, the tools and the playground with which to exact your bloody retribution, gets the tone and the setting of its shark vendetta just right, but then fumbles its execution, delivering a procession of dull missions, janky combat and an ever-increasing laundry list of the very worst kind of open world busywork. In the end, what should have been a riotous revenge fantasy ends up feeling rather toothless.

Kicking off with the murder of your mother at the hands of celebrity shark hunter Scaly Pete (who’s hand you bite off in the opening scenes) Maneater wastes no time in flinging you into the fins of a newly orphaned baby shark (please don’t sing it) [Sing what? – Ed] who you must now commandeer through the eight regions that make up the game’s open world map. Here you’ll eat everything you see, be it man, woman or seal, in order to evolve into a flipping mega-shark — an apex killer with the skills and abilities to face off against your hook-handed nemesis and avenge your momma once and for all.

It’s the framing of the narrative here that’s really Maneater’s strongest element, with Scaly Pete the star of a wonderfully grotty reality TV show that follows him and his rebellious son, Kyle, as they search the waterways of Port Clovis for the bull shark that chomped his hand off. This allows for a constant narration of not just every plot point and ludicrous cutscene, but pretty much every action you take as you swim around the lakes, beaches and bayous of Port Clovis. With Chris Parnell (of Rick and Morty and SNL fame) on narration duties here, the game is instantly lifted out of the mire that is its actual gameplay, with plenty of laughs to be had, movie and TV references to knowingly jab your finger at and a playful B-movie feel to the whole thing that it’s really quite hard to dislike.

If only the gameplay wasn’t quite so lacking though, eh. As much as evolving your shark here is fun enough in and of itself (adding tiger skin, advanced sonar, electric teeth, shadow fins, armoured plating and so on to a body which continues to grow as you move from childhood into adult shark life), the actual threats you take on and missions you’re tasked with are just very disappointing overall. Besides the boring filler side quests that never mix things up even once across the entire duration of the game — constantly tasking you with eating ten of a certain type of fish or killing a fixed number of super dumb humans — the apex predator fights, hunter boss battles and various face-offs that further the story along also suffer on account of the game’s rather weak and janky combat.

In terms of abilities during a battle, your bull shark can whip its tail, bite, jump out of the water and dodge incoming attacks… and that’s about it. While peaceful traversal throughout Maneater’s world is always pretty satisfying and just swimming around and gobbling up fish for their nutrients is almost therapeutic at times, once a proper scrap starts — once you’ve got the attention of a worthy adversary — the frustration starts to kick in. As there’s no lock-on during fights here, with a press of the right stick only recentring your focus on an enemy momentarily, you’re constantly in a struggle with the game’s camera when things get hectic, especially in small areas where you’ll likely be tempted to smash your controller.

Dodging is almost impossible to time well, too, especially when you can rarely get a good sight of your foe due to those camera issues, and in the end most face-offs very quickly degenerate into unsatisfying button-mashing, getting a few bites in then swimming away to regenerate health by munching some nearby fishies before getting back to slowly whittling your enemy down. It’s all a bit tiresome and disappointing.

Human foes aren’t much better, either. As much fun as it is to tear them from their jet-skis and yachts, ripping them to bloody shreds as they scream out in terror, when you’re up against hunters it’s a similarly disappointing story of janky controls ruining the party. Escaping the red line that indicates a hunter’s incoming gunshots is a real hit or miss affair here, destroying their boats a button-mashing chore, and no matter who they are — the game features a host of celebrity hunter bosses to take out — they all die in exactly the same manner; so much so that we didn’t realise we’d even killed the big name hunters most of the time.

Maneater also has a very weird, and very bad, habit of making you go on dry land in order to attack human enemies; one upgrade path actually increases the time you can spend out of the water. It’s such a terrible activity from a gameplay point of view, flopping miserably around as you attempt to chow down on some golfers or Hampton types. We get that it’s meant to be funny, perhaps it was the first dozen times, but it grows so tiresome and exacerbates everything we dislike about the combat here, it seems like keeping the shark in the water at all times really would have been a better way to go.

