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#51 sparhawk

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 01:37 AM

You are approaching the problem as though it was mainly an AI programming issue, when it is just as much a mapping issue.


No it's not. It's a balancing issue.

How are pathnodes handled in D3/Dark Mod maps? I don't think it is necesarily as difficult as you seem to think. I know how to construct pathnodes (with a bit of unreal scripting) in Unreal Ed that will enable AI to do all kinds of things like figure out where they are and where they are meant to go (though I haven't tackled the problem with unconscious guards, I've made maps with situations where an AI is teleported somewhere and needs to know where to go from there, etc).


That's not the problem. With our current code we already could do this easily.

A weaponless AI can be put into a kind of search mode, where they probe their environment continuously until they find a pathnode that will lead them to where they need to go. If they come across a weapon, they will pick it up and equip it.


That would also be no problem because our current code could also handle this. So it would be more a matter of animation. You are welcome though to create some pickup animations as they would also be usefull for other purposes.

Actually, having the AI wander around in a daze isn't that unrealistic either - if they have a concussion to the occipital region, their vision will be blurry, they will be disorented and they might not be cogent enough to worry about. You could hae them wander about saying "my head hurts" "where am I?" etc.


And what point would that serve? An AI that is just wandering around, incapable of doing anything, just being there?

Granted, no matter how you do it, it might be more effort than it is worth, so really, unless you do have the possibility of guards waking up, there is no functional differnence between unconscious AI and dead AI.


We have discussed this and decided against it. It's not a matter of coding it, because this would be the easy part and would be already possible with a little extras. So it's not that we couldn't do it, it's just that we don't want to do it.
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#52 Dunedain

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 02:53 AM

Springheel and New Horizon have both brought up excellent reasons for not having knocked out
guards wake up that I hadn't considered. So after thinking it over further, I'm against the idea
of guards waking up after being knocked out, it just causes too many problems.

A good point has been made, there are some important differences between killing and knocking
out guards. For one, there is the benefit of knocking out a guard silently. This requires more skill
and effort, because you have to get right up next to the guard without being noticed and precisely
place a blow with the blackjack to knock him out suddenly. The reward is you can do this very
quietly so as not to alert other guards. Also, there is no blood at all from this, this is very important
for not tipping guards off that something is very wrong. And the mentioned crucial role-playing
aspect. Garrett, for example, is a thief, not a murdering madman that goes around killing people
needlessly. He steal things to make a living, and to accomplish certain tasks that he must complete
when he finds himself caught up in rather serious matters involving the Hammerites, Keepers, etc.
He tries to steal things without being noticed or having run-ins with guards. He always conducts himself
in a professional manner, he is a master thief. So knocking out guards when possible is to be
encouraged generally over killing, if one must interact with a guard. It's a central aspect to Thief. :)

#53 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 10:31 AM

knockouts while airborne require more skill and effort

#54 obscurus

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 09:31 PM

Spring already mentioned the problems with AI waking up, and it is very much a programming issue...as much as a mapping issue. In addition to those problems, you're further encouraging the player to kill..because if the AI won't stay down, they're sure as hell not going to dick around with guards they supposedly knocked out and have to knock out repeatedly. The guards who wake up, would likely also bring in backup...so again, the player is slapped in the face for being stealthy. Knocking out guards is supposed to be a gameplay reward, for using stealth...over..murder. It also throws a wrench into the whole 'no kill' objective that crops up in higher difficulties...what if you're in a heavily populated map and the awakening guards make it next to impossible to finish without becoming completely frustrated? Yes, I know that this can come down to mapping as well, but it's pretty obvious that the gameplay would become severely unbalanced with re-awakening guards.

The choice you make...regardless of how miniscule it might seem, is the difference between you being a Thief and a cold blooded killer. Killing AI is louder, more messy and (at least in TDM) more of a hassle...for those who are a little more determined to be a killer, they will just try harder. Blackjacking can still be tricky, but it is encouraged more because it carries moral implications...and the stats will let you know it...or a Failed Mission screen on higher difficulties.

At any rate, we discussed the pros and cons to death within our internal dev forums. It's bad for gameplay.
Sure, the initial waking up might not be hard...but the introduction of such AI behaviour creates a veritable hell storm of 'extra' gameplay issues to balance. It changes the nature of Thief style gameplay more than you might think...and balancing the system we're already familiar with is going to be challenging enough. It's a 'cool' idea, but not necessarily a good idea for what we're trying to accomplish. Maybe for a different type of game, but not for a Thief game.



I get what you are saying, and agree with a fair bit of it, but for me being a stealthy thief means not engaging in any kind of physical contact with enemy AI, and the choice for the player would be more a matter of deciding how to get past guards without so much as touching them, or if absolutely necessary, they might kill them but then have to deal with the consequences (nasty consequences). I agree it makes balancing gameplay very complex if you introduce the extra variable of guards waking up, but I am more trying to make the point that unconscious AI could be excluded altogether, and maps could be designed so that the optimum path for success involves the avoidance of guards and of killing them especially.

