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TazmanianDevil

Lock Picking

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Unless I missed it, I don't see any discussions around here on lock picking. I was wondering what thought you guys have to put into how lock picking should be handled. Is it going to be one of those things customizable by FM authors or are you going to pick a technique and build that into your toolset?

 

I enjoyed the lock picking of TDS, especially after I turned off the lock picking HUD. That made it kind of challenging and made it feel a little more like really picking a lock. Are you planning on something similar?

 

And what do you guys think about keys? Are players going to be able to cycle through their keys to find the right one, or is it going to be like TDS where the door unlocks automatically if you have the key (I didn't like that)? Perhaps the player can choose which method they want. Can you relock doors? I hope that all the locks won't appear in the middle of the doors a la TDS, but that's probably something that can be up to the FM author.

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Why use a key when you can attach a bomb?

 

The lockpicking is done through placing a small stick of C4 into the lock and then blowing it to smithereens :lol: :lol: :lol: .

 

Just kidding. I'm not actually sure - just a mapper :P

Hopefully someone else may give you some idea.

 

--Dram

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We've discussed so many issues over the last 6 months, it's hard to be sure with out a search (and I can't be bothered) but I don't thionk we have decided yet.

My personal opinion is that lockpicking is the most tedious of procedures in a game, and cannot be made interesting no matter what.

It's only exciting to pick a door when there is a chance a guard is going to patrol past you at any second, so it creates a sense of urgency and tension. Having to pick a lock under any other circumstances by any means is utterly pointless and irritating, and the skill required to do it cannot be transfered to a game, wiht out making it a separate mini puzzle game (which everyione would despise even more)

I think we should keep locked doors to a minimum (who locks internal doors anyway?) and only to areas with AI patrols.

THe problems with having the hamds coming out, holding lockpicks like in T3, is that you have to have a 'suck in' animation to hold the player in the right position so the animaton lines up with the lock. No one here is a fan of sucking in.

I always prefered to have to find keys to open important doors. Picling them always seemed too boring and easy asnd definite.

I prefer the automatic door opening if you have the right key. Either that or you have to try every key you have, not having any idea which one it could be.

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Actually we've come up with an interesting system we're going to playtest. It will look pretty much like T2, and if you set it on auto, you won't notice much difference. However, if you have auto off, then you actually have to listen to the clicks the lock tumblers make to open it. But that's not for the first milestone.

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Actually we've come up with an interesting system we're going to playtest. It will look pretty much like T2, and if you set it on auto, you won't notice much difference. However, if you have auto off, then you actually have to listen to the clicks the lock tumblers make to open it. But that's not for the first milestone.

Don't forget there is also a visual clue as well. ;) No lock hud though.

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Phew!

 

I read oDDity's reply and I was thinking "WTF, this will be rubbish. Key hunting?".

 

Lock picking in TDS was great. If you turn of the lockpicking HUD it is even better. One area where the gameplay mechanics beat T1 and 2 hands down.

 

Glad to hear you have a system in the works. Especially an audio AND visually guided one.

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Guest tommo

actually there was one major weakness to the T: DS way of doing it over T1 and T2 - there were no "unpickable" doors..

 

sure you might say a master thief like garret could lockpick anything, but then again in the first mission of T2 he is not portrayed as such, and has to rely on basso to open the door holding Jenivere.

 

This is just my opinion, but in T1 and T2 unlockable doors greatly enhanced the gameplay. it meant that there wasnt one surefire way to get in anywhere, and required actual hunting for keys and clues to complete a mission. The whole concept of unlockable doors melded into the game remarkably well too.

 

The importance of this shouldnt be underestimate - while a lot of freedom was given to the player, thief missions did not reflect real robberies - they presented the player with lots of unrealistic albeit fun stumbling blocks that required a change of appraoch. This diversified the gameplay somewhat, and unpassable doors were one very popular way of stopping the players advance. They also gave mission designers far more freedom to make interesting missions which people didnt fly right through.

 

The darkmod doesnt have to emulate the Thief 3 way of lockpicking. Im sure there could easily be a way to make unpickable doors, but it would be more challenging to meld this concept into the actual game without creating disbelief - after all, once the player has to exercise skill to pass an obstacle, they expect that skill to be able to pass another obstacle of the same type.

