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Gas mines and mines in general

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So I played today some missions after a long time. Especially grayman's Home Again was nice, especially because of the generous amount of tools given. Still, every once in a while I miss gas mines. Laying mines is fun and I like the indirect aspect of it. You get to plot how to eliminate AI.

 

Because there are no gas mines, mine-laying-plotter types like me are always missing some fun: explosive mines cannot often be used because of voluntary or obligatory no-kill objectives.

 

Could someone remind me why we don't have gasmines in the core mod?

 

Last summer I made an entitydef for a fully working gasmine, but nobody has really put them into their missions, probably because the topic was forgotten.

 

Today I noticed that there is an own model for gas mine in TDM assets! Is it now coming to the core mod?

 

Anyways, I updated my old entitydef and added the new model to it and modified the standard gas particle so that it looks better for gas mines (gas originates from the ground). Here is how it looks:

http://youtu.be/gerbbrBmHWc

 

Then there is the equipment price issue:

Flashbomb: 25gp

Flashmine: 40gp

 

Gas arrow: 75gp

Gas mine: not available in shop.

 

Fire arrow: 40gp

Explosive mine: 60gp

 

Flashbomb: you just drop it when you need it and it works. No planning needed. Flashmine cannot be used reflexively. It is also more expensive. It is inferior and more expensive. Why?

 

Same thing for fire arrow and explosive mine: fire arrow is just point&shoot (minus LG penalty, so you just shoot into the back or drop a rushing alert AI). No planning needed. Explosive mine is outpriced. Fire arrow is easier to use, less costly and more reliable. Why?

 

My point here is, shouldn't TDM be about thiefy, indirect stealth? Shouldn't the use of mines be sort of promoted because of their thiefy character? Why are mines neglected in TDM in general?

 

Let's discuss. Are there other people here craving for mines? I would certainly prefer buying gas mines rather than gas arrows, if the prices were reasonable. The higher skill needed for mine usage should warrant cheaper prices for mines than arrows, right?

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Yes, I would like to see gas mines. Apart from the model, I don't know if the supporting shop material exists (description, on list of things that can be in the shop, shop image, etc.) or if the inventory icon exists.

 

I notice in the vid that the guy falls over when he steps on the mine, and the girl goes down when the gas cloud reaches her head. The guy's reaction is wrong, and the girl's reaction is right.

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Was thinking about this just the other day, when I ran out of other equipment to use.

I hardly ever use mines. But that's mainly due to the two types the dark mod has right now. Flashmines and especially explosive mines are just now very stealthy ;)

But planning a KO carefully with a well-placed gasmine would be something I'd really look forward to!

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Mines only make sense if there is a good usage for them. Just having played Springheels new mission it seemed that normal mines only explodes if the ai walks directly upon them, which makes it very uncertain that they will serve their purpose. If this would be the case for gas mines, too, there may be no need for them.

 

However, beneath gas mines other tools available are also not used very often. Perxonally I only use my lockpicks most of the time and a water arrow here and there.

 

Regarding the prices: They can be changed by mission authors and I would highly recommend that they adjust it depending of the usability in their missions. So I wouldn't think about that topic too much. (If I may make a mission with a pre-game shop I would change the prices anyway, like I do with the values many loot objects, too ;) )


FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

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I notice in the vid that the guy falls over when he steps on the mine, and the girl goes down when the gas cloud reaches her head. The guy's reaction is wrong, and the girl's reaction is right.

 

I guess that would depend if the initial mine activation causes a rapid upward release of pressure, carrying with it some of the ko fumes, which then hang in the air as the less pressurised contents of the mine fill the air underneath it. That doesn't work too well in the example video shown, but for a couple of AI walking in formation, or one following another (think Rep to Uphold), it would make sense. The rapid initial release could even explain why there isn't any green fog in the guy's face at the start, there isn't a high enough concentration in the air to be visible, but he got a blast in the face/up the nose which took him down.


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I think it's the way S&R work. The gas stim counts just when it touches his foot maybe, when it should only count when it touches his face.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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There are two issues, as I see it.

 

1. Plausibility. Not the most important thing in the world, but gas and flash mines never made much sense to me. Gas has to be inhaled, a flash has to be seen, so what is the point in discharging them on the furthest place possible from the mouth and eyes? Gas wouldn't reach the AI's mouth fast enough for a gas mine to be plausible, and there's no reason why a flash going off on the ground would blind the AI who is standing on it.

 

2. Effectiveness. Mines are never going to be able to compete with arrows for effectiveness. They are difficult to place where you want them, and if you're not careful you can hit yourself with them. AI have to hit them exactly in order to set them off (Mines used to go off when doors hit them, which was a good way of setting them, but they don't appear to anymore) You can shoot them with an arrow, but that defeats the point. Given that, it's pretty unlikely anyone would choose a mine over another tool that does the same thing. I know Ishtvan was working on some kind of trip-wire system that had some promise, but I don't know how far he got with it.

