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Should Noise Arrows affect Stealth Score?


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  1. 1. Should noise arrows affect your Stealth Score?

    • Yes. They alert guards, don't they?
      18
    • No. Why punish players for using a valid tool?
      16
    • I don't know! God help me!!
      1


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Currently, arrow impacts have been alerting guards but not affecting your final stealth score (you can send AI into full alert by firing broadheads all around the room, and still get a perfect score).

 

Grayman is fixing that for TDM2.0, but there's the question of noise arrows.

 

 

What do you think about this? On the one hand, the noisemaker is a valid tool, but on the other hand, it IS causing an alert.

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What about flashbombs btw?

 

My opinion: It seems reasonable that if the player has tools, he should be abe to using them. But it may be possible that a player handles a situation without using a noise arrow, where an other player has used it. Wouldn't he deserve a better score for accomplishing that?

 

Another point is the consequences caused by using the noise arrow. Beneath alerting nearby guards, does it have any consequences beyond that that are outweighting the easyness that the player gains from using the noise arrow? So that he only benefits on the short hand? And are those consequences hard enough to eliminate the need of "punishing" the usage in the stealth score?

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My thoughts:

 

1. Does throwing a vase on the floor to distract a guard affect the stealth score? If so, Noisemakers should as well.

 

2. If a player shoots a noise arrow, and then makes a small noise, will that noise register on his Stealth Score, or will it be ignored because the guards are already at a higher alert? If the latter, then noise arrows should affect the stealth score.

 

3. Mines are also valid tools, but it would be silly to not count them against the stealth score.

 

I guess I'm leaning towards counting them.

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I'll throw this out for debate. When you read the long line of ghosting reports, the tradition is to distinguish perfect ghost and chemical ghost, where chemical ghost means they never were made aware of you, but the player used some tool that they were made aware of, or somehow did it chemically ... meaning to refer to invisibility & speed potion, but I think noisemaker arrow was also in there and things like moss & water arrows. (There may have been another term for "Tool enhanced" ghosting more generally; I'm referring to that broadest category, not just chemical enhancement).

 

My idea was there might be some designation of whether the player used some stealth-enhancing tool, or even any relevant "Tool", like a check somewhere, and it gets checked if the player ever fires or uses a noisemaker, water arrow, moss arrow, maybe even regular arrow, mine, invisibility potion (if we have them), anything else other people think of... The idea is the noise arrow wouldn't affect the score, but that box would get checked meaning stealth was "Tool Enhanced".

 

So if someone wanted a really clean run, they'd get the score without using an enhancing tool. And this would keep the Stealth Score itself very simply about whether the AI was made aware of the actual player (in the classic way, green alert, yellow alert, and red alert... which the noise arrow doesn't fit into well).

 

Edit: Part of this debate is whether the noise arrow registers the "Search" alert stat. They do go on search, but not "for the player", but "for a distraction". So here too I tend to side with the classic thinking that a Yellow-alert search should be "for the player", with a "tool enhanced" caveat. I see your point of view for counting it too, and that's reasonable also, for the record.

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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The recent poll indicated that people save/load because of the stealth score.

 

Utilizing tools should be part of the game. Using tools should be fun. It makes the game fun. Tools should not be considered bad gamer's aides, but valid tools in the game experience. Why do we have the culture that avoids using tools?

 

Penalizing tool usage guides people towards the ever boring "don't use tool -> take high risk -> get busted -> reload" behavior.

 

Why not REWARD clever usage of tools? How could we do it?

 

Let the stealth score be was it was. It measures things the AI detected during the mission. Why would something be logged and something else not?

 

Add a tool score which makes it sound cool to use distractions, traps and other tool uses. If stealth score monitors discreetness, the tool score would reward clever usage of tools.

 

Distractions (how many times the guard was distracted by a tool or moveable.)

Traps (how many mines or flash bombs blew on enemies)

Torches doused

Holy water used to eradicate undead.

 

How do we make tool use acceptable and cool behavior?

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Penalizing tool usage guides people towards the ever boring "don't use tool -> take high risk -> get busted -> reload" behavior.

I second that. My wish is to leave it as it is right now.

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Tools should not be considered bad gamer's aides, but valid tools in the game experience. Why do we have the culture that avoids using tools?

 

Probably springs from the days when AI were so easy that using tools seemed like a cheat.

 

However, tools ARE there to make it easier, and shouldn't someone who manages to get through a mission without using any tools get a better score than someone who uses a lot?