 

A detached approach as in thief 1 and 2 ensures that the player never percieves the bypassing of the lock as being in their full control, and so isnt as frustrated when it is not possible. In Thief 3 doors would become a testing ground for how fast you could get through them, and not being able to pick them at all would have proven very frustrating.

 

 

I think each approach needs to be looked at in quite a lot of detail, as it does make a large difference in the game.

 

A detached system such as in t1 and t2 can be made to be very simple yet just complicated enough to give the player the sense that they can speed the process up in some way. In thievery players would only use one set of picks and frob a door for the required time. This proved infinitely more boring than the pretty simple system of having 2 sets of picks that require switching.

 

The advantage of a system like this is that the player never feels that they ought to be able to get through any door and therefore isnt frustrated when they cannot, the system is simple and melds easily into the game, is relatively easy to do yet satisfying while avoiding the random frustration of a more involved system. This is because a more involved system involves chance as you scout for pins, and missing the mark repeatedly can be very frustrating - the player is relying on their skill, and having youre picking time slowed down due to mistakes is not going to go down well.

 

In essence the T1/T2 system is a very DEFINITE system - you can switch picks quicker, but other than that theres nothing you can do to speed the process up - it doesnt require much concentration, yet is still quite entertaining. It melds in easily enough, and seems very similar to using a key - this is important as similarities between picks and keys should be emphasised to create credibility. Finally the player isnt frustrated when their options are limited by unpickable doors, as they never had all that many options for unlocking doors in the first place. The player also never gets the feeling that they entered a minigame.

 

 

An involved system such as in Thief 3 invariable requires a lot of concentration and ends up quite complicated. Compared to T1/T2 system, it is far more prone to chance, and at the end of the day never really stops the player getting through the door. All that such a system does is provide an interesting minigame and a chance to influence picking times with the players skill and a little luck. This is gonna create large disreptencies in the picking times between players.

 

This type of system has almost exactly the same result as the more simple model - that is to open a door - as it is unlikely to involve so much skill as to make some doors impossible to pick. However, it does so in a more interesting, rewarding and deep, albeit more complicated and frustrating way.

 

In the end the important thing is that player's experiences on this subject in thief 3 differed, so players should be given an option as per springheel's post. However, even in such a case it may be more difficult to include doors that cannot be bypassed by lockpicking without creating disbelief and/or frustration. This is a stiff negative. Another negative is the inherent difference in operation this will likely create between using a key and lockpicking, again taking away from credibility and detracting from the feeling of a common, universal and intuitive way of doing things.

 

The third option is to create a system that is so scalable and yet so difficult at the high end that only highly skilled players will be able to pick the best locks, and yet even the lowest skilled able to pick simple locks. This would most reflect the real process of lockpicking, where an unskilled user will take a half hour, if at all, to pick their front door lock, while a highly skilled pro will pick almost any lock in under 30 seconds (personal experience!).

 

However, it is a bit much to expect that such a system could indeed be made in a game without extra sensory inputs. I agree with Oddity that it is mostly improbable that the skill associated with lockpicking in real life can be even partially translated to a game. This system would also prove very complicated, frustrating and difficult to meld into the game, but would be very rewarding.

 

Nevertheless, ruling the last system out, it comes down to which abstraction would prove most fun and flexible for both players and map designers. Both will serve no other purpose than to abstractly make the player feel that opening a locked door takes time and is difficult, creating tension and atmosphere. This is their primary role.

 

Giving the player a choice as to which system to employ is probably the safest bet, but when you look at the purpose of lockpicking in the game in this way, it seems illogical to make an involved system so easy as to involve almost no delay in breaking in at all, and likewise illogical to prove slower than doing it the good old fashioned click and wait way.

 

This combined with the difficulty of making an involved system convincing and not seem like a minigame means that even a system giving the player a choice is not going to be easy to implement.

 

This is a very long post and probably excessively long, so i apologise to those who have managed to make it even half this way. I hope some of this helped!

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Nonsense.

 

1. Unpickable doors and picking mechanics are 2 entirely separate issues which have no bearing on each other at all as far as mechanics are concerned.

 

2. Saying that mini-games cause time discreptencies between players is a non-issue. That's like saying aiming without auto lock on a la Metroid Prime causes a skill gap. And? Learn then.

 

3. And the 1 pick system in Thievery is fine as there is enough tension with all the human guards who are far superior to AI guards.

