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Unconscious guards waking up


MirceaKitsune
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Yes Splinter Cell had AI that could be awakened by other AI. AFAIK they just switched from ragdoll pose to getting up animation, it was a bit jarring but I didn't really care at the time.

Sotha's work looks fine, it's to be expected that it's not going to be perfect.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Again, it's an issue of asking what the feature adds to the game, and then weighing that against the difficulties in implementing it.

 

A waking up system does not add ANY new gameplay, as far as I can see. Players already have significant incentive to hide bodies--if they don't, AI will become alerted and the player will have a much harder time getting around. Having the original guard return to their patrol route (assuming it can) does not change gameplay in any way either (other than encouraging the player to make sure that can't happen by killing him). The only thing a waking up system would add to the game is extra immersion (it's potentially a more realistic way for AI to behave) and the "cool" factor of seeing it happen.

 

Weighing against that, any waking up system would have to solve 4 significant issues:

 

1. The Ragdoll issue. How do you transition from random ragdoll to "get up" animation. The more jarring this transition is, the less immersive it is. Sure, you could just teleport the body to standing up, but how much "extra immersion" are you getting then?

2. The Body Location issue. How do you handle AI that are blocked by models or world geometry? Again, teleporting the body works directly against the extra immersion the feature is trying to supply.

3. The Behaviour issue. What do AI do when they are woken up? Do they just go back to their patrol like nothing happened? What if they can't access any of their path nodes? How do they get their weapons back? If the AI just stands up and does nothing, that works against both the "cool" factor and the immersion.

 

Issues 1-3 can potentially rob the feature of any extra immersion or "coolness" it could offer, which would mean a lot of work for no net gain whatsoever. And then there's the last issue:

 

 

4. The Gameplay issue. If killing a guard (after they're KO'd) makes the player's life easier, then the rules are actively encouraging players to do it. Our design philosophy has been to make sure the rules encourage players NOT to kill AI. This would directly work against that philosophy.

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I can understand that it doesn't add anything new to the requirement to hide the bodies well, but i don't understand the point about encouraging people to kill guards at all. IMO, killing guards or not has more to do with the points i made earlier, the decision to kill or not to kill isn't really based on the consequences, otherwise it would be totally equal if you knocked out, or killed the guards. I don't agree with it adding nothing to the gameplay either. Of course it would add to the gameplay, It would create a whole new situation if you were sloppy hidding your bodies, especially with the raised alert, and the 2 involved guards maybe searching the area in their alerted state. Anyway, let's just agree to disagree then. :) I found it a cool feature on the games mentioned, you obviously do not, fair enough.

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I can understand that it doesn't add anything new to the requirement to hide the bodies well, but i don't understand the point about encouraging people to kill guards at all. IMO, killing guards or not has more to do with the points i made earlier, the decision to kill or not to kill isn't really based on the consequences, otherwise it would be totally equal if you knocked out, or killed the guards.

Not at all. A lot of time went into designing rules that discourage players from killing. Killing is noisier (more chance of alerting someone) and messier (the blood left behind can also alert guards if they see it). Also, the blackjack can bypass most forms of armour, which is more difficult with the arrows or sword. While one hit with the bj can still KO an alert guard (as long as they don't have a helmet), one arrow or sword strike is generally not enough to kill them in that state. The tools for killing (sword or arrows) also make the player more visible, while the BJ does not.

 

All those rules combine to encourage the player to rely on nonlethal take downs.

 

Of course it would add to the gameplay, It would create a whole new situation if you were sloppy hidding your bodies, especially with the raised alert, and the 2 involved guards maybe searching the area in their alerted stat

 

The only difference is that there is one extra guard involved in the search (assuming he can)...how does that create a new situation? The player is likely to be long past that area by the time the body is discovered, but even if he's not, how is new gameplay created by 5 guards searching instead of 4?

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Metal Gear Solid games have also done this for as long as I remember.

 

Would not really enjoy this feature in TDM, as I'm the kind of guy who usually conks out every guard, stacks the bodies and then enjoys poking around at a leisurely pace :D

 

OTOH, in playthroughs you often see people whack _every_ guard they see, most often as soon as they encounter them. This makes for a bit boring play, esp. later on when most of them are already hidden under the stairs. Sure, you can now look into every corner, but its still boring - there is no danger anymore.

