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The End Is Nigh


Sir Taffsalot
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-Knockouted guard is found by another, he start looking for a murderer right away, no searching him or check him if he is not asleep.

Guards usually kneel and check the body.

 

-When the guards are in searching state, they still walk mindlessly towards walls, nothing like becoming just suspicious and try to look around, or become scared or try a different patrol route, or hide in shadows himself.

Lack of monsterclip can cause this which is technical issue and duty of mapper actually.

 

-I didn´t notice guards waking up after knockouts, it always bothered me in Thief games. The only difference between backstab and knockout was different weapon usage, he won´t wake up anyway.

I think it'll be good feature which won't be implemented soon unless a coder jumps in.

 

-People doing real things. Like there is dinner in the manor and then they all go to sleep, or to living room, or there is some kind of event that night and you have to take advantage of that. Something that was in Thief games, but in very primitive way.

Sneak and Destroy (fm by serioustoni) is good example for this.

 

-Also what bothered me a bit about Dark mod were some animations. Guards should be sleepy, tired, doing the job they don´t like very much in the time they should be sleeping at home. They should walk lazy and have more realistic physical proportions.

There is a sleep and/or drunk animation but not very succesful I guess which won't be updated unless an animator jumps in. :)

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I'm sure it could be done manually by a mapper using scripting.

 

Maybe mapper could remove fallen AI and teleport new ones in, but it would be glitchy and look bad. As far I know, there is no way to make KO'd AI to step up and get back to work.

 

I personally did not like the AI getting up after non-lethal takedown in early hitman games. Methinks it is better to keep them unconscious as it makes non-lethal takedowns viable and reliable. Having KOd AI to wake up would just result in sudden alerts the player does not necessarily even understand as they cannot see the KOd AI to get up.

 

KO in TDM is still more difficult than killing: you need to surprise the enemy and approach directly from behind. Killing people is dead easy as you can shoot an arrow from the shadows into the AI's eye. But like Spring said, that makes a ruckus and leaves a mess: body, blood and possibly a weapon, which the player needs to clean up.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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-About knocking the guards. In Thief you could just use normal difficulty and kill the whole level. Or you can go with expert with no possibility to kill. When somebody doesn´t feel like running away from guards, he can lower difficulty. It adds to the gameplay with challenge, so you won´t knock out the whole town without problems. His behaviour could be - basically he wakes up nearby guards and looks for you.

 

-About their searching state, I meant that they automatically change the obvious animation, there should be some variety, like they try to fool you or some of those above mentioned actions. This was immersive back when Thief came out, but standards rised a bit. It is connected to the sounds. When the guard hears a sound, he automatically looks for you. Another flaw of all Thief games. They should look for the source of the sound. Those metal steps can come from another guard, bu he turns only after hearing yours.

 

-I agree about TDS animations, they were of course worse than old Thief animations. It would nice to see those great hammerite animations from old Thief with your detailed models. About their physical proportions I meant like some guard with different weight or humpbacked, leaned toward wall, etc...

 

Some people in Thief community won´t ever be satisfied, because they won´t accept any change to the game and will like Thief 4 or TDM only if it would be complete copy of Thief 2. One of the examples were rants about Kurshoks from TDS. After so many strange, woodsie creatures, apemen, etc they were ranting in Thief 4 forums about them being irrelevant or something. Why? I mean they were not my favourite enemy, but I took them as another trickster´s creatures, no matter if they WERE or WEREN´t in Thief 2. I didn´t like them because they acted like basic guards, just with different model and voiceset, but many "fans" didn´t like them because they weren´t in Thief 2. There were plenty of other things I can´t think of right now.

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His behaviour could be - basically he wakes up nearby guards and looks for you.

 

It's far more complicated that that.

 

1. You need some kind of animation system to transition from ragdoll to "getting up" which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do.

2. You need code so the AI can locate and pick up his weapon. And what happens if the player dropped it somewhere not retrievable?

