April 12 2024 - 2:30 pm

PAYDAY 3: Blog Update #8 – Designing the Techie

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Hello Heisters,

In this week’s blog post, we’ve flipped the format a bit and will interview our Game Director Miodrag “Mio” Kovačević. We asked Mio several questions regarding the Techie, its design, and implementation. He was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to provide us with answers.

Thus far, we’ve put all blog posts under the Operation Medic Bag umbrella. We have seen some feedback from the community regarding this and how it doesn’t seem fitting. We think it’s important to speak about the game overall, to let you know our thinking on these topics so you don’t only see changes, but understand how we hope those changes will impact the game as a whole. To that end, we’ve done a very minor rebranding of the blogs so it’s easier to see which are directly related to OMB, and which are meant to give a deeper insight into PAYDAY 3 or its development.

So let’s take a closer look at the Techie and the design philosophy behind her! First introduced in Syntax Error, this high-tech menace is the first of its kind in the PAYDAY universe. She employs powerful drones to harass heisters from unexpected angles, all while hiding away in a nearby corner covered by a Refraction Shield, rendering her nigh-invisible until the players draw near or seek her out using the telltale visual and audio distortion.

Techie Concepts

Was there anything that inspired you when creating the Techie?

  • Mio: One of the themes we wanted to focus on was a more “modern” enemy that shows the technical advancements made in society since PAYDAY 2. Drones have become a pretty noticeable presence and even used in some capacity by real life law enforcement, so it felt like a good fit for PAYDAY 3.

With unused enemy types from PAYDAY 2, why did you think it was important to create something new for the first new enemy in PAYDAY 3?

  • Mio: Special enemies are there to counter specific strategies, and one design space we felt was lacking was encouraging players to spread out more and look above or below the “headshot horizon” (this is the eye-level area where you usually aim to headshot enemies). The Nader already does the former on a smaller scale with his area denial, but we also wanted something that makes you want to leave your fortification to deal with it. We didn’t find a good fit for that in PAYDAY 2’s rogue gallery, so we decided to introduce a new enemy that’s also a bit different compared to what you’re used to in previous games.

How did the Techie change during development?

  • Mio: Design-wise, we didn’t make too many changes. All the components we wanted initially are there. The biggest changes during development were the numbers when balancing (health and damage on the drones) and the Techie’s visual look. Our initial concepts were quite different and didn’t look quite as high-tech as what you see in the game now. The shield she uses was also initially deployed from her wrist, but due to technical issues, we agreed it was easier if it was a separate object.

What made you think of the invisible shield? Actually, what is that called officially?

  • Mio: We call it the Refraction Shield internally. One of the premises for the enemy type was “we want a hide-and-seek enemy,” but depending on the heist, it’s difficult to have an enemy design that blends in with every environment. This is why we decided also to have the shield, to obscure the Techie enough that you might gloss over her if you’re moving fast, but if you’re going out of your way to find her, you can still spot her.
    We’ve also toyed around with the idea of giving the Cloaker access to the Refraction Shield tech for his suit, but we’re holding off on that for now.

Is the Techie going to develop new drones in the future?

  • Mio: Right now, we don’t have plans for more drone types. The techie already puts a lot of load on the player with two drone types (the gun drone, and the tactical drone that’s coming in a future update) as well as her own abilities (hiding, scrambling your UI, using the shield, overheating your sentry turrets, etc). While we might do more drone types in the future, we’re confident she has a lot going on already. If we think we need a new drone to address a design space, we’d rather make a new enemy instead.

Will players ever get drones to use themselves?

  • Mio: This is something we’d want to do, but I don’t have a timeline for it yet. I can tell you it’s not coming for our first year of updates, but let us know if this is something you’d like for your arsenal.

Any teaser on what the next enemy might be?

  • Mio: This depends greatly on what we announce as our next major systems. For example, if we were to do melee combat (and this is not something we have planned at the moment), then it would make sense to have a melee-focused enemy that leverages that new system. What’s more likely to happen in the interim is that we explore some enemy variants, like the popular request we get for more Dozer types.

Any chance we’ll see medics or marshal units again?

  • Mio: We have some internal designs for medics that we’re holding off on until we think the time is right. We don’t know if we’ll re-introduce medics, but if we do, they’ll probably work significantly differently from how they did in PD2, as we don’t think a direct 1:1 design would fit into PD3 as well.
    There are no plans to bring marshals back specifically, but you’ll probably recognize their bright personality in one of the upcoming loud modifiers.

Is there any enemy-type unit you don’t want back into PD3? Why?

  • Mio: I’ve been asked many times never to bring back the SWAT van turrets, so that’s currently the most likely enemy type to stay confined to PAYDAY 2.
    But to give a more serious answer, even something like a SWAT van turret might come back if we see a strong enough reason for it. We don’t think it has a space right now, but maybe in a future heist or after some more updates, we’d want to re-evaluate that. 

Anything you want to do with enemies that you can’t right now due to limitations of time or tech?

  • Mio: One recurring question we get internally and externally is about adding boss fights. While many players consider the Dozer to be our “boss” enemy, we consider him to be just a very dangerous Special.
    The big challenge with a good boss is finding something that can be used on all heists, that feels rewarding and emphasizes game mastery. Getting it right would require a lot of time and resources, which we don’t have room for in Year 1, so that’s something I wish we could do.

What’s your favorite aspect of the Techie?

  • Mio: I like it when enemies are worthy of a player’s anger, it makes them so much more satisfying when defeated.
    I think it’s also why people love to hate the Cloaker, for example. I don’t think the Techie is as bad as the Cloaker, but she forces you to look up with her drones, and gamers really struggle with that, so it’s still easy to hate her.

How do you imagine the personality of the Techie?

  • Mio: We actually used personality archetypes when (re-)designing all the Specials for PAYDAY 3 to inform their visual look, voice lines, and even some gameplay elements. For example, the Cloaker was the “high school bully” and the Zapper was “the Weird Kid that licks batteries.”
    For the Techie, the archetype was “online gamer.” She trash-talks you when she’s hiding, but she can’t back it up when you actually fight her face-to-face. If you’ve ever played online PvP games with voice chat enabled, that’s the Techie on the other end, calling you a scrub.

What’s the next step for the techie?

  • Mio: Our current plan is to finish the tactical drone, which will debuff you by removing your stacks of EDGE/GRIT/RUSH if you let them blind you. After this feature is done and we’ve made sure the Techie works reliably on old heists, we’ll roll her out in the entire game and have her become a mainstay of the PAYDAY 3 enemy roster.

That’s it for this blog! Let us know what you think of the techie, how it evolved over time, and how you would like it to change in the future. Join us again next week where we’ll give an overview of what you can expect from the first iteration of Quickplay, discuss the game’s difficulty and go into a bit of detail on the upcoming Loud Modifiers.

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