 

A lo of missions are designed so that you need to sneak aorund the guards and their patrol routes, if you whack the AI the first time you encounter him, you have robbed yourself of the possibilities and the mission becomes a LOT easier.

 

And there is (almost never) penatly to a a successful blackjack attempt - and unsuccessful ones just lead to "load and try again". Compare this to water arrows (limited amount) or kills (either forbidden, which is a bit to strict for me, or very hard to do).

 

So, I can see how having either guards wake up, or a limit on blackjacks would make FMs more interesting and harder. Both solutions have drawbacks, tho.

 

The wake-up is already covered by Springheel's and other posts. The "BJ limit" shares the problems of all limits - how is the player suppossed to know when he can/should use "one slot" up? With a limit of say 5 BJs, how do you know that you won't encounter 4 important guards later? (The same goes with water arrows etc, but here the limits have alreay been accepted)

 

What my post here is trying to say is that unlimited, easy-to-do and no penalty blackjacks lead to a certain play style, which bypasses sometimes the intent of the FM author.

 

And this might be something that should be a amended a bit.

 

Technical problems must be solved, of course.

Edited by Tels

"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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Not at all. A lot of time went into designing rules that discourage players from killing. Killing is noisier (more chance of alerting someone) and messier (the blood left behind can also alert guards if they see it). Also, the blackjack can bypass most forms of armour, which is more difficult with the arrows or sword. While one hit with the bj can still KO an alert guard (as long as they don't have a helmet), one arrow or sword strike is generally not enough to kill them in that state. The tools for killing (sword or arrows) also make the player more visible, while the BJ does not.

 

All those rules combine to encourage the player to rely on nonlethal take downs.

 

The only difference is that there is one extra guard involved in the search (assuming he can)...how does that create a new situation? The player is likely to be long past that area by the time the body is discovered, but even if he's not, how is new gameplay created by 5 guards searching instead of 4?

 

As I said, if you watch playthroughs, most player whack every guard, then roam the place freely. If one gaurd wakes up again - 0 vs. 1 guard does make a difference. Esp. in some areas 1 vs 2 gaurds will make a difference, too.

 

More specifically I argue that:

 

 

 

does not change gameplay in any way either

 

is not true in the general sense. If guards wake up and resume their patrols (or alert somebody), then this changes game play as the player needs continously to be more alert (a "new" guard could come around the corner in an otherwise empty area).

 

This is IMO the same with relighting torches. Suddenly a safe area (dark) becomes unsafe again, and this happens at a more or less random time: gaurd approaches torch and maybe lights it, it is not entirely predictable by the player when or if it will happen.

 

The issue about "well, then lets make sure he stays down" applies, tho.

 

Maybe a hybrid solution could work:

 

* normal blackjacked guards might wake up, and cause a ruccus later (could also start searching (this causes danger that they discover other bodies)

* player needs to do something to prevent this (besides kill), like putting a small dose of "sleep-o-well herbs"? to the guard. If applied, the guard stays down longer (forever in gameplay time), if not, the guard might wake-up soemtimes later.

 

The new item would put both a limit on the permanently-down guards, it would also be different for each difficulty level (10 does for easy, 7 for medium, 2 for hard or whatever the author uses) and it could be found in game (meaning it is only available later in the mission).

 

And the player could decide when to use it. Or skip it and live with the danger (a guard waking up in a remote location does not matter).

"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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We have new guards replacing Ko'd ones in Thief FM's when a certain goal has been completed.

 

Sure, but thats only in a few selected FMs. And it is very predictable (after you played it once).

"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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As I said, if you watch playthroughs, most player whack every guard, then roam the place freely. If one gaurd wakes up again - 0 vs. 1 guard does make a difference.

There is still no new gameplay created...the player is not going to behave any differently with this feature added (with the exception of possibly killing unconscious guards). With random patrols, a player never knows for sure whether an area is totally clear, unless they're in a completely contained area. And if that's the case then no AI could get in to wake anyone up.

