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Ultra Realism Possibilities?


obscurus
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You're right, there's not a lot to those rules, which brings up the question of whether they're realistic.

 

You mean like the lightgem or the soundpropagation?

 

What if some room has poor insulation and it's been humid outside for months?  The humid air would come in thru that room and diffuse thru the whole house, giving you a complicated humidity distribution.

 

I don't know whats the problem with this. The FM author is responsible for setting the creaking, he is responsible for setting a visual clue if he feels like it, and he is responsible for the loudness to make it realistic. All we do is provide this as a possibility. If we are so concerned that FM authors can not use it properly why do we allow them editing at all? After all they can screw up all other things as well. They can create a map with all of the loot spread out in the entry room. So we shouldn't aloow the FM author to decide where to put the loot? He could put an AI in such a place that it would be impossible to sneak by it. Shall we now disallow free placement of AI? Almost ALL the decisions are done by the FM author, so we should have a little trust in the FM authors that they will use such features to our mutual advantage creating cool maps.

 

@FishFace: You're replacing something that involves a lot of factors including the climate of the setting with some simple and unrealistic rules (bathroom doesn't creak, in front of fireplace especially creaks, everywhere that's heated, which could be the whole house, does creak).

 

We can not really influence this, because our toolset doesn't have a notion of a bathroom or bedroom.

 

I don't see how that is any different from using an equally unrealistic simple rule consisting of "boards that creak look slightly different from other boards if you look closely."

 

It's about as realistic as saying that a Thief could hide in shadows while an AI walks by only a few inches and doesn't notice him.

Gerhard

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Okay, so we've established that neither method of creaking boards is realistic, so it comes down to gameplay. Which is more fun? Creaking boards that you have absolutely no warning about and will randomly get you caught/busted, or creaking boards that you might be able to spot if you look really carefully, and plan around them.

 

I obviously prefer the later, since, when dealing with the environment, for me it is more fun to be able to plan ahead around estimated risks rather than to be taken totally by surprise.

 

You're right though, it is pretty much up to the FM author. Even if we gave different visual textures by default for squeaky board/regular board, FM authors could modify them to be the same as the regular wood textures if they want, we can't stop that.

 

Textures are the easiest way to code it though since we're already checking the texture underfoot to play the audible sound and the propagated sound. But again, the textures don't have to be visually different if the FM author really wants a creaky board without warning. (We'd just make it a surface flag or something, although I'm not sure how we would set a different % chance of creaking for different boards)

 

A creaky board with no warning is essentially a completely hidden trap that gives away your position to any nearby AI. So an FM author should think long and hard about why good mission don't usually include traps that are not visually identifiable in any way before they put one in themselves.

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Well, it's not completely hidden trap, not is it? You can see the floorboards after all, and if you've been told floorboards can creak, you should automatically be careful.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

character models site

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But that is analagous to saying "anywhere with stone floor might be an arrow trap" except less deadly... Warning is good - I like the idea of maintained/unmaintained and gaps between boards. Carpet is a more difficult subject, though.

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~The Fishy Taffer

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And like I have been saying, it isn't meant to be a deathtrap, just a potential hazard, that if negotiated sensibly will result in no harm - if there is a guard walking down a wooden hallway with rugs covering it, and you hear the floor creaking as the guard walks down, you know to stay a fair bit behind the guard so he doesn't hear you. It is no more of a hazard than a loud stone floor, actually it would be less, because stone would have 100% chance of making a sound the AI could potentially hear, whereas, a floor with random or non-random floor creaks would be less than 100% (anywhere from zero up) - still safer than stone, and if you use different wood textures, there is another warning sign to be careful.

 

As long as the tools are there for FM authors, they will do what they want with them, some will make good maps, some won't. I don't think you should preclude any possibilities unless they are too computationally expensive or time consuming to implement.... :)

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My only concern with the boards-going-under-the-carpet business as that some areas will, presumably have lots of carpet, even if not wall-to-wall. And usually, an area of creakiness is not a whole room, or even the whole corridor, just an isolated few boards...

 

Other than that, I'm perfectly satisfied, although I would be interested in how you're going to change the sound depending on speed... Whether a moving quickly produces loud creaks and so on.

--

Somethin' fishy's goin' on here... Come on out, you taffer!

 

~The Fishy Taffer

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I'm all for creaky boards, but I don't think there should be a random chance of the boards making a squeak every time you step on them. I think it would be better if their positions were placed intelligently by the level designer. If the designer really wanted to, he could make it so the location of the creaky boards change every time the level is loaded. That way, the player couldn't memorize where they were.

