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Gear availability in missions


Obsttorte

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Dragofer: split off from the Noble Affairs FM thread.

One thought on gear:

There is nothing wrong with giving the player different gear to allow for different approaches. However, what I have never really seen in a fm and that is the case here either is that the mission is set up in a way that the player really needs this tools. And with need I don't mean playstyle-dependent.

The playstyle might decide upon which tools one use or how useful one find one tool compared to the other, but it shouldn't decide on whether the player needs tools at all. And I don't go in with my blackjack only because I want to, but because tdm missions are rarely ever putting me in a situation where it becomes a necessity to use them.

Speaking for TDM overall I think that there is a lot of potential for engaging gameplay and tension missed here and in all honesty I consider this a gameplay and design flaw. And as you illustrated that you are actually pretty good at what you are doing I am convinced that you could even do better in that aspect.

I am writing this not because I think that you intentionally did something wrong but that to give you a different perspective. More gear doesn't imply more possible approaches and vice versa. There is a bit more to it imho.

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I agree with Goldwell here regarding tools. Watching any video of TDM/Thief being played it is clearly hard enough to get players to use the tools at all, making them a scarce resource doesn’t likely help the matter and they should be budgeted in a way that players can feel comfortable using them - but you can still make them work to collect them. I think this is balanced very well in Noble Affairs with the store and exploration elements letting you really kit out - though not if you simply critical path the mission.

I also think it’s more important to design circumstances where a tool could be used instead of making them prescriptive solutions to problems the designer dreamt up. This always reads to me a little in games as the designer trying to demonstrate they can setup a clever scenario instead of the letting the player feel clever by using the tools to creatively solve problems, but that is just a personal pet peeve of mine.

Getting players in general to leverage the toolset more is I think a fruitful topic, but perhaps one for a separate thread.

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6 hours ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

I also think it’s more important to design circumstances where a tool could be used instead of making them prescriptive solutions to problems the designer dreamt up.

I am all with you here. But I think there is a middle ground between players could use a tool and players have to use a specific tool in a specific way (which, in a broader sense, is a very common thing in TDM fms actually). I would prefer a gameplay in which I have to use my tools, but can choose which one and in which way.

This way experienced gamers would have to make use of them, too, whereas new games would have to spend more thought on how to use them. There would still be a difference between how many tools the respective groups need to finish a mission, but the difference may be smaller making it easier to use the three existing difficulty levels to find setups for each player group.

Currently we have experienced gamers who use almost no gear on the one side and newbies who use their gear probably almost anywhere on the other hand, considering the sheer amount they get in most missions. This is a gap to big to fill.

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38 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

I would prefer a gameplay in which I have to use my tools, but can choose which one and in which way.

I wonder what practical example of that would be, since most player tools (arrows) are finite, and you always risk player running out of them (whether by accident or not), before arriving to a place where they'll have to use them.

Even if you trap the player in a room with variety of arrow types they have to use to get out of it, you always risk a situation where they could make a mistake, and permanently lock themselves in. The only infinitely reusable tools are blackjack, sword, lockpicks, and... lantern? :)

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1 hour ago, peter_spy said:

I wonder what practical example of that would be, since most player tools (arrows) are finite, and you always risk player running out of them (whether by accident or not), before arriving to a place where they'll have to use them.

Have is probably not the best word to explain what I mean. For an example:

Imagine you have an alley lit by some torches and one stationary and one patrolling guard (citywatch for example). There are a few shadows, but not in a way that you can sneak through the area unseen. The stationary guard cannot be sneaked upon due to the light, and the patrolling one is in the stationaries viewcone most of the time.

The player can now decide whether to use a water arrow to extinguish a light, having to consider which one gains him the highest benefit, and how the ai moves if it decides to relight it. He could kill the stationary guard with a broadhead arrow, at best when the patrolling guard is looking into another direction. The latter may react nevertheless as he may heard the kill, but the player may get around to sneak up on him before he gets alerted, or he uses the diversion caused by the corpse to pass by.

Maybe the player distracts the guards by using a noisemaker, or there is some clutter laying around he can throw to create a distraction, even if not as effective.

