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Huh? Now where'd that go? (Picking pockets)


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#1 grayman

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:15 PM

Currently, AI don't notice when you pick their pocket. Or steal the moneybag or key off their belt.

It's time to rectify this.

How do you think they should react?

If anyone suggests new animations, we'll need Springheel to comment on whether these will be possible or not, or whether we could use an existing anim instead.

Thanks.

#2 New Horizon

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:17 PM

I think a vocal cue would be enough to sell it really.
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#3 grayman

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:25 PM

The "Huh?" barks currently exist. The design would need to allow us to use them.

They sound something like this:

"Hmmmm. That's odd."
"Huh? What trickery is this?"
"Huh. Could I have dropped it?"
"Hmmmm. Is it possible I dropped it?"
"'Tis most strange."
"What? I had that but a moment ago."
"I would not be so careless as to drop it."
"Where couldst I have misplaced it?"

You get the idea.

#4 Springheel

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:57 PM

There are two separate but related issues:

1. Under what conditions do AI notice they've been pickpocketed.

This is the more difficult issue. Seems like player skill should play a factor here. If it's just a random chance, then the player has no control over whether an AI notices, other than to simply avoid pickpocketing. This randomly punishes players for something that we expect them to do. Options include NOT punishing players (the reaction is purely cosmetic), or giving the player some kind of control over whether the AI notices. The second option would require some kind of change to the current pickpocketing system, which can't be undergone lightly at this stage of the game, though I'm open to suggestions.

2. How do AI react when they notice they've been pickpocketed.

This is not so difficult. The illusion would work if AI simply stopped and looked down at their belt (possibly both left and right side) and play their bark. Could also include AI looking at the floor behind them to see if they actually did drop it. Specific animations are possible but would have diminishing returns--you'd have to have something generic enough that it applies no matter where the AI's object was bound.

Presumably the pickpocketing event should boost the AI's evidence of an intruder, although that depends on the answer to #1.

#5 Melan

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:59 PM

The reaction should not be more than a low level alert, and maybe even that is pushing it. We want people to pick pockets, not punish it; also, some playstyles call for no alerts above first level.

The second option would require some kind of change to the current pickpocketing system, which can't be undergone lightly at this stage of the game, though I'm open to suggestions.

In Dishonored, you had to get away from an AI to avoid being noticed after a pickpocket. I wonder if the AI looking around to scan their environment after a slight delay might be a suitable response - this increases the threat of being caught, but does not have to be a severe consequence for hidden players.

Edited by Melan, 15 March 2014 - 03:02 PM.

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#6 RJFerret

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:16 PM

Perhaps functionality so a mapper could specify what degree of alert?

In "Inn Business", I have a pick pocket opportunity that would be blatantly obvious to the subject, and had to arrange it accordingly (using the alert system), she appropriately shouts, "we have a thief" or "alright, where's it gone" type of things and stops to hunt around calling others to join the search.

But it's literally right in her sight and there's no way she wouldn't feel it being taken, even if the source isn't apparent to her.

Something disappearing from where it's felt, or seen, would be a big difference from something like a key on a belt around back--which wouldn't be noticed until the wearer next reached for that (now missing) key when they need to go through the associated door.

Since we don't want to minimize game-play (punish players), it would seem a range of possible results should be available?
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#7 Springheel

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:24 PM

The problem with a range of results is that players need to have some ability to predict the consequences of their behaviour.

#8 Jesps

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:52 PM

A somewhat consistent behaviour of voicing that they lost something, followed by the npc looking around for a few moments without being alerted would add to the immersion imo. We already have ai noticing things being taken from the surrounding world with some chance. This would not be so different I think.

#9 lost_soul

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:17 PM

I like the idea of heightened senses a few seconds after you pickpocket an AI. He will be like "Wait, where'd that go?" and he will take a quick look around. He wouldn't alert anybody or stay this way but for a few seconds.

This way, if you do pickpocket somebody and you don't retreat to the shadows, you will be busted, but it still doesn't punish the player for doing the pickpocket in the first place because that's part of the game.

The TDS AIs just mumbled about something being missing, but they did *nothing* about it at all.

Edited by lost_soul, 15 March 2014 - 04:18 PM.

