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Cats and dogs?

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#1 MirceaKitsune

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 06:15 PM

Hello. There's one suggestion I wanted to make in regard to potential new entities and assets. I noticed there are now rat and horse NPC's, which can be placed on maps and offer a nice touch. Since the action usually takes place in towns, and players can break into people's houses or encounter civilians, I was wondering if cats and dogs could ever be expected. I think they'd add some nice extra detail to towns, and could even have a few roles in regard to gameplay. I was thinking of something among these lines:

 

Cats: Can run about as fast as rats, and have the ability to somewhat block the player (slightly impede movement). Additionally, they can jump and may bump into objects... causing a noise that can alert guards, just like the player throwing objects at walls does. Obviously it should be a very small alert... we wouldn't want an entire army / gang running around the place because a cat bumped into a vase :P

 

Dogs: Slower than cats and rats but still faster than players, blocks movement like a human NPC. I believe there should be two categories: Dogs that attack, and dogs that only bark (potentially attacking if attacked first). An enemy dog that barks can make a lot of noise, and alert guards from afar to your location.


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#2 chakkman

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 06:25 PM

I liked the way human A.I.'s reacted on "alerted" animals in Thief Deadly Shadows. No idea though if something like that would be possible in Dark Mod without much work. All good ideas btw.



#3 grayman

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 07:23 PM

I don't know if cats and dogs were explicitly left out of TDM during design talks, but they would certainly fit into this environment.

 

It would require a volunteer modeler's time to create the models and animations, however. There probably couldn't be much (if any) interaction between humans and the new animals, because that would also require new animations and additions to the voice sets.



#4 Springheel

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 08:17 PM

If you do a search, you'll find several discussions about dogs (I don't see much point in cats beyond flavour).

 

The main sticking point is finding someone with the skill and motivation to properly animate them and code their behaviour (dogs should track by scent rather than the lightgem, which is an entirely new system).  Thief4 managed to avoid those problems by putting them all in cages, which was clever, but a bit obvious.  I think we had talked about dogs that were chained to a post for similar reasons, but even that would be tricky to animate.


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#5 MirceaKitsune

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 08:28 AM

Not sure if dogs smelling and tracking you is absolutely necessary, at least for starters. If anything, they could be defaulted to see people in the dark better than humans, maybe even at 0 lightgem level if they're standing close enough. They could also hear player noises across longer distances, and get alert to them more easily than guards. I think dogs simply behaving like human characters is good enough and can make do however, since more complex behaviors would probably be hard to code.

 

As for cats, they wouldn't have much role in the gameplay, but a decorative role like rats. I'm mostly suggesting both as a visual enhancement for town maps really (eye candy), although dogs would also be a fun addition to guard patrols and offer new possibilities to the setup of a mission.



#6 Springheel

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 09:41 AM

As for cats, they wouldn't have much role in the gameplay, but a decorative role like rats. I'm mostly suggesting both as a visual enhancement for town maps really (eye candy),

 

It's a lot of work simply for eye-candy.  You'd need a good cat model with effective, realistic animations.  Then you'd need a pathfinding system that makes sense for cats.  They can't use the existing rat one and it would look silly to have them follow strict paths like guards. 

 

I think dogs simply behaving like human characters is good enough and can make do however, since more complex behaviors would probably be hard to code.

 

The two main reasons for having dogs in the game would be to provide interesting new gameplay opportunities, and for added immersion.  If the dogs behave just like human AI, then you don't get the former OR the latter.  That said, we do have some ideas for dogs as static sentries (basically like T4 did) but it requires someone with the time and skill to model, rig, and animate a dog.


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#7 SeriousToni

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:07 AM

Once I had the idea to just replace the rats with a cat model. Then they would at least wander around in the map but won't care / interact with the player. But Springheel and me we came to the point that this wouldn't be an immersive feature. It would require some coding to make a new cat (or dog) NPC (plus the modeling and animation).

 

If you're interested I recommend you to download a free cat / dog model provided with a set of animations and you can test out, how and if it works in TDM. I don't know anything about the coding section though.

 

I would love to see more animals in TDM!