Even with a rather short running time of around about ten hours, by game’s end we were well and truly done with most of what Maneater has to offer. We’d collected enough car licence plates, eaten our fill of fish and humans alike and chomped through more than our fair share of secret caches and points of interest – although at least Chris Parnell makes those points of interest pretty amusing.

Not everything here is bad, of course. Indeed, when left to your own devices there’s a decent amount of fun to be had in just evolving your shark and role-playing the classic beach terror, emerging from the depths to swallow swimmers whole or flying out of the water to snatch some toff from the bow of his super yacht. We even developed a worrying habit of lurking around beneath groups of unaware swimmers, taking our time and deliberating over which one of them was going to get dragged screaming to the depths. It’s just a shame the actual combat is so dull and open world mission structure so dated.

On a much more positive note, for those who are interested in taking this one for a swim regardless of its weaknesses, this Switch port is surprisingly solid stuff. Maneater originally launched back in 2020 with its fair share of bugs and problems — most notably a bug that wiped entire save files from existence — but here we’ve been treated to a smooth and visually impressive experience. Whether you’re sharking it up in docked or portable mode, beyond the now expected graphical downgrade on Nintendo’s hybrid console, this one performs pretty much perfectly, with a single instance of a glitchy Mako shark the only bug we encountered during our playthrough.

Maneater is such a good idea for an open world RPG. Evolving your shark from fragile orphan to mega-death bringer is a solid backbone for the game’s action, tearing humans to shreds is never not hilarious and Chris Parnell knocks it out of the park as the ever-present narrator. It’s just a real shame, then, that the core gameplay here isn’t up to scratch. With a few tweaks to the janky, repetitive combat and the addition of side missions that actually provided a little variety once in a while, this one could have been a real good time. As it stands, it’s a pretty average action-RPG that’s a little closer to Jersey Shore: Shark Attack than Jaws.


Maneater is a great idea for a video game, a ridiculous shark revenge fantasy in an open world setting with plenty of humour injected through its unique narrative framing and the vocal talents of Chris Parnell. However, as much as terrorising beach goers and snatching hunters from the bows of their fishing boats is a pretty good time, and as much as we enjoyed watching our orphaned bull shark grow from helpless pup to apex predator, the whole thing is let down by poor combat and the very worst kind of busywork side quests. With a little more variety in missions and a few refinements made to combat, this could have been a killer action-RPG. As things stand, however, it’s all a little toothless.

This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Reviews

Great British Railways: How will new state-owned train system work?

Jim McMahon, the shadow transport secretary, said: “With fare hikes, £1bn cuts to Network Rail and broken promises to communities across the country, it’s yet another example of ministers talking a good game, with very little substance underneath.”

Unions echoed the concerns. The TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said the plans were “papering over the cracks” of privatisation.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said it was “a missed opportunity to make a clean break”.

He added: “The government talk about ending a generation of fragmentation but then leave the same private companies in place to extract fees that could be invested in building a truly integrated national rail network.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Tesco sparks fiery debate over self-checkout system- ‘Boycott them!’

Tesco’s self-checkout tills now add up how much you have saved as you scan through your products, instead of calculating it all at the end of the transaction. One shopper shared her excitement on the Extreme Couponing and Bargains Facebook group. She said that she saved £31.50 on her shop and paid just £13.50.
Posting on the group, she said: “Anybody else loving the new self-serve tills at Tesco that adds up your savings as you go?”

While the post was shared to praise the new system, it quickly sparked a shopper debate between more than a thousand people about using self-checkouts.One shopper said: “I find self-service the best, I can go at my own pace and don’t have to speak to the miserable people they normally put on the checkouts.

Another wrote: “Not a fan of self service, I like to have a staff member serve me as they are all polite, and pleasant.

