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#1 teh_saccade

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:59 AM

TL;DR - do you prefer ghost or predator (not the movies, cos obviously predator is way better than ghost - certainly has a better scene with the clay)

 

 

Personally, I dislike missions that automatically fail when you are spotted, because I'm constantly having to restart or am quick-save/quick-load OCD (optional, please).

I also dislike missions that automatically fail if you are forced into a confrontation and have to kill someone, or there's an accidental death (again, optional).

They force me to play at lower difficulties and miss out on the tougher AI and objectives, simply because sometimes I feel like just shooting that guard rather than spend the next 10 mins waiting for his patrol route to come round so I can follow him down the street. Again. For the third time.


I'm looking for a little feedback from players before I dig into something further.

What's the general feeling of players of the dark mod for things such as:

- Assassination mission options.
- Sword-fights and confrontation instead of patience and sneaking.
- Bow headshots / sniper challenges as the most viable option
- Stuff like dropping crates on people from a little too high up / pulling out a board so that it might drop a tonne of objects onto a group of guards having a chat..? (aka "accidental death").
- Aggressive play-style options and blowing stuff up or sabotage and that kind of thing, as an alternative to a puzzle or switch or number-hunt.

 

 

 

I've a story that fits with the "open-area/hidden places" cross comp. (even though I'm on a trek at the time for a few months) and figured, why not make one anyway cos I'm a little tired of the towns and mansions and problem solving / scripting contraptions thing (and playing towns and mansions and "find the key", no half the town isn't enterable - it's a facade).

No offence intended or intent to belittle anyone's efforts - it's just me - I've had a lot of fun playing many missions (and finding that a rope arrow or a few chairs at the start of a mission means I can climb up and walk over the whole level, directly to the objective).

I'm the sort of player who will knock out the bar wench and systematically pile everyone in the pub on top of her, before covering them with chairs and boxes or maybe using a body as a distraction / target practise.

---

The storyline I had in mind that I kinda started working on a while back involved - after a short prologue - the player finding themselves in the role of an unwitting pawn in a Pagan ritual, carrying out various tasks for the summoner, on behalf of a Pagan god.

 

Closest to any kind of pagan-like thing is the servant-classes and the brigands and stuff. Figured these type of "unofficial" character styles would make it easier to cross-over from invisible ghost to fiend.

 

I don't much like to kill anyone in a uniform, as they're doing their job... But militant religious fanatics and scum-bags, I've no problem putting an arrow in their eye or lobbing their unconscious body over a cliff.


To satisfy all types of playstyles, I thought maybe the difficulty levels could be something like:

- Trickster (perform objectives, quiet or noisy as you like)
- Woodsie Lord (perform objectives with an assassination required)
- Worming Death (the god has decided the whole secret place is an affront and must be cleansed, main objective becomes optional)

 

But AI'd have to be the same throughout.

 

As it seems that many people design their FM's here for stealth and many aim for low stealth scores and ghost:
How would it feel, for the Dark Mod / Thief player, to be not only a cut-purse but a cut-throat?



#2 Destined

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:24 AM

Personally, I have nothing against assassination missions as an alternative to the "regular" stealing. Still, the focus should lie on stealth and not on killing, so the "cleanse the place from all living things" is not really my piece of cake. Open conflict is something, I avoid in general, but I agree that it is better if it does not immediately fail the level for you.

 

But AI'd have to be the same throughout.

In order to keep the AI difficulty the same for all difficulties, you will have to change the melee sets (basically the melee scriptsfor AI), as they differ for the difficulty levels. Also, I think that the difficulty setting changes (i.e. increases) the acuity of AIs, but I am not sure, where this can be changed.



#3 Springheel

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:12 PM

The difficulty of the mission does not affect AI by default (though mappers can choose to do so).



#4 AluminumHaste

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:31 PM

I personally try and ghost until I get the itch to smash some skulls lol.


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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

#5 teh_saccade

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 01:43 PM

"cleanse the place from all living things"..?

That's a misquote - I said, "the whole secret place is an affront and must be cleansed" - nothing about mass murder... Who do you think I am? Stalin?
Easy enough to assume from the context, though...

