It is exciting to finally be able to talk about the wonderful work we are doing to breathe new life into the beloved 2013 title Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Ever since we had the idea to do this we’ve had big plans – plans involving patches, multiple releases, and multiple platforms.
We have paid great attention to the community throughout the years and are drawing inspiration for our development from comments. It’s important that we address the largest real issues and nobody knows that better than the regular players of Sir.
To be as transparent as possible, we’d like to use this blog post to outline what we have been working on, what we are releasing, what the customer can enjoy now and what will come later.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Classic Edition Patch 1.5
Up until September 1st 2021 the latest update of the game was patch 1.4 which was released all the way back May 2nd 2014. Afterwards, the game only saw occasional work on its multiplayer backend which eventually completely broke down with no official servers left and a completely dysfunctional server browser.
With patch 1.5 we are bringing a free update to all existing owners of Sir, You Are Being Hunted which addresses both singleplayer and multiplayer.
Patch 1.5 Singleplayer
For the SP experience, our key goal has been to bring the game to a “completed” state. Meaning that after this update, Sir should play exactly as Big Robot originally intended. This has meant not only numerous background system updates like better robot AI and faster loading, but also countless bugfixes, graphic and quality of life improvements.
However, the patch does not alter the gameplay in any meaningful manner. The idea is to finalize the game according to Big Robot’s vision. We have worked closely with the original developers and designer Jim Rossignol to ensure any alterations we make for this patch fit the spirit of the game and bring it to the intended final state which it deserves to be in.
In all honesty, we have seen many companies release full-price remasters for their games which include less improvements than we are shipping with this free patch.
For a full list of changes, please refer to the patch notes:
Windows: Upgraded Engine to Unity 2018.3.2f1 (was Unity 4.6.1f1).
Mac: Upgraded Engine to Unity 2021.1.18f1 (was Unity 4.6.1f1).
Linux: Upgraded Engine to Unity 2021.1.18f1 (was Unity 4.6.1f1).
The Mac version of “Sir, You’re Being Hunted” now has native 64-bit support for both Intel and Apple Silicon platforms. This should give a significant speedup on Apple machines with an M1 chip.
Terrains are now rendered using the new Terrain System. As a result, distant terrain should now look nicer.
Rendering has been changed so that the game now renders in the native sRGB color space. Contrast has been slightly increased as a result.
New graphics options have been added: an “Ultra” preset, MSAA Anti-Aliasing, an all-new “Ultra” setting for Water Effects and a toggle that enables SM 4.0 High-Quality Transparency have been added.
All Textures have been reimported at their maximum resolution. This results in a slight increase in texture resolution, notably on many buildings (churches and houses) in the game world.
The in-game HUD has been reworked to scale better on widescreen monitors (4:3, 16:9, 21:9 and tripple-wide 16:9 setups are supported). Texture resolution on UI elements has been increased and certain elements have been reworked.
The FPS cap has changed: when enabled, it will now lock to 120 fps by default (was 70). You can override this behaviour by launching the game with “fpslimit x” as a launch parameter (where ‘x’ is the desired framerate cap, such as 144 or 240 fps for high refresh rate monitors).
Many lighting issues have been fixed. As a result, lighting should look smoother.
Re-enabled some missing effects on the “Axe” weapon model.
Added new text/warning messages when a player attempts to insert an item other than a teleporter piece into the standing stones, or attempts to cook meat on an unlit fire, or attempts to put an item in their inventory that they do not have room for.
Upgraded the navigation backend to the newest version.
Fixed a bug where it was possible to open the menu while the screen is still fading in (pauzing the fade-in, resulting in a black screen).
Added a button on the class selection screen that allows players to return to the main menu.
Fixed a bug that caused docks to spawn on inland lakes instead of on the coast.
Fixed a bug that caused docks to spawn in the corner of the map, outside of the playable area.
Fixed a bug where teleporter pieces would spawn inside of other objects, partially obscuring it or making it inaccessible.
Fixed a bug that caused the “Dog” models on the main menu to not animate.
Fixed a bug where it was possible to be shot at, and killed during the ending cutscene.
Fixed a bug where dogs could perform their “bite” attack through walls.
Fixed a bug where weapon models would remain visible (and respond to mouse movement) after the player dies.
Fixed a bug where it was possible for toy trains to ride across the water (toy trains now explode when hitting water).
Fixed Z-Fighting issues on certain building models.
Fixed a bug where the Rider NPC, and certain objects in the “industrial” biome would render fog incorrectly.
Fixed an issue where Ambient Occlusion would render incorrectly during the ending cutscene, and on underwater objects.
Patch 1.5 Multiplayer
Originally, Sir, You Are Being Hunted shipped without a multiplayer mode. It was later in 2014 when this mode was added. The system it used was very adequate for its time but has since proven to be unreliable.
It is unclear if we could even get it back up and running with the original server communication code – something was fundamentally broken. Even if we did, it would just revert the clock to the time when there were regular outages and it would eventually die again.
We have completely rewritten the server browser and the whole system behind server discovery and communication. It is now an open protocol based on HTTP and JSON – the most ubiquitous and flexible tools for the job. If you are interested in an in-depth look of this system, I invite you to read our document about it: http://denofthieves.nl/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Server-Protocol-Rev-1.pdf. In a nutshell, this can not break. Even in the worst case scenario of our official servers going down, getting the server browser working again would involve somebody else hosting a server and adding its IP to a text file in the game’s folder. Trivial compared to what you had to do before to play with someone over the internet.
You will notice that many of the improvements in the singleplayer version did not find their way into the multiplayer. This is because the two are completely different codebases. As such, performing an engine upgrade on the multiplayer project would have completely broken the underlying Unity 4 networking system (not our new server communication protocol, that is universal). We decided it’s better to have a working multiplayer despite it still being in Unity 4 and a little buggy.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Reinvented Edition
On September 1st 2021 we also announced a new Sir game coming out in Q1 2022. This version has nothing to do with the free patch 1.5 that we showed during our announcement stream.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Reinvented Edition is a completely new game with vast technological, UX, graphical, audio, and gameplay changes from the original.
We can’t reveal too much yet but expect new textures, new models, new shaders, a new optimized save game loading system, better world generation, and most importantly – new gameplay options. This is still the Sir that we all love but it is undeniably a new game with new gameplay.
This new game will release for Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux in 2022. On Steam, existing owners of Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Classic Edition will be able to enjoy a discount on Reinvented Edition.
If you are into Sir, You Are Being Hunted, please visit the page for Reinvented Edition and wishlist it: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1743730/Sir_You_Are_Being_Hunted_Reinvented_Edition/. This will be extremely helpful for our launch and for the game’s success. And who knows, if this is successful maybe we will port it to more platforms in the future.