“No thanks to the machine that makes you feel stupid because something always goes wrong then someone has to sort you out. Ok for the younger generation, but not for me thank you.”

Another critic said: “Using self-service tills a great way to put people out of work. Please boycott them.”

Additional reporting by Rachel Pugh.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Boris Johnson blasted for 'utterly chaotic' travel system as Heathrow descends into chaos

The accusation comes after photos emerged of crowded arrival halls at Heathrow where passengers from red, amber and green list countries were forced to queue together without any social distancing measures. An image obtained by iNews shows passengers who had arrived from red and amber listed countries queuing at immigration just a few feet from one another. Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the Immigration Service Union, told the media outlet: “There is all but no social distancing.
“This is a very common scene at our airports.”

She added: “All passengers, from whichever country, are mixing.

“It’s the same at other airports like Manchester and Gatwick.”

The chaotic scenes at Heathrow, where only Terminals 2 and 5 are open, were blasted by the Shadow Home Secretary.

Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds told iNews: “Conservative ministers are overseeing an utterly chaotic travel system that is recklessly increasing the risk of further variants reaching the UK.”

In a later tweet he went on to criticise the Government’s overall policy towards international travel during the Covid crisis.

He posted: “Time and time again we at Labour have argued for a comprehensive hotel quarantine system for all international arrivals to guard against new variants.

“It’s the Conservative Government’s failure to listen and act that has left us in this deeply worrying place.”

READ MORE: Boris plans biggest British rail shake up for 25 years

However, Sky News economics and data editor Ed Conway conducted his own analysis of Government figures and reached the opposite conclusion.

He wrote: “In the period from March 25 to April 7, some 5.1 percent of passengers coming to the UK from India tested positive for Covid-19, not far below the 6.2 percent level recorded by passengers from Pakistan, and comfortably higher than the 3.7 percent of passengers coming from Bangladesh.

“And far from being three times higher than in India, the Covid positivity rate in Pakistan was only slightly above India; the rate of passengers coming from Bangladesh was considerably lower than that of those coming from India.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

New CDC mask guidance creating a caste system

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in public has led to some stores dropping their mask requirements.

Boom Bust talks to Jeffrey Tucker, author of ‘Liberty or Lockdown’, about how businesses and consumers are reacting to the ruling.Tucker says it “has created a weird situation where the customers don’t have masks and employees all do, which is a way of broadcasting clean versus unclean, like a caste system.”

“That’s extremely dangerous, the CDC’s announcement was not for everyone, it was only for the vaccinated,” he says.  Children can’t get vaccines, so it means they will continue to be masked in schools, Tucker points out. “The science didn’t change with the CDC’s politics that suddenly shifted for, I would say, politically expedient reasons, and now the rest of the countries are scrambling to adapt.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Indian variant: Local lockdown tier system may return amid fears over surge of Covid cases

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that 2,323 cases of the variant known as B.1.617.2 had been confirmed – up from 1,313 on Thursday. He added that 483 cases of the Indian strain have been confirmed in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where the variant is now the dominant strain.
According to The Times, officials have drawn up plans modelled on last year’s Tier 4 restrictions.

Under the plans, non-essential shops and hospitality would be closed and people would be advised to stay at home if the Indian variant continued to spread rapidly.

The publication reported that businesses in the areas affected would receive grants of up to £18,000.

Local authorities would administer the scheme and payments would be adjusted depending on the length of restrictions.

Under a different scenario, Ministers are considering a delay to the next phase of easing of restrictions in England on June 21.

READ MORE: India variant cases almost DOUBLE in four days –Hancock issues warning

With this plan, grants would reportedly be given to the worst-affected sectors including nightclubs and for ‘mass events’ such as festivals.

According to The Times, Mr Johnson views local lockdowns as a “last resort” if other measures, including the surge in testing and vaccinations, are not successful.

In Bolton, a rapid response team has been deployed into the area, including 50 additional vaccinators, the opening of two new vaccination centres and six testing centres.