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IRL (and this IS a realism addition) boards creak every time you step on them. Although the first time might be louder. However, for gameplay, loudness would be better related to the speed at which you walk over them, and/or the time your foot remains on them.

--

Somethin' fishy's goin' on here... Come on out, you taffer!

 

~The Fishy Taffer

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If you could hear it even your bones creak. Whole houses creak all the time. You ever listen to your own house? It creaks sometimes requardless of outside conditions. You can bearly hear your own bones creak but if you did we would all sound like creaky boats.

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IRL (and this IS a realism addition) boards creak every time you step on them. Although the first time might be louder. However, for gameplay, loudness would be better related to the speed at which you walk over them, and/or the time your foot remains on them.

You are wrong on this. Boards do NOT creak every time when they are stepped on, because if you step on them and they creak, they can creak because there is some tension. Applying the force of your weight changes this and they creak. If you step on them immediatly again it can happen that they WONT creak again. Of course this depends on the actual board and why it creaks, because some boards will creak always and some dont.

Gerhard

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I think we should add joints cracking to the game. The thief can have a 'stretch indicator', and so they have to stop and do some stretches before the mission. Otherwise, their joints could crack at a crucial moment. They could also get muscle cramps if they crouch in one place for too long!

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You are wrong on this. Boards do NOT creak every time when they are stepped on, because if you step on them and they creak, they can creak because there is some tension. Applying the force of your weight changes this and they creak. If you step on them immediatly again it can happen that they WONT creak again. Of course this depends on the actual board and why it creaks, because some boards will creak always and some dont.

The boards in my house must be of the always creaky type, then. Basically, it appears (I can't tell - it's carpeted) that the board is loose, but not so loose it doesn't touch its neighbours. Therefore, apply pressure: board moves, release pressure: board moves back. Squeak-squawk, squeak-squawk.

 

I suppose though that some boards would be closer to their neighbours and would therefore stick down until they contracted, moved up again and would then creak after reexpansion.

--

Somethin' fishy's goin' on here... Come on out, you taffer!

 

~The Fishy Taffer

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I don't think all unexpected board-creaking is a bad thing... look at Ominous Bequest. When you enter the reading-room type area on the upper floor, there's an unexpected creak which causes the guy sitting there to get up and walk over to turn on the lights. It puts you in a "think-fast!" sort of situation where you have to quickly decide whether to blackjack him or find a hiding spot. Of course, the whole thing was carefully designed so the creaking floorboard didn't put the player in any immediate danger, but it still goes to show that creaky floor-boards can make for interesting maps when used right.

 

In Japan there's Nijou Castle, which has the famous Nightengale Floors... Although they look perfectly normal, they were intentionally designed to creak and sound like nightengales, to alert guards if an assassin ever tried to sneak in. Perhaps there could be a museum with something like that, where it behooves the player to read things and find out about it before approaching the giant well-guarded pedestal in the center of the room. Or maybe there might be a mission where most of the floors are randomly creaky, and the solution to the puzzle is to stay up in the rafters.

 

Of course these are all special situations. For most creaking floors, I like the decal idea... It really appeals to me as a player that I might be about to walk into a room, when I notice the cracks by one of the boards are slightly larger than the rest, so I know I have to go around it. It'd make me feel like a smart and observant thief.

 

One more idea... floor-board mazes! Then again, maybe I shouldn't suggest that, lest I get pelted with rotten fruit.

 

I'm just trying to say that I think creaky floorboards could be a useful and interesting tool in the arsenal of (good) level designers.

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I think random unpredictable things like floorboards creaking unexpectedly add immensly to gameplay, to me having a visual clue is almost cheating - I want the thief to have to adapt to events outside their control.  Like I said, I like a challenge, and this might not be for everyone...

Thatis simply annoying and adds nothing. You hit a floor board that creaks so you have to reload and then remember where it was. Whoop dee freaking doo. A visual clue means you have to pay attention, which after all is the whole point.

 

If you like random unpredictable things perhaps they could make a mode where you had a very small chance of being struck by lightning at any time and then die. Boy that unpredictable factor would be good fun.

 

Edit:

I see this argument has already been made, but the whole issue is silly. The point is to make a fun game, not a realistic game.

