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2.02 Discussion and observations


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I'd love to hear people's experiences with 2.02. The sound fix really changes the way AI work together, not to mention making noise arrows an extremely useful tool.

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Yeah, the sound stuff really really changes things and IMO, for the better. Its great when you alert a guard inside and he says he needs help and then 2 more guards come in to help him and you're like.... WTF OMG [while your butthole is puckering!] (pardon my French). :) Good times!

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Which reminds me, some missions can't be started normally with sound difficulty set to "Hardcore". These missions have AI and hard surfaces right at the player start, such that the player is attacked/killed right off the bat. Here are a couple work-arounds to avoid the problem...

 

One, switch to another AI Hearing Difficulty instead of "Hardcore", restart the mission, put your difficulty setting back to "Hardcore".

 

Two, use the "notarget" command prior to clicking to start the mission, then immediately use it again to undo it.

"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out."

- Baron Thomas Babington Macauley

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The AI hearing has definitely improved, certainly more challenging and noise arrows actually do work, though when I used it in Penny Dreadful 2, the AI immediately drew their sword - surely, they should just investigate normally without drawing their sword?

 

While they do notice if a door they're opening is getting frobbed by the player, I wonder if there is some way that a door bash animation (and some kind of script) can be created to deal with the situation, instead of just their achieving a higher alert-state? Essentially, what I propose is the following: if the player attempts to frob the door while an AI is attempting to open it, the first time will make the AI concerned ("perhaps something is just blocking the door?"), the second time will raise the AI alert level ("there is definitely someone behind here!") and should the player again prevent the AI from opening the door, the AI will execute a door-bash manoeuvre which will push the player backwards (costing them some health) and staggering them so that it will take about two or so seconds for the player to move again (or draw a weapon). If anyone has played Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, you'll be able to make an easy comparison.

 

Just my current thoughts, I need to experiment more with the AI on 2.02.

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does the update break any fan missions, and therefore have to be updated by the author of mission.

 

We did extensive testing of existing missions, and fixed anything in 2.02 that broke a mission. We, of course, don't have the manpower to run every mission in all difficulties, from start to finish.

 

In at least one case--Mandrasola--I modified the mission so that the AI already using switches to open a couple doors continued to work correctly. A new 2.02-dependent version is getting pushed to the mirrors.

 

Other than that, I'm not aware of any missions that need updating.

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Some missions are really difficult when played on Hard Core / Hard Core but I suppose that should be expected

 

Yes.

 

One person's "It's too hard!" is another person's "It's too easy!".

 

Providing variables like Hearing and Vision provide a means for players to tailor the experience more to their liking.

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The AI hearing has definitely improved, certainly more challenging and noise arrows actually do work, though when I used it in Penny Dreadful 2, the AI immediately drew their sword - surely, they should just investigate normally without drawing their sword?

That's what's supposed to happen and what usually happens as far as my tests go. The first noisemaker will make them curious but not make them freak out. Try planting it a bit further away, or it could have been that your guards already had their alert levels raised a bit by something you did before.

 

While they do notice if a door they're opening is getting frobbed by the player, I wonder if there is some way that a door bash animation (and some kind of script) can be created to deal with the situation, instead of just their achieving a higher alert-state? Essentially, what I propose is the following: if the player attempts to frob the door while an AI is attempting to open it, the first time will make the AI concerned ("perhaps something is just blocking the door?"), the second time will raise the AI alert level ("there is definitely someone behind here!") and should the player again prevent the AI from opening the door, the AI will execute a door-bash manoeuvre which will push the player backwards (costing them some health) and staggering them so that it will take about two or so seconds for the player to move again (or draw a weapon). If anyone has played Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, you'll be able to make an easy comparison. Just my current thoughts, I need to experiment more with the AI on 2.02.

 

Again, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. That's the behaviour: on the 3rd attempt they push hard enough to force the player out of the way. There's no damage or stun effect though.

There are lots of inputs to AI behaviour of course. You won't see the same behaviour every time.

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Though on forgiving hearing, I find guards react to me walking on wood or stone close behind them. Thats a tad annoying, I don't wanna go as low as "nearly deaf".

 

I would be alright with creeping more often if it wasn't so slow (eventhough it only makes sense on gravel, grass, marble and metal). It just doesn't make sense to me that a expert in thievery, who wears soft padded shoes and can distribute his weight evenly would make noise on stone (and as for wood, in the Thief universe wood doesn't creak so its like recently installed wood floors in the real world, not impossible to move over).

Edited by TheUnbeholden
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It would take nearly deaf guards for them to not notice someone walking right behind them.

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Fixing the sound-related bug had a tremendous effect on AI. You really need Moss Arrows now when trying to sneak through tiles. Alert levels 1 and 2 can now be reached pretty fast, even when the AI is in adjacent room. It kinda highlights another problem with the behavior of the enemies - repeated alerts have no effect on them and your sneaking through the wooden floor will frequently go like "THUMP!" "Huh?" "I guess that was nothing" "THUMP" "What was that?" "I guess that was nothing." "THUMP" "What was that sound?" "Just rats I guess".

 

In several missions, there were instances when the guards heard me somewhat too well. For example, The Heart of Lone Salvation has this area in the basement next to the well, where accidentally kicking a coin mildly alerts the guards on the level above. In Poets & Peasants, I managed to get the guards guiding the victim's home agitated by repeatedly jumping on the dirt behind the Builders' school.

