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I don't have a terribly concrete-strong opinion on this, I think both sides have some merit, but that I agree strongly with. Being a long time RPG fan and junk collector/packrat, I definitely like to know if something is important to finishing a quest. Otherwise, I just collect everything, obsessively, and my inventory is a nightmare. So no, I would NOT want to be able to drop quest items.

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How dumb would you have to be to find a quest item and then thow it away in some place where it can't be retrived. The chances of that ever happening are so small it isn't worth considering.

How would you know it's a quest item? Well, it's pretty obvious that any unusual thng you wouldn't normally expect to find lying around could be important in some way. The worst that could happen is that you'd have to go back to the spot you discarded it, or go back and get it from it's original spot becasue you either didn't find it, or didn't pick it up.

In any case, such items should be poitned out by the level desinger in some way anyway, there should be some hint that a certain item is required and is important.

It's no good keeping the player in the dark and then telling him 2 seconds before the end of the mission that 'you should have picked up that glove you saw at the start of the misson' The player needs to have some sort of in-game clue that said glove might be important, and in which case he isn't goign to discard it anyway. You can't exepct the player to pickup and carry everything that isn't nailed down.

Whatever way you look at it, notthing needs to be superglued into your inventory.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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Well, I don't really know what to suggest here. I don't think it's a simple black and white issue.

 

1. Weapons

- a gameplay choice, no need to resist the temptation to KO if you don't have a blackjack

- but what if the weapon is a key item, as with the fire arrow in Bonehoard?

 

2. Junk items

- keeps inventory clean, for this it is essential. Imagine having to keep everything you pick up.

- selective prevention instantly reveals "important" items, because they can't be dropped

 

3. Important items

- dropping quest items is bad

 

If we look at Thief, they clearly made an error with the fire arrow thing, and they fixed it with the patch. They also prevented dropping of some items with no further debate. This sounds like the kind of thing where it's all or nothing - use the Thief method of protecting the player from an error, or assume full accountability. It's at least clear which is more user friendly and which is meant to cater to a minority. On the other hand, completely protecting players and designers from mistakes is impossible.

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2. Junk items

- keeps inventory clean, for this it is essential. Imagine having to keep everything you pick up.

- selective prevention instantly reveals "important" items, because they can't be dropped

 

What was the last time you really played Thief? I definitely know, that the inventory may have gotten a little bit annoying, but even in FMs there were never THAT much items in my inventory that I thought they should have redeisgned abit. And I was usually collecting everything just in case.

 

Listening to some of you guys in this threads one could get the feeling as if we are handling hundreds of objects on average, while we are talking a 10-20.

 

3. Important items

- dropping quest items is bad

 

Why? There were already suggestions how this could be handled, which I think are much better than just locking it. Though I agree that for questio items it may be ok to flag them undroppable.


Gerhard

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What was the last time you really played Thief?

Really gotta work on that wording sometimes. :wub:

 

There are quite a few missions where you might have 7 keys and 10 readables. Throw on top of that some clock parts or machinery or a screwdriver you don't know if you'll need or not, and you've got a cluttered mess which is annoying to search through, and dangerous in a pinch.

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I agree that quest items shouldn't have to be made undroppable. If the mission is : Steal this chalice and get out, and the player steals the chalice and then drops it somewhere, that's just plain stupidity. We might as well say that god mode should always be enabled, so that the player can't fire fire arrows into the wall in front of them until they're dead.

 

Also, how often is any place in a Thief-style map actually unreachable? If they drop something that they should have kept, it's usually not a mistake that can't be recovered from.

 

Even the game Hitman that was released on tons of consoles doesn't baby the player that much. There are situations in that game where it actually does benefit the player to drop their core weapons or 'quest items' thru a window or throw them over a wall to get past a checkpoint and retrieve them later. Some FM author might choose to make a similar undercover mission in TDM, and at that point the ability to place your weapons outside yourself and retrieve them later becomes another stealth tool that can be put to many creative uses.

 

LGS didn't baby the player in Framed either. The objective was to drop the handkerchief in the vault, and they chose to use the "drop" key for this just like you would drop any other item. If you dropped it in some place other than the vault, you had to pick it up again and drop it in the vault. It's not rocket science.

 

Re: Finding a blackjack: It doesn't necessarily have to be a blackjack to KO someone. Of course there are some realism issues like pressure distribution and probability of skull fracture when hitting people in the head with other blunt items, but IMO it's best to overlook that in favor of allowing player creativity.