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

#8 MirceaKitsune

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:30 AM

I wonder how cats look like using the rat AI, which I was estimating would appear okay enough. As for dogs, I'd go for the AI used on giant spiders... which I couldn't test up close because they scare me like hell, but I assume it's pretty much accurate.



#9 Springheel

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:39 AM

I wonder how cats look like using the rat AI, which I was estimating would appear okay enough.

 

No, it wouldn't.  Rats have a specific pathfinding algorithm that makes them randomly alternate between walking and running, as well as their regular idle behaviours.  While that looks okay for rats, it would look silly for cats to randomly switch from walking in a circle to running three steps towards a wall to walking in a circle again to just standing there staring at the wall. 

 

A more reasonable use for them would be as ambient AI--scripted to appear in specific locations and do specific things, like a cat that wanders along the top of a wall and then disappears.  But that still requires an animated model.


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#10 Anderson

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 01:03 PM

No, it wouldn't.  Rats have a specific pathfinding algorithm that makes them randomly alternate between walking and running, as well as their regular idle behaviours.  While that looks okay for rats, it would look silly for cats to randomly switch from walking in a circle to running three steps towards a wall to walking in a circle again to just standing there staring at the wall. 

 

A more reasonable use for them would be as ambient AI--scripted to appear in specific locations and do specific things, like a cat that wanders along the top of a wall and then disappears.  But that still requires an animated model.

 The cat can also be a static object, for example on a window, in the light of the moon. Not reacting to the player.

 

I remember there was also a cat in Thief 3 in the Overlook Mansion. But in comparisson to that (the cat was running frantically from the player), I think it's better to have it, if have it at all as simply a non-movable object. If you're keen on having one in the map in general.



#11 Capela

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 04:19 PM

The problem with cats its, they can see you in the shadows :ph34r:  :D . Unfortunately i dont understand anything about modeling and animations. But i would like to see a dog a cat a bat a owl, but most wanted a crow, i always identify scary places with Crows.


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#12 SeriousToni

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 07:20 PM

Birds like crows would be more easy I think. As they don't interact with the player. They could .. scare you and then fly away. :P


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

#13 Paralytik

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 05:54 PM

Crows or ravens would be really nice indeed. Having a murder of crows lift off at a specific place in a map would be very immersive!



#14 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 08:54 PM

If you're interested I recommend you to download a free cat / dog model provided with a set of animations and you can test out, how and if it works in TDM. I don't know anything about the coding section though.

 

Well, I think this one looks fairly good for basic cat model coding and playtesting. Not bad looking mouser, but also low poly enough to not be too demanding on the engine. Once someone does enough testing to see if relatively realistic cat behaviour can be replicated in DarkRadiant, we'll get someone to work on our own model.

Obviously, all of this presumes there will be enough people interested in adding cats to their missions. I'll second Springheel a bit on the notion that cats are mostly just for window dressing. Then again, so are the rats - even if they were easier to work on due to their smaller size and less demanding behaviour patterns.

 

 

 

Crows or ravens would be really nice indeed. Having a murder of crows lift off at a specific place in a map would be very immersive!

 

Yeah, I'd welcome birds and bats too. :) Aside from corvids, some smaller, mundane songbirds (preferrably night time species) or some smaller owl species would be fine too, though those would be more of a "window dressing" thing.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 14 January 2015 - 08:56 PM.


#15 rich_is_bored

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 12:12 AM

Owls eh? Reverse pick-pocket a dead rat onto a guards belt. Problem solved.


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#16 Noordung

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:22 PM

Dogs could work like if you get too close to them in dark they could smell you even if you get behind them. And they would start to bark. Could work in simple distance with 360° field. That would mean that guards could have dogs with them instead of torches. That would make very hard guard. You would have to avoid him with great distance or use gas arrow.

Smell could work (if its possible) that game will remember your path and if dog comes to your path it will smell you and follow you. So you would have to be very careful where you walk. Obviously that would work for you path for last few seconds or else game would be impossible.



#17 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 03:41 PM

Owls eh? Reverse pick-pocket a dead rat onto a guards belt. Problem solved.

 

LMAO ! :D Interesting gameplay concept... :awesome:



#18 Deshtat

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 04:40 AM

Hey there!

