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2 hours ago, chakkman said:

I can't remember at all how it was in Thief... could you destroy the security camers there?

https://thief.fandom.com/wiki/Periscope_Eye

https://thief.fandom.com/wiki/Watcher

Quote

For the destruction of said devices are explosives, such as Fire Arrows and Mines, but method is very noisy, and can attract unwanted attention. The Watcher in Cragscleft Prison can be disabled with one Broadhead Arrow shot directly into its lens. Watchers in all Thief 2 missions can be blinded for a short time with a Flash Bomb.

One option re. water arrows would be to invent a relay-type thingy for the power or alarm system: something like an antenna with lightning effects. If you see one near a camera, you can break the camera's connection to the alarm system for a bit. (Cf. how in T2 some turrets are autonomous, others rely on a nearby Watcher to alert them. It could also be used for other security devices, like in TDS's museum.)

Edited by VanishedOne
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4 hours ago, chakkman said:

I can't remember at all how it was in Thief... could you destroy the security camers there?

I actually liked the idea of Dragofer, to require 3 water arrows to destroy the camer, making them spark on the first hit. At least that would make sense to me. Drown such an electronic device in water, and it will stop working at some point.

Fire arrows should be sparse, like in the original Thief's, and, one shot should be enough to destroy a camera. They're loud and noticeable anyway.

BTW, mission makers should give more water arrows to the player in general. I remember in almost every mission in the original Thief's you had plenty. In TDM, even in the missions with undead and holy water, you rarely get enough to be able to kill all the undead... most missions are quite unbalanced, in terms of equipment.

I believe a single (direct) fire arrow hit does destroy the cameras in Thief. Think I learned that while playing some random fan mission, just decided to try it for whatever reason. As you mention, they're insanely loud anyway, so it's more or less the final solution.

I also wouldn't mind water arrows having some form of effect on the cameras, at least electric ones. If you dump enough of them on one, it wouldn't be too out of reach to expect a reward. Just like you can disable the hulking security bots in Thief 2 with some water.

That said, I find the classic Thief 2 "disable everything via a control panel" approach to be the most fun, as far as gameplay goes.

As for your final point, I feel like it's a combination of not having many water arrows and holy water being so weak. It's pretty much always a completely wasted piece of equipment on any level, only good for informing me that there will be undead around, if that wasn't readily obvious. Therefore, I tend to just use the arrows on light sources and melee the undead.

Edited by roygato
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42 minutes ago, roygato said:

As for your final point about, I feel like it's a combination of not having many water arrows and holy water being so weak. It's pretty much always a completely wasted piece of equipment on any level, only good for informing me that there will be undead around, if that wasn't readily obvious. Therefore, I tend to just use the arrows on light sources and melee the undead.

Going a little offtopic here, but since you mentioned it: it seems from its script that holy water is less effective than you'd expect against multiple targets.

// greebo: TODO: This won't cut it for holy stims damaging multiple undead
	if (stimSource.getIntKey("stim_already_fired") == 1)
	{
		//sys.println("Ignoring stim coming from " + stimSource.getName());
		return;
	}

 

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1 hour ago, roygato said:

That said, I find the classic Thief 2 "disable everything via a control panel" approach to be the most fun, as far as gameplay goes.

Yeah, I definitely prefer that too, but, it would be cool if there was a "dirty workaround" as well, for those not willing, or not finding the control panel. :) Always nice to have some options. They should definitely be pretty strong though, so that it isn't that easy to take out.

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I agree that taking out security cameras should require rather expensive resources. I also think that the fire arrow is the way to go here. Temporarily disabling it with water arrows is also an option, but I would not use the "multiple hits disable it completely" route. This appeats rather counter intuitive for me. Regarding the comparison to the big robots in T2 in this case: this does not fit completely, because you shoot at a grill that (at least I interpreted it that way) contains some kind of furnace (if this is the right word) of the robot. So you disabled it by dousing the fire in its engine rather than frying its electics. For big robots you needed two shots, because on was not sufficient to douse the fire completely and it could build up heat after a while. If you fry the electronics, one shot should be enough in any case.