Maybe there is a way to bypass the guards going upwards on a balcony or similar by using a rope arrow. Similar to broadheads this would be a thougher decision if they were not retrievable, as currently this is obviously the best choice in most cases, which should be avoided.

If the player doesn't have a lot or even no gear left he has to become more creative. Is there something in his surrounding he can utilize? (I already mentioned possible clutter). Guards react to open doors if setup accordingly. Maybe there is a door on the route of the patrolling guard the player can unlock and open, or he can do something else that will attract the ai's attention. If no such options exist, just rushing through (even though alerting the guards) would be the last resort.

So with having to use gear I don't mean that it should be impossible to get through without the usage of those (which would indeed be no good game design), but creating situations in which not using your gear is one of the worse possibilities. Currently the difference between using a gear or not is mostly neglectable, and sometimes not using your gear can even be the best approach, if you can just scurry through. Why risk causing the guards attention by using gear if not necessary?

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That scenario is in direct conflict with one of the fundamental stealth design principles, where in every situation you should have at least one "zero-failure path". It's not that it cannot be contested in any way by AI (looked at, crossed by patrolling, etc.), and it might (or even should) be the longest way to go from A to B, but it has to be there. Using noisemakers, water arrows, or killing guards is always an option. But it's also a play style choice some might not like. Even using blackjack as one of reusable tools might not be preferable by a portion of players.

Not to mention that you can fail using any of these means, and you'll be punished by swift death, in most cases. The fundamental difference between stealth games and titles like Quake is that in the latter, developers expect you to partially fail, so they scatter around medkits.

In stealth games, you don't expect player to fail (typically).

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2 hours ago, peter_spy said:

That scenario is in direct conflict with one of the fundamental stealth design principles, where in every situation you should have at least one "zero-failure path".

I wasn't aware that there is a rulebook via are obliged to follow, nor do I agree that a stealth game has to be setup like this. Taking out a guard, interacting with your environment and even getting detected from time to time should be the default, and pretty much has been for everyone back when they played Thief for the first time. Or do you really wanna make me believe that the majority of players mastered the game by ghosting through it on their first playthrough?

As stated in another thread I believe it's the lack of stealth titles in general that causes player to replay those and therefore become so good at it, that they invent house rules to keep things interesting. House rules, that after two decades are accepted as some sort of genre standard. But how can there be such a standard if there are only a few game series actually representing that genre, all of which have quiet some differences in gameplay ... and all of which are literally dead.

Beeing able to always go the zero-failure path as you call it does

  1. imply, that any interaction with the environment means failure, which I consider nonsense
  2. sounds extremely predictable and boring.

If mappers build their mission in a fashion that there is such a path my job as a player restricts to finding that path and following it. Considering that the games are meant to provide different approaches this seems to stand in direct conflict with one the fundamental stealth design principles (which, as stated, I don't believe exist anyways :P ).

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Well, there is no rulebook, but there are e.g. ex-LGS devs presentations floating on the web, this was basically a quote from Randy Smith's presentation called "Level building and stealth gameplay", but there are also others. Since these are done by professional developers, and confirmed by many successful games under their belt, then yeah, their expertise and credibility is much much stronger than of anyone here, sorry :)

You can see this approach working in their games, I can see it working in my WIPs as well. And, you know, I'd rather get the fundamentals first, and maybe then try to play the rebel and make up my own rules. Like in any other discipline, really. I'd suggest reading that presentation first, because you're kinda discussing its points taken out of context, which doesn't make much sense.

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2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Beeing able to always go the zero-failure path as you call it does

  1. imply, that any interaction with the environment means failure, which I consider nonsense
  2. sounds extremely predictable and boring.

If mappers build their mission in a fashion that there is such a path my job as a player restricts to finding that path and following it. Considering that the games are meant to provide different approaches this seems to stand in direct conflict with one the fundamental stealth design principles (which, as stated, I don't believe exist anyways :P ).

1. Yes, most interactions with the environment mean noise, which can lead to failure. If you want to incentivize using tools and experimenting with guards and environment, why did you choose Thief gameplay and implemented stealth score?

