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Blackjacking -- still too difficult?


  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Is Blackjacking too difficult?

    • Yes, it's frustrating
    • No, it's too easy
    • It's just the right level of challenge


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Tels uses the word praxis all the time when he just means "practice". Praxis is a rather technical term of art pretty much reserved for stuffy continental philosophers talking about implementing some ideology in their actions or practical life. Makes for pretty cool philosophy sometimes (sans the Marxist variant, which was never cool IMO), but not a good term for day to day chatting.

 

You do realize "praxis" is the german word for "practice?" An easy language slip-up to make for a german speaker.

 

There was also someone here talking about 'exemples' rather than examples, a charming small detail betraying their home language.

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Nothing personal to you or anyone else expressing views, but I wish people would stop stating their own opinions as accepted facts, as statements such as this one seem to imply. We have heard many peo

I voted that it's the right difficulty but I don't think this should need any kind of skill at all. My opinion is that the chalenge should come from two factors: approaching the guard silently from be

What he said, seeing playthroughs of Thief FMs on youtube, where every AI is blackjacked as soon as the player spots it really makes me whince everytime.

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I do realize it. It's a funny little mistake & I understood it... I wasn't blaming him or anything (except maybe he should have studied his English lesson a little harder that day ^_^ ... But I can't talk because I took 4 years of German and it's still abysmal.)

 

I just meant praxis is *also* a term in English too that's a little different than our word "practice", so I thought it worth pointing out IMO that he means (with the German word "praxis") what we mean with the word "practice". He doesn't mean what *we* mean by "praxis" when we use that in English (unfortunately heavily vulgarized from its original meaning), which has all this extra baggage about Heideggerian authenticity and Marxist materiality and blah blah blah... I just want to blackjack a guy in a video game. Do I really have to be complicit with some capitalistico-imperial neo-colonialism just to click a mouse? :laugh:

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I just meant praxis is *also* a term in English too that's a little different than our word "practice", so I thought it worth pointing out IMO that he means (with the German word "praxis") what we mean with the word "practice". He doesn't mean what *we* mean by "praxis" when we use that in English (unfortunately heavily vulgarized from its original meaning), which has all this extra baggage about Heideggerian authenticity and Marxist materiality and blah blah blah...

Language is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Sometimes I genuinely marvel that any of us are able to understand each other at all. (When I say 'us', I mean, not just on this forum. I mean any human beings, anywhere.)

 

What was this thread about again? Oh yeah. Hitting people on the head. Jolly good. Carry on. As you were. (etc etc)

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Now that I think about it, there is one thing in the BJ system that could be improved.

 

Some maps have low ceiling. It is impossible to KO the AI as your swing hits the ceiling instead the AI's head. Especially, doorways seem to be KO-invulnerable-AI-zones. I'm not sure how it could be fixed though.

 

There is a relatively easy fix for it: add a side-swinging blackjack attack. It would require a new first person animation, and that's about it. The scripting is all there for the sword, where you can select side to side or overhead swings. We'd probably want to make overhead the default BJ attack, and make the direction-select less sensitive to mouse input than the sword, such that it only went sideways if you really wanted to, since it is so rare.

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I don't see how a sideways swinging attack would help in a doorway. Instead of hitting the top of the frame you'd hit the side.

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I don't think there is any need to further complicate blackjacking. It's fine as it is.

 

What people are having trouble with is how alert the AI are. I think the added alertness makes it difficult for those who are not used to having to be 'really, really' sneaking. In Thief you were able to pull off a bit of a quick burst run. In TDM, the AI were reacting a lot faster.

 

I graymans recent changes that allow for a more realistic buildup to the AI alertness should help deal with that. Perhaps we should ask this question again after people have had a chance to try 1.08.

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As long as you make it a part of the setup/config to adjust the KO (let's call it KO rather than BJ to stop the temptation to silliness) difficulty, then I think it would be a good thing.

 

As long as it isn't a universal change and the current settings are default (or easily set).

 

The adjustments that were made for 1.06 or 1.07 or whenever were mostly about increasing the area of impact effectivenness, right? So just make that the variable that a slider or somesuch links to. Keeping the extremes in some sensible range, of course. Never so much as being able to smack the AI on the toe to KO but maybe -- starting from the crown down -- as low as the shoulder blades?

 

And maybe another slider for acuity as well? Or tie both to a single slider as a general "KO/Combat Difficulty" setting?

 

As long as these things are adjustable and not universal I think what is being said here does make good sense if you want to get more people into the shadows.

 

I love the way TDM works right now. It's almost as beautifully fluid and realistic as I could ask for...

 

...But I am an old Thief. I've been through it all. I've skills, such skills, dammit! I am an old, arrogant, expert Thief...

 

If you want TDM to thrive as it should, you probably do want to consider the ideas in this thread.

 

As for KOing in a bunkbed or under a low ceiling or from anywhere else, such as a doorway, that has an obstructive overhead?