Varying the vulnerabilites should be accompanied by different models. This way it would be clearer that different cameras require different stims. E.g. for eyeball plants it would make sense that they can be disabled/killed with broadhead arrows (maybe even blinded with a flash bomb as proposed before) and for necromancers' skulls it would also make sense that they are vulnerable to holy water. By offering different models that are consistent with their vulnerabilites, we could provide mappers with a choice of weaknesses and the players would still not have to test which mapper used which vulnerabilites for their map.

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6 hours ago, Destined said:

For big robots you needed two shots, because on was not sufficient to douse the fire completely and it could build up heat after a while.

Sure, I get that. But I'd also be willing to suspend disbelief that you'd need a certain amount of water to fry them.

Looking at the wiki links posted above, I'd be fine with the Thief 2 route too for electric cameras. Fire arrows are the loud, permanent option. Flash bombs are a silent, temporary solution. And the control panel is the sophisticated option. Can just say they're fortified with Gore-Tex for ultimate waterproofness.

18 hours ago, VanishedOne said:

Going a little offtopic here, but since you mentioned it: it seems from its script that holy water is less effective than you'd expect against multiple targets.


// greebo: TODO: This won't cut it for holy stims damaging multiple undead
	if (stimSource.getIntKey("stim_already_fired") == 1)
	{
		//sys.println("Ignoring stim coming from " + stimSource.getName());
		return;
	}

 

I feel like they barely do anything against single targets either. Went back to test on a mission I was recently playing and you need three to kill one zombie??? That's heinous.

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Base holy water damage is supposed to be 140, and health for a basic zombie is 150. Maybe something weird is going on with damage scaling, though I don't see where.

Edit: I had an idea about this (presently untested): radius of the holy water stim: 24 units. Zombie's height: ~82 units. I don't see anything to make the stim test for intersection with the zombie's body instead of its origin; and an AI's origin is at its base... I think the stim is supposed to move downwards, like the water stim, but maybe it's missing if it's too far to the side, since the origin is at the (ahem) dead centre of the footprint.

Edit2: okay, in my tests I can kill the (initially unalerted) zombie in the expected two shots. I sometimes one-shot him if I aim near the origin. I'm not sure whether the sneak attack multiplier is supposed to apply here. Maybe he can be alerted before the sim falls to near the origin?

Edited by VanishedOne

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- louder scream when you're dying

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I'm leaning towards making flashbombs, but not water arrows, a means of temporarily disabling a security camera. They're less abundant and more valuable, so this should justify being able to get past a stationary camera, which might after all be guarding a very sensitive location. Breaching that location once might render the camera irrelevant for the rest of the mission, so it should be an exceptional act to disable it and not something as common as dousing a flame.

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22 hours ago, Dragofer said:

a stationary camera, which might after all be guarding a very sensitive location. Breaching that location once might render the camera irrelevant for the rest of the mission

Correct. So it might be the best to not add something like that as default behaviour. If mappers want their cameras to be disable-able via flashbombs or water arrows they can add that themselves. Both tools utilize stims. Or the possibility get added but turned off by default, so that mappers can enable them via a spawnarg. Although I would prefer the first approach.

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@DragoferThat sounds like a good plan. We wont know really until we do some testing to see what works and whats fun. It might prove extremely difficult or super easy to cheese them with flashbombs- we'll just need to test out these assumptions. 

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1 hour ago, Obsttorte said:

Correct. So it might be the best to not add something like that as default behaviour. If mappers want their cameras to be disable-able via flashbombs or water arrows they can add that themselves. Both tools utilize stims. Or the possibility get added but turned off by default, so that mappers can enable them via a spawnarg. Although I would prefer the first approach.