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There are quite a few missions where you might have 7 keys and 10 readables.

No kidding. The inventory in Soulforge gets clogged up fast with machine parts and blueprints.

 

How dumb would you have to be to find a quest item and then thow it away in some place where it can't be retrived.

I pose to you the opposite question-- How dumb would you have to be to WANT TO throw away a quest item?

 

There follows a brief dissertation on players who screw themselves, and how games deal with it:

 

 

PLAYERS WHO SCREW THEMSELVES, AND HOW GAMES DEAL WITH IT

 

The issue here isn't really whether players should be given the latitude to screw up, the issue here is one of time. If I slip into a pool of lava, or dive off a high ladder, or try to attack an armed guard with a carrot-- I die. And that's fine, because it's immediate. There is an unmistakable cause-and-effect chain in place. Action X lead to result Y in a clear and visible manner.

 

Or say I make too much noise sneaking around, and guards show up a little while later. This is good too. I know I was making noise, I know noise attracts guards. All is fair, the cause and effect are clear. As a thief with free will I should have the freedom to attract guards, accidentally or otherwise.

 

But now... consider a mission that requires a blackjack near the very end. And the player, puffed up with stupid arrogance as he is, chooses not to bring his blackjack. This player has, in effect, jumped off a ladder that may take hours before he hits the ground. And he doesn't even know he's falling. The same problem applies to losing quest items, either intentionally or otherwise. The player is, to use the vernacular, screwed.

 

It's a double-pronged problem as well-- The player doesn't know what effect an action might have, and they don't find out until long after they've taken the action. Either situation is bad design by itself, and together they're worse.

 

This is where well-designed games step in to prevent this sort of foolishness from happening in the first place. Games are supposed to be fun, remember? If a game can save the player from unknowingly screwing himself, it should. Lock down the core toolset. Make quest items undroppable. Fail the mission immediately if you kill a plot-essential AI.

 

In short, if the player makes an irrecoverably bad choice, the game should either let them know immediately or just not let it happen.

Edited by ZylonBane

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There are quite a few missions where you might have 7 keys and 10 readables. Throw on top of that some clock parts or machinery or a screwdriver you don't know if you'll need or not, and you've got a cluttered mess which is annoying to search through, and dangerous in a pinch.

 

Which is exactly what I said. 10-20 on average. Throw in a few extra pieces, so we are talking about 25 pieces. That certainly warrants a well thought through and complicated solution. <_<


Gerhard

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But now... consider a mission that requires a blackjack near the very end. And the player, puffed up with stupid arrogance as he is, chooses not to bring his blackjack. This player has, in effect, jumped off a ladder that may take hours before they hit the ground. And they don't even know they're falling. The same problem applies to losing quest items, either intentionally or otherwise. The player is, to use the vernacular, screwed.

As I've already made clear, if the author makes a map where the blackjack is required as a component to complete the mission, then he should provide one, and a hint or clue about it's position and/or game importance - exactly the same would apply to any othr misison crtical item, the player cannot be expected to guess at will or won't be needed, the author has to tell him.

Now what we're talking about is the player not initially taking his blackjack, finding a blackjack on the map, picking it up, carrying it around a bit, not finding the clues that it ill be important, not wondering why a rare item like a blackjack was on te map, and then dropping it in some irretrievable place....is that situation really worth considering?


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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It's a double-pronged problem as well-- The player doesn't know what effect an action might have, and they don't find out until long after they've taken the action. Either situation is bad design by itself, and together they're worse.

I would argue that the player does know the effect of their action in the most literal sense: They won't be able to use that item later on if they drop it. That means they have to think about whether they'll need an item later. Thinking is good. The fact that it's an inventory item and not a junk item is already a big hint that it might be useful.

 

If the FM author puts in some ridiculous scenario like a pea lying on the ground that turns out to be the one and only key to defeating some huge evil robot at the end of the mission, with no hint that this is so, that's bad mission design. I would rather have the freedom to say, throw my sword as a last ditch distraction, or pass an objective item out a window to avoid some alarm than be locked into undroppable items because some FM author might design a bad puzzle.

 

In short, if the player makes an irrecoverably bad choice, the game should either let them know immediately or just not let it happen.

