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[2.11] New Blackjack System (available via dev build)


Obsttorte
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3 minutes ago, New Horizon said:

Sorry, I'm confused.  What do you mean?

If I understand correctly, there should now be a custom tdm version when using the tdm_installer that references this blackjack branch.

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14 minutes ago, nbohr1more said:

If I understand correctly, there should now be a custom tdm version when using the tdm_installer that references this blackjack branch.

Yeah, but you need to enter the download URL into the tdm_installer's custom versions download page to see the blackjack build:

http://ftp.thedarkmod.com/custom_builds/manifest.iniz

@New Horizonthe blackjack animation test build is now available via the tdm_installer, as per the first half of this post.

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Regarding packaging.
The easiest way is to take some existing build, then use zipsync patch to overwrite some of its files. Before that, you need to do zipsync normalize + zipsync analyze to create a small package from the files you want to overwrite.

Regarding server.
Yes, you need to make it available on any HTTP server.
The HTTPS protocol requires an additional TLS library to make it work, and tdm_installer does not include one currently.
To be honest, I don't understand what's the benefit of forcing HTTPS for statically hosting a bunch of files. HTTP 1.1 from 10 years ago works perfectly well today, while in HTTPS they release new version of TLS every so often, then declare the old one as insecure, then block all software from working with it, breaking tons of websites.
Maybe I should just add TLS to tdm_installer and allow https:// kind of URLs. Although it can cause even more confusion because people will write https:// instead of http:// and be surprised that it does not work.

Regarding installing it.
Yes, the user needs to go to "Custom Version" screen, paste the URL of your build and select which stock TDM version it was based on. That's because stock versions have yet another manifest which describes all dependencies between them, but your custom version does not.

Regarding shaders.
I have been changing shaders extensively, including some changes after the most recent dev build. You need to combine engine with the shaders of the same version. So if you build executable from latest SVN but use glprogs from dev build, then they won't work together. You need to copy glprogs directory from you darkmod_src repo to your zipsync patch, so that your package includes them as replacement.
That is rarely a problem today, but now is a particularly unlucky moment.
 

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9 hours ago, stgatilov said:

That is rarely a problem today, but now is a particularly unlucky moment

Yeah, I've just didn't expected a copy of glprogs to be in the source svn trunk, hence my initial confusion. But now I've got it sorted out, so no problem.

10 hours ago, New Horizon said:

Sorry, I'm confused.  What do you mean?

I should have been more clear here, I guess. As described by stgatilov you start the tdm_installer.exe and select "get custom version", then you select the build this branch is based on and enter the url mentioned above.

custom_build.thumb.jpg.b217738b45744d4e65863fb2b542bf46.jpg

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Can you provide a condump, please? Apart from that, you may have to aim a bit lower then you are used to.

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@New Horizon

Yep, that's how it works. It's actually the system that was used by Doom 3. A straight line is drawn from the players viewpoint towards the direction he is facing. If the point were those line hits the enemy is close enough to its head, the knockout will be performed. (During this the blackjack is non-solid, so geometry or models like ceiling won't cause any issues anymore. In the other case the blackjack behaves as always).

The reason that one should aim a bit lower is that it is easely misjudged were the horizontal center of the screen is (due to the blackjack on one but no "counterpart" on the other side). Thus if you aim at the head you will probably be facing slidely towards the left or right of it instead and miss. The shoulders are a better spot therefore as they are broader.

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10 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

@New Horizon

The reason that one should aim a bit lower is that it is easely misjudged were the horizontal center of the screen is (due to the blackjack on one but no "counterpart" on the other side). Thus if you aim at the head you will probably be facing slidely towards the left or right of it instead and miss. The shoulders are a better spot therefore as they are broader.

Hmmm, it doesn't feel quite right.  Intuitively, it feels like it should raise when looking at the base of the neck...or at least be a bit more forgiving in terms of where the player can look / strike to achieve the knockout.  Are there settings to achieve that?

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1 hour ago, New Horizon said:

Hmmm, it doesn't feel quite right.  Intuitively, it feels like it should raise when looking at the base of the neck...or at least be a bit more forgiving in terms of where the player can look / strike to achieve the knockout.  Are there settings to achieve that?

One approach is to use a box trace instead of a line. I've already tried that but either I've used it wrong or the code is broken. I would have to take a look.

Another possibility would be to angle the trace a bit downward, so that if you look at the ai's head the trace points between his shoulders. This could however cause people getting into issues who aim comparable low (which are exactly those who have issues with the current system).

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From my recollection it was less an issue of people aiming low and more an issue of them getting too close to the AI and the collision for the blackjack ending up in front of the head cone projecting behind the AI.

I had tweaked it a few years back to be pretty forgiving by making the cone larger but unfortunately due to the way the collision worked with the animation, it did have the limitation where it could fail you players got too close.

 

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9 hours ago, New Horizon said:

From my recollection it was less an issue of people aiming low and more an issue of them getting too close to the AI

While that was one issue the height to aim for still matters.