As mentioned before, utilising water arrows is easily possible by placing extinguishable light sources near the camera. If they are doused, the camera becomes useless...

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3 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Correct. So it might be the best to not add something like that as default behaviour. If mappers want their cameras to be disable-able via flashbombs or water arrows they can add that themselves. Both tools utilize stims. Or the possibility get added but turned off by default, so that mappers can enable them via a spawnarg. Although I would prefer the first approach.

On the other hand, security cameras are basically like AIs that are non-KOable, non-killable (without loud and expensive arrows) and never leave their area. Also, I can imagine that security cameras will see a lot of use simply in restricting the player's mobility around the mission, as we saw in the bank in Thief 2, not only to guard the most important locations. 

I could therefore imagine them becoming cumbersome to deal with if the only available methods were fire arrows or the power switch (possibly guarded by keys and codes). It is also the mapper's responsibility to balance them well, but I think it'd make the mapper's life easier if there were some more methods available - but not as abundant and effective as water arrows. Flashbombs could have more uses, anyway - they're currently no good for anything else than escaping or fighting undead.

 

Having this already enabled is preferrable since only a subset of mappers is able to use S/R and scripting effectively, and such behaviour should be fairly consistent across most of TDM's FMs for cameras of the same genus.

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11 hours ago, Dragofer said:

On the other hand, security cameras are basically like AIs that are non-KOable, non-killable (without loud and expensive arrows) and never leave their area

The latter is also their biggest disadvantage. They cannot chase you and only alert guards that are close enough to hear the alarm. Also sneaking them by can be pretty easy if the camera is sweeping. When they look away you sneak below them, when the look the other way you continue on. In addition, cameras usually only see, but does not hear.

11 hours ago, Dragofer said:

It is also the mapper's responsibility to balance them well

This is were the issues usually starts. Considering the fact that most mappers usually don't care much about what tools and what amount of them they hand to the player, it is pretty likely that the players starting equipment will be sufficient to deal with most of the cameras, if he can utilize half of it to take them out. This will render them useless.

11 hours ago, Dragofer said:
  1. Having this already enabled is preferrable since only a subset of mappers is able to use S/R and scripting effectively,
  2. and such behaviour should be fairly consistent across most of TDM's FMs for cameras of the same genus.
  1. That is where I disagree. Having it already enabled will cause mappers to use them as is without spending much thought on it. Having to deal with the setup and the work required will at least provide a chance that the mapper thinks about the neccessity and the impact on gameplay. Also I don't see any issue with motivating mappers to learn a bit more then just dragging a brush in DarkRadiant ;)
  2. Why? If uncertain mappers can tell the player at the start of the mission how the cameras will behave. The main point is that their basic behaviour is consistent. How much damage they take or whether their are sensitive to water doesn't belong to that imho. It could different generations of the same camera. Maybe the manufacturer only cared about improving the way the cameras work, not how they look. (I know, in real life it is vice versa, but TDM is a fictive scenario, so ... :) )

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

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2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Why? If uncertain mappers can tell the player at the start of the mission how the cameras will behave. The main point is that their basic behaviour is consistent. How much damage they take or whether their are sensitive to water doesn't belong to that imho. It could different generations of the same camera. Maybe the manufacturer only cared about improving the way the cameras work, not how they look. (I know, in real life it is vice versa, but TDM is a fictive scenario, so ... :) )

I don’t agree with that, imo how a camera/AI behaves is pretty much on the same level of importance as how to disable it. We should establish conventions for how players can expect to interact with the world, i.e. AIs with open helmets can be KOed while those with closed helmets are immune. Technically a mapper could declare that his FM’s City Watch has obtained more durable steel so that all helmets render immune to KOs and hope everybody gets the message, but I think the most likely result is that most players would be frustrated after learning this the hard way (especially if there’s no visual difference to other FMs) and finding themselves limited if KOing is their preferred playstyle.