I'm not convinced it's irrecoverable. If you drop something, you can go and pick it up. If you drop your blackjack in the beginning and the FM author springs a surprise KO objective on you at the end, you'll be able to pick up any blunt object lying around (candlestick, 2x4, whatever) and use that as an improvised blackjack. Same with the sword and any weapon lying around.

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I think that mappers should be able to decide the gameplay for their own map.

 

If oDDity wants to make all items droppable in the maps that he creates, that should be possible to do. If Zylonbane wants to make the core equipment and quest items undroppable in his maps, I think that should be possible too.

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I think there might be some confusion. From what I can tell...there are two points being mixed together here.

 

a. Dropping weapons at the mission loadout screen.

b. Dropping of weapons 'ingame'.

 

 

Point (a), should be at the control of the FM author. If they want certain core weapons to be locked down, then that is their right.

 

Point (B), is up to the player since they can 'hide' their weapons somewhere within the level if they don't wish to take them.

 

To be honest, I believe having point (a) is redundant when you consider that everything can be disposed of ingame...and recovered.

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I think that mappers should be able to decide the gameplay for their own map.

 

The author should have no saying in the gameplay. It's the responsibillity of the gameengine to determine the gameplay, and it's responsibillity of the mapper to provide the content and context in which the gameplay takes place.


Gerhard

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To be honest, I believe having point (a) is redundant when you consider that everything can be disposed of ingame...and recovered.

 

Exactly. And this is the reaons why there is absolutely no reaosn to provide this feature.


Gerhard

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The author should have no saying in the gameplay. It's the responsibillity of the gameengine to determine the gameplay, and it's responsibillity of the mapper to provide the content and context in which the gameplay takes place.

You should try playing custom WarCraft III maps - they change the gameplay radically from the standard, often for the better. Although melee (vanilla) WC3 is a real-time strategy game, I've seen maps ranging from farming sims to chess matches, to first-person perspective races. Even in Thief, it was possible to some degree... consider poker in "A guard called Benny". IMHO, the more power we give mappers, the better. Whatever rule-sets we use for TDM will leave some people unsatisfied, but that's not a problem if individual maps can cater to different preferences without requiring new DLLs.

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What a bunch of crap.

How the hell does allowing the level designer to force the player to carry an item increase his potential for creativity in any way?

If he wants to include some essential item, then place it on the map, that's the only rule required, and In dont' see how anyone could have a problem with that soluiton, it takes freedonm away fron neither the player or the designer.

Sometimes you people just argue for the sake of arguing.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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What was the last time you really played Thief? I definitely know, that the inventory may have gotten a little bit annoying, but even in FMs there were never THAT much items in my inventory that I thought they should have redeisgned abit. And I was usually collecting everything just in case.

 

Listening to some of you guys in this threads one could get the feeling as if we are handling hundreds of objects on average, while we are talking a 10-20.

Why? There were already suggestions how this could be handled, which I think are much better than just locking it. Though I agree that for questio items it may be ok to flag them undroppable.

 

 

IIRC this was a bit more of a problem for some of the FMs. There was one in particular where there were dozens of items that could be picked up for your inventory, but only one or two were actually mission essential. I ended up dragging along almost all the crap because I didnt know what I would need or not.

 

Not that its a huge problem either. I think that if the player takes reasonable precautions, i.e. not dumping items into an abyss before he knows if its important or not, and the author also takes precautions, making more than one item available if its necessary (but not too many!) or maybe providing a note in the briefing to the effect "Dont throw stuff away willy-nilly, it may prove important!" a lot of this heartache could be avoided.

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Surely a surprise KO objective would come up in the briefing? E.g., "I have to knock out the priest and put him in the woman's bed".

 

 

I still can't decide what's best, myself.

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In the end it's going to be the mappers who decide this issue, not the developers. Just provide an "undroppable" property on objects and let nature take its course.

 

The absence of such a basic feature would surely piss mappers off.

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Surely a surprise KO objective would come up in the briefing? E.g., "I have to knock out the priest and put him in the woman's bed".

Not necessarily, it could be a new objective that's not in the briefing. That's why it's a surprise. The FM author should realise though that the player may not have prepared for a KO in this case, and leave some things lying around that can be used to KO. If they don't, again that's bad mission design.

 

I agree that the mapper should have control over some things when it adds new gameplay and allows the player to be creative in some way, but gluing items to the player's hands is not creative or new. It harkens back to early adventure games, and the player might as well be saying "Uh-uh, I might need that!" when you try to drop important things.