Knocking people out is not really any more thief-like than murdering them, as both would be something that a thief would avoid if they were a master thief who leaves little trace of their existence, other than the absence of the things they steal (since in RL at least there is a very real risk of killing someone you only intended to KO, and most thieves, if they were going to go that far, would probably go the extra inch and kill them if they were to engage at all). I would prefer if the game discourages both killing AND KOing.

I certainly welcome highly complex gameplay - the more variables, the higher the challenge, the better - but I've come to recognise that I am quite abnormal in that regard, and I can't expect anyone else to tag along. So in the interests of simplifying gameplay, my suggestion is to ditch KOing and unconscious guards altogether.


Sparhawk: "No it's not. It's a balancing issue."

I agree, but I was focusing on the technical feasibility of it, not the gameplay ramifications so much. Seems you agree that it is technically feasible, which was my main point.

"And what point would that serve? An AI that is just wandering around, incapable of doing anything, just being there?"

Not much at all, but I suppose a dazed AI wandering around could/would alert other Guards that something was amiss. Other than that, it could add a bit of detail to the game, but I personally wouldn't be that concerned about it.

"You are welcome though to create some pickup animations as they would also be usefull for other purposes."

Alas, animation is not something I'm very good at, so as much as I would like to help in this regard, I'm afraid I'd be pretty useless at it.

#55 ZylonBane

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:41 AM

Knocking people out is not really any more thief-like than murdering them, as both would be something that a thief would avoid if they were a master thief who leaves little trace of their existence

On the other hand, shit happens. Things do not always go exactly according to plan, and a game who's sole failure state is "YOU LOSE - START OVER" would not be fun (unless your name is Oddity).

#56 Springheel

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:47 AM

but for me being a stealthy thief means not engaging in any kind of physical contact with enemy AI,


The great thing about this game is that it won't force you to do that. You can drop the blackjack and sword if you like, and then you don't have to worry about what kind of body-carrying systems are present.
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#57 ZylonBane

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:25 AM

Oh crap-- you're actually implementing weapon-dropping?

For the love of god, WHY? It's not like this is a Deus Ex game where weapons consume inventory space. They're just... there. What possible purpose is served by getting rid of extremely useful items that you have no way of knowing whether or not you'll need later in a mission?

#58 Springheel

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:56 AM

Some players want the option of starting with no equipment, or only equipment they choose. This 'dropping' would be done at the purchase screen, so it's not like you can drop your blackjack down a chasm by accident.

What possible purpose is served by getting rid of extremely useful items that you have no way of knowing whether or not you'll need later in a mission?


We've come up with a very clever way for players to avoid that problem.

If you don't know whether you'll need something or not--don't drop it.
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#59 ZylonBane

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:19 AM

Some players want the option of starting with no equipment

Some players want a USB attachment that will deliver an electric shock to their testicles every time a guard spots them, but really, how much should you let Oddity drive the game's feature set?

#60 Springheel

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:32 AM

Yeah, he pushed for that. ;)

But this option doesn't punish anyone else. If you don't want to use it, ignore it.
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#61 New Horizon

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:39 AM

Yeah, he pushed for that. ;)

But this option doesn't punish anyone else. If you don't want to use it, ignore it.


Exactly, it's not enforced or anything. It's just there, I'm sure many people won't care to do it.

#62 ZylonBane

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:59 AM

Still, it seems like the sort of thing that will end up screwing newbies. Like if every time you booted up your computer it asked, "FORMAT HARD DRIVE?". Well yeah, sometimes you do want to format your hard drive. But 99.999% of the time, you don't. You really, really, don't.

In short, as described this feature sounds way too "Oops!"-able. This isn't like Deus Ex where you can throw all your weapons in the ocean and have a full set again by the end of the mission.

Edited by ZylonBane, 05 June 2006 - 12:02 PM.


#63 oDDity

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 12:20 PM

Unlike other games, we expect a certain amount of intelligence from the player base, and see no need to treat them like imbeciles.
I don't particularly want newbs playing this, I can't stop them of course, but I certianly don't want to see the game cater for their 'special' needs, or have the game altered in anyway because of their potential for idiocy.
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#64 New Horizon

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 12:28 PM

Still, it seems like the sort of thing that will end up screwing newbies. Like if every time you booted up your computer it asked, "FORMAT HARD DRIVE?". Well yeah, sometimes you do want to format your hard drive. But 99.999% of the time, you don't. You really, really, don't.

In short, as described this feature sounds way too "Oops!"-able. This isn't like Deus Ex where you can throw all your weapons in the ocean and have a full set again by the end of the mission.


I don't see the problem...surely if they make the mistake once...they will learn not to do it again.

#65 ZylonBane

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 12:41 PM

You know, I think I've used some interfaces designed by you people.

#66 Springheel

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

Like if every time you booted up your computer it asked, "FORMAT HARD DRIVE?".



It's not at all like that. You're not being forced to click something in order to keep your starting gear. You just have the option of deselecting it if you want. Do it by accident? Just reselect it before you start the mission.