This could even be a reason to move some spawnargs out of the entityDef and only list them in the wiki article, preceded by advice that any changes should be advertised clearly in the mission and ideally be accompanied by a changed model. This would be to avoid that we get a mosaic of unpredictable behaviours across FMs for cameras that appear to be identical.

 

2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Also sneaking them by can be pretty easy if the camera is sweeping. When they look away you sneak below them, when the look the other way you continue on.

2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

This is were the issues usually starts. Considering the fact that most mappers usually don't care much about what tools and what amount of them they hand to the player, it is pretty likely that the players starting equipment will be sufficient to deal with most of the cameras, if he can utilize half of it to take them out. This will render them useless.

Balancing the paths and tools is up to the mapper. A lone AI or security camera in an open dark area is easy as pie to get past, but multiple interlocking view cones in a well-lit area requires a strategy. The more different & balanced tools we give mappers and thereby players, the more diverse the strategies that can be devised and the more interesting it should become, in other words it’s more interesting to give 2 fire arrows + 2 flashbombs than 3 fire arrows.

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16 hours ago, Dragofer said:

Flashbombs could have more uses, anyway - they're currently no good for anything else than escaping or fighting undead.

TDM flashbombs have no effect on undead, actually: supposedly the rationale is that undead don't physically see you (zombies hunt by scent), even though this makes no sense in a game with shadow- and line-of-sight-based stealth. The out-of-universe rationale is to make holy water more valuable. Even experienced mappers get caught out by this: The Rats Triumphant gives you some completely useless flashbombs.

Flashbombs will harm the ghosts in my w.i.p. though.

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- louder scream when you're dying

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One of the few things Deadly Shadows has over the first two games, holy water is actually satisfying to use. None of that water arrow shit, just chuck the whole bottle at them. And flash bombs against whatever those other guys were.

But as far as the cameras go, I agree with Dragofer. How they are damaged and disabled is definitely something I'd expect to have a game-wide standard, and any deviation should be made incredibly obvious. 

Edited by roygato
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On 3/5/2021 at 1:53 PM, Dragofer said:

And yeah, this is all customisable, we're talking about establishing the standard TDM behaviour here.

@Dragofer is pushing tons of customization capabilities into the security camera.
And to be honest, I don't like it.

Security camera is a rarely used feature. Yes, that's because it was unfinished, and it will surely be used more in the near future, but it still won't be widespread. It does not fit well in every FM, so many FMs won't use it.
Players have expectations. When they shoot water arrow at torch, they expect it to get extinguished. When they see security camera, they will quickly memorize that it can be only destroyed with fire arrow, and they will expect such behavior. Customizing such things will only confuse players.

I'm definitely not against customization, but I'm afraid the truth is: there will be one default, and all deviations will not be noticed by players. In the worst case they'll find customized versions confusing or buggy, because they don't work "as intended".
Will you care to explain these differences to the player inside your FM? I doubt it. Cameras are not important enough for the story to talk to player about them.

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1 hour ago, stgatilov said:

Cameras are not important enough for the story to talk to player about them.

I don't think this is the issue; you can easily make a mission that is tailored around cameras and you use the briefing/a readable in inventory to explain them.

What I could foresee is the first thing you mention, the fact that practically no missions exist with cameras currently, so there literally is no way for the player to know what the "standard" behavior even is, other than projecting their Thief knowledge.

Picture this: A bank heist. A briefing includes all the usual stuff and also mentions how the building is equipped with these awesome cameras, but it just happens they break if you throw a pebble at them. Then give the player some pebbles and maybe a note from the informant or whoever that re-affirms that you should indeed use these pebbles to take out the cameras.

Now that's fine, and should work for that mission, but then another author releases a mission with cameras. They look the same as the cameras in that other guy's mission, but only this time there is no mention of pebbles. So the player scours the map looking for pebbles, doesn't find any, gets mad, and comes to the forums to rain down divine punishment. Or even worse, he finds pebbles, but they just don't do anything this time.