 

What my post here is trying to say is that unlimited, easy-to-do and no penalty blackjacks lead to a certain play style, which bypasses sometimes the intent of the FM author.

 

If mappers don't want players to blackjack guards they can always give them elite helmets, or at the extreme, take away the player's blackjack.

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Just to be clear: I didn't suggest this with a focus to pointlessly alter the gameplay, although this would obviously do so as well. Like other suggestions I made, I'm mostly thinking of extra detail and realistic functionality.

 

Anyway, I'm not sure how much this would encourage killing over blackjacking. Especially since from what I heard, many people (myself included) prefer not to have dead bodies found at all... sort of a personal challenge to get a good stealth status :) So if someone blackjacks a victim, they'll likely hide the body somewhere where it won't be found. Additionally, hiding a body in a tight space (in a barrel or under a bed) would have make awakening impossible, due to the obvious technical reasons discussed... which would be another good thing.

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The gameplay issue at ... um... issue IMO is that after a player has KO'd all the AI in a level, they can prance around with impunity and it's not much of a stealth game anymore, at least for the zones the player has already passed, making them gameplay deadzones.

 

There are different solutions to this. One is bringing KO'd AI back. Another is for mappers to make new areas with new AI open up throughout the whole mission time, which either AI can somehow make it back to the deadzones or the FM is designed to never go back, only ever forwards. Another is to spawn in new AI or otherwise get new AI into old areas.

 

None of them is ideal, but the second solution is probably the best way to deal with the problem. The others open up bigger problems, and are more like hacks to fix what's really a mission design issue that should have avoided the problem to begin with.

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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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There is still no new gameplay created...the player is not going to behave any differently with this feature added (with the exception of possibly killing unconscious guards). With random patrols, a player never knows for sure whether an area is totally clear, unless they're in a completely contained area. And if that's the case then no AI could get in to wake anyone up.

 

 

Uhm, how does the game play not change, when there is a player behaviour change?

 

  1. (undesirable change) Either the player kills guards
  2. (desirable change) or he doesn't (it might be forbidden, or he doesn't do it), so the guards wake up and cause the player trouble (avoid AI)
  3. (no change): the guard wakes up, but the player is too far to notice

 

How can you claim there is no game play change when 2 out of 3 possibilities change the player behaviour?

 

Wether the change is desirable or not is a different matter, but to claim it makes no difference is quite strange.

"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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If mappers don't want players to blackjack guards they can always give them elite helmets, or at the extreme, take away the player's blackjack.

 

But both are FM specific (it won't work f.i. in Saint Lucia) and rather radical options. It is like forbidding to kill guards or not giving the player any weapons. Sure, that stops the killing spree, but is still not desired by the players.

"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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I don't see why there is any concern over whether or not some players decide to blackjack all of the AI and explore the level at their leisure. How does that affect you or I?

 

If they're successfully clearing a mission of all AI by blackjacking them then they must already be playing stealthily. I see no reason to enforce more stealth related activities if they've already invested their time stalking the AI, and carefully removing them without alerting anyone. It's a perfectly valid way to play.

 

If individual mappers want to do that, dandy but as has been explained many times over...the reward of the blackjack is that it is a stealthy, silent, non-lethal way to remove AI form the playing field. That's the reward. I feel waking the AI sends the wrong message and punishes the player for not 'permanently' removing those AI by killing them.

 

Waking the AI is an idea but I don't think it meshes well within TDM.

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Another idea I haven't seen explored is Ai "waking up" other AI they find

 

I don't see why there is any concern over whether or not some players decide to blackjack all of the AI and explore the level at their leisure. How does that affect you or I?

 

If they're successfully clearing a mission of all AI by blackjacking them then they must already be playing stealthily. I see no reason to enforce more stealth related activities if they've already invested their time stalking the AI, and carefully removing them without alerting anyone. It's a perfectly valid way to play.

 

If individual mappers want to do that, dandy but as has been explained many times over...the reward of the blackjack is that it is a stealthy, silent, non-lethal way to remove AI form the playing field. That's the reward. I feel waking the AI sends the wrong message and punishes the player for not 'permanently' removing those AI by killing them.