3. What if the player drops an AI down a hole or into a monsterclipped area? How does he get back to his patrol route, assuming that is his goal? What would be the point of searching the bottom of the well, if that's where he got dumped?

4. Having an AI wake up and start searching doesn't add much to gameplay, as the player is probably long gone at that point. And having them just return to their regular route like nothing happened (in addition to being very difficult to do) also seems silly.

5. If players have to worry about KO'd guards getting up, they'll just kill them instead, which would mean forced no-kill objectives, which we don't want to encourage.

 

There are other issues as well.

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The ragdoll thing always fascinated me. How do you make them get up from a ragdoll motion? Splinter Cell Chaos Theory did it IIRC. One "hack" would be to have guards only get up when the player isn't looking in their direction. :) Another "hack" would be only to have them ragdoll when killed, but use pre-recorded animations for KOs. I've seen a few games do this.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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The ragdoll thing always fascinated me. How do you make them get up from a ragdoll motion? Splinter Cell Chaos Theory did it IIRC. One "hack" would be to have guards only get up when the player isn't looking in their direction. :) Another "hack" would be only to have them ragdoll when killed, but use pre-recorded animations for KOs. I've seen a few games do this.

 

Plenty of games use the AI get up from ragdoll. Oblivion used it: you could topple enemies with successfull special move. Mass Effect 1&2 used it: if you buddies got injured, they fell as a ragdoll but recovered back into animated AI's once they recovered.

 

In both cases, the effect was that the ragdoll rotated incredibly quickly on its stomach and then played the slow get up animation. Since the ragdoll -> beginning of the get up animation transition was very fast, it didn't look very bad. ME games sidestepped the buddy AI's getting stuck with simply teleporting the AI near the player if they got stuck.

 

So it is doable, but I'm not sure if it would be a good idea for TDM. If some coder really wanted to take the challenge to create something like this, I think the best way would be:

1) KOd AI stay down indefinetly, unless...

2) Another AI finds a KOd AI. The awake AI wakes the KOd AI up and the KOd AI resumes patrol, very angry.

3) If the KOd AI got stuck when he got up and the player could not see him, the game would teleport the AI to a special entity the mapper placed. Or maybe directly to a flee_point of the corresponding team.

 

But yeah, not critical thing: maybe TDM 10.0 or something.. :P

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Also Oblivion/Skyrim had a more low tech way of resurrecting dead enemies. Use the console, click the corpse, type "resurrect". They will magically fade in near to where they were and resume doing things. When I say that a mapper could script KOs waking up, I figure that they would do it while the player isn't looking, for a very specific and niche purpose, if at all.

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In both cases, the effect was that the ragdoll rotated incredibly quickly on its stomach and then played the slow get up animation.

 

I can't imagine how that would work. What if the ragdoll was upside down? What if it was draped on a bed? What if it was pushed underneath some shelves (as I often do). It's one thing if the ragdoll just stays where it falls, but when the player can carry the body and drop/drag it anywhere, there's no effective way to deal with it (that I can think of) other than an incredibly hacky, "just delete the ragdoll and respawn the AI somewhere else when the player isn't looking).

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I think that's probably the best solution, and I don't find it so "hacky" really. You know, a watched pot never boils and all. It could maybe work by whether the portal is visible or not, or something like that.

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Reminds me of No One Lives Forever 2, where (on some missions) no matter how many guards you took out, they would respawn in locations when you weren't looking. That definitely would be bad for TDM. (respawning guards I mean) Now I'm tempted to play Chaos Theory to see if they ragdolled when knocked out or just used static animations.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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I can't imagine how that would work. What if the ragdoll was upside down?

 

It would just spin very quickly into the get up animation position. It would look like as if the ragdoll rolled on its stomach. GTA IV also has ragdolls getting up and those work from any position the character might end up in:

1:30.

 

What if it was draped on a bed? What if it was pushed underneath some shelves (as I often do). It's one thing if the ragdoll just stays where it falls, but when the player can carry the body and drop/drag it anywhere, there's no effective way to deal with it (that I can think of) other than an incredibly hacky, "just delete the ragdoll and respawn the AI somewhere else when the player isn't looking).