 

It just seems a bit silly to me that I could alert the entire mansion with noisemakers, leave with all the guards in high alert state with their weapons out, and still get a perfect Stealth Score.

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However, tools ARE there to make it easier, and shouldn't someone who manages to get through a mission without using any tools get a better score than someone who uses a lot?

 

It just seems a bit silly to me that I could alert the entire mansion with noisemakers, leave with all the guards in high alert state with their weapons out, and still get a perfect Stealth Score.

 

Agreed. The less tools used, the more skillful in raw sneakiness.

 

It's due to cases like this I previously advocated for a rating system to be associated to stealth scores, so it would be possible for mappers to reward players based on a minimum average, i.e, if the map happens to require you to use something like a noise arrow, the rating should account for it, so whereas a fairly easy mission would only give you an A for zero alarms, a hard one could give you the same rating for raising 1 or 2 alarms.

Edited by zergrush
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Well, the idea was that each mission would have a "par" rating, like a gold hole, based on how difficult the mission is. However, it's a lot of work to figure stuff like that out. Making any significant changes to the stealth score system probably isn't on the cards for 2.0, but it would be nice to settle the noisemaker issue.

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What about having both broadhead and noisemaker with stealth score penalties, but making the noisemaker penalty considerably smaller than the broadhead's?

 

The Stealth Score counts discrete events. It's not based on a point system where some events count more or less than others.

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The Stealth Score counts discrete events. It's not based on a point system where some events count more or less than others.

 

To be exact, it counts discrete alert-level entries, with bigger alerts (searching with sward drawn) counting more than smaller alerts (huh? what was that?). So if the noise arrow makes an AI go to one of the higher alerts (level 3 or 4), then it would get counted in the Stealth Score at that higher level.

 

It'd technically be possible to jump out of that system & add the noise maker contribution to alerts directly to the Stealth Score with a smaller amount, like only adding 1 point rather than 3, and then not adding them to the "Search alerts" (I mean a hacky branch system for it). That means, e.g., a case where the player distracts 1 AI with a noise arrow, the stealth score would be 1, but there would be "zero" search alerts. That might be a worthwhile compromise, because the "Searches: 0" still lets a player verify that they technically ghosted it, then the Stealth Score communicates that AI were still going on alert.

 

It's something to discuss, though, if it's okay to break the "purity" of the Stealth Score just adding up alerts into a system with a thumb on the scale for grey cases (something we'd probably want to explain in the "Breakdown" 2nd page). We should have a decision on that before messing with it like that I think.

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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Stealth Score already somewhat penalizes tool use in a lot of ways so unless it was changed pretty significantly having Noise Arrows not count would be rather inconsistent.

 

On the other hand, on the subject of Stealth Score, having separate yes or no check at the end that would only count alerts at level 4 and 5 or above would be nice. Since they draw their weapon at those alert levels you could say that that's when they believe there is an actual intruder rather than just something odd occurance worth checking, and that would be when stealth is truly broken.

That would make for a good baseline stealth run in most cases make the idea of the Stealth Score being "perfectionist" more clear.

Edited by Professor Paul1290
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I think however we have the Stealth Score, it needs to stay consistent for all players, or it loses its meaning as a score.

 

The reason we explicitly count the Alerts by level is exactly so players can also judge how they did by Alerts if they want, if they'd rather shoot for their own goal of "No level 4 or 5 alerts", they can just shoot for "0 Searches & 0 Sightings" and know when they did it.

 

On that note, I didn't emphasize the point in my last post so much, there's a case that, however we treat noise arrows for the Stealth Score, a separate issue is maybe it's not a good idea to count towards the Alert count (suspicions or searches). So a player can still get "0 searches" using a noise arrow, and don't feel punished for using the tool, but their stealth score still has it factored in. But this would mean separating the Alert count & Stealth Score count for some cases; right now they are unified, two sides of the same coin (two different ways to put a number to the same alert counts).

 

Edit: To be explicit about it, my instinct is not in favor of having them count towards the Alert Count (suspicions or searches), and on the fence with them counting towards the Stealth Score, I can see arguments for both ways & both seem reasonable to me, so I'd be fine either way.

