HIDDEN AND DANGEROUS
More clever examples of invisibility in games
Old school split-screen shooter in which everyone’s invisible—so you can only see where others are by looking at their screen.
A puzzle game where you move an invisible object around a grid map with movable blocks, then see if you can deduce and draw its shape.
Your nanosuit’s stealth mode turns you translucent, but watch out—your recharging power reserve is small.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Among the Predator’s least expected descendants is Maid Marian or rather, Marianne, one of the playable characters in Sumo Newcastle’s bloodthirsty medieval heist game Hood: Outlaws & Legends. A grisly retelling of English folklore, Hood is all about completing objectives undetected: Two teams of four must escape with a treasure chest while quietly murdering each other and fending off AI guards who double as a map-wide surveillance system, flagging anybody they spot on the enemy team’s HUD. Marianne is the team’s assassin (Robin Hood, of course, is the sniper), and while she doesn’t have infrared vision, she’s every bit as fearsome in the right hands as the interplanetary terror she’s inspired by.
Hood’s AI is slower to notice Marianne than other characters, and her passive Shadow ability lets her perform assassinations from the front. She can also toss smoke bombs to set up multiple targets for a takedown. But her most devastating trick is Shroud, which untags her and turns her character model semi-transparent. “We wanted it to almost feel like God mode,” says Andrew Willans, game director. “This ability that allows her to literally to walk in front of AI to assassinate them and chain those assassinations together using perks, so that hopefully when you get into the flow, it’s like shiv shiv shiv, one after another, and the AI just has this delayed response, ‘Ooh, Steve’s just been killed, but they can never quite pinpoint you.”
Designing Shroud to work against AI was straightforward enough, Willans says. Designing it to feel fair in PvP was a different story. “I think that was probably one of the hardest things throughout development to get right.” Sumo experimented with total invisibility, but this proved “impossible” for opponents, “so it was kind of working back from there.” Some early prototypes for Shroud were downright horrifying. “We had a bug for about three months where her eyes stayed visible while cloaked. It looked so sinister—now that was truly the Predator.”
Feats of illusion, shared by Mariano Tomatis
PHANTASMAGORIA ETIENNE-GASPARD ROBERTSON
One of Robertson’s tricks used a black shutter that could be rotated to view a space with a black backdrop. By rotating the shutter, people behind it appeared to disappear.
PEPPER’S TRICK JOHN HENRY PEPPER
Working with the engineer Henry Dircks, Pepper used a glass sheet to conjure ghosts. Reflections of actors in a hidden room would appear on-stage when
THE VANISHING LADY GEORGES MÉLIÈS
One of the earliest demonstrations of the magic of film editing, based on a famous stage trick involving a hidden trapdoor. Here, no trapdoor is needed.
VIEW TO A KILL
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