 

In oblivion and ME games it did not matter much as ME would teleport the friends to you when you looked elsewhere. In Oblivion the AI would sometimes get hopelessly stuck. Both games did not allow the player moving the ragdolls. Maybe it would be possible to detect a nearest free AAS32 area and the AI would just slide there while getting up. If the awake AI was the only way to revive the KOd one, there should be free AAS area nearby, right? It there were no AAS32 areas, the AI would remain unconscious.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Sotha. GTA IV also has ragdolls getting up and those work from any position the character might end up in:

 

GTA IV is also using Euphoria for NPC animations, which is like a $3000 software kit or something. It might not be so easy to just code up, even if you wanted to.

 

Also I agree with this:

lost_soul. That definitely would be bad for TDM. (respawning guards I mean)

 

Having them literally re-spawn is way against the whole ethos of TDM to be an immersive sim where what you see is what you get, and the world generally acts like it's supposed to. I really get annoyed at this in something like GTA3 where NPCs just pop in and out arbitrarily. It's like they're not real people in the real world anymore, and you can feel you're in a game.

 

Having a KO'd NPC actually get up (putting aside the practical problems), wouldn't be world breaking like re-spawning, but I still don't like it because it'd break the gameplay too much I think. One, the incentive now is to kill not KO (so they don't get up), and two, the player wants to clear out an area so he has a safe space. The idea of safe & dangerous space is sort of at the heart of the gameplay, so I think it's important to give players a tool to make a space safe as part of the gameplay, and that's what KO'ing is... Letting NPCs get up kills that whole angle and takes away from the core gameplay because of that, I think.

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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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... and there's lots of cross-fertilization.

 

Ugh, don't you mean cross-polination? cross-fertilization sounds gross to me - like pissing on each other's grass :D

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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  • 2 weeks later...

And the second problem I have with your proposition is that a campaign will bring the "success". That was said about a v1.0 release, about a release that is feature-complete, about "when we have more than 10 FMs", and about almost anything else. A common theme is now the campaign and D3-free TDM. But you can bet that if a campaign is released, the next big thing will be "TDM will be succesful if they have 2 campaigns in 5 languages, with a blockbuster movie in the cinema" or some such nonsense. Basically, it never stops. People always ask for more, but rarely ever contribute. (I don't fault them, it just tires me :)

 

Edit: It is like people complaining about the free book with the 50 short-stories (where the major number of them is very good), that they wan't a better cover picture and that they'd like a "real novel" instead. You cannot win in this "game", when you deliver content for free and people still complain that they want something else or something bigger, better or more. That starts to really annoy me - and it makes me really questioning why I am still doing this. End of edit.

 

 

Nobody is questioning the amount of work put into TDM by the select few team members for it to get this far, or even the fair amount of publicity it has received on moddb by winning that award & the attention its gotten on TTLG, thief blogs. (even if TTLG was a mostly negative one).

The problem is it hasn't gotten any where near enough new players/commentors and contributors as it deserves. I think the point is there are milestones, and each one gets closer to the level of success/popularity that the mod should have according to how much work has been put into it. The campaign is going to put the mod towards a lengthy, coherent & proper gameplay experience, that people look for in mods/games.

 

I know what you are saying, and I'd love to have a campaign (just to shut up all the "we need a campaign" threads so we can back to work :P

 

However, I really really do wonder how a campaign will work out, given that even simple low-level tasks (like replace a few D3 specific textures, or paint some characters for the foreign language support) are not getting done because nobody has time, can be bothered etc. And that's not even the large coding tasks, or the large mapping tasks (a campaign needs a lot of mapping time!).