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JFC, keep the size down Tom (this is my older bro pplz),

 

I still like my gui lockpicking in the mod i made for Thievery (good when only against one guard)

 

And GODDAMMIT!!!! Register!!!

 

--Dram

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Guest tommo

well you obviously miss the point then. This is like saying that theres no problem with having a game based on hiding in the dark and having enemies that can see you in the dark as well. Obviously how you rationalise this will make a HUGE difference.. otherwise people are going to be frustrated.

 

You should also check out some of the complaints people had against the Thief 3 lockpicking - it took them a long time to figure out that they could tilt it. They certainly didnt enjoy it as much as you did. And they have as much a right to play the game as you do, without being patronised. Simply, if its too complicated and counter intuitive, whats it doing there?

 

Oh and thievery? The system fits in with the rest of the atmosphere of the game - but obviously such a system is NOT FINE for a single player experience such as the dark mod - so dont twist the comparison

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Guest tommo

oh and a little foresight would tell you that if you have large discreptencies between the time it takes a good and a poor player to lockpick would make a mission much easier for some than for others and generally give mappers huge headaches

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You may have noticed that I said there will be an auto-lockpick setting for those who don't want to bother with the 'minigame' version. We are striving to accomodate lots of different styles.

 

Believe me, just about any issue raised in the public forums here has been discussed ad naseum in the dev forums. :)

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I did actually mention your suggestion in my post springheel - its too long to read, true.

 

Anyways the problem with that is still that youve got to integrate the two around the same situations, without giving one or the other too large an advantage. It will be interesting to see what approach is taken, but nevertheless iits not easy to make a skill based system fluent and meaningful.

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Lockpicking doesn't always have to be a gameplay element. It can be atmospheric. A secret loot stash is likely to be locked, right? If that area happens to have no guards, and the door to the stash is made unlocked as a result, its not going to feel quite right "breaking in" to said loot stash without the breaking in part. If/when i make levels for this mod, I wouldn't want to place guards at every door just because I want it to be picked with a sense of tension. Again, atmosphere. Something T1 had lots of; T3 had lots too, I just didn't like T3's atmosphere as much as T1's.

 

As for key cycling, I like that. 'Main character thief' is not going to just grab his key ring and by chance select the right key every time. If someone is in a panic, they are likely to fumble around the ring and have trouble finding the correct key - as the feature of inventory cycling allows. (I've gotten into trouble a few times because I got the wrong key.) Its an element of gameplay no one wants to think they have - player stupidity. If you eliminate all the chances of being stupid, its not much of a game, is it...

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It's only exciting to pick a door when there is a chance a guard is going to patrol past you at any second, so it creates a sense of urgency and tension.

This was exactly why I liked the lock picking in TDS. I found that the combination of fear of getting caught and the manual dexterity and skill required to open the lock was very exhilerating. I often found that when I was in a hurry, it would take me longer to pick the lock because I would start fumbling around and that would just increase the tension.

 

Having to pick a lock under any other circumstances by any means is utterly pointless and irritating

In my opinion, I disagree. I would find it less satisfying if I could extract the contents of a safe or break into a security office without having to pick some sort of lock, even if I'd already dispatched all of the guards.

 

who locks internal doors anyway

Perhaps you don't lock the internal doors in your house, but thief isn't about typical houses. We are creeping through mansions and museums and polic stations and places like that were I would expect a lot of things to be locked. I would expect rooms and offices to be locked in a large building.

 

THe problems with having the hamds coming out, holding lockpicks like in T3, is that you have to have a 'suck in' animation to hold the player in the right position so the animaton lines up with the lock.

I don't think I quite understand your point.

 

I always prefered to have to find keys to open important doors.

I whole heartedly agree. I thought it sucked in TDS that very few of the doors required keys. I guess I understand that lock picking lots of doors is boring because what's the point in having them locked if they don't really prevent unauthorized thieves from getting through.

 

I prefer the automatic door opening if you have the right key. Either that or you have to try every key you have, not having any idea which one it could be.

I prefer having to cycle through keys, but I wouldn't say that you don't have any idea which is which. If you pick pocket a key off the guards watching the front door, then that key will probably open the front door. If you find a key in a desk in an office, then it's likely to unlock something in that office. So, I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't want ever key to look exactly the same. I liked in T2 (and was it in T1 too) where you had keys with different colors and identical keys were groups together in a pile. You could sort of tell the difference between the keys although you really didn't know what they did until you tried them.

