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zergrush

AI reactions and reasonable doubt

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Perhaps, this being a stealth game, the solution is not to stay in full light for more than a split second.

 

It being a stealth game does not mean the average guard is supposed to have the eyesight of an eagle and the reactions of an automated turret, and much less that players have to constantly keep an eye on the light gem without being given any leeway for a single mistake. As it stands, the game won't even let me lower the difficulty in this regard, which is why I initially proposed a setting for increasing reaction delay.

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AI seems fairly generous here, but then again, you're not standing in full light. This reaction time (around 2 seconds) would be realistic for full light, and it should be exponentially increased every 10 or so meters. In my opinion, in the first video I posted from CuTN, I shouldn't have even been spotted since humans ignore most far away objects at that distance, but for gameplay's sake, I'd say an initial vocal warning followed by walking to investigate and only then draw the sword, would have been acceptable.

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I'm not sure what you're expecting here, this is more or less how Thief games worked. At least with this lighting setup, this is how Deadly Shadows worked. IMO it's a design and mapping thing. Most mappers seem to prefer pretty aggressive lighting, and that's up to them.

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Based on the video, I'm not sure anything is broken.

 

The AI in both cases don't go directly to full alert when they spot you. There is a second or two grace period where you can see them ramping up, particularly the guard that's further away.

 

On the CuTN video, it's 1 second or less, actually. I enter full around halfway around 0:17. The guard starts reaching for his sword in 0:18. not even having hesitated or tried to get close. On the Bakery Job video it's even worse, since the guard literally reacts BEFORE looking up!

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I'm not sure what you're expecting here, this is more or less how Thief games worked. At least with this lighting setup, this is how Deadly Shadows worked. IMO it's a design and mapping thing. Most mappers seem to prefer pretty aggressive lighting, and that's up to them.

 

I am aware, but TDM is both supposed to be an homage and an improvement upon Thief's original gameplay. I'm perfectly fine with this type of reaction on harder difficulties, but I think the player should also be allowed to make things easier for himself to an extent, especially if it results in reducing the time of reloads per mission. This form of artificial difficulty on Thief was both a product of AI limitations and perhaps a somewhat deliberate choice for prolonging the game's length. But we're no longer in the 90s, and TDM is capable of many more things Thief isn't. Moreover, the reason why I think you shouldn't just leave it to mappers, is because older maps would then have to be tweaked retroactively.

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The reaction time in those videos feels a bit off to me honestly. The player barely has time to react to the vocal cue. I should at least give two beats after the vocal cue so the player can try to hide. "Huh, what's that?"...1....2...."have at theeee", or if the player manages to slip out of the light..."eh, twas nothing".

 

I'm trying to remember the exact system that ended up being put in place, but I vaguely recall it was like a curve of sorts. The further away you were from the AI the longer the delay in full light....up to a point where the AI wouldn't even respond if it were far enough. I don't think we had the AI vision settings back then either, so I would expect the lowest vision settings to be far more forgiving than what I saw in the video.

 

I recall during testing that the AI would mutter a few different things at great distances, before becoming agitated enough to charge.

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Moreover, the reason why I think you shouldn't just leave it to mappers, is because older maps would then have to be tweaked retroactively.

 

And that's the usual course of action. It's safer to modify some of the maps than to change something in core mechanics and potentially break all the maps.

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The reaction time in those videos feels a bit off to me honestly.

And not only that, the microsecond guards reach for their swords they become blackjacking immune. Which I changed in my Unofficial Patch and which feels much more natural now, as blackjacking is still possible until the have the weapon out and ready...

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In the first video, your lightgem is brightly lit by 0:17. The guard doesn't draw his weapon until 0:20, and it's another second or so before he begins running in your direction. So that's at least 4 seconds of grace time. That seems perfectly reasonable for a guard who is alert. Now, since that guard isn't alert, you might have an argument for increasing the delay; how many seconds would you want to see?

 

And not only that, the microsecond guards reach for their swords they become blackjacking immune

 

 

Neither guard becomes "blackjack immune" in those videos.

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I agree that the first video certainly doesn't seem very "forgiving". I don't recall guards in the original games responding that quickly or from that far away, except perhaps on Expert difficulty or with particular FMs whose authors had ramped up the difficulty settings.

