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Flash arrow: Yay or nay?


MirceaKitsune
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@wesp5: The general opinion back in the day was that for many players searching the inventory for the correct key was part of the immersion and automizing this process is no good idea, so it will not make it to the core mod unless those opinions have changed.

 

In regards to the files: The video is 6 1/2 years old, I haven't found anything in my mapping thread or the newbie thread. I'll see whether I can find it on my harddrive, but can't promise anything.

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On 11/6/2020 at 6:08 AM, Obsttorte said:

Regarding the useful/lessness of flash bombs and mines: I don't think that those items are useless per se, but that those, similar to many other items the player has at his disposal, aren't as useful as they could be due to the way most missions are designed. Almost all of them are ghostable, or relatively close to that. There is rarely a situation, where using an item really gives you an advantage, especially for advanced players who are familiar with stealth games. Flash arrows, emp arrows or whatever else will suffer the same issue if mappers using them won't create their missions in a way that encourages their usage. I hardly see this happening, but I may be proven wrong.

Yes, my impression is that Thief's flashbombs were intended partly as escape tools (indicated e.g. by the 'ace up my sleeve'), which doesn't go well with the time needed to draw the bow. The flash arrow idea probably does go better with a player-versus-undead scenario, like the holy swords that occasionally turn up in Thief FMs.

Edited by VanishedOne
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Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Aaaand here's a working pk4! Super easy as expected, just define a new arrow then give it the same result def as the flashbomb. I edited in a different arrow model and texture too, the little details and effects still need tweaking... since this color is unused and common to describe lightning I went with purple / pink for now.

Bait6Zo.jpg

AStA4fW.jpg

13UGBOl.jpg

FL6AeYR.jpg

From my testing the arrow works exactly as intended, and this could just be considered the final functionality as far as I'm concerned: It temporarily spawns a bright flash, making the guard say "ah a flash" rub his eyes and cease searching for a few seconds. Note that it can in fact blind the player too... however this only happens if the player shoots it right in front of them, if you shoot it in front of something over 3 meters away (as you always will) it only causes a short white haze.

flash_arrow_1.0.pk4

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I figured white would be a better color in the end considering that's the colorization of the flash itself. I improved the material and textures slightly so the arrow tip looks bright and like it's blinking, as well as creating a proper GUI icon that represents the aspect of the tip correctly.

In addition I figured I'd mix things up a bit from a gameplay perspective too; I made the tip glow so the arrow will also draw a bit of attention. While having the Flash arrow selected, you'll become more visible similarly to holding the Fire arrow, but to a much lesser extent (only 3 lightgem levels instead of 15). This means that using it will ever so slightly make you more noticeable if a guard is standing nearby, though it won't completely blow your cover if you're hidden in complete darkness.

tt8aIB4.jpg

G78Yfss.jpg

Anyone here a FM developer? I'd like to see this added to a mission to be tested in practice. Perhaps share a video if you do that, I'd love to see how the idea works!

flash_arrow_1.1.pk4

Edited by MirceaKitsune
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Starting from this thread I went into the other direction as I think one flash item is enough, especially as holding down the use key can make you throw a flashbomb quite far anyway. So I changed the flashmine into an "electric mine", which will knockout single NPCs stepping onto it because to me this is much more usefull! Right now it makes a blue light and a buzzing sound, but I would like to add a blue aura around the affected NPC. Can anybody remember if this used somewhere already? I have the feeling some ghosts showed such an aura, but I can't remember the mission to take a look how it was done. Also robots, spiders and undead are not affected as this would make it too powerfull...

Edited by wesp5
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As a general rule: I think other alternative ideas are very good to consider! For the purpose of this thread though, especially now that I managed to get a working patch, I'd like to focus on the functionality in the pk4 I posted. If such an arrow can become a default feature, extra functionality could be added to it now or later.

Like I said I think the flash part of the arrow works perfectly with my implementation, as in it's exactly the result I wanted. On top of this functionality, I agree the arrow could have the effect of knocking out electrical lights temporarily or making them blink. I wonder if for this there's an additional stim I can add to the result def; Could anyone suggest the sr settings I'd need to use for electric lights? If it helps to have it readily available for examination, here's the result def of the flash arrow:

entityDef atdm:result_arrow_flasharrow
{
	"inherit"			"atdm:result_arrow_base"

	// Define a new scriptobject
	"scriptobject"		"result_flashbomb"

	// parametric particles -- temp
	"model_dud"			"flashbomb.prt"

	// placeholder arrow break sound for now
	"snd_dud"			"tdm_flashbomb"

	"def_flashlight"	"atdm:light_flashbomb"		// The spawned light if the flash is not directly in sight

	"gui"				"guis/playertools/flashbomb.gui"

	"copy_bind"			"0"

	//warning: changing remove_delay cuts the particle off in mid-animation!
	"remove_delay"		"5"

	"sr_type_1"					"24"		// STIM_FLASH -> script/tdm_stim_response.script
	"sr_radius_1"				"500"		// Radius in Doom 3 units
	"sr_falloffexponent_1"		"1"
	"sr_duration_1"				"100"		// stim duration 100 ms
	"sr_time_interval_1"		"120"		// fires only once
}

As far as knocking out robots goes, the only robot so far being the steambot, I think that makes sense too. But for this to work, the steambot also needs to be changed to allow a sr response for taking it down, which my arrow would then need to call (same thing as for the electric lights).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great idea!