2. Not really, if you balance it out. You can create more paths, e.g. a shorter one, but lit by a lantern that goes out for a while, every now and then. Or another shorter path behind guards back, but with a loud surface. This way player has a risk-reward kind of choice (get somewhere faster, but have to creep carefully behind AIs back, or time their move through a temporarily unlit area).

Again, it's easier and faster to discuss these things when you know the contents of that presentation.

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I actually know the presentation. I can't remember anymore whether you posted it somewhere or whether I stumbled over it by other means. And I obviously don't neglect that the LGS devs had an idea of what they are doing and have done a good job. But neither is their work perfect nor is there an obligation for us to stick to that. Especially as I heavely doubt other fm authors have read the presentation and am sure you will have a hard time finding many fms following these concepts. ;)

9 hours ago, peter_spy said:

confirmed by many successful games under their belt

Which would be important if success would be my goal, or ours as a community. I am not sure whether this is the case.

The Assassins Creed games are successful, too, as well as the Far Cry series or Call of Duty or any of the other of dozen AAA titles that I don't like. And I may repeat that the Thief franchise is essentially dead. Splinter Cell is dead. Deus Ex is dead. Dishonored is dead. So there weren't a lot of game series in this genre to begin with and all of them have vanished. So yeah, LGS had an approach that worked but how many other studios of comparable size tried a different approach to stealth games and failed? You can't assume there is only one working way if you never tried another. And from a scientific standpoint it would be nice to name more then one source if you are relying on the arguments of others when making a point.

I mean, what are you trying to tell me. That game studios tend to create a gameplay in which the player gets the impression that he managed to handle an almost impossible hinderance that, without him noticing it was more or less handed to him due to clever level design. This is nothing new. It's a common approach and nothing that stands against anything I have posted. We are talking of different interpretations or implementations of the same thesises.

And it is always a sure sign someone ran out of arguments if he starts citing the work of authorities and undermining the others position by putting him into categories like "rebel". There is a lot I am, but definetely not that.

7 hours ago, peter_spy said:

If you want to incentivize using tools and experimenting with guards and environment, why did you choose Thief gameplay and implemented stealth score

Because I don't see any conflict in thief gameplay and giving the tools handed to the player an actual meaning. Stealth gameplay for me doesn't imply to not interact with the ai or the surroundings. And I haven't implemented the stealth score. I am not even a fan of it.

7 hours ago, peter_spy said:

Or another shorter path behind guards back, but with a loud surface. This way player has a risk-reward kind of choice (get somewhere faster, but have to creep carefully behind AIs back, or time their move through a temporarily unlit area).

And how does that stand in contrary to my example? In the end it comes down to choices. All I say is that those choices should incorporate the use of your gear, so there is a value in having them.

 

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53 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

I mean, what are you trying to tell me.

That people who came up with the principles I'm talking about got to these conclusions while designing their successful games, Thief included, which TDM is based on. Using this knowledge is useful and leads to creating better maps, whether in Thief series or similar games, so again, TDM included. So not knowing or not being interested in what made the game TDM is based on great is nothing to be proud of. And no, referring to knowledge or experts in subject-matter is not running out of arguments, unless you're this type of a person who questions everything, and has your own "philosophy" on everything. Then I'm definitely outta here :)

53 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

And how does that stand in contrary to my example? In the end it comes down to choices. All I say is that those choices should incorporate the use of your gear, so there is a value in having them.

Not really, you even bolded out that part: "creating situations in which not using your gear is one of the worse possibilities". And that's a purely theoretical situation, it won't hold up during the execution. The rest, i.e. "stealth games are dead" is just a defensive distraction and watering down the discussion; next up will be "what is a stealth game", "what is reality anyway" etc. Again, not my kind of jam :)

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6 hours ago, peter_spy said:

So not knowing or not being interested in what made the game TDM is based on great is nothing to be proud of.

I have never stated anything like that. I for one don't necessarely see those principles beeing hurt by what I have written or the example I gave above. A fail-safe route doesn't necessarely mean that the route is one that can be taken by ghosting imho and even if you assume  this implication, a setup could also be such that it isn't fail-safe to begin with, but can be turned into such a situation by a minor change by the player, like taking out a guard or a torch. It comes down on how you interpret those principles and how close you want to stick to them. Not doing it in exactly that manner, even if on purpose, isn't rebelling.