Over the weekend, the rate of vaccination in the town trebled, with more than 6,200 receiving a jab.

On Monday, Mr Hancock confirmed that local lockdowns were not being ruled out.

Indian variant equation that may put lifting of lockdown on hold [UPDATE]
Bolton streets lined with queues as Indian variant spreads – VIDEO [INSIGHT]
Whole of Bolton should be vaccinated within two weeks, says MP [REVEAL]

He said: “It is not where we want to go. Of course we don’t rule it out, but we have seen the approach that we are taking [surge testing] works.”

The Indian variant has spread to 86 areas across the country, including parts of London and Bedford.

Mr Johnson urged for a “heavy dose of caution” as lockdown rules eased on Monday amid the surge in cases of the Indian variant.

In a statement, he said: “We are keeping the spread of the variant first identified in India under close observation and taking swift action where infection rates are rising.”

The Prime Minister added: “I urge everyone to be cautious and take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms today in order to keep the virus at bay.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Banking system & gold industry consume much more energy than bitcoin – study

New research by crypto firm Galaxy Digital (founded by former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz) has shown that both the traditional banking system and the gold industry consume much more energy than the bitcoin network.

According to the report, compiled by Galaxy’s mining arm, bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption stands at 113.89 TWh (terawatt-hours). That includes energy for miner demand, miner power consumption, pool power consumption, and node power consumption. The amount is at least two times lower than the total energy consumed by the banking system, which is estimated to reach 263.72 TWh per year globally. 

Galaxy Digital Mining said that bitcoin’s energy consumption is transparent and easy to track in real time using tools like the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, while the evaluation of energy usage of the traditional financial system and the gold industry is not that straightforward. The firm estimated the banking sector’s power usage by compiling statistics from banking data centers, bank branches, ATMs, and card networks’ data centers.

“The banking industry does not directly report electricity consumption data,” it said, adding that the retail and commercial banking system requires multiple settlement layers, while bitcoin offers final settlement.
Also on rt.com Musk says Tesla SUSPENDING bitcoin use, citing environmental impact
Galaxy has also calculated the energy consumption of the gold industry, using estimates for the industry’s total greenhouse gases emissions provided in the World Gold Council’s report. According to the research, the gold industry utilizes roughly 240.61 TWh per year.

“These estimates may exclude key sources of energy use and emissions that are second order effects of the gold industry like the energy and carbon intensity of the tires used in gold mines,” Galaxy said.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Designing the Felony System and Stealth Mechanics in Hood: Outlaws & Legends

Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a third person, cooperative multiplayer heist game, set against a medieval-inspired backdrop – think Payday meets “Game of Thrones!” The game pits two teams against each other, whose goal is to be the team that steals the riches from the Sheriff and his ruthless state guards.

Stop Intruders!

There are many successful third-person stealth action games: Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, and Assassin’s Creed to name a few. The approach that is taken with Hood: Outlaws and Legends was to leverage the strong fundamentals laid down by these titles in terms of consequences, player feedback and system familiarity.

In a competitive multiplayer scenario, however, the felony and stealth systems must account for two opposing teams of eight individual players, which is far more challenging to balance. Our design goals were to provide:

  • Penalty: A punishment for alerting the guards, providing the player or the team with a disadvantage either temporarily or permanently. For example, a guard has spotted me and alerted all the guards in that area. The guard will then move to intercept and engage me in combat, taking up valuable time and potentially giving away my position to the enemy team. The goal here is to punish the players who sprint everywhere and discourage them from alerting all the guards.
  • Tension: The stealth and felony systems should provide tension. There should be opportunities for the player to gamble. For example, if I quickly run from danger and hide around a corner, I should be able to return to a stealthy position without being spotted. It’s about providing those thrilling moments that players discuss when they just manage to escape a hairy situation without being penalized.
  • Incentive: Playing in stealth empowers the player. It should feel gratifying, and is the optimal way to play. Using stealth effectively during a heist should feel like a cheat mode. Actions performed while in stealth should reward the player by feeding their ability gauge and making their movements between objectives friction free.