 

I would still oppose a dedicated reaction time setting for the already-discussed reasons, but I'm definitely in favour of balancing the existing difficulty sliders so that they cover a wide range of play styles. As it is, I feel that this game is a little too biased towards the hardcore players who consider the original games way too easy, at the expense of the more casual players who actually enjoy a T1/T2 (or dare I say it, TDS) level of difficulty.

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I wouldn't even say it's necessary to be 'casual' to like a T1/T2 approach to difficulty: rather, I can pull off stunts in Thief that are usually ill advised or designedly impossible in TDM.

 

The Thief OMs actually ramped up the AI threat over the course of the campaign - you start off against https://thief.fandom.com/wiki/Bafford_Guard - so TDM's AI difficulty settings are a sort of substitute.


Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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I wouldn't say that. Mission makers are also free to put normal or elite guards in their missions.

 

I think missions should be made with the default AI difficulty in mind, because that's what most players will use.

Edited by chakkman

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In the first video, your lightgem is brightly lit by 0:17. The guard doesn't draw his weapon until 0:20, and it's another second or so before he begins running in your direction. So that's at least 4 seconds of grace time. That seems perfectly reasonable for a guard who is alert. Now, since that guard isn't alert, you might have an argument for increasing the delay; how many seconds would you want to see?

 

 

Neither guard becomes "blackjack immune" in those videos.

https://we.tl/t-XA3hUyOnlB

 

Please find attached a hi-res version of the video. As you can see I enter full light at around 0:17:600, the moment the woman in the street is saying "it feels like this day will never end". The guard starts reaching for his sword exactly at 0:18:533, which is the moment the reaction technically begins, and without any vocal warning. This makes it less than a second reaction time, which is simply superhuman, especially at a distance of about 30 meters. Even if the player has enough time to escape or flee back into shadow before the guard finishes drawing the weapon, this is enough to ruin a stealth score, hence why it is still unfair.

 

 

I agree that the first video certainly doesn't seem very "forgiving". I don't recall guards in the original games responding that quickly or from that far away, except perhaps on Expert difficulty or with particular FMs whose authors had ramped up the difficulty settings.

 

I would still oppose a dedicated reaction time setting for the already-discussed reasons, but I'm definitely in favour of balancing the existing difficulty sliders so that they cover a wide range of play styles. As it is, I feel that this game is a little too biased towards the hardcore players who consider the original games way too easy, at the expense of the more casual players who actually enjoy a T1/T2 (or dare I say it, TDS) level of difficulty.

Like I said, I'm perfectly fine with reaction time being accounted by the current AI Vision setting instead of having its own dedicated slider. The question now is how to implement this delay without breaking AI. For that I would like to hear your suggestions. The ultimate goal for me would be to keep the current reaction time as part of a higher AI vision difficulty, but making Forgiving and Nearly Blind definitely more lenient.

Edited by zergrush

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Neither guard becomes "blackjack immune" in those videos.

As far as I know every guard is completely blackjack immune once they are alerted in the original mod, I didn't change this for nothing in my patch.

Also how come the guards immediately recognize you as a thief? I hate that and I like all the missions where people react normally to you at first...

Edited by wesp5

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Like I said, I'm perfectly fine with reaction time being accounted by the current AI Vision setting instead of having its own dedicated slider. The question now is how to implement this delay without breaking AI. For that I would like to hear your suggestions. The ultimate goal for me would be to keep the current reaction time as part of a higher AI vision difficulty, but making Forgiving and Nearly Blind definitely more lenient.

 

"more lenient" means slowing down the reaction time, which needs to be done in the code, so I'm not sure why you're asking for suggestions, as if there are alternatives.

 

Also keep in mind that this discussion is continuing w/o anyone having looked at the visibility code, to see if there is a bug. IIRC, there were changes to the lightgem made in the past year or so that might be returning a different light value to that code. This needs to be researched.

 

I don't think we should be discussing changes until we have all the information. If someone thinks a change can be done through spawnargs or cvars, and we make that change and subsequently discover the root cause and fix that, the spawnarg/cvar route will need to be undone.