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#10 Kvorning

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:05 PM

I think it would be interesting if AIs checked their items whenever they reach a "wait path". Then have them raise to x alert level if an item is missing.

It'll make it more challenging to pick them and it requires the player to either take a chance or observe the habits of the "mark".

If the player attempts to pick their pockets while the AI is waiting to continue his patrol, the AI will immediately feel it and be alerted.


Edit: After reading Demagogue's input I completely agree. You shouldn't have to pick between stealth or loot. If you play right you should be able to have your cake and eat it too.

With that in mind, and what I wrote above initially I'd suggest:

Have the AI get alerted if you try to pick him while he's waiting, but have him not notice if picked while patrolling. If he's missing loot next time he gets to a wait, he just does a remark.

Edited by Kvorning, 15 March 2014 - 06:35 PM.


#11 XendroX

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:07 PM

I think, that if something not valuable has stolen, AI must says something like "Possibly left at home" or "Damn,I have forget to take my key" and no alert notice added, but if some bag with gold disappear - civilian should immediately run for guards, guards become alert level. Difficulty level must control minimal time before AI alert: easy - 7 sec, and only then +5sec with random alert (maybe on first maybe on fifth), normal - 5 sec + 5, hard - 3+3...
Such way can add some adrenalin to game play %)

Edited by XendroX, 15 March 2014 - 05:09 PM.


#12 demagogue

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:42 PM

The issue I have with it is it for gameplay reasons. It disallows people trying to get all the loot and ghost. It forces a player to choose between loot and stealth, and I feel like that breaks the formula some, where you're rewarding stealth with loot. Here, you'd be punished for every pickpocket.

I understand the realism factor, but think gameplay reasons countervene. But if you do it, then hopefully you keep it to level1 alerts by itself so people can still get all the loot with a zero stealth score (it doesn't count lvl1), or people will cry foul I think when they see it's impossible.

I think I'm fine with a custom bark for it by itself, though might change my mind. Then it doesn't feel like you ghosted & feels like you did something "wrong". How can a player be wrong and punished for taking loot, the very core of the game's reward system? (Not counting special loot situations a mapper directly scripts.)

Also the thrill of a pickpocket is doing it so the AI doesn't notice, and you're a master at it. We should disallow it if the AI sees you, that's ok. But the AI noticing later just complicated the mechanic that doesn't need further complication, I think.
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#13 Bikerdude

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:46 PM

In Dishonored, you had to get away from an AI to avoid being noticed after a pickpocket. I wonder if the AI looking around to scan their environment after a slight delay might be a suitable response - this increases the threat of being caught, but does not have to be a severe consequence for hidden players.

+1

#14 Professor Paul1290

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:49 PM

I think it would be fine just having the AI comment that they lost something then briefly scanning around for a bit.

Even if we wanted it to be realistic, I don't think raising an alert would be realistic in most cases.

I'm pretty sure theft wouldn't be the first conclusion a guard would reach if something was missing from his pocket or belt. He might arrive at that conclusion if there is other evidence to suggest it (such as spotting the thief or other stuff going missing), but it wouldn't make sense to raise an alert right away as you'd get far too many false alarms from simply misplacing or dropping things.

Edited by Professor Paul1290, 15 March 2014 - 08:49 PM.


#15 Deadlove

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:43 PM

I think a vocal cue would be enough to sell it really.


I agree with this.

However, I like the idea that a mapper can set certain important AI to go to an alert status if an item is lifted. Think stealing the water talisman and saying fuck once the alarms started to sound. As in an objective could be to pickpocket a noble carrying an important letter, but once you pickpocket him he's goes on alert and makes escape that much more difficult. It would add an interesting game mechanic.

I would not like to see every guard/AI react to being pickpockted because as in real life, a good thief (which we will assume the TDM thief is good), his victim would not be aware that they've had something lifted from their person till next time they searched to use it.

I think it's a great idea to add an alert response for certain curve balls to throw at the player, but only in very few select situations. If you gave this power to the mapper, it could potentially be abused, but I guess the only thing the mapper can get out of it is learning from it.

At RJFerret, if you're talking about the lady with the necklace in Inn Business, I stole it off her while I was climbed/hanging from the vines on the wall when she patrolled outside by the stables and she didn't notice it disappear.

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#16 Sotha

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:16 AM

How much is there time to have the anim? I could give it a shot if you want, and there isn't very stringed time table.