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I only ever used a mine once, when there was a very repetitive AI with a short lap, so I as able to see the exact spot it would return to. Unless mines are changed to not be useless, they are essentially useless in my opinion. That being said, gas mines make far more sense than flash mines, the former presumably would be pressurized (just to fit a quantity of gas within) and jet out/up, the latter are obviously obscured by whomever is stepping on it, such that there's be no flash but shadow.

 

If they can be activated via S&R (triggered?), then a mapper could readily set up a tripwire, which would be far more useful.


"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out."

- Baron Thomas Babington Macauley

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Gas clouds check the position of the mouth, not the feet.

 

So I don't know what's going on with the guy in the video.

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Thr gas arrow has a smallish radius, so it must hit the chest or face to have an immediate effect.

 

For the mine to work, I increased the gas stim radius so that it immediately KOs the AI on it. It is intentional to take out the AI immediately when he steps on the mine to prevent him escaping the gas effect.

 

The gas stim radius increases a bit towards the end, which drops the girl.

 

I tried to make the particle to look like a jet of gas sprouts upward at the AIs head/mouth. That should remove the gas/mouth plausibilty issue.

 

Tripwires would be nice, of course, but mines are perfectly usable in narrow corridors and paying attention where and how the AI walks. Nobody use them because of the price and lack of non-lethal options.

 

@Obst,

Most authors do not fine tune prices or add custom items into their missions. The player has no feasible control on the contents of the map he plays.

 

That means that a player who prefers mines will never be able to enjoy them in gameplay because a usable mine does not exist, or the mine is priced so that an arrow wins it in usability. And mappers usually don't probably play missions only for themselves.

 

To really give the player the ability to choose use mines, the mines must be available in the core mod.


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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More gas mine gameplay: alarm switch / flee_point denial.

 

The gas particle was tuned just more upward, hitting the AI in the face:

 

http://youtu.be/NRo-89u4nuQ

 

EDIT: Ouchie. I cringe every time I see the lady hitting her head when she falls. Gotta hurt, that one.


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Looks great. Reminds me of hacking a health station in Bioshock, AI go to heal up and wham, gas to the face.

 

My only issue with mines in general is the cost. You generally only get 100g to spend and you can't buy a bunch of arrows and have much/any left to buy even 1 mine so what's the point. They should maybe be in the 30/35g range otherwise no one buys them. Picking them up in the mission always seems like the better route anyway and has been implemented in several of the latest FMs put out.

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As a rule I don't use mines at all

The only one I can remember - and I can't remember the name of the mission - was where I went down onto the catacombs to get the alchemist/sorcerers book

I used them to do two things at the same time

Kill the revenant which was patrolling and break open the adjacent tombs to get the loot

I could also trigger the mine with a broadhead which was very useful - a bit like a remote detonator

 

Although a gas mine would be nice a gas grenade would be even more useful

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A gas arrow you mean? (same as a gas grenade)

 

On that note... why would poison gas affect an undead at all; does it? I mean, they're already dead.

Edited by Lux

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@Obst,

Most authors do not fine tune prices [...] in their missions.

Bad enough. :(

To really give the player the ability to choose use mines, the mines must be available in the core mod.

This is not completely right. Sure, having it as a core mod feature would allow mission authors to simple add them. However, nobody says they will do so.

 

I must agree to the arguments brought up against mines in general. Currently their behaviour does not make them very useful. Arrows are much more powerful in that respective. The price would be one way to deal with that, though.

 

All in all these are mappers choices. And in any ways I don't see any reason against adding a gas mine to the core mod, especially as the model is already there. So everything that needs to be added is the def and particle file (and maybe a scriptobject?!). A couple of KB shouldn't be an argument against adding this feature. And if it gets used in the end is another point.

 

(Personally I must admit that I'm not a friend of gas arrows either, as I consider them too powerful, but that's another story ;) )


FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Nobody use them because of the price and lack of non-lethal options.

 

I've placed mines in both of my missions for the player to find and I still find that they're rarely ever used, even without killing restrictions.

 

As for price, it's hard to justify why a gas arrow would cost significantly more than a gas mine, which would need more gas, a pressure detection system, and a projectile dispersion mechanism to reach the vicitim's head.

 

If people really want a non-lethal mine, I'd much rather see something more plausible, like some kind of poison spike trap. An AI steps on it, it jabs his foot with a poison spike, and after enough time for him to say, "Ow, what was that?" he collapses unconscious. Now that would make sense as a relatively cheap piece of equipment.