 

Waking the AI is an idea but I don't think it meshes well within TDM.

 

 

One could make the very same arguments for relighting of torches and candles - and well, it was implemented. I see "waking AI up" mesh very well with TDM if it is implemented in the right fashion. (e.g. it doesn't force the player to kill)

 

It might f.i. be an option for hard-core players. Or it might be of the variety "AI can wake up other AI in limited circumstances (blackjack not that long ago, AI is found when player is near)". The latter idea has not yet be explored, I think.

 

Edit: fixed grammer in first sentence. Sorry :)

Edited by Tels

"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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The gameplay issue at ... um... issue IMO is that after a player has KO'd all the AI in a level, they can prance around with impunity and it's not much of a stealth game anymore, at least for the zones the player has already passed, making them gameplay deadzones.

 

There are different solutions to this. One is bringing KO'd AI back. Another is for mappers to make new areas with new AI open up throughout the whole mission time, which either AI can somehow make it back to the deadzones or the FM is designed to never go back, only ever forwards. Another is to spawn in new AI or otherwise get new AI into old areas.

 

None of them is ideal, but the second solution is probably the best way to deal with the problem. The others open up bigger problems, and are more like hacks to fix what's really a mission design issue that should have avoided the problem to begin with.

 

I have to agree with the first sentences, these sum up the "issue" for me perfectly. For the solution, well, yeah, that's the idea about this brainstorming.

 

If there was no issue, no change would be required, and if no (or for the worse) change is brought, the issue isn't solved, either.

 

Edit: And I do have to draw parallels to the relighting here, too. The implementation does not rely on the mappers (but they can change it), and it helps the "I put out all lights and now I'm dancing around the AI in the dark" issue that crops up.

 

The issues isn't really that a mission becomes easier you longer you play it (which it should) but that the mission becomes too easy too fast. With each guard down, with each light out and each door unlocked, the difficulty really plummes down. (It is not linear is what I mean).

Edited by Tels

"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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Another idea I haven't seen explored is Ai "waking up" other AI they find

 

Have you read the thread? That's precisely the idea that is being discussed (as of post #7, at any rate).

 

That's the key to why there is no gameplay change. If AI are around, the player still has to be careful whether AI can be woken up or not. If AI are not around, then he doesn't have to worry about unconcscious AI being woken up. Either way, there is no difference in behaviour.

 

If you're talking about AI waking up on their own, that's a slightly different idea that has it's own issues.

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Have you read the thread? That's precisely the idea that is being discussed (as of post #7, at any rate).

 

hehehe :D

 

 

Btw i'm also of the opinion that K.O'ed AI should not be awakened upped, as Springheel has mentioned and very well it brings more trouble than it brings improvements. And yes Splinter Cell has that feature, but on it i killed more guards than the ones i K.O'ed, so it only brings more proof to the "it encourages killing" reason.

And if realism is what this feature is looking into, then think about this, someone that gets a blow to the head strong enough to make it unconscious for large amounts of time, will never wake up and walk or even run like everything was alright with him, it would seriously make that person extremely nauseous, unable to stand straight for some large amount of time and even make them throw up because of the concussion.

Edited by HMart
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And if realism is what this feature is looking into, then think about this, someone that gets a blow to the head strong enough to make it unconscious for large amounts of time, will never wake up and walk or even run like everything was alright with him, it would seriously make that person extremely nauseous, unable to stand straight for some large amount of time and even make them throw up because of the concussion.

 

 

Realism was the reason why I suggested the idea, so at least for me yeah.

 

As for the rest, you just gave me a brilliant idea: What if the AI could awaken but be paralyzed, solving the ragdoll issue altogether? The AI would just open its eyes, and speak muffled sentences or moan... as if paralyzed, perhaps twitching occasionally. Or perhaps snore as if sleeping, or some other effect.

 

But this would obviously alert nearby guards, which only furthers the legitimate issue discussed above: It would encourage killing over knocking people out. So certainly it's not a solution in this form.