 

Also, if you look at commercial games, often they have very very short playtime, and yet, they sell millions for the multi-player (or even for their short content, Half Life Lost Coast comes to mind). IN these terms, I wonder if we really *need* a campaign, or if people just wish we had one and justify their wish with "oh the MOD will really be successful and shine it's strenght then". With that reasoning, give people one campaign, and you *will* see them complain that it is too short, that TDM needs really a trilogy of campaigns, that we need multiplayer, that it needs to run on consoles and android etc. When it comes to wishes, the sky is the limit..

 

And at the same time, the developers (modellers, sound guys, everyone doing the actual work) get burned out every second week, and see nothing but work, work, work, no joy. And for every bug we fix, 5 new ones crop up. Before v1.06, our bug tracker had 400 unresolved issues. Now, even after fixing a lot of bugs, we at 440 open issues. Granted, a few are feature requests, but the workload doesn't seem to get smaller, and the outlook is dim (e.g. "a 50% chance that yet another person gives up working, slight flaming wars in the forums with high temperatures leading to a potential ban").

 

So, I can just wish the guys working on the campaign all the luck, because they gonna need it. And it will be cool when it is done! Let's just hope that it works out, and that the rest of the mod doesn't fizzle out in the meantime.

 

Yes but you've just highlighted the crux of the problem right there, even though your arguing against a campaign. That the lively of TDM rests on the balance of a few dedicated people. If all they ever do is fix bugs or continue working on the core of the mod and popularity simmers at the point its at,

It poses a bigger risk of having the core development team "burning out", and having everything die with them.

all it will do is make things stagnate... less activity on the forums & less fm's will mean less people will get interested. The key to turning that around is not just getting featured in a magazine or by big name gamers in podcasts/reviewers, is by having a actual campaign... or multiplayer.

 

Where not just arguing about ambiguous things like "how popular can mods get?" or "how popular can thief be and the style of gameplay we offer?"

 

You know why games do the level design once they have their editors up and running, and make the textures/models along with the level design, expand on them both as they go through the game development cycle... and lets not forget the concept art and storyboard that is done before any of this. The campaign is essentially a top priority for games because it was what its all about. Putting all the attention on creating the "tools" for people to use and more core content is limiting in it's appeal.

 

The obvious exception is a "open world" environment like Minecraft, eventhough all the work went into 'tools' for the people to use, its in a big randomly generated environment that anyone can get into... which is level design! It's a rare thing and where not going to talk about exceptions here.

 

Games are about the gameplay. It's why people purchase them and seek them out. So creating a coherent lengthy experience, the key word there, is what people are after.

 

It's the biggest milestone... it's not about always wanting more. Seeing higher and higher mountains.. it's about actually making the damn mountain rather than just growing more grass & laying more foundations.

 

The only valid point is the other side of the coin, if the localizations aren't done by the time the next big publicity event we risk losing more of the foreign Thief fanbase & potential fans.

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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So creating a coherent lengthy experience

 

What exactly do you think will make a campaign more significant than a series of connected missions, like Sotha's missions or No Honour Among Thieves?

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What exactly do you think will make a campaign more significant than a series of connected missions, like Sotha's missions or No Honour Among Thieves?

 

Ah you beat me to it. I was thinking over why small series of connected fm's don't hold the same water as a official campaign does. I think it stems from the problem of not catering to "convenience". When people fire up the TDM they may not know where to start, what to download, if they have to google 'tdm storymode/campaign' or what not.

Having Saint Lucia fm automatically come with TDM was an idea thrown about before, and I think that it was a great idea and only now is it being put forward for 1.08.

Not to mention a campaign is something that would be brought to light through publicity. Connected FM's hasn't gotten that advantage. Even I didn't know there where any until recently.

Theres also the idea that there is a big contrast between each series of fm's. Each are made by different author & each contain their creators idiosyncrasies. That is a advantage in my eyes but it creates a problem of 'being fractured'. They are released in parts (fm's), so when you start playing them you know that it isn't the "end", the author is probably making another part. The story hasn't come full circle. So the experience isn't complete. The experience is fractured.