I know the original games were ghostable and that may even be by design. Deus Ex can also be played without killing anyone. But in most situation I would claim that ghosting (or in the example of Deus Ex not using violence) isn't the easiest and most straight-forward approach to a situation, especially when playing the first time. In TDM fms this is mostly the case, and that's something I am not happy with. Others may differ in there opinon, maybe even the majority. But when we are talking about what makes a game enjoyable, we are talking about a mainly subjective matter anyways. Not everyone has the same expectations towards games and not everyone expects TDM missions to be an exact copy of Thief, even if the latter served as inspiration.

And in regards to what TDM is based on: The main motivation for starting the mod as far as I am aware of was the disappointment felt by many about Thief Deadly Shadows, which is probably based on the same fail-safe principles. So the question is on whether said principles are as important for the members here as you consider them to be.

6 hours ago, peter_spy said:

The rest, i.e. "stealth games are dead" is just a defensive distraction and watering down the discussion

That is true, I could have written that in a less polemic way. :) I just tried to express that the success of those titles may appear as an questionable argument if most of those series aren't produced anymore.

6 hours ago, peter_spy said:

And no, referring to knowledge or experts in subject-matter is not running out of arguments

This would be a valid point if we would talk about what makes a game or a mission better in regards to how customers experience it. That was what I basically read from your post. He worked on successful titles hence he know how to make successful games. Something I don't doubt, but what isn't the point I was trying to make. This is a hobby. I am not here to do something successful, I don't have to create something a lot of people like. This is not my job. I basically use this as a way to express myself. This has come up in many discussion involving you. You are coming from a professional point of viewing things (which is fine and valid) while others trying to have a good time so to speak. I just assumed that you already know that I am not talking about improving fms in terms of how successful they would be when sold. Maybe my assumption was wrong. In that case you are right and we misunderstood each other.

 

Nevertheless I said that I know that presentation and that I understand what it is about. I see that this is a good approach for making games as a living and that it might be a good guideline even for hobbyists. But there are other approaches to game design as well, some of which are not as popular, some of which are mainly applied in other genres maybe. I just think it doesn't hurt to involve those or our very own ideas, too. This isn't rebelship.

The point I am trying to make in many of those gameplay discussions is actually that I get the feeling that mappers often don't have a fleshed out strategy when it comes to creating engaging gameplay. (#) That is probably not even because they couldn't have one, but it is simple not their main focus when creating missions. All I want is to get more focus on that aspect, as in the end we are talking about a game, so gameplay has, at least for me, priority. Obviously they could do this by applying proven strategies like the one you are talking about and this alone would improve the quality of their fms. But they could also apply a different one or come up with their own. They just have to have a strategy.

 

(#)

Spoiler

They place the loot so the player has something to find here and there, lights are mainly placed by aesthetic concerns and guard patrols are more or less placed in the same manner. Gear is handed to the player as he might need it, without even knowing where he might need it. I once played a mission were I started with holy water, although there isn't a single undead in the mission. In another mission I helped creating the player has a rope arrow. After playing the mission several times and inspecting it in the editor (I mainly tried to improve performance) I was wondering where the rope arrow should be used at as I couldn't find a useful spot for it and asked the author. The response was: "I thought it might be useful for the player to have one."

In my first fm there were discussion afterwards about an elite guard I placed on the upper floor. Some stated they got the feeling that his patroling route was timed due to how tense the situation was. And I just thought: "Of course it is, this is how it is suppossed to be. If the guard takes too long it becomes boring, if the time window for the player is too tight it becomes frustrating." But obviously many players and even mission authors don't necessarely make such considerations. And that's what I criticise.

I am not saying that my missions are an example for good gameplay design. They are quiet old and by my todays standards I would consider them mediocre at best. But this example illustrates that even back then I noticed that fundamental gameplay considerations don't play an important role in the mission design process of many fm authors.

Sorry for the wall of text.

@DragoferAs you are a moderator, can this discussion be moved to its own thread? I start to feel bad for abusing poor Goldwells thread :( and we are clearly off topic here. Thanks in advance.