 

Realistically almost all the crap is total bs. Why couldn't you have broad heads and slaughter tons of people? You could and you don't have to hit somebody when they are unaware, if a person is alerted and gets shot through the neck they will die anyway it doesn't matter. The vine climbing wall thing is possible btw depending on the vines, but in my experience vines are notoriously unpredicatable, and might come away at anytime which would make tons of noise and maybe kill you. Climbing a stone wall or even a brick wall is safer. I have climbed buildings made of brick before myself and it worked well enough you just need to actually wear climbing shoes b/c the edges are tiny.

Edited by sxotty
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I think we should add joints cracking to the game. The thief can have a 'stretch indicator', and so they have to stop and do some stretches before the mission. Otherwise, their joints could crack at a crucial moment. They could also get muscle cramps if they crouch in one place for too long!

If this was an attempt of sarcasm you should train a bit more. ;)

Gerhard

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Thatis simply annoying and adds nothing. You hit a floor board that creaks so you have to reload and then remember where it was. Whoop dee freaking doo. A visual clue means you have to pay attention, which after all is the whole point.

 

If you like random unpredictable things perhaps they could make a mode where you had a very small chance of being struck by lightning at any time and then die. Boy that unpredictable factor would be good fun.

Really? Why is it annoying? Is it annoying when a guard comes around a corner unexpectedly, or just part of the game? Why do you have to reload? Reloading is, IMO, a form of cheating if you use it in this way. If you hit a floorboard and it creaks, you should have to deal with it, which is why I am in favour of a limited number of save points, rather than unlimited savegames - saving games is so you can switch off your computer and go to work or whatever, and come back to your game (or if your computer is a bit crash-happy), NOT to scout ahead through the map and then reload and play it knowing where all of the loot and hazards are in advance. That is just lame.

 

If it is random, you wouldn't be able to remember where it was (OK random creaking isn't entirely realistic, particular floorboards creaking is obviously more likely, but the chance that any given floorboard will creak will have a random element to it). In some situations no amount of carful observation should tell you how events will unfold. For me, a game is much more replayable if it plays differently every time, rather than me knowing from past experience " OK there is a guard around this corner, the floorboard near that doorway squeaks, there is a trap if I step on the black floor tile near the..." I have played T1/T2/T3 through thoroughly several times, and it is just not the same as the first time when you didn't know where everything was...

 

And don't be silly, I am not talking about random things that would kill you straight away, like lightning strikes, although, now that i think about it, you could have a level set in a lightning storm, and you have to break into a mansion quickly or get zapped... Nahh, don't think so...

 

Maybe you would like a level with no gaurds, all carpet floor, and all of the loot is in one room, and you have god mode and noclip on... wouldn't want to annoy you with anything challenging and fun now, would we? :)

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the whole issue is silly. The point is to make a fun game, not a realistic game.

 

Realistically almost all the crap is total bs. Why couldn't you have broad heads and slaughter tons of people? You could and you don't have to hit somebody when they are unaware, if a person is alerted and gets shot through the neck they will die anyway it doesn't matter. The vine climbing wall thing is possible btw depending on the vines, but in my experience vines are notoriously unpredicatable, and might come away at anytime which would make tons of noise and maybe kill you. Climbing a stone wall or even a brick wall is safer. I have climbed buildings made of brick before myself and it worked well enough you just need to actually wear climbing shoes b/c the edges are tiny.

But for some of us, a realistic game IS a fun game, and a game that strays too far from reality is not necessarily fun. But that is all a matter of personal preference.

 

Realisticly, I would like to see how many arrows you could fire per minute, and how many guards you think you could drop before one or two reached you with their swords... OK, there are some situatuions where you could realisticly wipe out every living thing in a level (In the original Thief games, especially TDS, this is quite easy to do), but most of the time if you are outnumbered by heavily armed guards, you are likely in trouble. No one is suggesting that you can't go on a killing spree per se, just that the rewards of doing so would be small compared to the risk involved. You can't carry that many arrows in a quiver either, and in RL arrows do not kill instantly unless you get a lucky shot - I have been hunting with bows before and you have to get a headshot or a direct hit in the heart usually, otherwise you have to wait for the animal/victim to bleed slowly to death. So you could hit a guard in the stomach, and the wound could be eventually fatal, but a guard pumped up on adrenaline could still fight you for 10 - 20 minutes before dropping. It isn't like in the movies, there is rarely such thing as an instant death (not from arrows anyway)...

 

And for that matter, what about having BJed guards wake up after 20 minutes or so?