 

No. No. No. No temporary no-clippage. This approach falls "under" the same you-fail as trying to KO a fully-alerted, helmeted enemy: dumb. Don't even try it.

Edited by Iz Quierda
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I guess the problem most people have (and even I forget this myself) is, that the helmet guards aren't blackjable (is this word even possible?) anymore, when they have their weapons threwn out. :mellow:

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

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If you want TDM to thrive as it should, you probably do want to consider the ideas in this thread.

 

 

Nothing personal to you or anyone else expressing views, but I wish people would stop stating their own opinions as accepted facts, as statements such as this one seem to imply. We have heard many people now explaining why TDM "hasn't succeeded yet" and most of it IMHO seems to come from entirely subjective grounds (not the right Thief "feeling" keeping away some old time hardcore players, sneaking is too hard and too much work, no campaign, newbs are lost because they have so many maps to choose from, etc). As a matter of fact TDM has already experienced a lot of success for a fan made project, critical acclaim and thousands of players, dozens of maps, an active community and the contributions of several highly skilled and generous guys.

 

It is a fact that the forums do not show in recent times any noticeable stream of complaints of any kind, in fact, pretty much just the opposite. That doesnt rule out the possibility of course but is an indication that difficulty or design choices aren't necessarily a "problem" for the project's popularity at all.

 

Another fact is that nobody knows how deep the potential players/mappers pool is (people who are fond of Thief (quite an old game), people who like a realistic and calculated FPS experience as opposed to action, people who know or possess Doom3 and might be looking for mods); it could be that inside that limited scope, TDM has achieved major success, for all we know.

 

I dont really want to argue these points further because there were already several talks on this same subject.

Edited by RPGista
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I'll tell you what's fact -- expressed by this very thread: people are having problems with the KO mechanics. That's what is being debated here. Meaning -- fact -- there are people who think it is too difficult. As a matter of fact, this thread was opened -- by a primary TDM developer, no less -- who noticed a video in which the player was complaining about KO difficulty.

 

Another fact is that (after stating my own "subjective opinion" that "I love the way TDM works right now. It's almost as beautifully fluid and realistic as I could ask for") I used the words "thrive as it should" which does not imply that it has failed, only that it is so good that it should properly be thriving.

 

And another fact is that I couched the expression of my opinion within the words "probably do want to consider". You will, it is a fact, take notice of the qualifying terms leading and closing that which I have just quoted!

 

And yet another fact is that I am adopting heretofore a characteristic of italicizing with utter abandon.

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Do you want to tell us your opinions of censorship while you're at it? I mean, it's been a couple weeks now.

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The adjustments that were made for 1.06 or 1.07 or whenever were mostly about increasing the area of impact effectivenness, right? So just make that the variable that a slider or somesuch links to. Keeping the extremes in some sensible range, of course. Never so much as being able to smack the AI on the toe to KO but maybe -- starting from the crown down -- as low as the shoulder blades?

 

No, there was much more to it than just that. I undertook the task myself, so I'll go over what I did. It has been awhile, so I won't get into too much detail.

 

1. The collision box for the black jack was not properly lined up with the on screen model, nor was it long enough.

This was the main issue that caused the majority of players to have trouble black jacking. If they lined their swing up so that the blackjack hit the middle of the AI's head, the collision box was actually off to the left. This caused the success rate to be extremely low. I adjusted the collision box to actually fit the on screen model more closely. What you see is what you get now.

 

2. The KO zone behind some AI's heads were too small.

Mainly an issue with helmeted guards since the helmet makes the ko zone smaller. Zones were made more forgiving.

 

3. Some technical stuff that I won't really bother getting into other than to say it enhanced the control over when AI became immune or harder to ko.

 

In any case, there was a LOT of work and very careful tweaking going on. The issues people had prior to 1.06 were caused by legitimate bugs. Bugs that were fixed.

 

Before you say...no, they're not fixed because people are still having problems, I will say that I have been working as a professional game tester for the last two years now. I quickly learned that players might not always express a problem as it actually occurs. Often, some translating is needed to decipher what they really mean. Yes, they might be having issues blackjacking AI but what is the underlying cause? The issue is no longer within the blackjacking system, because that has been fixed. So what is it?

 

What I see happening is that a handful of players are having trouble adapting to the sensitivity of the AI in TDM. I believe it is mostly the hearing. What I would like to do is take a map, make the AI deaf and then see if any players complaining about the KO system still have issues. I'm willing to bet it's a combination of close range hearing sensitivity and the AI's quick reactions that are causing problems.

 

Grayman has made some great improvements to the AI in 1.08 that allow for more of a grace period, so I will be curious to see if this helps the players complaining about blackjacking being too difficult.

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Do you want to tell us your opinions of censorship while you're at it? I mean, it's been a couple weeks now.

 

You've proven you cannot understand neither the why, nor the how. You are determined to remain a fool on the subject, and, hand-in-hand, pathetically gratified by your "athoritay!" as a censor.

