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A tale of very polite zombies


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Good day Dark Mod team,

While I was playing any mission involving undead, there was one thing that was constantly getting my attention in a negative way: zombies manually opened and politely closed doors behind them.

Personally, it ruined my immersion with the level, and I could not take zombies as I was supposed to; their closing opening mechanics were intrusively distracting.

 

As such, I have a suggestion of modifying undead AI:

Zombies approach the door and open it without stopping to walk and without opening animation, and they do not close it, and it's up to player to close doors if they need.

 

Hopefully, I'm not the only one who found current zombie AI a bit silly and somewhat immersion breaking. Sure hope it would not require to rewrite the entire code.

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Probably one of my missions. It is a tough situation for the mapper:

1) zombies must be able to open doors or the player can get rid of them just by luring them to another room and closing the door.

2) the mapper must use doors for proper compartmentalization of the map.

3) the doors should be closed because it limits the view areas and improves performance.

 

On #2 and #3, the mapper can easily make the zombies leave doors open in their mission (no code change needed), or remove the doors altogether... but this would have a price in mission performance.

 

Immersion breaks are of course an annoyance, but I do not see much that one can do. I would still risk immersion breaks rather than risk poor mission performance.

 

Perhaps, when they magically rouse the dead in TDM, the magic makes the zombies smart enough to manipulate the doors the same fashion as ordinary human would. Yep, magic is just more potent in the darkmod universe.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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How can a mechanic related to the behaviour of something that doesn't even exist in real life be immersion breaking?

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SilentKlD, I 2nd your reaction to the polite zombies, as well as your suggestion that they should open doors just by staggering into them, and then not bother to close them.

Sotha, I appreciate your points. They can be addressed by doors that automatically close after some time delay, which I've seen in some missions. Auto-closing doors also address your points for the case when the player leaves a door open, plus the case when an AI opens a door and doesn't shut it because the player sidetracks them. However, in my opinion, timed auto-closing doors are immersion-breaking as well, especially in missions that aren't supposed to be haunted. I have a humble suggestion.

It is possible to make auto-closing doors completely natural and non-immersion-breaking. Many real life doors are auto-closing, and I'm not just talking about the ones with a spring mechanism at the top. If the hinges are misaligned vertically, the door swings shut under its own weight. I'm sure everyone has noticed countless doors like this, especially in older buildings. If the misalignment is slight, it can take quite some time, say 5 or 10 seconds, for the door to close all the way. Also, you will notice the door starts moving extremely slowly, and then accelerates, reaching its max speed just before closing all the way. This is the perfect behavior for a self-closing door in TDM, because it leaves the AI or the player plenty of time to go through the door while it's wide open and moving very slowly, even if the player is crouched and/or creeping. If the player sits in the doorway and the door does hit them, no big problem, it just stops, and then starts to swing closed again once the player leaves. This way, TDM could have self-closing doors that are completely natural. And as a bonus, zombies don't need to be polite with doors, just stagger into it to open and then leave it to swing shut on its own.

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I agree with the OP.

Zombies closing doors behind them seems very wrong to me. They are mindless, reanimated corpses. Why would they bother? (By that logic, they should also only be able to push them open.)

 

In my opinion, they should leave them open by default and the doors can be set to autoclose where necessary by the mapper.

 

It's not that big of an issue though.

 

On #2 and #3, the mapper can easily make the zombies leave doors open in their mission (no code change needed)

May I ask how?

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There is a spawnarg on doors called ai_should_not_close. If set to true, the door will stay open after the ai passed through. This will affect all ai, though. Another spawnarg is canRemainOpen.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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In addition: http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Doors#Door_Handling_Positions

(ai_no_close)

google is your friend :)

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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I agree with the OP as well, something should be done about this! Also I think open doors should not be a problem performance wise as they might have been when TDM was started and as an example, in Bloodlines enemies usually kick doors open. Maybe this is existing in the TDM resources already and could be assigned to zombies?