Guards Guards Guards!

Let us start by discussing the guards and their main objective and how this affects the different stages of the heist.

The main purpose of the guards is to protect the treasure chest. A variety of guard archetypes present players with a different gameplay challenge. Some carry ranged weapons and take up sniper positions, others are heavily armored and far more resistant to ranged attacks. Two of the most imposing AI threats are:

  • Knights: Heavily armored brutes, specialized in melee combat and immune to damage from arrows and bolts. These walking tanks are slower to move, but deadly if their attacks land. The soft spot on their backs where their armor is thinnest is key to taking them down.
  • Sheriff: The main antagonist. A hulking brute who is immune to damage from arrows and bolts, assassination moves, and also highly resistant to melee damage. The Sheriff cannot be killed; however, he can be downed for a short duration. If players are caught by the sheriff, they are immediately killed with one of his execution moves. Its better to avoid him entirely, or lure him towards the enemy team so they have to deal with him.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

Both these guard types play big roles in the 3 distinct stages of a heist:

  1. Steal: Pickpocket the vault key from the sheriff.
  2. Secure: Open the treasure vault and pick up the treasure chest.
  3. Extract: Take the chest to an extraction point and use the winch to claim it

Their main goal is always to protect the treasure chest, but it is presented differently at each stage.

In stage one, teams must pickpocket the vault key from the belt of the sheriff. If they fail, they risk alerting the sheriff to their presence and being executed by him. In this stage, the AI guards are still protecting the treasure chest, but they are doing it by guarding the key rather than the actual chest.

In stage two, knights are positioned outside of the treasure vault. Their goal is to protect the treasure chest by preventing players from opening the vault.

In stage three, if any stationed or patrolling guards see the treasure chest they will instantly raise the alarms and trigger a map wide lockdown (more on that soon).

Each of these key gameplay beats reinforces the goals of the felony system. There are penalties if the player gets spotted, ranging from getting executed by the sheriff to alerting all the guards in an area to that the treasure has been stolen. Each stage also adds tension through its scaling levels of consequence, both for you as an individual, and to your team as you try and complete your objectives.  

Do not be alarmed

A critical ingredient for the felony system is the alarm. We explored several iterations during the course of development. In each version we focused on:

  • Who triggered the alarm?
  • Is it clear what actions triggered the alarm?
  • How can the players prevent the alarm from being triggered?

Let’s briefly examine a few of the iterations we tried:

The first iteration of the alarm was an in-world alarm bell that the guards could ring: Guard is alerted to the player -> He calls out to any surrounding guards -> The closest guard to the alarm bell runs to use it -> The guard rings the alarm ->The felony system is triggered.

The alarm bell mechanic had mixed results. It was great for signposting to players how they can prevent the alarm from being triggered e.g. Kill the guard running to the alarm. However, we had problems signposting to the player how long it would take before the alarm is triggered, and which team or player triggered the alarm. This was mainly because a guard had to physically run to an alarm to activate it. The delay between the player’s action and the guard’s reaction led to confusion over who actually caused the felony escalation. A lot can happen in those few seconds, and its tricky to keep track of who was responsible.

The second iteration was what we called “the sentient castle.” For this version, we removed the alarm bell as a physical location within the world. This was replaced with the notion that when a guard raises an alarm, the environment responds: Guard is alerted to the player -> The guard waits three seconds to raise the alarm (providing a window of opportunity for the player) -> The timer ends and the guard shouts to raise the alarm -> The felony system is triggered.

This worked better than the alarm bell iteration as it standardized the length of time it took the guards to raise the alarm. It also improved player understanding as the cause and effect was more immediately apparent. Further helped by the UI gauge which appeared above the guards head as they counted down to sound the alarm.

However, this additional visual feedback (and more obvious window of opportunity) meant that guards could be easily identified and dispatched quickly to prevent the escalation. A lot of the tension, caution and observation that we wanted to promote was lost.