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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  • 8 months later...

It's been a while since I received any feedback on this feature. As it's an addition created with the hope of being included in TDM by default, I'd like to ask if a look can be taken at this pk4 again please, and let me know if and how anything can and should be changed.

From what I remember this patch was pretty much final, implementing the arrow just as desired. It should not affect existing FM's in any way: It just introduces this arrow type for those creators who want it on their map. It's a very logical arrow to have IMHO, I see no downside to integrating the patch. What do you think?

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As I already wrote above, I don't see any use for this. In fact it would be the third item with a flash effect while we have only one with a non lethal effect, the gas arrow. As I belong to the sort of player knocking out everyone I would rather have another means to do that, like the electrical mine I created...

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I think that with the usual guardians there is enough non-lethal weaponry, maybe a gas grenade can be added, worse I see the weaponry against skeletons, ghosts and zombies. To remove these from the environment naturally only lethal weapons can be used, but in these it is limited to mines, fire arrows (difficult in many cases, since they make one visible) and water arrows with holy water, often scarce. efficacy. in some of these beings.

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How about a blackjack arrow - exactly like a blackjack, but ranged. :awesome:

As for the flash arrow, if it's just a flash bomb on a stick, it sounds borderline useless. I don't think gaining range would offset having to fumble with the bow, when the most typical flash bomb use-case, for me anyway, tends to require quickness. If it comes with other niche, otherwise unavailable effects, then perhaps.

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16 minutes ago, roygato said:

How about a blackjack arrow - exactly like a blackjack, but ranged. :awesome:

Isn't that what gas arrows are for? Ranged knock out... They are quite rare, as range on knock out is quite powerful, but they exist.

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40 minutes ago, Destined said:

Isn't that what gas arrows are for? Ranged knock out... They are quite rare, as range on knock out is quite powerful, but they exist.

I'll preface that I was joking. Mostly. :awesome: But they would have significant differences.

- Gas arrows are AOE, can hit the target pretty generously in the head-area and can knock-out elite guards.

- Blackjack arrow would be like a shitty version of Dishonored sleep dart, with all the blackjack's limitations. Extremely awkward, but pretty funny.

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49 minutes ago, Destined said:

Isn't that what gas arrows are for? Ranged knock out... They are quite rare, as range on knock out is quite powerful, but they exist.

I can see the point and comparison. One thing I'd point out there is that flash arrows are meant to be very different from gas arrows or knowkouts for that matter. They only blind an enemy temporarily so the player can sneak past in a window of a few seconds. No damage dealt to the AI, only a way to incapacitate them for a few seconds.

If anything I'd find it more similar to the noisemaker in that regard. Though different from that too: This incapacitates the AI instead of drawing them away, though also for the purpose of helping you sneak past them. The flashbomb and flashmine by comparison are tools of escape when you get caught, not usable to get an AI out of the way at a distance which is the gap having an arrow version of it is meant to fill.

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For distraction I often use the normal arrows, also very efficient if you shoot them near the guard in a wall or box. Apart from killing spiders and someone I've have to kill in the mission, I don't use them normally.  I don't see other reasons to have 10 or more normal arrows in Missions without spiders and a no kill task, well, maybe for down a vase from a window in the highs.

Edited by Zerg Rush

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23 minutes ago, Zerg Rush said:

Apart from killing spiders and someone I've have to kill in the mission, I don't use them normally.

Sometimes I use them to knock over candlesticks I can't easily reach. The noise is a risk sometimes but it's nice to have this technique available.

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13 hours ago, MirceaKitsune said:

I can see the point and comparison. One thing I'd point out there is that flash arrows are meant to be very different from gas arrows or knowkouts for that matter. They only blind an enemy temporarily so the player can sneak past in a window of a few seconds. No damage dealt to the AI, only a way to incapacitate them for a few seconds.

If anything I'd find it more similar to the noisemaker in that regard. Though different from that too: This incapacitates the AI instead of drawing them away, though also for the purpose of helping you sneak past them. The flashbomb and flashmine by comparison are tools of escape when you get caught, not usable to get an AI out of the way at a distance which is the gap having an arrow version of it is meant to fill.

I still cannot really see the need for an arrow. If the guard is so far off that you cannot throw the flash bomb in front of him to blind him, it seems to me that he would also be too far off to require blinding at all. The only advantage of an arrow I could think of would be more preicision, but I think if you practice throwing the flash bomb, you should also get the precision you would need to blind a guards.