Edited by wesp5
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There is also a spawnarg you can set to make zombies not open doors (or open them, I forget what the default is). So it really is a mapper issue.

 

To me, I can justify walking corpses that reenact some of the same behaviours they did in life more easily than I can justify doors that suddenly close on their own behalf.

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To me, I can justify walking corpses that reenact some of the same behaviours they did in life more easily than I can justify doors that suddenly close on their own behalf.

I agree, but with the doors I describe, that slowly start swinging closed under their own weight as soon as they're opened (like many real doors do), we wouldn't have to justify either - no strange zombie behavior and no magic doors.

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I quite like eigenface's suggestion for auto-closing doors (in general, not just for the zombie thing) - a slow, accelerating arc fom a door closing itself on its own weight. That is much more subtle than the current implementation, where the opened door suddenly decides to close after a few moments, with an unnatural, quick push.

 

As for the polite zombies, yeah, I think care must be taken to avoid the situation as much as possible, you dont really want to see zombies, werewolves, revenants or ghosts walking through doors, at all.

 

We dont have the animations for anything else (banging, or forcing them open). And I guess theres the problem of the direction (which way they open)?

Edited by RPGista
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Hmm. I have a solution, which should address all issues;

1) zombie opens door and goes through, leaves door open.

2) out of a puff of flame the Lich Queen appears in flaming revenant form, closes the door and disappears again in a puff of smoke. (Will attack player if sees them and flames illuminate several meters radius)

3) Always happens for all doors which zombies open.

 

;)

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Sotha,

Glenn tower was the first level, where I have experienced polite zombies. For a sec I thought: can they also lock doors with keys hanging behind the belt I could pickpocket?

 

On a serious note, I'm simply sharing my feedback on what I have experienced, and merely proposing some suggestions, even though I'm not aware of the code structure. I'm also trying suggestions which IMO should not require major code rework. Apologizing in advance if it's not the case.

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RPGista, you're right, zombies would still need to pull open doors that open toward them. For me personally, with an appropriately slovenly door-pulling animation (not a careful door-pulling animation like other characters, which the zombies use now), I can buy zombies pulling open doors to get at what they want. For me, the seriously immersion-breaking part is when they stop, turn around, and close the door - I can't imagine zombies having that presence of mind.

As for the door-pushing animation, I remember the zombies used to do a sideways limp, dragging one foot behind. I don't see them doing that anymore - is that animation still around? Maybe it could be repurposed as a door-shoving animation, leaning into it shoulder-first. The zombie wouldn't stop to open the door, they'd walk right into it, and it would open as they shove through. Is something like that plausible?

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There could be an animation drive where some people make new animations, and this could be one.

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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They can be addressed by doors that automatically close after some time delay, which I've seen in some missions. Auto-closing doors also address your points for the case when the player leaves a door open, plus the case when an AI opens a door and doesn't shut it because the player sidetracks them. However, in my opinion, timed auto-closing doors are immersion-breaking as well, especially in missions that aren't supposed to be haunted. I have a humble suggestion.

 

I agree with Springheel. I've found auto-closing doors to be odd whenever I encountered it back in T2 missions, with the only reasonable explanation being the map is haunted, or if there are clear mechanical elements involved (not just a normal wooden door).

 

Your naturally closing doors might work but we need to see it in action, see if it causes bugs with AI, etc.

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May I take a crack at implementing a new spawnarg for naturally closing doors? It will probably take me an inordinate amount of time to get myself up to speed, seeing as I haven't compiled TDM before. Is this compile guide current?

 

http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=The_Dark_Mod_-_Compilation_Guide

 

If you use the 2.05 source, it should be correct.

 

Your plan should be to provide a 2.05 gamex86.dll (assuming you're working on Windows) that your testers can drop into their 2.05 darkmod folder.

 

If you can get it working, and the team decides to include your feature in 2.07, we'll talk again about how to get your source changes into SVN.

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How can a mechanic related to the behaviour of something that doesn't even exist in real life be immersion breaking?

Are you talking about polite people? :D

Edited by lowenz
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Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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