Maybe something like this:
stop.
look down at their body.
quickly (sorta in panic) tap their belt and chest pockets with hands
look around.
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#17 Goldwell

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:19 AM

How much is there time to have the anim? I could give it a shot if you want, and there isn't very stringed time table.

Maybe something like this:
stop.
look down at their body.
quickly (sorta in panic) tap their belt and chest pockets with hands
look around.


And then a little bark like "huh..." or "weird..." and then they continue on

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#18 chedap

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:20 AM

A change as radical as sending a pickpocketed guard into alert mode is likely to ruin the balance on already existing maps. Same with 'only pickpocket while walking' suggestion - there are plenty of situations when waiting to end up behind a guard between his patrol cycles is a strategic decision (noisy floor / brightly lit room / lots of NPCs around). I also don't think 'hightened senses' right after pickpocketing is something a player can expect without knowing about this mechanic beforehead, it's rather counterintuitive.

Ideally, it would work like this: NPCs only notice their item is missing when they try to use it - obviously, most common case is reaching for a key to open a door, but there may be creative uses like reading a letter or something. Then their reaction would depend on their alertness state, afaik there should already be a system in place that gradually raises suspicion with each doused torch / door left open / noise (which don't by themselves warrant a 2+ alert state). If prior to discovering an item missing AI wasn't alerted, they could maybe enter a peaceful 'search for item' phase, wandering around corners of the current room (without drawing a weapon) for 5-10 seconds, with "must have dropped it" barks. In a perfect implementation, player would be able to drop the key nearby for the guard to find it and pick it back up to their belt, adding to full ghost challenge.

Now, I don't know exactly how much work would that be, if at all possible. I'm not even sure how NPCs handle locked doors currently, I think I managed to lock some of them in, but guards seem to always be able to open locked doors even after they don't carry a key anymore. And some flexibility probably wouldn't hurt, either through menu options (AI vision and lockpicking are there, after all) or item flags in DR for mappers to use.

At RJFerret, if you're talking about the lady with the necklace in Inn Business, I stole it off her while I was climbed/hanging from the vines on the wall when she patrolled outside by the stables and she didn't notice it disappear.

I think he meant the lady behind the counter, with a "perfumed key".

#19 RJFerret

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:36 AM

Yes, her, sadly the current workaround doesn't have her react until she gets to light. Hence my seeing a use for mappers to be able to have a greater reaction if they desire/is appropriate.
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#20 Sotha

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 02:12 AM

Here is a low-keyframe concept anim I made:

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#21 New Horizon

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:11 AM

After giving it some thought, how often would the player be around to hear an AI discover they've been pickpoketed? It might be cool to hear "where did that go" once or twice, but after having it happen with every pickpocket it would start to feel somewhat artificial I think. I suspect most AI wouldn't notice they've been pickpocketed until they reached their final destination, like home, a store, or a locked door. I certainly don't think the AI should go into any type of alert for it though as that does punish the activity of pickpocketing...which is something we instead want to encourage.

#22 Springheel

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:24 AM

Please use spoiler tags when describing specific missions, folks. Some of us are way behind.

#23 RJFerret

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:27 AM

Here's a use case that didn't go into any mission, as testers didn't find it plausible...taking a scroll carried in an AI's hand. Might be an amazing thief, but no reaction felt unrealistic. So it seems generally not having a reaction (as now), but with a spawnarg enabling a comment at default setting, comment and glance back in case just dropped, glance and mild alert raise for something less likely just left home, and high alert with searching for obvious thievery, would cover most posters' suggestions? Is all that manageable, reasonable and worthwhile, or overkill?
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#24 grayman

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:08 AM

@RJ,

The code recognizes a picked pocket when the player grabs something that's bound to an AI.

If I add the reaction changes, how is that going to affect your "scroll in AI's hand" scenario, which I assume you worked around in the absence of the reaction?

#25 grayman

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:12 AM

Here is a low-keyframe concept anim I made:


While that's nice, we'd have to make sure that AI carrying torches and weapons don't use it.

Also, it's a lot of movement. After picking the pocket of the 3rd AI, it would begin to look repetitive. What might be more immersive is to randomly select one of three different anims. And, again, torches and weapons might preclude playing them.




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