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I am basically rehashing lots of points of discussion which have already come up on the discord, but I think the biggest problem with gear is that in the event of detection it rarely provides a viable or preferable alternative to reloading the game, and so even if the designer attempts to “lead the horse to water” it still seems much more often they will languish in the players inventory. I guess there is always the thrill and brief endorphin injection from hearing that frob sound!

Tools I think should be much more effective means of interrupting and ending the alert states of AI, or at least this strikes me as the most fruitful venue for coaxing players out of the detection = failure = reload the game loop. A flashbomb for example provides a rather brief window for escape into at best a lengthy wait for the simulation to reset. Things like the rather brief “I am blind” animation only looping through once also doesn’t provide very good feedback to players how effective the tool even is.

I always got the the impression in thief that blinded AI was pretty much opened up to an easy 360 degree KO from the blackjack (and thus a quick simulation reset) but it doesn’t seem to work this way in TDM (striking them at least seems to re-loop through the “I am blind” animation). I also think the default effect duration could be longer (or at less of penalty to the player, or perhaps I am not very good at not blinding myself).

Perhaps bringing over the choke mechanic for moss arrows from TDS, even it’s just using the same blind stim, is another avenue to expand the versatility of tools - then moss arrows become multifunction and can also be used to offensively interrupt alerts and open guards to KO. Maybe this could be expanded further and the moss pads not only dampen player sounds but reduce player fall damage (which I understand is technically more difficult than it sounds and has obvious potential ramifications for legacy missions).

TL;DR - players don’t use tools - perhaps they should be more useful.

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Okay, I haven't read all the long posts in this thread, but speaking of tools reminded me of the crowbar that was available in one of the recent missions. I rather liked it to open some crates but of course in the context of the mission you needed to use it. But how about adding it to the core game to open any crate or any wooden door without having a key, but making a loud noise instead? One could argue that this might break a lot of missions though in which certain keys are needed to find in order...

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In general, tools tend to get used when they are actually useful and of unlimited use or recoverable. Everyone likes to use rope arrows and the monocular. Everyone who isn't a hardcore ghoster uses either the blackjack or the sword.


But here comes what i think of the other tools:

Broadheads are useful for remotely activating things or killing AI that deserves it. So i mostly use them for killing bad guy AI which isn't protected by objective armor. Also waste tons of them when killing spiders as being half-sunken into the ground still is the norm for spiders.

Water arrows are very useful but i still tend to spare them for later and end missions without using them.
Should really start using them more - especially when already carrying twenty of them...

Moss arrows are alway in short supply, so i spare them for when i actually need them (which normally is never as i am not a ghoster). Please gimme more so i can start actually using them.

Noise makers are less reliable than crouchjumping or otherwise drawing AI attention to a location. So i rarely use them.
Please make their stim travel through portals to make me using them.

Vine arrows are a rare sight and felt pretty unpredictable. I tend to still use them though.
Please give me more of them and make them actually grow a vine from bottom to top.

Gas arrows are great. Gassing three AI with one arrow feels like scoring a tripple-headshot with one bullet in a sniper game - Very satisfying.
Please provide more opportunities to score nice multiknockouts while keeping ko-immune guards a rare sight.

Fire arrows are the least stealthy weapon in the game. They would fit perfectly for stealthily assassinating heavy monsters and automatons from afar - if they wouldn't glow. I only use them as a last resort when there is no other way to solve the situation.
Please stop them from glowing to make me use them more.

Finished most of the TDM missons on hardest without ever figuring out, how to use flash bombs correctly. The throw mechanic is pretty bad. So i never use them.
Please make throwing a reliable mechanic to make me throw things (including flash bombs).

Mines are really hard to actually use as a mine. So i use them by throwing them at the feet of my enemies with maximum force which gets them alerted and triggers them to shuffle around a bit until the mine triggers... But they are very unstealthy and therefore get used right before the fire arrows as a last resort only.
Please enlarge their detection radius to make me actually use them as mines.

Healing potions are nice. I always use one when i lost more than a third of my fall damage points.

Food is pretty nice too. I eat most of what i find because you sadly can't carry it in your inventory. It also heals tiny amounts of fall damage which is a nice bonus.
Please turn food into normal lootable items.