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"more lenient" means slowing down the reaction time, which needs to be done in the code, so I'm not sure why you're asking for suggestions, as if there are alternatives.

 

Also keep in mind that this discussion is continuing w/o anyone having looked at the visibility code, to see if there is a bug. IIRC, there were changes to the lightgem made in the past year or so that might be returning a different light value to that code. This needs to be researched.

 

I don't think we should be discussing changes until we have all the information. If someone thinks a change can be done through spawnargs or cvars, and we make that change and subsequently discover the root cause and fix that, the spawnarg/cvar route will need to be undone.

That sounds fair enough. I've already submitted the bug report in the meantime. We can wait for the results before retaking this topic then.

Edited by zergrush

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Okay. I should be able to take this up in a couple weeks. Atm, I'm trying to stay focused on getting my WIP through beta test. Sorry for the delay, since the numbers are important, but it can't be helped.

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No problem! Thank you for volunteering for having a look at this issue, and best wishes with pulling WS5 through. Let me know if you need help with beta testing.

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As far as I know every guard is completely blackjack immune once they are alerted in the original mod, I didn't change this for nothing in my patch.

Also how come the guards immediately recognize you as a thief? I hate that and I like all the missions where people react normally to you at first...

Just took a look at the AI stats again. It is not all guards that get immune as soon as the weapon is drawn, but only AI with helmets. Any AI with only hoods/chainmail get immune to blackjack, when they reach Alert level 5.

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Just took a look at the AI stats again. It is not all guards that get immune as soon as the weapon is drawn, but only AI with helmets. Any AI with only hoods/chainmail get immune to blackjack, when they reach Alert level 5.

Ah, my mistake. This is what I meant by "guards" :)! But why would the others get immune on Alert level 5 too? What's the difference?

Edited by wesp5

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Here is the Wiki page on how high the chances of being spotted are, depending on the brightness of the light gem. If I understand the article correctly, AI sight is constant up to a distance of 11 m and is reduced linearly until it reaches 0 at a distance of 60 m. So if the spotting chance (according to the article the chance given is being spotted within 0.5 seconds) is 100% due to bright light at up to 10 m, it will sink 2% per meter distance after that. If I am not mistaken the chance of being spotted at 50 m distance should still be 10%, which equals being spotted by a guard around every 5 seconds (as stated as an example in the article), so there should be a pause of five seconds between each change of state at that distance. I am not good at estimateg distances, so I have no idea how far away the guards are in the videos, but at least in the Bakery Job, you are definitely no 60 m away. Lets say you are 15 m away, this would only decrease the chance of the AI spotting you to 90%, so it is no wonder that the AI reacts pretty quickly. The article also states that the distances are controlled via cvars, so this means that most likely no code changes are necessary. Maybe the AI visual difficulty could be linked to them, reducing the maximum distance that AI can see with decreasing difficulty.

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Ah, my mistake. This is what I meant by "guards" :)! But why would the others get immune on Alert level 5 too? What's the difference?

 

It makes the sword pretty pointless if you can just hit an AI in the face with your blackjack and knock them out in one hit even during combat.

 

 

Here is the Wiki page on how high the chances of being spotted are

 

 

That was written before TDM was even released, and well before grayman's work, so I highly doubt it's still accurate.

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So I found a bit of space to gather some numbers.

 

Here's a pic of what I measured. The granularity of the snapshots is 0.1s, not every frame, so these are rough times:

 

post-3633-0-37625400-1553735036_thumb.jpg

 

This shows the amount of seconds it takes from the guard first spotting you, for him to reach each of the 5 alert levels.

 

Comparing each visibility setting in both 2.00 (back when I wrote this stuff) and 2.07 (today).

 

What pops out for me is that the delay between reaching level 4 and level 5 has dropped considerably. This delay was intended to give the player some time to duck back into the shadows.

 

What I'll do when I get more time is examine the delay code and try to figure out where the bug crept in.

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It makes the sword pretty pointless if you can just hit an AI in the face with your blackjack and knock them out in one hit even during combat.

So alert level 5 just means sword ready and in front? That's okay then! You can't even blackjack enemies with my patch then as the sword blocks it...

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