In Thief 2, I know how a standard Watcher works, so any FM that adds/subtracts from that is not a big deal, if it's explained (although to your point, I don't think that has ever happened, and I've played about a billion fan missions). But I gained that knowledge through the campaign; TDM doesn't have one, and the current missions that come prepackaged understandably don't include cameras.

Edited by roygato
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Apart from one which implements its 'camera' using a trigger brush. Edit: scratch that, I missed the word 'prepackaged'.

As one of the people encouraging customisability, what I'm after is to avoid the present case in which assumptions down to the camera's spark particles are hard-coded. As I wrote on the tracker,

Quote

Recently someone wanted an invisible security camera for something and couldn't get the skin working; I checked the code and saw it seemed to be using hardcoded on/off skins (so I ended up suggesting overriding those built-in skins with same-named ones as a workaround). The spark particles are hardcoded too, I think, so anyone trying to create the 'gruesome sentries' from http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Magic#Necromancy would get sparking animal heads.

I agree that it would be poor mission design if visually identical cameras had wildly divergent behaviour.

Edited by VanishedOne

Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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@stgatilov Well that's discouraging. I think you are making assumptions on the part of mappers. Yes its their responsibility to teach players if they deviate from the standard camera, but we have tons and tons of things in the mod they can already do this with. That's the point of being a mod and we've seen some awesome things in missions because of it. 

Im pretty confident we can get this camera to mimic the ones in thief 2. Plain and simple. If an author wants to get creative and make whacky design choices. That's their choice. 

Edit: Also I should note that we haven't really started testing this thing out. A lot of these questions will be answered once we start testing and playing with it. Pretty standard process. So we can debate up front all day about this and that, but in the end we just need to test them to see whats working and what isn't. 

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2 hours ago, stgatilov said:

Players have expectations. When they shoot water arrow at torch, they expect it to get extinguished. When they see security camera, they will quickly memorize that it can be only destroyed with fire arrow, and they will expect such behavior. Customizing such things will only confuse players.

Yes, this expectation is an important point and something I wrote about in my previous post.

If a dev determines that the security camera shall only be used in a single way (a mechanical apparatus) then hardcoding a lot of these behaviours is entirely adequate, and that's basically how it was until now. But mappers are collectively very creative and can easily use the code in many valid ways that the dev did not foresee, i.e. making a nearly broken model that the player can finish off with a blunt tool if he's escaping a prison cell, some kind of organic/undead sentry creature or even make it invisible and use it for triggering events if the mapper's not comfortable with scripting. These kinds of things are only possible if the options are made available.

The downside is that we might get inconsistent behaviour between FMs for identical-looking models, but in fact we already have important entities that can be customised down to the most minute detail, i.e. AIs with any type of helmet can be made immune to KO and have their FOV decreased. But mappers seem to only rarely change such properties because the default values are entirely good as they are. I think this here is mostly an exercise in establishing a default behaviour that most mappers and players agree with.

Also need to consider that at some point the job of the dev ends (to make available a powerful tool) and the job of the mapper begins (to make good use of the tool). Things like unmistakeably informing players about nonstandard mechanics in the FM are part of the mapper's job.

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2 hours ago, Dragofer said:

I think this here is mostly an exercise in establishing a default behaviour that most mappers and players agree with.

I agree with this point. Before we discuss mappers deviating from a standard behaviour, we should actually create one.

Another point I hear quite often and I think most people would agree on is the important detail: different behaviour should be made clear; ideally not only with a comment ind the mission briefing or a readable (which in turn could be overlooked by a player), but rather a different model/skin that gives a hint on the different behaviour. I think nothing speaks against a camera that has apparently open lying circuits that indicate a vulnerability to water arrows, when the standard model appears to be completely closed. An organic model may suggest a vulnerability to cutting weapons like swords and a necromancer's skull to holy water. But before these differences are created, the standard behaviour should be fixed.

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