Holy water is one of the pretty useful items i still don't use if i don't have to. You never have plenty of them. They involve an annoying timer mechanic for no apparent reason (instead of just turning N water arrows into holy arrows). Using it on just one undead feels like wasting it. And i always feel like i might need it later (but i actually don't).
Please give me more or axe the timer to make me use it more.

Breath potions are also useful. But they don't last that long. So i tend to use them when i didn't forget to select them before diving and oxygen runs out. There also aren't much occasions to use them.
I would use them more if there where more places to use them.


All in all i am of the opinion, that only small improvements are needed to encourage more tool usage. I am a horder. But i still tend to use the non-annoying-to-use tools more when i have plenty of them. So maybe just giving players more and providing some difficulty spikes throughout the map will make players use more...

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I am not sure whether the "gimme more and I use it more" argument really holds. When playing a mission for the first time, one may assume that if he is getting a big amount of a specific gear, it is because it is needed often. That can encourage saving it up for later, too. In return not getting that much of a gear may be because it isn't that useful. There is no point in giving the player tons of water arrows if the mission mainly features electric lights.

8 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

Noise makers are less reliable than crouchjumping or otherwise drawing AI attention to a location. So i rarely use them.
Please make their stim travel through portals to make me using them.

Why do you assume there stim doesn't travel through portals?

8 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

Please stop them from glowing to make me use them more.

The glowing is basically a mechanic to outweight their power, as it has been in the original games (which for me somehow implies the devs didn't expect the majority of players to ghost their games). Changing that like changing the behaviour of other items is questionable as existing missions have been designed with that behaviour in mind.

It is however up to the mappers to create their own tools for their missions. So they could exchange the fire arrows with explosive arrows for example, that basically behave the same but don't glow (the renaming would imply that).

8 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

Finished most of the TDM missons on hardest without ever figuring out, how to use flash bombs correctly. The throw mechanic is pretty bad. So i never use them.
Please make throwing a reliable mechanic to make me throw things (including flash bombs).

I am with you on this one. Especially considering that the flashbomb is intented to be used in situations where you may get surprised by the ai it should be more intuitive to be used. The fact that you can blind yourself might be realistic, but is questionable gameplay-wise.

8 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

Mines are really hard to actually use as a mine. So i use them by throwing them at the feet of my enemies with maximum force which gets them alerted and triggers them to shuffle around a bit until the mine triggers... But they are very unstealthy and therefore get used right before the fire arrows as a last resort only.
Please enlarge their detection radius to make me actually use them as mines.

A larger detection radius could be a two-sided sword, though, considering that the player can sneak up on them to disengage them. That may become harder with a higher radius (would need to be tested). I actually liked the LAM's from the first Deus Ex, which you could throw like a grenade or attach to any surface. I used them pretty often back then.

Deus Ex is actually a good comparision here. Like Thief you could easely play through the first Deus Ex without ever killing anyone or causing trouble all the time, but the game wasn't necessarly designed like that. On the opposite it wasn't designed to be played like an ordinary shooter, even though even that was possible.

Instead most encounters where best solveable by using a middleground between those two opposites, try to avoid enemies if possible but take out some crucial ones as well as mechanic obstacles (like cameras, turrets and bots). How much you tend to go into one or the other direction depends on the situation and your capabilities (so whether you are better at sneaking or shooting) as well as your preferences, of course.

In TDM the fm authors seem to design their mission for one extreme only, and only give players gear because they may need it and to make it simpler for newbies. Therefore they don't really consider their useability regarding the situations provided in their missions or whether a modified tool would be better.

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

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10 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

There is no point in giving the player tons of water arrows if the mission mainly features electric lights.

Yep, that is another one:
Giving the player mines but also having a mandatory no-kill objective.
Having tons of water arrows lying around. But there are electric lights everywhere. Would be awesome if you could find the generator and kill it with a water arrow though...

Nothing wrong with having some useless tools lying around. But you are right: Only provide plenty if the player can actually use them.
Missions designed without any opportunity for verticality shouldn't contain rope arrows. Because if they do, players assume verticality and are disappointed when they don't find any...

10 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Why do you assume there stim doesn't travel through portals?