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A gas arrow you mean? (same as a gas grenade)

 

On that note... why would poison gas affect an undead at all; does it? I mean, they're already dead.

The difference with a gas grenade is that you could throw it from hiding whereas with a gas arrow it really affects the light gem

Actually - I just realised that you would need the capability of throwing it - now the ability to throw a flash bomb would really make things interesting

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You can throw flashbombs. The longer you hold down "attack" the further it goes.

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I've placed mines in both of my missions for the player to find and I still find that they're rarely ever used, even without killing restrictions.

 

People do not use them because there are no gas mines. That is the one folks would probably use the most! Flash mines are plain useless and explosive mines violate "do not hurt people" morals many thief players seem to have.

 

As for price, it's hard to justify why a gas arrow would cost significantly more than a gas mine, which would need more gas, a pressure detection system, and a projectile dispersion mechanism to reach the vicitim's head.

 

The Dark Mod is a game in steampunk world with magic and undead and stuff. The player shoots elemental water arrows to douse flames instead of carrying a metal bucket with water in it. Gameplay balance should trump realism considerations in this matter, surely you agree with that?

 

If people really want a non-lethal mine, I'd much rather see something more plausible, like some kind of poison spike trap. An AI steps on it, it jabs his foot with a poison spike, and after enough time for him to say, "Ow, what was that?" he collapses unconscious. Now that would make sense as a relatively cheap piece of equipment.

 

Why must it be cheap? Elemental water arrows are 5gp a piece. Why could it not be cheaper to contain knockout gas inside a stationary mine than cram it into an arrow shaft that is supposed to be aerodynamically functioning and stay intact during the flight?

 

Again, I just don't understand the realism considerations here.

 

We already have the gas stim. We have the cough barks. We do not have poison caltrops. We do not have barks for AI stepping on sharp pointy objects.

 

Gameplaywise the thing is this:

We have features (gas, flame, flash).

Most of the features have direct and indirect tools (fire arrow -> explosive mine, flash bomb -> flash mine).

1) Why cannot there be an indirect version for the gas arrow?

2) Why are all indirect tools penalized in cost, while gameplaywise balance suggests otherwise? (That is, mines are more challenging to use.)

 

I simply fail to understand the opposition here.

 

Why not implement gas mine into core mod and revise the indirect tools price at least to be identical with the direct tool? That way the player could immediately have an interesting decision which one to use and what play style they enjoy. In addition, gameplay considerations would warrant indirect tools to be cheaper than their direct counterparts, so maybe indirect tools could even be a meager 5-10gp cheaper than the direct tools.


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Why must it be cheap? Elemental water arrows are 5gp a piece. Why could it not be cheaper to contain knockout gas inside a stationary mine than cram it into an arrow shaft that is supposed to be aerodynamically functioning and stay intact during the flight?

 

Water arrows are (relatively) cheap because they're mass produced for fire brigades. Other than the special water formula (our arrows aren't elemental magic) which can be produced by the barrel, they're quite easy to make. Gas arrows, on the other hand, are expensive partially because they're illegal, and but mostly because they're rare. A world in which knock-out gas was cheap and easy to make would look very different than the setting of TDM.

 

As for why it must be cheap, there's no reason it has to be. That was in response to your comment that players won't choose mines because they are more expensive but less effective than arrows. A poison mine/trap that doesn't rely on gas would be a more believable tool and could justifiably be less expensive, killing two birds with one stone.

 

We already have the gas stim. We have the cough barks. We do not have poison caltrops. We do not have barks for AI stepping on sharp pointy objects.

 

We don't need anything that would be difficult to make. Regular barks could work just fine. And a slightly altered mine model would be simple enough to make.

 

Gameplay balance should trump realism considerations in this matter, surely you agree with that?

 

Yes, but only when they are in direct opposition to each other. Ideally, we look for a solution that addresses both.

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I've used gas mines mostly for safe back tracking or to cover a way out in an area I know is patrolled.

For instance in some games (looking glass fms) , there was a need to make a quick getaway - I did not want to be delayed with patroling guards, I'd plop one down in a patrol zone ( or one for each critical zone) , and be on my merry way. On my way back to that spot, I would see a downed guard taking a nap. Also I've used them to secure an escape route in case of trouble. Say my escape route is to get to a wall and climb over it to get away from chasing guards, however a guard is patrolling that wall. I wait until he leaves, drop the gas mine, and be on my way knowing if I had to use the wall, that guard would not run interference. Saves time in waiting and waiting for a guard to appear to deal with him. Funny, I do not kill, nor do I blackjack, but for me, gassing is ok.

 

Love to have the gas mine available...

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