Might be sabotage by shifting some barrels of bang or setting a fuse to destroy a chapel or something - who knows if you're working alone..?
Would be easier to play an explosion and lighting in the distance towards exfil., skybox transition for burning or something, than script a massive scenery change or risk the player being caught in the blast or otherwise stuck.

Easier to close a passageway once conditions are satisfied, reckon, so player cannot return and see that nothing is different (although that would be cool to return a scene of devastation).

--

I've always thought the difficulty scaled the AI, but I guess if it's the same and must be set manually, that's something to consider early.
Not only perceptive - faster patrol routes and combat anims, eg. as well as the usual extras or seeded coin loot or whatever (which I still can't seem to always get to land on the surface).

Thinking of that - never got around to seeing if it was possible to seed AI with random interest behaviour over a larger map, to flesh out the streets a little and provide some unpredictable foot traffic... in a forested area, this would be very useful.

--

I usually go for the undetected also, then react on mess up... Once one goes down, may as well take the rest :P
It's usually after a few runs that it's possible to ghost at an acceptable pace that doesn't require quick-loads.

I'm wondering the best method to prompt players for "checkpoints" before tougher challenges..?

Often "danger zones" might be divided by water (like in thief, if you went swimming under - probably some trouble in the next section) or some other ambient transition - music, environment and architecture, lighting, accomplishment, "It's too quiet" calm, etc... (no comms in this game to report to player that danger lies ahead such as in Deus Ex or Splinter Cell) - that would cause enough tension/relief to want to save. Is it too obvious to leave a trail of notes from a previous explorer which might include the words "*save me* from xxxxxx". Or too subtle..?

It would be good to discourage overuse of the QS/QL feature so that players must deal with the reactions to their actions/mistakes, rather than QL and be fore-armed with the knowledge that this thing will happen.

 

I've found TDM to be a game where players might do this and it would be good to introduce the concept of consequence of decision (which is why the entity limit has blocked progress on the town mission - it has too many branches for different consequences of the secret objectives).



#6 Destined

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:04 PM

"cleanse the place from all living things"..?

That's a misquote - I said, "the whole secret place is an affront and must be cleansed" - nothing about mass murder... Who do you think I am? Stalin?
Easy enough to assume from the context, though...

Might be sabotage by shifting some barrels of bang or setting a fuse to destroy a chapel or something - who knows if you're working alone..?
Would be easier to play an explosion and lighting in the distance towards exfil., skybox transition for burning or something, than script a massive scenery change or risk the player being caught in the blast or otherwise stuck.

Easier to close a passageway once conditions are satisfied, reckon, so player cannot return and see that nothing is different (although that would be cool to return a scene of devastation).

Sorry for the misinterpretation. Apparently, I connect "cleansing" with mass murder. Cannot really say why, though...

The explosion would definitely easier to depict by leading the player out of sight and then use a shaking camera and some rumbling sounds than axtually needing to show the explosion.

 

It would be good to discourage overuse of the QS/QL feature so that players must deal with the reactions to their actions/mistakes, rather than QL and be fore-armed with the knowledge that this thing will happen.

 

I've found TDM to be a game where players might do this and it would be good to introduce the concept of consequence of decision (which is why the entity limit has blocked progress on the town mission - it has too many branches for different consequences of the secret objectives).

It is actually possible to disable quicksave and trigger autosaves during a mission. However, this would again enforce a specific playstyle on the player, so I am not sure if it would be received well, but as I am also a notorious quicksaver, I sometimes have to force myself to not do it and simply live with the consequences.

 

Regarding consequences, I have started a new WIP with only a small city section, in which I plan to set a mini-campaign (only two, maximum three levels) and set up consequences depending on the playstyle and other points. E.g. if guards are KOed, the number of patrols will be increased. If any guards are killed, I am even thinking about setting up a road block with checkpoints that control any passers through. Another example would be that the player can damage a water valve, that leads to a section being flooded in the second playthrough. The constant setting saves me some building time and the player will recognise already visited areas.

I am not sure, if this will ever see the light of day, but currently I am quite motivated to finish it. And this way you, at least, do not have the problem with the entity maximum.


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#7 V-Man339

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 05:41 PM

The question you need to ask is what difficulty you want for your mission, and how to contextualize it.