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Maybe if the arrow activates far enough from you it shouldn't blind you but could briefly illuminate dark areas, like a flare arrow.

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My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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1 hour ago, Destined said:

I still cannot really see the need for an arrow. If the guard is so far off that you cannot throw the flash bomb in front of him to blind him, it seems to me that he would also be too far off to require blinding at all. The only advantage of an arrow I could think of would be more preicision, but I think if you practice throwing the flash bomb, you should also get the precision you would need to blind a guards.

  IIRC that's already the case: When I tested it wouldn't blind the player if you shot it at a far away wall but would if the wall was close enough.

The flash bomb is limited in how far you can throw it. That's one of the points of this arrow: It's basically a way to use this feature at a distance.

27 minutes ago, thebigh said:

Maybe if the arrow activates far enough from you it shouldn't blind you but could briefly illuminate dark areas, like a flare arrow.

I like that idea actually. You raise an interesting question here: Do you think this arrow would be more interesting if it also spawned a light source that lasted some 15 / 30 / 60 seconds to act as a lantern, apart from the blinding functionality on AI? Making it a flare arrow could give it an extra use and further make it unique! If you can spawn multiple results per arrow in the def (let me know how) I'll add a limited time light source as well, but I'll only work on that if others think it's worth it.

There was also the point of making it temporarily disable electrical lights like an EMP field. This would require a custom script which would then need to be integrated into TDM. But it would conflict with the idea of turning it into a flare light so that's a possibility I'd dump then.

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1 hour ago, MirceaKitsune said:

There was also the point of making it temporarily disable electrical lights like an EMP field. This would require a custom script which would then need to be integrated into TDM. But it would conflict with the idea of turning it into a flare light so that's a possibility I'd dump then.

I see no conflict there and an arrow that could disable electrical lights would make much more sense! It could be similar to my electrical mine in effect: if it hits a lamp, electrical arcs shorten it and it goes out. If it just hits a wall, the same electrical arcs light up the area for a certain time in blue light.

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Screw waiting: I went ahead and did it anyway, the idea instantly seemed promising and so far it seems rightfully so. The flash arrow now acts like a flare arrow as well! This comes with new and more fitting light / particle / sound effects that better suit it. I still like the sound of "flash arrow" better so I kept the name as is. Still no custom script required, all is done from the def which is just 135 lines now.

How it works as of the new version: The arrow spawns a dim blue light in the spot where it hit, lasting 15 seconds. If the arrow hits right in front of an AI (256 units) the AI becomes blinded just like the flashmine / flashbomb, being incapacitated for a few seconds then becoming alert. Separately from that, the AI will treat the flare as suspicious if seeing it without being blinded instead (1024 units) and will walk to its location in order to investigate.

This makes it a dual-use arrow with more purpose: If you want to blind AI in order to run past them, it can be used as a long-range but less effective version of the flash bomb. Separately you can also use it in dark areas to light them up, in case you don't have the lantern item or need to see what's in a dark spot at a distance without walking there... the arrow will illuminate that area without triggering sound alerts, however AI will investigate flares if they see them directly (no alert still). This is similar to how the fire arrow can be used either to do massive damage to AI or to light torches that start off or have been put out; For a flare arrow it makes perfect sense to have these two effects in one :)

Now I find this even more promising and interesting. Please give the updated pk4 a try; The discussion itself is interesting, but since I've been able to create and adapt a working version it would be nice to have it based on actual testing, I'm sure a mapper working on their FM can find a moment to give it a go. Perhaps share better screenshots or videos too: I don't have a screen capturing setup ready to do that. I know for sure I'll want to use this in some of own FM's now, and I'd rather not have to include it as a separate mod in each one, which includes redefining the player class which isn't a very good idea. Feel free to share further suggestions, like how I should tweak the light or ranges and maybe I should customize the particles next to make them more fitting. pk4 and obligatory screenies:

flash_arrow_1.2.pk4

SYEmBrl.jpg

ApPGowg.jpg

J35sZ8V.jpg

DuCwSR5.jpg

uAxHmor.jpg

WC2LefY.jpg

 

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New version available! This beautifies yesterday's release with proper particles and dedicated sounds: There's a smaller but stronger glow in the location touched by the arrow. It contains a subtle bloom effect pointing in the direction the arrow hit from, with little fireflies slowly flowing in the same direction. The light texture was changed to look prettier and project a slightly detailed pattern. Audio wise there's a new arrow hit sound in place, as well as a sizzle sound which makes the light flicker for a second when spawned. The flare now lasts for 30 seconds, in exchange I reduced its light radius to 256 which feels most decent for such a lamp.

New arrow hit sound: Ice & Electricity Magic, by qubodup

flash_arrow_1.3.pk4

6gcQB39.jpg

DvLsUYK.jpg

AE5deKo.jpg

Br3Iz3f.jpg

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