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Oh dear. . .

This is like saying that theres no problem with having a game based on hiding in the dark and having enemies that can see you in the dark as well.

No it's not. Those two elements are extrinsicallly linked. There is no reason why the nubmer of pickable doors would be in any way linked to lockpicking mechanics. UNLESS they are ALL pickable and ALL need too be picked, ie there are no keys at all.

And they have as much a right to play the game as you do, without being patronised

You know what? This makes no sense. Right? What do you mean "right"? This is ridiculous. That is like saying I HAVE to make my FM easy because everyone has the right to finish it. Do I HAVE to slow everything down in UT2004 because people have some right to not get owned because they are too slow, crap and poor shots?

 

And "patronise"? I think you need to go back tot the dictionary.

but obviously such a system is NOT FINE for a single player experience such as the dark mod - so dont twist the comparison

If bothered to read what I said I think you'll find that I said just that. No twisting.

if you have large discreptencies

If there is really THAT much of a difference then you just plain suck and should go and play another game. There is no way that lockpicking times will alter the design of a map form a mappers point of view. Unless it takes 10 minutes per lock. But that's not going to happen.

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In my opinion, I disagree.  I would find it less satisfying if I could extract the contents of a safe or break into a security office without having to pick some sort of lock, even if I'd already dispatched all of the guards.

So, getting the lockpicks from your inventory and pressing the left and right mouse buttons for 20 seconds makes it 'more satisfying' that you got into an important room?

Well fuck me, but you're easily pleased, aren't you?

It's much more satisfying for me if the door was unpickable and I had to do some difficult task to get the key.

Lockpicking a door in any of the Thief's is the most unsatisfying sense of underachievment and tedious timewasting nonsense that's ever been concieved in any form of entertainment. Real lockpicking cannot be transcribed to a game.

 

 

Perhaps you don't lock the internal doors in your house, but thief isn't about typical houses.  We are creeping through mansions and museums and polic stations and places like that were I would expect a lot of things to be locked.  I would expect rooms and offices to be locked in a large building.

Not really, not when they have a dozen guards patroling around already. I don't mind important doors being locked, but only if you have to find a key for them OR they are so heavily patroled by guards and in full light that it makes them very hard to pick.

 

 

I don't think I quite understand your point.

IN TDS when you got near a door and used lockpicks you lost control of your player and were automatically sucked into position in fronmt of the door, so the lockpick animations would look correct.

 

 

I prefer having to cycle through keys, but I wouldn't say that you don't have any idea which is which.  If you pick pocket a key off the guards watching the front door, then that key will probably open the front door.  If you find a key in a desk in an office, then it's likely to unlock something in that office.  So, I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't want ever key to look exactly the same.  I liked in T2 (and was it in T1 too) where you had keys with different colors and identical keys were groups together in a pile.  You could sort of tell the difference between the keys although you really didn't know what they did until you tried them.

 

Well I prefer to get on with the game to key juggling. It really doesn't add anything to the gameplay at all in my view, but it's always amazing how different people's tastes can be ;)

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Oddity its true that lockpicking in thief is essentially pointless, but nevertheless i would have to concur with Taz that it adds that much more feel to the game - after all what we enjoy is not entirely rational.

 

Also, just to add to the issue of locked internal doors, these places might have to lock some doors just to protect from the guards themselves.

 

I, also, do like cycling through my keys.

 

Im not sure about which lockpicking method id prefer - some doors should definitely be impassable though.

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Don't worry. Oddity is not the speaker for the darkmod. As such it is only his opinion which he expresses and not the decision that will be implemented.

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There will be some doors that cannot be picked, as that's an important feature in map-building, giving the FM author ways to ensure a player doesn't get to a particular area until he's been somewhere else first. As for cycling through keys, we haven't really decided yet. That's a small issue that can be decided later.

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Most of the locks in Thief were simply immersion. As a comparison, spiffy graphics are useless in the gameplay, but I imagine theres a reason we don't use ugly for our games. Same with sounds. We could have a robotic voice that tells us whats going on, where the footsteps are coming from, etc. It would even be more challenging. But it would suck.

 

Blah blah blah. So on, et cetera.

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Oh crap, forgot my main reason for posting:)

That is:

So long as the map makers have a choice in their lockpicking/keys/etc.

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