Player preference, in my opinion, should not hold as much sway as people assume due to the sheer quantity of levels released by this point; there are easy and hard missions in large amounts, make your mission.


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I like to record difficult stealth games, and right now you wonderful people are the only ones delivering on that front.
Click here for the crappy channel where that happens.


#8 demagogue

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 08:37 PM

My case study is Fen's commentary while playing my FM, which has "no killing" as an optional objective on expert. There's a very hard AI to get by without confrontation (if you can't find the way to KO or avoid him which I made sure exists so it's ghostable, but it's not easy to find), and you need his belt key. He's also a really bad guy, so people may want to kill him anyway.

He struggled with the debate, saying he technically could kill him, but thinking he ought to try another way, and he kept trying and trying. Actually in one run he did kill him in an exciting (to watch) sword duel that he doesn't do often and won. But then he felt guilty I guess and reloaded to see if he could do it without the kill.

In the end he discovered that, unlike Thief, in TDM you can actually pickpocket an AI on alert. (Actually he still misinterpreted it. He used a flashbomb and discovered you can pickpocket them while blinded. But I believe you can pickpocket any time, even as they're swinging a sword at you, which would have made his task much easier & less frustrating had he known that, since he thought killing was the only way to get the key here and it wasn't.) But anyway he was elated when his idea worked and he learned something new about the game after trying different approaches.

So it was a mixed bag. He had the frustration of multiple failed attempts but also the excitement of a dramatic swordfight and a little creative gameplay pressured but not forced on to him.
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#9 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 09:50 AM

I know that mission, demagogue - I also used the flashbomb and snatched the key :P



#10 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 10:15 AM

Sorry for the misinterpretation. Apparently, I connect "cleansing" with mass murder.

 

I guess association with the word "ethnic"...

 

It is actually possible to disable quicksave and trigger autosaves during a mission. However, this would again enforce a specific playstyle on the player, so I am not sure if it would be received well, but as I am also a notorious quicksaver, I sometimes have to force myself to not do it and simply live with the consequences.



I was unaware of this feature - speculated only - thanks for letting me know about it.
However I agree that to disable the feature might not be a good idea.


 

Regarding consequences, I have started a new WIP with only a small city section, in which I plan to set a mini-campaign (only two, maximum three levels) and set up consequences depending on the playstyle and other points. E.g. if guards are KOed, the number of patrols will be increased. If any guards are killed, I am even thinking about setting up a road block with checkpoints that control any passers through. Another example would be that the player can damage a water valve, that leads to a section being flooded in the second playthrough. The constant setting saves me some building time and the player will recognise already visited areas.

I am not sure, if this will ever see the light of day, but currently I am quite motivated to finish it. And this way you, at least, do not have the problem with the entity maximum.

 

That is a decent idea... I like the idea of the sabotage and filling with water or some other event that would either remove [drown] AI or provide barriers or alternate routes through water - nice one.

I was going with, eg, a player kills or KO's someone or is spotted and causes an alarm, thereby failing a secret objective - this causes a symmetrical room to spin 90 degrees and so, later, when the player reaches this point, they are left with a single pathway that is based upon previous actions. All roads lead to rome, but the final area is determined by the number of rotations/triggered fails that caused previous rooms to spin.

Perhaps adding something similar such as increased patrols (easier to open a door to release a few guards, than copy-paste the entire area and change it accordingly) is a much better idea for certain sections and would certainly decrease the map size (esp. since most of it is not visited due to denial of access during each playthrough) - neat.

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#11 Destined

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 10:59 AM

Creating whole new paths as a consequence for player behaviour is also a very nice idea. I would not have thought of rotating a room to achieve that. However, as you already said, it is very entity intensive. You can do a lot of things with hidden objectives and creating different AI paths or numbers. As I said, it is easier to achieve in a campaign, I think, but for this you actually have to have enough material for a campaign...

 

The flooded area is something, I hope, will simply be adding/removing a water entity. If the included entities are moveables, they should float. However, I have already experienced, that even a boat does not necessarily float, although it should. I will have to test it, when I come to this part. Currently, I am still building the city section (and I am taking quite a lot of time for that)

 

This approach was mostly inspired of (or rather copied from) the Dishonored games, that increase rats/weeper or bloodflies/keeper numbers, when you play on high chaos.