Because i had guards ignore noise arrows shot into another room. Could also be a severly limited noise propagation range in general though. Has been a while since i used a noise arrow.

10 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

In TDM the fm authors seem to design their mission for one extreme only, and only give players gear because they may need it and to make it simpler for newbies. Therefore they don't really consider their useability regarding the situations provided in their missions or whether a modified tool would be better.

TDM caters to a rather extreme audience - and actually seems to be the only visually (sortof) modern option for that audience for some years now. I would call the genre immersive stealth sim. Combat always is the inferior option and most often not even viable. But you can disable AI stealthily and most missions are ghostable (very important for the extreme part of the already extreme audience - the ghosts).
Players that like this genre reload when a guard draws his sword - even when they actually could just outgun their enemies.
Maps get designed differently when combat isn't considered an option. And immersive stealth sim fans like the result...

But yes, map authors should still think about tools and whether they just made water arrows obsolete by making the city have electric lights only. Some immersive stealth sim players still like to lay traps and disable stuff (like torches) with tools.

Edited by Oktokolo
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45 minutes ago, Oktokolo said:

immersive stealth sim

I never understood that labeling. Are there any nonimmersive stealth arcade titles available?

But seriously. It's a label used by a very few in a rather small community that is only a minor excerpt from the players who enjoy playing games using stealth mechanics, which have been used to varying degrees in several titles. But how something should be in the mindset of some and how something could be when people start to experiment and break out of trodden paths are two completely different things.

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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11 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Especially considering that the flashbomb is intented to be used in situations where you may get surprised by the ai it should be more intuitive to be used. The fact that you can blind yourself might be realistic, but is questionable gameplay-wise.

I agree, I can't remember using a flashbomb ever although it might make sense in escapes! But there is an even stupier tool in my opinion: the flash mine. Which is why I turned it into an electrical stun mine in my patch, because this is much more useful!

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9 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

I never understood that labeling. Are there any nonimmersive stealth arcade titles available?

Well, there are regular brawlers or shooters which also happen to have have some stealth mechanics. Maps are normally still designed for combat. The stealth mechanics are way less sophisticated than in TDM.

For immersive sim, i just cite Wikipedia: An immersive sim (simulation) is a video game genre that emphasizes player choice. Its core, defining trait is the use of simulated systems that respond to a variety of player actions which, combined with a comparatively broad array of player abilities, allow the game to support varied and creative solutions to problems, as well as emergent gameplay beyond what has been explicitly designed by the developer.

So an immersive stealth sim is a stealth-focused immersive sim.

Obviously, game categories are a bit fuzzy. But TDM is an extreme example of both, the stealth and the immersive sim categories.

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Ah, ok then. I don't consider immersion and player choice the same, but I am no native speaker, so maybe that's why I found that label odd. I would probably choose adaptive, as the game adapts to the player choices instead of following a fixed script. But well, it's not that important.

4 hours ago, Oktokolo said:

Obviously, game categories are a bit fuzzy.

As a Metalhead you don't have to tell me. We love our categories and sub-sub-genres. :D

 

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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15 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Ah, ok then. I don't consider immersion and player choice the same, but I am no native speaker, so maybe that's why I found that label odd. I would probably choose adaptive, as the game adapts to the player choices instead of following a fixed script. But well, it's not that important.

As a Metalhead you don't have to tell me. We love our categories and sub-sub-genres. :D

The label is pretty odd. The majority gets immersed in railroad telltale games and ultra-accurate racing simulations way more than in mechanics-heavy environment simulations like The Dark Project.

But when it comes to metal, there obviously always is a distinct and well-defined border between the categories. So metal heads like us definitely never have to explain the differences between folk metal and pagan metal...

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Reminds me of the Cathedral in Thief 1

When the eye says go to the grotto and illuminate the statue with fire.

If the player uses all his fire arrows on zombies, then they're screwed and have to start over.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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2 minutes ago, AluminumHaste said:

Reminds me of the Cathedral in Thief 1

When the eye says go to the grotto and illuminate the statue with fire.

If the player uses all his fire arrows on zombies, then they're screwed and have to start over.

That's what the fire shadow is for.

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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