 

It's not that big a deal to me, but I'd rather err on the side of player freedom than babying the player. The advantages are the ability to use items in creative ways by throwing/dropping them, or to challenge yourself by discarding weapons. The only disadvantages people have brought up are inventory management and the potential to screw over the player without them knowing it.

 

We have some things in the works to improve inventory management, so it shouldn't be an issue. Also, it's not very immersive to know instantly whether something is important as soon as you pick it up, even if you don't pay attention to any hints/clues in your surroundings. That's on par with instantly knowing that things are loot because they're glinting.

 

As for screwing the player over, again I think this comes down to mission design. To use another LGS example, in RTTHC, Brother Murus asked you to get specific items and bring them back to him. You knew what you were looking for, and anyone with any shred of common sense isn't going to drop those items after being told to get them. The mission wasn't "wander around and find random stuff, try dropping it and if you can't drop it, it's probably useful later. Then bump into Brother Murus near the end."

 

Personally, I usually start looking for stuff to solve a particular puzzle when actually confronted with the puzzle. I don't take everything that isn't nailed down and hope that one of my inventory items will happen to solve any puzzle I come across. Of course the player could still do that, I just don't think they should get any assistance from some item fairy telling them which ones are important. A large part of stealth games are about observing and looking for clues for how to solve something. If you have undroppable puzzle items, you might as well not bother to observe anything and just scroll through your undroppable items, trying each and every one on each puzzle you come to. Again that's fine for 80's adventure games, but I would expect more from TDM.

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ZB may have a point in that there is something to be said for the "default" to be with undroppable for core equipment, and then mappers can easily add a droppable feature if they want (I'm not sure if that's where he was going in his last post, but anyway that's the suggestion it implies). Anyway, I can see the use of giving mappers the choice, but it's the default set-up that I'm questioning here.

 

I have an intuition that most mappers (maybe in need of verification) will want core equipment undroppable than droppable so they don't have to worry about whether it's there or not while building (in the same way as jumping functionality, etc, core equipement = core functionality) so e.g., they don't have to worry a player may have to cross the entire map to pick up a blackjack in placing things. Sure you can say that may be bad mission design, but then the argument is that undroppability as a default limits the chances for "bad mission design" problems to even come up. And since more mappers seem on that side rather than the other, at least ex hypothesi: one argument for default undroppability is for reasons of economy ... even agreeing with the argument that there can be real advantages if designers want droppability. I can agree that it's good that mappers shouldn't be pampering players, that's one thing, but maybe the default editor set-up also shouldn't be pushing harder work and more design-failure-worries onto mappers, at least not as a default feature. Mappers can still happily take on the extra responsibility/burden of tweaking with core functionality (and all the design worries it raises) if they want with the ability to add dropability as a property, and we can applaud those that do it well ... but *that* should be the *choice* they make (a proactive design decision), not the other way around I think, and having the default switched around is the way to accomplish that. (You might say that the change is as easy as a checkbox, although probably a quite buried one, but that sort of glosses over the fact that a lot of designers may not think about the design issues that in-game tweakability of core functions throws at them unless they are prompted to. There might be a learning curve here as TDM FM making matures, though ... it's hard to sense.)

 

Edit: and to preempt a little here, don't think I can't hear Oddity's argument roaring in the background, "what you're saying is practically admitting we should encourage lazy/player pampering designing" (at least as I imagine it). One, I don't think it's true that it would encourage lazy or even necessarily pampering design. But anyway, I can also just stick with the "economy" argument, even aside from that issue. The idea there is: You get fewer, more resolute people coming to the forums to ask how to *add* droppability (to an undroppable default) when they want to proactively add a design feature that in-game takes away a core functionality to give more player freedom (sort of like coming to ask "how can I let players drop jumping ability" in-game) than the alternative of more people coming to the forums to ask how to revert back to undroppability (from a droppable default) because the default set-up is raising incidental design issues that actually block their vision of clean gameplay throughout their mission and give them something they don't want to proactively think about. Having the default set-up go with the flow is better for economy reasons.

Edited by demagogue

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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The absence of such a basic feature would surely piss mappers off.

 

If that's the case they can "fix" it.


Gerhard

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It's kind of funny, that not so many people want to "make their hands dirty", but everybody knows best how it should be done, it seems. At least Oddity already did a superior job for the mod, so I guess he is quite entitled to voice an opinion on what features would be desirable (for him). :)


Gerhard

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