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Ghosting the Dark Mod


marbleman
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Greetings everyone!

 

I recently got into TDM and am already having a lot of fun playing through and ghosting missions. However, coming from Thief, I am mostly relying on the rules and my experience with that game, while there are clearly differences in how TDM works. Right now, there is talk in the ghosting discussion thread on TTLG to amend the ruleset and include clarifications pertaining to TDM.

 

So I wanted to drop by and ask: is there an active TDM ghosting community already and have any rules for this playstyle been developed? I would also like to ask someone to take a look at the draft of this addendum to see whether everything looks correct: https://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148487&page=16&p=2473352&viewfull=1#post2473352

 

Thanks!

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 In my experience TDM is more difficult to ghost than Thief II. The guards, depending on sensitivity settings, can be quite perceptive. It is, for instance, far harder to blackjack or pickpocket a walking guard without him hearing you than it was in the original duology. This goes double if he is carrying a lantern. And with many years' experience of playing and designing levels, quite a few TDM missions are purposefully quite tricky. My own level is designed specifically to be ghosted: the guards have lanterns, but don't carry any pickpocket items and their patrol routes are predictable, so you should avoid them rather than trying to sneak up on them. But this seemed to frustrate people a bit.

I don't know if the community ever formulated any rules for strict ghosting. I think the ones you've got up on the TTLG thread are pretty reasonable. Though I suspect the part about "exploiting quirks of the engine" is less applicable for TDM than the original games because the game and level editor are continually being improved, so what might be an exploitable thing today could well no longer work next year.

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My missions:          the Factory Heist

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, thebigh said:

I don't know if the community ever formulated any rules for strict ghosting. I think the ones you've got up on the TTLG thread are pretty reasonable. Though I suspect the part about "exploiting quirks of the engine" is less applicable for TDM than the original games because the game and level editor are continually being improved, so what might be an exploitable thing today could well no longer work next year.

Yeah I added the engine exploitation part because otherwise it'd seem like it's allowed, although at this point I don't know of any engine quirks that could help with ghosting.

Edited by marbleman
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My experience with TDM is that most missions can be perfectly ghosted with the rules you outlined, although a few of them may have a few pieces of loot that are inaccessible without producing some kind of alert.

My ghosting rules are almost similar to the ones on your draft, but with some differences, mostly semantics I think. My rules simply are:

  • No saving allowed (I wish loading times were counted instead though, no saving has added tension due to the possibility of the game freezing at some point)
  • Stealth score 0
  • Expert difficulty and all settings on Hardcore
  • Neutralizing enemies is not allowed, unless it's an objective

In practice, I usually end up killing spiders if I find any though 😛 Mostly just for fun, and also because I feel a sense of duty when it comes to cleaning up Bridgeport of these abhorrent creatures.

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The Dark Mod Database: https://tdmdb.com

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38 minutes ago, darksilence said:
  • No saving allowed (I wish loading times were counted instead though, no saving has added tension due to the possibility of the game freezing at some point)

 

Could you elaborate on this? Do we show save count anywhere in GUI?

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I am happy to report a Supreme Ghost success on Thief's Den, one of the first ever Dark Mod levels.

  • Finished with all the loot and completed all the objectives on the hardest difficulty
  • Doused no lights and didn't move any objects except loot and objective items, including something I had to plant there
  • I used a rope arrow once but retrieved it immediately
  • Re-locked all the locked doors and chests
  • Stealth score zero with zero level-one murmurs
  • Keys can't be dropped in this mission so I had to keep them; this is explicitly excused

The last bullet point does raise a philosophical question about Supreme Ghost mode. One of the keys, a newly-manufactured copy of the front door key, was slid under the door for me by an associate after all my other objectives were done. If keys had been droppable in this mission, would I have had to return that key? A purist would insist, yes, put it back where you found it. But I argue that, since this is a key made for me by my buddy, it has no business existing and is evidence that I was there, and so I should take it with me. What do you think?

 

 

 

2 minutes ago, duzenko said:

Could you elaborate on this? Do we show save count anywhere in GUI?

Yes, it's on the statistics summary at the end of the mission.

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My missions:          the Factory Heist

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19 hours ago, thebigh said:

One of the keys, a newly-manufactured copy of the front door key, was slid under the door for me by an associate after all my other objectives were done. If keys had been droppable in this mission, would I have had to return that key? A purist would insist, yes, put it back where you found it. But I argue that, since this is a key made for me by my buddy, it has no business existing and is evidence that I was there, and so I should take it with me. What do you think?

Well, it is evidence, so you have to get rid of it. Under no circumstances should you have it in your belongings when the city watch comes searching for it.

In general, my definition of hardcore ghosting would be: Apart from the fulfilled objective, there is no evidence (not enforced by mission design) that anyone was there.

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39 minutes ago, Abusimplea said:

Well, it is evidence, so you have to get rid of it. Under no circumstances should you have it in your belongings when the city watch comes searching for it.

In general, my definition of hardcore ghosting would be: Apart from the fulfilled objective, there is no evidence (not enforced by mission design) that anyone was there.

Fair point, but I can't leave it at the front door of the house either because the occupants will know it shouldn't be there. Maybe for things like this a good compromise would be to leave it somewhere nobody can ever find it again, for instance dropping it into an inaccessible storm drain or into lava.

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My missions:          the Factory Heist

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4 hours ago, thebigh said:

Fair point, but I can't leave it at the front door of the house either because the occupants will know it shouldn't be there. Maybe for things like this a good compromise would be to leave it somewhere nobody can ever find it again, for instance dropping it into an inaccessible storm drain or into lava.