The third (and final) iteration was a refined version of the above. For this version of the “sentient castle,” we took what worked in the original iteration and addressed its drawbacks: Guard is alerted to the player -> The guard instantly raises the alarm (if that guard is killed, any other alerted guard can raise the alarm) -> The felony system is triggered.

The biggest change in this version was removing the three-second timer. Removing this timer fixed three drawbacks of the previous iteration: Players instantly knew if it was their action that caused the guards reaction. The penalty was swift and could not be avoided. There was a sense of tension and caution because is was immediately obvious that if I alert the guards, there will be consequences.

Close the Gates

The felony escalation system was created to provide a penalty for players who do not play stealthily, and also to aid the guard’s in protecting the treasure chest.

We required multiple states to achieve this:

  • Neutral/default: The guards are not aware of any threat.
  • High Alert: The guards are aware of a player(s) infiltrating their territory.
  • Lockdown: The guards are aware that the treasure chest has been removed from the vault.

Our biggest challenge was defining a consistent set of rules for both High Alert and Lockdown states, but also increasing the severity of the penalties between them.

The first task was to decide how we wanted the felony system to impact the guards, the world and if we wanted any additional exotic behaviors. Our modifiers included:

  • Guard behavior: How does each felony state interact with the guard’s behaviors.
  • World behavior: How does the felony state interact with the game worlds mechanics.
  • Reinforcements: How many guards (and which types) do we add to the map in addition to the default patrols?
  • Local/Global: Does the felony system affect a specific area of the map or the whole map?

For the High Alert state, everything is kept local to the zone where the escalation is triggered. Portcullises gates within that area are closed and reinforcements are sent to the zone where felony was triggered. High Alert ends when guards are no longer alerted to the player’s presence. Once this happens the zone goes back to its neutral state.

The Lockdown state affects the whole map. Portcullises gates across the map are closed (blocking main paths between objectives) and reinforcements called to locations around the map, becoming roadblocks. Lockdown also has two additional rules that increase its penalty compare to High Alert.

  • When Lockdown is triggered the Sheriff will make his way towards the treasure chests location. Once he is there, he will guard the treasure chest making it difficult for players to move or extract it.
  • Once Lockdown has been triggered the felony system will never de-escalate to its neutral state.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

We did a good job of keeping the rules consistent between each felony state whilst also dialling up Lockdown to feel more oppressive and impactful. However, we found this introduced a few new challenges:

  • Triggering the felony system penalizes the team, not the individual.
  • If Lockdown has been triggered there is no additional way to penalize the team (or player).
  • Once High Alert or Lockdown has been triggered there was no longer any point in playing in stealth.

With these issue in mind let us look at the mechanics we introduced to help resolve these issues…

All for One and One for All

We added two penalties for individuals who alert the guards. These are:

  • AI Tagging: The player who alerted a guard this is tagged with a red outline. The red tag highlights them in the world and on the map for every player to see. This provides the opposing team with additional information as to where that player is, and potentially what they are doing.
  • Ability lockout: The player who alerted the guard has their ability gauge temporarily blocked. It cannot be used, and its progress is frozen until they return to stealth.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

Both these penalties end when the guard(s) are no longer alerted to the player, encouraging a return to stealth.

By linking these two mechanics to the guard’s individual alert state (rather than the felony state) it allows us to resolve the missing penalties issue during Lockdown and High Alert. These penalties remain effective even when the map is in a full Lockdown. There is still a consequence and stealth still has value.

Sneaky Sneak

It not all about penalties though, we also wanted to incentivize a stealthily approach. To empower players so they feel this is most advantageous way to play the game, especially against the guards.

We achieved this by allowing the following actions to be performed if the player is in the stealth stance.