#12 Judith

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 11:38 AM

I thought about something similar just for randomising purposes, but it would be easier to achieve it just with switching visibility of meshes, walls for doorways or unfrobable/frobable doors. I wouldn't worry about splitting map into parts if the design allows for having transition zones reached only by player, i.e. with ladders. If you'd use the same textures, materials and models across your maps, loading time should be relatively short.



#13 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:13 PM

I've noticed an increase in copying from Dishonored lately here - i've read it several times today already...

So long as TDM doesn't get possession and teleport spells or lose its roots...

How would it work to know that a player turned a wheel in a previous campaign mission, to flood an area, so that the second (presumably another install) mission knows it was flooded..?
Unless, it was a required action and therefore part of the scripted narrative..?

 

For a boat - I found it best to build one out of brushes, func_mover, run it along a catmulrom spline with a script that is called by a triggeronce. However - any water that should be "outside" appears to clip through. This can be countered by adding a small deck or putting a bucket (as a prop for "bailing") and simply saying, "leaky old tub". Splash decal is a bit OTT for the front. Basically, a platform on the water.

        $anchor.time(30);
        $anchor.accelTime(.1);
        $anchor.decelTime(.1);

// accel and decel need playing with depending on size - player can slide around and any objects on the boat (eg, bucket and sack of loot or whatever) need to be bound to the mover else can drop when it jolts to move.

        $anchor.startSpline($boatspline1);

Oars, I've not done - it was too much hassle to bind them and include the motion and splash decals I wanted to work on the rest of the stuff, rather than the first 10 seconds where you arrive in a boat under the bridge infil/exfil.

Was gonna use the oars as buttons to start the platform moving, as here: http://wiki.thedarkm...tton_Is_Pressed

Didn't use .move because it's easier to map the spline and simply move along that with a short script, rather than deal with measuring stuff.

Can't read the other reply - it's a red bar.


Edited by teh_saccade, 22 April 2017 - 12:14 PM.


#14 AluminumHaste

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:22 PM

I've noticed an increase in copying from Dishonored lately here - i've read it several times today already...

So long as TDM doesn't get possession and teleport spells or lose its roots...

What do you mean?


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

#15 wesp5

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:39 PM

What do you mean?

I think he meant increasing guard activity in case the player wasn't cautious, like with the low and high chaos levels in Dishonored.



#16 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:39 PM

Well... today I have read several times in different threads, the word "Dishonored", often accompanied with "trying to achieve something similar to" or "looks very", etc...

An observation only.

I enjoyed the first dishonored, never really used the magic or powers and stuff.

Not saying it's a bad thing - stealing body parts is exactly how frankenstein's monster was created and he's pretty awesome - but I'm T2 and DX kinda fan, not into superheroes (except batman).



#17 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:41 PM

I think he meant increasing guard activity in case the player wasn't cautious, like with the low and high chaos levels in Dishonored.

 

Yeah - see - even I'm guilty of "copying" Dishonored with wanting to have high and low alert paths.
It's the same as the high and low chaos and resultant impact this had on the city and stuff.

Can't help it if those guys did it first and better - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (and then plant a nuke before the xmas party).

 

//

Implementing such a thing into a mission would give it more replay value and - I think - more interesting to play with as well as play through.
Doing this in TDM is proving to be challenging. In light of gaming trends, it would be a good thing, I reckon.

Plus, I enjoy designs that cause players to have to live with consequences - especially from moral decisions.
It allows both for an increase in engagement with "the character" as the player imposes and also a detachment from "self" if you decide to be wtf you want.


Edited by teh_saccade, 22 April 2017 - 12:47 PM.


#18 AluminumHaste

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:43 PM

Oh in regards to this discussion of the campaign, not the mod in general.


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

#19 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:51 PM

Oh in regards to this discussion of the campaign, not the mod in general.

 

Oh...

 

In that case... nothing - talking about different things - i'm out of the loop when it comes to official campaign and stuff - only found out about it yesterday.

I was talking about a single mission and problem-solving that, not a campaign.