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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IMHO, the stats page has too much detail. The player doesn't know (and shouldn't care that) there are 5 alert levels, and doesn't know what events drive AI up through those levels. All the player knows is three stages of stealth:

 

1 - everyone's going about their business, and nobody suspects I'm here

 

2 - they're suspicious of something, and are searching (whether weapons are drawn or not)

 

3 - they spotted me

 

If the player performs one action that causes an AI to search, that ought to add to the stealth score, regardless of what the action is. But atm, if that one action causes three AI to search, the stealth score bumps up for each searching AI, which doesn't seem fair. After all, the player only did one thing.

 

Wrt the OP, if the player uses a noisemaker to draw AI into a search as a diversion, it should add to the stealth score, for the simple reason that we've moved out of stage 1 into stage 2. Players who want to ghost a mission with a zero stealth score should be striving to stay in stage 1 all the way through the mission, so they should stay away from using noisemakers, even though the mission author gave them some. I don't see this as denying the player the tools we've given him, since it's the player's decision to use the tools or not.

 

So I would advocate simplifying the stats page, and not adding tool use indicators or normalizing stealth scores based on the number of AI in a mission, or the number of loot items that tell guards when they're missing, or the number of doors marked "should be closed" or the number of lights marked "should be on", or asking mission authors to try to figure out balancing schemes, etc.

 

Three stages.

 

That's all.

 

Score = 1 times the number of unique searches (stage 2) plus 3 times the number of unique sightings (stage 3)

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I voted no but for a different reason. As long as there's a possible explanation for the source of noise, besides an intruder, it shouldn't count as alarm. I know an arrow with a strange contraption producing noise at the tip is a bit suspicious, but it could be rats... or the wind. Seriously though, I never thought about them actually finding the arrow, so if they don't find the source it could be dismissed as some animal or something.

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As long as there's a possible explanation for the source of noise, besides an intruder, it shouldn't count as alarm

 

That's very different from the way the stealth score works now. That would basically eliminate level 1-3 alerts.

 

 

IMHO, the stats page has too much detail. The player doesn't know (and shouldn't care that) there are 5 alert levels, and doesn't know what events drive AI up through those levels

 

+1

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To be fair, for the front stats page it is only 3 alert levels (Suspicious, Search, Sighting) and the Stealth Score is just one number, and players don't have to see how the number is actually made (and I imagine most probably don't bother checking). That 2nd page is just there in case they're really pushing to ghost it and want to know the specific thing that got them. So the 5-level part isn't meant to be part of the basic information on the front stats page, just the 3 named alert levels.

 

I'm fine with the score, but if you want to simplify the stealth score so it's 1*search (alerts 3-4) and 3*Sighting, it would do the same job it's doing now so I don't fundamentally oppose it either. Just publicize it so players know the score changed... You have to decide if you want level-2 alerts counted as a "search" (they stop and look into the darkness); I'd say that looks enough like a search to count, but if you switch things around it might get confusing to count it. Level-1 alerts should never be counted for the score IMO because in many FMs they are impossible to stop, and usually for unfair reasons (e.g., sound propagation through a wall), but I thought it was okay to count them for "suspicious". Actually I believe dealing with level-2 was the reason I kept 5 levels on the 2nd page, so players could directly see how the 3-alert levels turns into the 1 score, otherwise you can't see how some suspicions add to the score and others don't, unless counting it as a "search" also on the 1st page which doesn't seem right, or just don't count it for the score at all, or don't have a breakdown so they don't know what kind of alert it counted (I don't recommend that). Or keep how it is now.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

edit: The more basic issue the noise arrow is raising is the connection between alert & attribution. Right now an alert just counts if it's attributable to the player. This is good so that seeing another enemy AI shouldn't count against the player.

 

A noise arrow is more of a gray case because, as far as the game goes, they'll only ever be attributable to the player, as far as "reality" goes, the guard knows "someone" hostile is there, but no reason to know if it's the player or another hypothetical enemy AI. And as for "under the hood" (*should* the system count it as attributable to the player, the punchline to everything I say below if you don't want to read it), the question is if an arrow or noise arrow is intuitively attributable to the player as a footstep or silhoutte. I think there's a good case either way. That's why I'm on the fence and think it's fair either way.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

Edit 2 (for your sanity, you can just read the tl;dr part at the bottom. The rest is just my confusion):

 

That's very different from the way the stealth score works now. That would basically eliminate level 1-3 alerts.