 

Good point about vines though, but you can also climb rocks/walls barefoot - I know a few rockclimbers who prefer chalking their feet rather than using climbing shoes... :)

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Realisticly, I would like to see how many arrows you could fire per minute, and how many guards you think you could drop before one or two reached you with their swords... OK, there are some situatuions where you could realisticly wipe out every living thing in a level (In the original Thief games, especially TDS, this is quite easy to do), but most of the time if you are outnumbered by heavily armed guards, you are likely in trouble. No one is suggesting that you can't go on a killing spree per se, just that the rewards of doing so would be small compared to the risk involved. You can't carry that many arrows in a quiver either, and in RL arrows do not kill instantly unless you get a lucky shot - I have been hunting with bows before and you have to get a headshot or a direct hit in the heart usually, otherwise you have to wait for the animal/victim to bleed slowly to death. So you could hit a guard in the stomach, and the wound could be eventually fatal, but a guard pumped up on adrenaline could still fight you for 10 - 20 minutes before dropping. It isn't like in the movies, there is rarely such thing as an instant death (not from arrows anyway)...

 

And for that matter, what about having BJed guards wake up after 20 minutes or so?

 

Good point about vines though, but you can also climb rocks/walls barefoot - I know a few rockclimbers who prefer chalking their feet rather than using climbing shoes... :)

I think the fact you can snipe an unaware AI but not an alerted one is a little ridiculous, you should be able to snipe ANY Ai but it should be next to impossible to score a clean kill. Maybe the target zone for a head kill could be shrunk.

 

But a killing spree really isnt that realistic IMO. If you have twenty guards on duty, and five suddenly are AWOL, someones going to notice and raise hell. This was a glaring weakness of the older Thief games. Body limits and ghosting rules are quick and easy ways to account for the RL fact that guards on duty are on precise schedules and have assigned posts. With other AI like the undead, you should have the option of killing them all, but it should be tough as hell.

 

obscurus, waking up AIs is another good idea, ive wondered about a buddy AI finding and waking up a KOd friend as well. But I guess you could simply set the bodies found counter to zero and get the same effect. What about no KOing guards at all, you can use the jack on servants, townsfolk, aristocrats, etc. but guards have to be avoided/distracted?

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Yeah, a broadhead arrow is not the same as a 30.06 sniper rifle to the head, and there are plenty of cases of people having arrows, nails, wooden stakes etc embedded in their brains, and go on to live a normal life. Arrows don't have much stopping power in RL (that's why guns were invented), they work by leaving an often fatal wound which will cause the victim to bleed to death if they don't get medical attention quickly.

 

It makes sense that it is harder to KO guards, guards usually wear helmets, I imagine that would reduce the effectiveness of blackjacking somewhat compared to an unhelmeted civilian.

 

Actually, I don't mind if there are situations where killing is called for (it adds a bit of variety), but I prefer if most levels are ghost-able, it just feels more thief-like to not come into contact with any AIs. there are concievable situations, particularly if guards are wideley spaced out from each other (remember, the guards don't have constant radio contact like modern security personel do), where you could kill all of them before they noticed something was up, but that would be pretty bad security planning on the part of the guards (=pretty poor level design). Guards swap positions, change patrols, go out in shifts, and notice when Benny doesn't turn up for work... unlike the guards in Thief.

 

The undead in thief were actually pretty good in encouraging you to ghost the mission, especially if you were short on flashbombs etc, and having guards that are harder to kill or KO would be a big plus in my book :)

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...Reloading is, IMO, a form of cheating if you use it in this way.  If you hit a floorboard and it creaks, you should have to deal with it, which is why I am in favour of a limited number of save points, rather than unlimited savegames - saving games is so you can switch off your computer and go to work or whatever, and come back to your game (or if your computer is a bit crash-happy), NOT to scout ahead through the map and then reload and play it knowing where all of the loot and hazards are in advance.  That is just lame.

I think, obscurus, that limiting save points is an unreasonable demand on the player. Some people, including me, actually, would like to have a limited save or checkpoint system, but the fact is that it's so much simpler when you can just save anywhere. Not everybody in the community is a "hardcore gamer." A lot of people like being able to save often so they don't have to waste their time doing things all over again if they make a mistake. Now I'm not saying that you have to appeal to the lowest common denominator, this is a fan-based project after all, but I think you have to make some accomodations people who don't feel like making a major time commitment to the game. To a lot of people it would just seem cruel.

 

If anything, I think that a limit on the number of saves should be an option that you could toggle on or off.

Edited by thestemmer
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