So I've seen this thread a while ago, and I find it interesting since I need a guarding dog for my first level scenario. As there is no dog yet, I have to use a spider instead, which is a little out of place.

I'd be happy to model and animate one, but I'm really bad with DarkRadiant importing and exporting system. Also, I work on Maya and 3DS Max, and I don't know how to create the requested animation files from them.

 

If anyone is willing to show me how to do, then I'll be happy to help out.



#19 Springheel

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 07:42 AM

How familiar are you already with modelling and animating?  If you can create a model, rig it and provide the animations in a format that I can read in Maya 7.0, I'll happily handle converting them to md5 format.  If you don't already know how to rig and animate, then that's probably not  very realistic option.


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#20 Deshtat

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 02:32 PM

Well I have more experience in 2D games, but I also worked on some 3D assets and animations for several student projects. It may take a while, because I don't have that much free time, but I think I can do this ^^
 
I think it would be nice to start with this breed :
 
http://worldpedigree...s/dogs/1124.jpg
http://www.101razasd...esa-canario.jpg

They look like strong guarding dogs. I could easily imagine them with the city watch or in any noble garden. Moreover, they mostly have a very short tail, which is easier to animate. What do you think?


Edited by Deshtat, 26 March 2015 - 02:35 PM.

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#21 Springheel

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 03:18 PM

Sure.


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#22 Sotha

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 11:29 PM

Sounds interesting. What kind of gameplay implications a dog will bring? This needs to be planned, as it sets the animation requirements.

Is the dog like normal AI? Does it have special abilities (track by scent, higher aural sensitivity, very fast, difficult to run away from).

Mark of the Ninja had some interesting dog AI. If the player was too close, the dog caught the scent, sniffed the air, and then started sniffing the ground while slowly but surely approaching the player. Might work in TDM too.
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#23 demagogue

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 01:01 AM

Yeah, if you're going to start work, we should talk about that.

We've had other discussions about dogs before too, so search for that, though some of it may be in the closed forums.

 

One idea was to allow them to be chained to a post, so the player could stay away from them, but they'd bark. I think that requires the right animations, like a jerk when the dog runs & reaches the end of the chain, and then animations of it jumping against the chain.

 

I think you have to be careful with scent as a mechanic because without the right cues it's invisible to the player, so it's harder to deal with gameplay wise. But you could make a very obvious sniffing animation for its search behavior. Then I think it could be proximity based; that's the controlling factor, and close enough to usually be in sight (otherwise the dog could sniff out the player from outside his view). The dog will sniff its way slowly towards the player, even in dark, as long as the player is within a certain proximity bounds to the player.

 

For the attack, is the dog leaping at the player for an attack? What about a melee attack? I think it'd stand under the player and bite up at him?

 

You'd want a wimpering retreat animation after it's been hit and its health is very low, not to mention a "getting hit" animation.

 

Anybody else have other thoughts?

 

Edit: More ideas...

I think it'd be useful for the player to be able to carry meat to throw at the dog and have it go after that. Then you'd want animations for eating up meat on the ground.

 

There are a lot of idle animations you could have. Lying down, sitting up, licking and scratching itself, circling, eating, digging motions, looking up at nearby friendly AI...

 

If guards are going to be walking dogs on a leash, then you want animations for them walking along with the guards on a leash. An alternative is just to have the dogs free but patrolling alongside guards.

 

But that reminds me, maybe we could use a few guard animations too, like them giving a motion to the dog to run after the player, or walking the dog, etc. And do we want code for them to follow the dog as it sniffs out the player, or maybe they can do their own search and if the dog finds the player it barks and that's the trigger.

 

I feel like this is still the tip of the iceberg. Lots of things to talk about.


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#24 Springheel

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 07:39 AM

First we'd need an actual dog model, textured, rigged, and with at least one proof of concept animation, which is a whole lot of work.  I'd wait until that point before worrying too much about anything else.


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#25 Capela

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 02:07 PM

I want a raven....Is there so much difficult to make a raven and put in game?  Its the model the problem? its the animations? I remember that in Doom there was some heads fly around..!!!    





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