 

I thought alerts (any, 1-5) attributable to an enemy AI or non-player entity don't count against the player. Otherwise, why are you asking if noise arrows should count, since they clearly put guards on alert and searching, but not attributable to the player? So attribution is already part of how the stealth score works I thought, and you're already asking if we can do something "very different from the way the stealth score works now", which is to count non-attribution alerts artificially by hand. I mean, the analogy to "eliminating level 1-3 alerts" is misleading... Ok, I'll explain that (sorry to belabor it; I was trying to make it short but had to tease it apart. I'll put it in a spoiler anyway.).

 

 

I could be misunderstanding the way you mean "how the stealth score works now", if you're talking about under the hood, or how it works from the perspective of the player. Under the hood, even level 1-3 alerts are still sensitive to attribution (the guard doesn't know who it is, but the system does), with attributable alerts counting against the player and non-attributable alerts not counting. That's the entire point of this thread, you want to change that for noise arrows ("attributable" under the hood meaning "source"). Diego is simply re-stating how the system currently works under the hood; if it's possible an alert isn't attributable, then don't count it.

 

Then I realize when you say "eliminating level 1-3 alerts", I realize you're talking about from the perspective of the player watching the AI, not under the hood. The guard doesn't know the player is the source for 1-3, but it's still counted against the player, so it's consistent that a noise arrow counts against the player even if the guard doesn't know the player is the source. So there's a consistent aspect in that respect. In another respect, if the player is also thinking in terms of under the hood, though, they are inconsistent in that, for the level 1-3 alerts, the attributable alerting thing is still the player's footsteps or silhouette, but for the noise arrow, the attributable alerting thing is the noise arrow itself, not the player. I think players sense that logic under the hood (the system knows the source, even if the guard doesn't; but the system is the one counting alerts against the player, not the guard), & that's what Diego is saying to make a case for only things strictly attributable to the player counting, like footsteps & silhouette, and not things that could be attributable to other things (like arrows). Anyway, that's the punchline from Diego's post that I sympathize with (in keeping the current system). The system currently knows what's attributable to the player and what isn't (arrows aren't), isn't counting what isn't, and it's ok not to count them since that's what attribution means (what Diego said). And the "eliminates alerts 1-3" response is a bit of a mis-analogy, or it skips over the issue of system-attribution in question. But as I said before, I think counting them is reasonable too.

 

 

TL;DR: We're not just talking about what the system counts as attributable, but what the system *should* count as attributable, and should arrows & noise arrows be in that category? They all make alerts, but are they fairly attributable to the player the same way footsteps & silhouette are? That's the issue. My instinct is a noise arrow is not like a footstep because the connection is too distant to the player, so attribution is fairly cut. (The system [under the hood, not the guard] should treat it as if it may be from another enemy AI, which it can't do for the player's own footstep.) So that's my vote. But there is still -some- connection (the player shooting it), so it's not way over the line to count it either.

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I didn't want to write all that edit2 part, but I was completely confused :blush:

Diego said what I was thinking and I didn't know what Spring was trying to say until I had to tease it apart.

I guess I could delete it all now, since only the TL;DR part matters, once I figured out that was the issue (IMO).

Hmm, I could put the rest of it in a spoiler...

 

The first two parts are like 2 independent posts.

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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As I understand it, Diego was saying that as long as the guard could explain it away, ("must have been rats"), then it shouldn't count against the stealth score. But that would eliminate all level 1-3 alerts, since the AI doesn't know there's an intruder until level 4.

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I understood your reading after thinking about it in that spoiler part. I could explain my reading of Diego's point (maybe not what he said, but what he should have said to make the point he's groping for), but it'd be easiest just to point back to the TL;DR paragraph above.

 

The ultimate issue isn't what the guard knows; it's what's fairly attributable to the player (from the system's perspective counting up the score & trying to be fair like a referee). Clearly footsteps of an enemy AI that put a guard on alert should not count against the player, because attribution is broken (even for alerts 1-3 where the guard doesn't know if it's Ai or player; this is why that response doesn't really get to the gist of the issue. How is a noise arrow different than the footstep of another AI that puts a guard on alert?) A noise arrow has an attribution issue, since the actual source (unlike the footstep example) isn't the player but the arrow, so the system has to go back a step (the player shooting) to re-establish attribution. But then other AI could have shot the arrow, in contrast to no other AI can make a player's footstep for them. (The player & system counting the score know that.) I read Diego's point as, the connection from player to noise arrow is too distant. That was my instinct too. So that's my vote (not count it). But attribution is still there back a step or 2, so it's not crazy to count it either.

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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