If that's too complicated for people then this probably isn't the mod for them.
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#67 DopeFishhh

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 08:59 PM

I'd hate to interupt this new line of discussion, but tying a guards hands and legs and gagging them is pretty much a given if there is the potential they will wake up again. Didn't happen in thief because they didn't wake up again, but imo the point of a blackjack is not about a particularly silent kill, it's fufilling the no killing objective on a map and getting a better rating. I think you could just as easily stab someone and be as quiet, obviously it would have to be a surprise attack.

Murder is obvious, there tends to be alot of blood, if a guard finds a murdered body as opposed to someone who got knocked out, the reaction should be immense. If a guard finds someone who is KO'ed the reaction should be similar but not as intense (perhaps taking longer to kick off a search or something). Also in appropriate missions extra guards should be called in (perhaps town guards) in order to search for the murderer.

Though i'm not too familiar with D3 i was just thinking about how you would reanimate someone (if this wouldn't work then just ignore me :P). I would do a few tests to determine what state the body is in, if on it's back apply a force to make them roll over onto their front. If on their front apply a force to get the arms and legs into the standard get up animation start position (which would be arms beside the body, legs out straight). From there it's just animation, it's not going to be that dynamic, infact you are only creating 1 standard animation sequence and some physics manipulations to perform a standup. If you wanted to start on this, start with the physics, if you can get that working, then it's just an animation after that.

Also oblivion has a reanimation feature, though from memory they do some magical transitions to get the body doing that. and it's literately a reanimation feature. It's part of a quest and after defeating this guy you can reanimate dead bodies (necromancy) with his staff under your control.

#68 bob_arctor

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 04:33 AM

Maybe just have a really obvious "DROP" button or you drag the weapon into the "DROP" bit... make sure it's obvious on the loading up screen.

Can't be that bad. I'm sure you can make it work okay, just to shut Oddity up....

:P


No but seriously it'd be nice to clear out the inventory of things you don't want. I would be very happy with that. I.e. non-vital fire arrows that are not used for a puzzle. I'm not ever going to use that!

Or something like that.

Edited by bob_arctor, 08 June 2006 - 04:34 AM.


#69 Maximius

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:45 AM

Unlike other games, we expect a certain amount of intelligence from the player base, and see no need to treat them like imbeciles.
I don't particularly want newbs playing this, I can't stop them of course, but I certianly don't want to see the game cater for their 'special' needs, or have the game altered in anyway because of their potential for idiocy.



Strangely enough, I agree with Oddity here. Far too many games are tailored for newbs, one of the most delicious aspects of TDM is that I know when its complete its going to be a challenge from start to end. And that nothing will be spoon fed unless a mapper designs it that way specifically.

#70 ZylonBane

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:19 PM

No but seriously it'd be nice to clear out the inventory of things you don't want. I would be very happy with that. I.e. non-vital fire arrows that are not used for a puzzle. I'm not ever going to use that!

But that's the problem right there-- you have no way of knowing what you'll need until you actually play the mission. Precognition is not a valid design premise.

This is probably why so many Thief FMs omit the loadout screen entirely.

The pointless ability in TDM to discard common tools will mean that FM authors will be constrained to never require the use of those tools.

A good thief is always prepared, anyway. Intentionally bringing only the bare minimum equipment that you expect to be absolutely necessary to get the job done is throwing the roleplaying aspect completely out the window (unless you're roleplaying an arrogant, shortsighted halfwit).

#71 New Horizon

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:37 PM

The pointless ability in TDM to discard common tools will mean that FM authors will be constrained to never require the use of those tools.


Nonsense, the FM author can just disable the abilty to drop items. This isn't a commercial game...people will be able to go in and modify whatever they want when it's released. You keep thinking in concrete terms when we really can't enforce any.

#72 oDDity

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 05:42 PM

Yes, if FM authors really feel the need to spoonfeed the player, they can flag an item as undroppable. However, it's really a poorly designed mission that absolutely requires you have the blackjack or have the sword for you to complete it. Good missions should be ghostable by good players, and if it's ghostable, I see no reason why you'd need a sword or a blackjack.

A good thief is always prepared, anyway. Intentionally bringing only the bare minimum equipment that you expect to be absolutely necessary to get the job done is throwing the roleplaying aspect completely out the window (unless you're roleplaying an arrogant, shortsighted halfwit).


...or a thief that's so good and so confident, he prefers to rely on his skills than some contrived gadgets and gimmicks.
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#73 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:13 PM

Dropping a blackjack is very desirable. The first time I saw a blackjack outside of my hand (in Lampfire Hills) I drooled.

#74 Gildoran

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 03:29 PM

I definitely think the mapper should be able to prevent the player from dropping items. There's more than one kind of map... I only find sneaking around partly fun, and only for the fear/ambiance factor. What I really enjoy is exploring some haunted mansion, finding secrets, solving puzzles, exploring the crypts/etc underneath, and piecing together clues to discover the full story of that place. Such maps may easily need the player to have certain tools to solve the puzzles. Of course, such maps aren't thieving simulations, so there's nothing wrong with that.

#75 sparhawk

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 03:33 PM

We already discussed this. If the author prevents a player from dropping a specific item, he can just as well write into the instructions "Don't drop it, you will need it" thus giving aways some info prematurely. And the author can never stop the player from dropping items, once ingame anyway.
Gerhard




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