 

I will not bother again rapping you on your woodentop here right now, censor.

 

I may, though, give nbohr a response some day at the reddit (reddit/Darkmod)... probably not, but maybe.... so... maybe you can scurry over there? And, who knows? Maybe you can wrangle yourself another dutiful dutyship at another hall-monitor post?

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No, there was much more to it than just that. I undertook the task myself, so I'll go over what I did

 

...

 

Grayman has made some great improvements to the AI in 1.08 that allow for more of a grace period, so I will be curious to see if this helps the players complaining about blackjacking being too difficult.

 

Thanks for the fuller explanation.

 

All I am saying is that there are obviously people still having problems -- the very source of this thread and some of the responses within prove it to be so -- and if you want to address the issue... I would hope you would take the variables that can be adjusted and tie them to some user-end sliders (or somesuch) and please make sure not to hardcode these things.

 

I do not have a problem with the way it is now.

 

I didn't even have a problem before the "fixes". This is on the record.

 

Other people do still have problems.

 

If you can "fix" those problems with out hardcoding the changes -- by making them user adjustable parameters in the GUI -- it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

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If you can "fix" those problems with out hardcoding the changes -- by making them user adjustable parameters in the GUI -- it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

 

As I said in my post. 1.08 has adjustments to the AI that may very well eliminate the problem. We'll know soon enough.

 

The problem, I am quite certain, is not related to the black jack system directly but rather the hearing sensitivity + reaction systems and the playstyle of some players. AI reactions in 1.08 have been given some attention. Adding sliders every time a player has an issue with something is not good a very good design philosophy.

 

In any case, the majority of players do not appear to have an issue with it after the 1.06 fixes.

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AI reactions in 1.08 have been given some attention. Adding sliders every time a player has an issue with something is not good a very good design philosophy.

 

Well I think if something is an issue with some players and not others, enough to have it addressed, that giving both sets of players the utility to adjust things to their preference is much better design philosophy than just hard-coding.

 

In any case, the majority of players do not appear to have an issue with it after the 1.06 fixes.

 

Look, this thread -- again I point out: a thread created by a TDM primary -- was created because Springheel heard this "letsplay" guy complaining. And then others spoke up about the KO thing being an issue... it is an issue for some. And apparently Springheel, who knows about 1.08, thinks what 1.08 holds will not resolve the "issue", right?

 

All I am saying is if you are going to make changes please make them so that we as players can choose to implement them or not. As you say, as you acknowledge, as you realize: some of us are damned happy with how things are now.

Edited by Iz Quierda
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Hey you people please don't freak out again, I guess aidakeeley is just a direct person who says what he thinks and his facts stated above seem pretty much to sum up that his postings were not just personal meanings taken as facts (I hope this is the right translation for this long long sentence :D ) So I guess a possible discussion should not be "censored" (if it remains friendly).

 

But indeed I believe like NewHorizon, it is not a good idea to implement these difficulty sliders you spoke of, Iz. See, the maps with their patroul routes and guards are created to give you a challenge, which should (in my eyes) be the challenge the mapper wants to setup. If I say "I will place three elite guards on the top floor because it's the last stage of the level and I want the player to be very careful to reach the golden sceptre" then it shall be it so and the player better not have the possibility to go to the options menu and make those guards blind so that he can walk by and say "nah, this FM was so short and easy, haha I'm master thief!" :D See, in the original thief games there was no slider for difficulty too, so you had your problems in the beginning but also your excitement and tension. I see that new players have the same things here too so that is okay imho, so no sliders needed.

 

These were my opinions with some facts maybe in them .. or maybe not, haha! :D

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

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Hmmm, if you ignore the insults and the overreaction, in the end it is all about friendly feature requests from players that, as we have all seen, the TDM mod team takes quite seriously and go out of their way to try to address whenever possible. People should definitely take advantage of that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

From memory mappers can set difficulty specific modifiers to AI, so an easier game setting could fix the blackjack issues described? This is of course, operating under the assumption that the map supports the feature.

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It took me a while to learn black jacking in TDM. The ground, light and ai do factor in. And once you get the hang of it......

Each thief version had their own ease or difficulty. TDM has the best .BTW I like the clunking the ai does in the new version when hitting the ground.

Edited by Lord Stenvaagi
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As a complete newbie, I was finding blackjacking difficult (sometimes, not always). So I switched on "notarget" to check if it was just me. Notarget, I assume, means that AI is never aware of my presence - and I found I could blackjack anything, with ease, 100% of the time. So it was just me.

 

My conclusion, knowing nothing about the code, is that blackjacking is "hitty-missy" if for whatever reason I have done something to alert AI, and that seems realistic to me. I wasn't being stealthy enough - but as this is a stealth game, surely that's the point? Anyway, knowing what I assumed I knew, my blackjacking skills have improved no end - it's simply a matter of a bit more care. Raising the blackjack earlier, by the way, seems to help a lot.

 

Just my two penn'orth.

Edited by MKG
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