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as a official campaign does

 

Crucible of Omens isn't an "official" campaign, any more than No Honour Among Thieves was. And NHAT did have a story that went "full circle", so that criticism doesn't make much sense to me either.

 

Not to mention a campaign is something that would be brought to light through publicity. Connected FM's hasn't gotten that advantage. Even I didn't know there where any until recently.

 

 

Well, that's true. NHAT has never gotten the publicity it deserves. Is that it though? If NHAT came pre-loaded in TDM, would that satisfy people, do you think?

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Crucible of Omens isn't an "official" campaign, any more than No Honour Among Thieves was. And NHAT did have a story that went "full circle", so that criticism doesn't make much sense to me either.

 

Ah but you see it is. Because its a collaboration. Not a individual effort.

My 3 points stand even if NHAT is the exception to the third point.

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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Ah but you see it is. Because its a collaboration. Not a individual effort. That is the key difference between a game and a fm.

 

Huh?

 

What difference does it make how many people worked on it? If Goldcochobo had more people than just himself working on NHAT (which is quite possible, I have no idea) does that suddenly turn it from an "fm" to a "game" by your definition? What possible impact could this have on the new players we hope to attract to TDM, since they won't have any idea how many people worked on either campaign?

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What difference does it make how many people worked on it? If Goldcochobo had more people than just himself working on NHAT (which is quite possible, I have no idea) does that suddenly turn it from an "fm" to a "game" by your definition? What possible impact could this have on the new players we hope to attract to TDM, since they won't have any idea how many people worked on either campaign?

 

the length, and the fact it comes with the mod would speak for itself...

Aslong as it covers the 3 criteria as I said.

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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Well now you're moving to two different factors, neither of which has anything to do with how many people are involved.

 

So NHAT would not have the necessary impact because it is not as long? So far that's the only difference I can see (since we're dealing with a hypothetical where NHAT _would_ "come with the mod".

 

I'm not trying to antagonize you over this, but I'd like to pin down exactly what it is that people think will be so important about "a campaign". Lots of people say it, but very few specific reasons are offered. It winds up sounding a lot like magical thinking to me.

 

So, since NHAT is short, let's use Sotha's missions. I haven't played the last one, so I don't know if it wraps up the storyline, but let's pretend it does. If we took Sotha's six missions (Crucible is not going to be much longer than that), packaged them together into campaign format and included it in the mod, would that satisfy the people who keep saying we need a campaign? Or is there something more?

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Well I suppose when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if something is made by one or more people. The reason why I used the word 'official', is that the people who created this project made it the way it is through collaboration, and it would be pretty dam tough to make a 'game' on ones own especially with adequate play time. I would say that NHAT or Sotha's could 'be official' if most of the TDM team agreed to it. I think it would be a shame to not have a 'collaborated effort' on the campaign. It would be missing out on alot of talent. I think everyone deserves to be part of this journey to the top the mountain so to speak...

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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I think it would be a shame to not have a 'collaborated effort' on the campaign

 

If you mean having more than one person working on it, then yes, the campaign is being worked on by a small core of about three or four mappers. If you mean having the same development team that made TDM itself working on it, then no, that's not what is happening (if it was, who would be left to work on mod updates?).

 

I think when people say, "TDM needs a campaign" they are somehow imagining the same experience they had playing Thief 1....a dozen exceptional missions created by an entire team full of professional level designers, actors, animators, modellers, etc. Those original campaigns were the first introduction to an entirely new setting that no one had any preconceived notions about. Everything was unknown and wonderful and the missions led you by the hand through an entirely new experience.

 

Crucibles is not at all like that, and I'm not sure anything could be at this point. Even T2X was not that, as good as it was.

 

That's why I'm suspicious that when people talk about the necessity of "a campaign" for TDM, I suspect it's a bit of "Good old days" syndrome.

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I can only talk for myself but, when I say "TDM needs a campaign", is because I feel TDM needs its own set of rules, conventions, vocabulary, its own universe and other adjectives. Something to serve as a guideline for mappers, mainly.

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