Cross-wires:)

 



#20 Destined

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 12:52 PM

How would it work to know that a player turned a wheel in a previous campaign mission, to flood an area, so that the second (presumably another install) mission knows it was flooded..?
Unless, it was a required action and therefore part of the scripted narrative..?

It is possible (or should be, as I have not tried it myself) to transfer objectives into later missions in a campaign (it will not be possible, if you release the missions one by one). I am not sure, if it is possible to even transfer script values, which would make some things much easier, but working with hidden objectives should be fine.

 

I also tried a func_bobbing for the boat, but it did not look too good. The main problem I had was, that it was supposed to float, but was set on the ground beneath the water entity and stayed there, until you touched it. It is still down there, so it looks like the player has sunk it (which would actually make sense for the mission as the player has another way out). I also have not spent too much time on it, because it is in the very first section and the player will spend only a couple of seconds there.

 

I do not intend to change TDM into Dishonored (although I enjoy the games quite a lot). The option to fight your way through all the guards alone is a no-go for a stealth game like TDM. But there are a couple of ideas and aesthetics that are quite appealing and are worth to adopt.


Edited by Destined, 22 April 2017 - 12:53 PM.


#21 teh_saccade

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 01:01 PM

It did look very nice, had good puzzles, story was ok and some nice level design (although a little linear in places).

But, yeah - the boat thing - usually it's just a vehicle for the intro, I guess, in scenarios I've tested that and "trains" or mine-cart rides and stuff.

You could get the bobbing effect using the spline, if you also added some small rotation. Far more subtle.

However, It's nice to simply start with the boat docked or on the bank and be able to shift off straight away rather than have to wait 10-20s for it to get to a point and jumping off and swimming becomes appealing because patience is thinner than having to listen to the same conversations over and over and over down the few avenues open to exploration of games like Dishonored and Hitman: Absolute-Shiteion autosaving before a cutscene.

 

// it's pub o'clock :) L8r - ty for the conversation.


Edited by teh_saccade, 22 April 2017 - 01:01 PM.


#22 wesp5

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 03:14 AM

The option to fight your way through all the guards alone is a no-go for a stealth game like TDM.

This is actually something which annoyed me about Dishonored. They give you all those great weapons and ways to kill enemies, but if you do so, even as rarely as possible, you get punished for it later, by some strange game mechanism or different ending cutscenes! That doesn't really make sense...


Edited by wesp5, 23 April 2017 - 03:15 AM.


#23 Destined

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 04:17 AM

I would not call it punishment. It is simply a different ending, that depends on your playstyle. I am currently playeing the second part in high-chaos and it is still recommended to avoid fighting more than one or two guards at the same time, which still requires a certain amount of stealth/tactics. In my opinion it heightens the replay values, as you do not simply play the exact same game, just with different playstyles and I like that (which is why I want to do something similar in my WIP). It is not really about punishing the player for "bad" behaviour, but rather showing up consequences of your actions (some good, some bad). I am not sure, to what extent the optional obejctives influence later levels. I read somewhere that they do, but I have not noticed how, yet.

By the way, I noticed just yesterday, that not only the ending cutscene is different. Due to a bug the low-chaos introduction played at the beginning of the map I am currently in, while I heard the low-chaos introduction the day before (I quit the game right after the introduction the day before). There are only minor differences in them, but the tone of the high-chaos version is darker and more ruthless. I believe, the same is true for character comments in the levels.


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#24 wesp5

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 09:24 AM

I would not call it punishment. It is simply a different ending, that depends on your playstyle.

I can't really remember the original game endings, but in the DLCs the ending switches from live to death without any logical reason and you do get much more tools to kill than to stun as well. So to me it's clearly a punishment even if you buy as many stun arrows as available and don't kill anyone not necessary and no civilians either...



#25 Destined

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 11:23 AM

Yeah, the non-lethal way had only limited tools in the first part. This was improved in the second part. For each lethal tool, you usually also got a non-lethal one (apart from guns, but these are so loud that they are defnitiely not inteded for stealth). Also, the drop-down assassination was extended with a drop-down KO option, so a non-lethal approach basically had the same possibilities as the lethal one. You could even end a swordfight in a non-lethal way.

I have to admit that I have never finished the first part in high chaos :blush: , so I can not really say anything about the differences there. My post was only about the second part.






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