  • Assassinations: Gruesome execution moves that kill the target instantly.
  • Pickpocketing: Stealing the vault key from the sheriff.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

Assassinations are better than standard attacks which take multiple hits to kill guards and can alert other guards within the area. Certain guards being immune to different attacks while only the sheriff is immune to an assassination.

Players are rewarded for assassinations as they provide a cool cinematic moment of a gruesome kill; reward an amount of gold; reward with XP; fuel the player’s ability gauge; chance to collect a trinket (adds to the lore of the world in the collectibles menu)

Each of these rewards incentivizes the player on multiple levels. There is the immediate reward of getting a cool kill animation that instantly kills the target. There is the mid-term reward of filling the character’s ability gauge so they can use it sooner. There is also the long-term reward of using the XP and gold earned to unlock character progression and in-game shop items.

Lastly, stealth also modifies the mechanics of the game in the player’s favor: The player does not make any sound while in stealth (giving away position to guards, or enemy players); stealth movement speed is fast; guards take longer to detect players in stealth.

These modifiers make stealth the best way to get around the map. Players can move quickly and quietly in stealth. Which makes it less likely that a guard will be alerted to the player providing them with more options. Which in turn makes it easier to assassinate the guards.

Take him away!

It has been a fun and interesting challenge to create felony and stealth systems that react to several players and multiple teams, and to decide when and how to penalise and incentivise certain behaviours.

I hope you find these systems as enjoyable to play as we did to create them. We are now looking forward to getting the game into your hands.

Pre-order now to play ahead of the official release on May 10, and follow the livestream with the Xbox team on May 7 from 11am PT to 12.30pm PT on the Xbox Twitch channel.

Xbox Live

Hood: Outlaws & Legends (Pre-order)

Focus Home Interactive

Pre-order Hood: Outlaws & Legends to receive: • 3 days Early Access – start playing on May 7th • The Forest Lords Pack with exclusive skins! Strike down your enemies with 4 outfits and 4 weapon skins to ensure your place among legends. We are all Outlaws… but some of us will become Legends. Faced with a merciless, unchecked state, rebels and rogues battle to claim their place among legends. To win influence with an oppressed people, rival gangs compete in daring heists to hit the wealthy where it hurts. Folk hero or gold-hungry outlaw, only the best will escape with hard-earned riches. Two teams of 4 players compete to execute the perfect heist, in medieval environments patrolled by deadly AI guards. With the unique skills and mystical abilities of each character, moving in stealth to steal treasures unseen or dominating through loud and brutal combat. Blood will be spilled. Riches will be stolen. Legends will be reborn. • Outplay opponents in intense PvPvE multiplayer heists • Experience a violent medieval world where mysticism competes with man-made power and corruption • Claim your loot and invest in perks, weapons and bold new looks • Post-launch support with new maps, characters, game modes and events
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Hood: Outlaws & Legends – Year 1 Edition (Pre-order)

Focus Home Interactive

Pre-order Hood: Outlaws & Legends – Year 1 Edition to receive: • 3 days Early Access – start playing on May 7th • The Forest Lords pack with exclusive skins! Strike down your enemies with 4 outfits and 4 weapon skins to ensure your place among legends. Year 1 Edition includes the full Hood: Outlaws & Legends game + Year 1 Battle Pass Pack Year 1 Battle Pass Pack includes 3 Battle Passes to unlock during Year 1*, covering 3 Seasons**: • Season 1 Battle Pass • Season 2 Battle Pass • Season 3 Battle Pass Each Battle Pass contains exclusive unlockable items, including outfits, weapon skins, banners and titles. *Season 0 won’t have a BattlePass, but will be filled with free content, community events and game-changing content. **Battle Passes will be unlocked for a limited time – be sure to play when each Battle Pass opens to earn your rewards. Battle Pass 1, 2 and 3, as well as their exclusive content, will be available for time-limited periods during the first year following the game’s launch. We are all Outlaws… but some of us will become Legends.

Author: Erich Cooper, Game Designer, Hood: Outlaws & Legends
This post originally appeared on Xbox Wire