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That serves the exact same purpose as an unconscious body on the floor, except it's got its eyes open and is mumbling to itself. As Springheel said, anybody who's going to go around knocking people out will do so anyway, and if people get back up and sound the alarm of their own volition you've made the blackjack useless and reduced the player's assets to distractions and their movement keys. The game is in part about overcoming obstacles in whatever way you see fit, with varying degrees of grace and ingenuity. When you implement things like this, you make at least one playstyle suffer and at least one type of player miffed: it was a pain in the ass when guards in MGS2 got up minutes after being shot in the temple with a tranq. dart and it'd be annoying in TDM too. I like to knock everybody out my first time and play in progressively restrictive styles once I know what's up with regards to loot, keys and objectives so that I can focus on speed or stealth without testing every door and fiddling with every decorative moveable. I can't stress enough how important it is to leave restrictions to the player's discretion or to keep them under novelty difficulty settings, and to keep restrictive gameplay mechanics out of the vanilla game.

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Damn you guys. Stop arguing so rationally!

 

:P

 

Nah, seriously, makes sense that people can't just be woken up by other guards if they just been ko'd with a blackjack. Didn't really think of that. Thought it was a nice gimmick in Splinter Cell, which adds to realism, but that's obviously not the case.

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The game is in part about overcoming obstacles in whatever way you see fit, with varying degrees of grace and ingenuity. When you implement things like this, you make at least one playstyle suffer and at least one type of player miffed: it was a pain in the ass when guards in MGS2 got up minutes after being shot in the temple with a tranq. dart and it'd be annoying in TDM too.

I agree with this, but the blackjack is particularly problematic because of not even one, but two reasons.

 

First is that it's much better than any other tool the player has on his disposal to permanently disable their enemies. It's more quiet and less messy than the sword and broadhead arrows, doesn't require you to expend a rare resource like gas arrows. Most of the time, using the blackjack is a no-brainer, especially if mission objectives require you not to kill anyone. TDM team already made some changes in blackjack to make it less powerful, but there is not much that could have been done here.

 

The second issue is much more severe in my opinion - letting a guard wander around is always a worse choice than knocking him out. There are no gameplay reasons to not eliminate every danger you encounter, unless the mapper specifically adds one, usually by implementing a hard knockout limit. Half of the features that TDM offers - dynamic patrol paths, relighting torches and electric lights, AI spotting missing loot - go to waste, because most of the players will just eliminate the AI the first time they see it. Sometimes precisely because of these behaviors.

 

I believe there should be some incentive not to knock out every guard on the map. AIs waking up would probably be more annoying than challenging, but I have some other ideas:

  • Allow the mappers to designate "critical" guards that are expected to be in a certain area, otherwise their friends get spooked. Obviously, this could only work with stationary guards, or the ones with very short patrol paths.
  • Make guards more paranoid if they should reasonably expect to encounter other guards, but didn't for some time. This could be once again designated by the mapper, and calculated on the fly: if the guard encounters a friend several times during their patrol route, they should expect to encounter them more. Paranoid guards would not automatically raise their alert level, but would need less to achieve one.
  • Make KOd and killed guards count in the stealth score - right now you can ghost an entire level and still get the same result as someone who blackjacked every guard on the map and arranged their bodies into a living sculpture on the courtyard.
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Noticing the absence of certain guards would work wonders provided they were used in a way that meant the player couldn't still knock everybody out before they were registered missing. The second would, I imagine, be too fiddly to implement and the third would change nothing: those going around knocking everyone out aren't likely to care about their stealth score.

Edited by Airship Ballet
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@Ganto, note that blackjack does not work in every occasion. If helmeted AI is alerted, he cannot be KOd. Can be killed, though.

 

When talking about challenge-level, it should be also mentioned that the player can save as much as they like. Thus, blackjacking everyone is not the no-brainer. You can virtually beat any situation with simple savescumming. All mapper placed dynamic patrols, alert AI traps and alarms are meaningless if the player just loads a save when they are detected.

 

Thus TDM is a game of voluntary challenge. Will you save all the time? Will you blackjack everybody? Will you shoot everyone in the face with a firearrow? Your choice.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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