I think that your playthrough was correct.

There's no lava in the mission and dropping it in a drain is dangerous: people cleaning up the sewers may find it, and since the whole area will know about the theft in the morning anyways, this is evidence that may trace right to you (analysis of the key may reveal who the locksmith was, for example, or the area of the city in which the copy was created). 

The case of Thief's Den is even more dangerous because the victim is a former thief himself; he's likely to have the right contacts and that key may lead him right to your doorstep sooner than you'd think. 

So I'd say take the key with you and maybe bury it somewhere far from the crime scene :P 

The Dark Mod Database: https://tdmdb.com

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14 hours ago, thebigh said:

Fair point, but I can't leave it at the front door of the house either because the occupants will know it shouldn't be there. Maybe for things like this a good compromise would be to leave it somewhere nobody can ever find it again, for instance dropping it into an inaccessible storm drain or into lava.

In missions like Thief's Den (where the way home to your safe spot isn't included in the mission), you can keep the evidence on you as narratively, you would get rid of it later before going back to your own thief's den...

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Absolutely, and for this mission it's a moot point since I cannot drop keys anyway. My question was more general and not just specific to this one mission. If a scripted event creates a new key or other object how should it be handled under Supreme Ghost rules? Do I go the purist route of leaving it exactly where I found it, same as any other key or droppable item acquired during the mission? Or the slightly more narrative-driven reasoning that it's evidence I was there and shouldn't be left behind? I would generally agree with the latter, and it looks like most of you agree with me, so it's all good.

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My missions:          the Factory Heist

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Hey guys,

I am also coming from Thief and working with marbleman to specify the ghost rules for TDM. I played it a bit some years back, but have recently picked it up again.

I agree alert levels are more difficult to detect, and guards are much tougher to fool up close. Probably due to settings needing to be on hardcore. The biggest problem I found so far is enemy reactions aren't consistent. They pivot their heads randomly and when they do, it actually changes their viewing angle. So you could be lucky sneaking through a room if the guard doesnt turn his head. This never happens in Thief. A good example is if you're crouched behind a counter and stand up visible in a guard's periphery. Suddenly after 2 seconds he alerts, then you reload and next time it might take 6 seconds. In Thief it's always instant or not at all. It will take a bit to get used to, but I dont think it will be difficult to specify in the rules.

As for the question about keys made and dropped off for you, these could probably be brought along and not returned for Supreme. If you make a key in a foundry or something, then you are not supposed to drop it back, because this will actually leave evidence instead of removing it. A key left for you by an accomplice would be a similar situation.

Edited by Klatremus
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55 minutes ago, Klatremus said:

They pivot their heads randomly and when they do, it actually changes their viewing angle. So you could be lucky sneaking through a room if the guard doesnt turn his head. This never happens in Thief.

Yeah, it's always troll when a guard starts walking away, but with his face turned to where you happen to be hiding, so have to wait for him to actually look elsewhere.

Another thing you may or may not be aware of, the guard's headwear impacts their vision. A guard with a hood or an eyepatch will have a harder time catching stuff in their peripheral vision, as opposed to a guard without. I only learned of this via a mapping tutorial; don't think it's mentioned anywhere, couldn't even find anything about it on the wiki. But since it was Springheel who said it, it must be true. :awesome:

Edited by roygato
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3 hours ago, roygato said:

Another thing you may or may not be aware of, the guard's headwear impacts their vision. A guard with a hood or an eyepatch will have a harder time catching stuff in their peripheral vision, as opposed to a guard without. I only learned of this via a mapping tutorial; don't think it's mentioned anywhere, couldn't even find anything about it on the wiki. But since it was Springheel who said it, it must be true. :awesome:

 

It's mentioned in the first mission, A New Job, in a voice-over when you see the guard with the eye-patch.  I think it's one of the random tooltips in the first 2 missions as well.

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I actually never played A New Job when I was new to the game, I started just before 2.05. I played it in the latter half of 2018, but by that point I don't know how I reacted to that voice over. :awesome: Just checked it again, and I don't have any recollection of even playing the damn mission, let alone hearing that remark.

In any case, definitely a mechanic any ghoster would be glad to be aware of, as I'd imagine you'd want every advantage.

Edited by roygato
Almost everything I wrote originally was wrong
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11 hours ago, Klatremus said:

The biggest problem I found so far is enemy reactions aren't consistent. They pivot their heads randomly and when they do, it actually changes their viewing angle. So you could be lucky sneaking through a room if the guard doesnt turn his head. This never happens in Thief. A good example is if you're crouched behind a counter and stand up visible in a guard's periphery. Suddenly after 2 seconds he alerts, then you reload and next time it might take 6 seconds. In Thief it's always instant or not at all.

In that regard, TDM is modeling the more believable and less predictable behaviour. That probably is the reason for the lowest alert increase to not count towards the stealth score.
But going for zero stealth score instead of zero alerts could be a way to mitigate that a bit.

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I've always been an advocate of consistency in stealth games. AIs don't have to behave realistically, but their behaviors should be predictable. Guards randomly turning their heads is not something I like, but it hadn't given me that much trouble either. Probably helps that I've played the Dishonored games before where the exact same thing happens. Not sure how this information should be incorporated into the ruleset. Should it go into section B5?

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I just want to point out that the AI is predictable, there's just way more variables.

The way they turn their heads, becomes predictable after a time. You just need practice.

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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