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Heart has a couple of map issues unfortunately that are exacerbated by the improved sound prop. I alt+tab'd out from it a couple of times while playtesting for 2.02 to check the map in DR. There are a couple of missing models and visportals, and the latter cause sound errors. Personally I'm loving the fact that AI hear better and that moss arrows and noisemakers are useful now. On the whole I find it easier to get past AI, because it's easier to distract them away from their posts. I sometimes cause general chaos when they alert one another which makes it easy to slip past with the right timing. And you don't even need tools. A thrown jar can be enough to get a guard to leave a doorway and go check behind a nearby wall.

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It kinda highlights another problem with the behavior of the enemies - repeated alerts have no effect on them and your sneaking through the wooden floor will frequently go like "THUMP!" "Huh?" "I guess that was nothing" "THUMP" "What was that?" "I guess that was nothing." "THUMP" "What was that sound?" "Just rats I guess".

 

Repeated alerts actually DO affect AI. Once they raise their alert level, their sensitivity to future stimuli increases, so the second "thump" would actually sound louder to them than the first, so they'll treat it as slightly more suspicious. Of course, the practical effect of this would be hard to notice at the lower alert levels.

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Heart has a couple of map issues unfortunately that are exacerbated by the improved sound prop. I alt+tab'd out from it a couple of times while playtesting for 2.02 to check the map in DR. There are a couple of missing models and visportals, and the latter cause sound errors. Personally I'm loving the fact that AI hear better and that moss arrows and noisemakers are useful now. On the whole I find it easier to get past AI, because it's easier to distract them away from their posts. I sometimes cause general chaos when they alert one another which makes it easy to slip past with the right timing. And you don't even need tools. A thrown jar can be enough to get a guard to leave a doorway and go check behind a nearby wall.

 

Were you playing the version updated by Bikerdude?

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Were you playing the version updated by Bikerdude?

Yes, just checked, and darkmod.txt says so. I was testing door handling and got hung up for quite a while with an AI that was getting stuck on a door with a missing VP. I thought it might be the missing VP causing the stuck behaviour, but later reproduced the problem after fixing the vp. Just checking the sheaf of papers with my 2.02 testing notes, and I do still have the details. I didn't bother reporting them in the FM thread as I thought the mission was a few years old by now and so wouldn't be touched again -- didn't realise it had had a recent update. The probs I found almost certainly pre-date Biker's 2.00 updates in any case. Checking my notes, the "black box" missing model is due to a missing spawnarg on func_static_732 not a missing asset, and the "missing" vp that I thought was causing aas problems is a nodraw brush plugging a doorway, just with no VP texture on any side. It wasn't the cause of my stuck AI, but the lack of sound loss from a missing VP is very obvious in 2.02.

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Here's the first 2.02 LP I've seen...a lot of praise in it. :)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1RhwHGU_TI

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really liked the new pickpocket reaction - it's another small detail that immensely adds to the player immersion :wub:

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"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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  • 3 weeks later...

AI working together to find the player "I'll help you!" is a million times better than it was. Before, it was almost nonexistent for AI to interact and coordinate together. Now I see them running across the room from pretty much anywhere in earshot to help search. Of course I was far away from the original seeker at that point and when the two other guards ran over to him it allowed me a clear passage to move away from that area while all three of them searched for me in a place that I wasn't at anymore. :ph34r:

 

The hearing is quite insane on "hardcore" setting, it makes it almost impossible to sneak up behind someone, at least from my experiences. I have it set on "average" or whatever one is in the middle. As I get better I will slowly turn it up. I use the visuals on hardcore and combat on hardcore. Lock picking I still have set on average though.

 

Haven't got a chance to use noise arrows, didn't really know that they were touched up, I will give it a try next time I get one.

 

Pick pocketing has become a bit of a thrill too because sometimes you're not sure if you're gonna get noticed, and that is especially risky when the AI you want to pick pocket is patrolling with another guard who will become alerted as well, making it even more tense.

 

All in all, in the little time I've spent with TDM in this community I can say this update is one of the most noticeable solid in improving the playing and gaming experience to the next level.

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Played "Rightful Property" last night and was able to get one guard that patrolled fairly close together with two others around the outside of the docks/warehouse to respond to a noisemaker long enough for the other two other guards to hear and assist. This resulted in their patrols becoming altered and allowed me to blackjack them one at a time, as opposed to before the noisemaker was fired their patrols had them too close to each other for me to get away with blackjacking any of them without another noticing. So yes, I can also report that the noisemaker is finally doing its job. I never used noisemakers in TDM because they never properly worked, now that they do I am happy to have another tool at my disposal.

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Played "Rightful Property" last night and was able to get one guard that patrolled fairly close together with two others around the outside of the docks/warehouse to respond to a noisemaker long enough for the other two other guards to hear and assist. This resulted in their patrols becoming altered and allowed me to blackjack them one at a time, as opposed to before the noisemaker was fired their patrols had them too close to each other for me to get away with blackjacking any of them without another noticing. So yes, I can also report that the noisemaker is finally doing its job. I never used noisemakers in TDM because they never properly worked, now that they do I am happy to have another tool at my disposal.

 

Good example of emergent gameplay, nicely done. I've never actually used a noisemaker in a mission as I've never needed too, it will be nice to have to use more of my equipment.

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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