@chakkman

Quote

I don't know how you did it. I tried 20 times, and couldn't knock him out

[...]

what you might do differently than me is that you seem to aim for the neck, and swing from further away. I usually aim for the head

[...]

@Oktokolo(same thread, a few posts later)

Quote

and aiming just low enough that you get anxious about not hitting the head.

 

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@New HorizonFound a bug. The preview wasn't taken the case that the trace hits the ai's head into consideration. I've fixed that and updated the files.

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I tried the latest trunk and saw the blackjack animation.

I'm not sure what the animation itself intends to solve?
I see cases where hand is not raised but hit causes KO. Aside from that, the target often moves, in which case this animation lags too much behind. And it feels like a visual noise in general, because the hand goes up and down all the time.
 

As far as I remember, I detected only two problems with KO:

  1. Ceiling or doorway blocks it: very annoying for everyone.
  2. Helmeted guards are hard to KO, meaning that some hits fail pretty randomly.
     

There are some standard rules about when and how someone can be KOed.
I suppose it's something like:

  • Civilian: in any state from any direction
  • Guard: from any direction (maybe only from behind when alerted)
  • Helmet guard: only when not alerted and only from behind
  • Helmet + face grill: no way to KO

I recall I suggested removing the additional difficulty in KOing helmeted guards. Because adding such unpredictable difficulty in this case only makes player's life more annoying: if he wants to KO helmeted guard, he'll do it anyway, but after a series of reloads.

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25 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

I recall I suggested removing the additional difficulty in KOing helmeted guards. Because adding such unpredictable difficulty in this case only makes player's life more annoying: if he wants to KO helmeted guard, he'll do it anyway, but after a series of reloads.

I totally agree with you here, especially as besides the gameplay implication it's unintuitive imho. But @Springheelet al. brought to not change the knockout ruleset.

27 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

Ceiling or doorway blocks it: very annoying for everyone

Well, that's solved now :)

27 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

I see cases where hand is not raised but hit causes KO. Aside from that, the target often moves, in which case this animation lags too much behind. And it feels like a visual noise in general, because the hand goes up and down all the time.

The condition under which the hand is raised and under which a knockout would be sucessful are the same. The issue here is indeed the lag. I don't know of a way to solve this right on top of my head, though, that isn't a dirty hack.

The idea is to make it clear - especially to new players - whether an ai can be knocked out or not. I mean, depending on how well players come along with the new system, it may not be needed at all and can be scrapped. For this it would be helpful to turn it off (cvar tdm_blackjack_indicate) and report on how you it works out for you.

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In Thief a blackjack hit from any direction on any body part irrespective of (most) headwear is successful as long as the AI isn't fighting you, which works smoothly for everyone. I can understand putting some rough restrictions on that, i.e. only allowing hits from the rear 180° and from the chest upwards, but beyond that the blackjack is just too inherently inaccurate regardless of what collision check you use. This is not a bow and arrow where you can point exactly where you want the hit to land, i.e. the nape of the neck or below the helmet. I think our rule set is too complicated for what's realistically achievable with a blackjack, and TDM has always suffered from it. I'd propose only the rough restrictions I just described.

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@stgatilovI've tried using a box instead of a point trace, but it didn't really work. Will have to check again. I guess for a more consistent experience I would have to use some dirty tricks after all. I could try to alter the implementation so that once the ai was knockoutable it stays like that for a while even if it moves out of the trace (due to anim or whatever) as long as that movement isn't too strong?! Will have to experiment.

@DragoferI agree and have pointed that out earlier on. The response was that the majority of players/members is fine with the implementation, but judging on your both comments I start to wonder whether that is really the case. The Thief implementation is the other extreme, though, making it far to simple and unintuitive, too. (The fact that I neither had to hit ai from behind nor on the head was something I was completely unaware of when playing those games for the first time).

On 8/15/2022 at 11:23 PM, Springheel said:

And while there have been one or two vocal opponents to the current ruleset, I think they would be far outweighed by the number of people complaining if a core mechanic suddenly started behaving differently without warning.

 

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1 hour ago, Obsttorte said:

 

@DragoferI agree and have pointed that out earlier on. The response was that the majority of players/members is fine with the implementation, but judging on your both comments I start to wonder whether that is really the case. The Thief implementation is the other extreme, though, making it far to simple and unintuitive, too. (The fact that I neither had to hit ai from behind nor on the head was something I was completely unaware of when playing those games for the first time).

 

My suggestion would be to implement something between the two.  Test it and see if people complain or hate it.  I think the rules we laid out during development were good on paper but in practice ended up being a turn off for a lot of players.  I have never had an issue with it personally but I know how it works and expanded one some of the code when I was doing some tweaking a few years back to make it more forgiving.

So yeah, go with some of the suggestions here to find a happy place between TDM and Thief and let people test it.  There's no harm in that.

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2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

@DragoferI agree and have pointed that out earlier on. The response was that the majority of players/members is fine with the implementation, but judging on your both comments I start to wonder whether that is really the case.

Speaking of the majority, are there numbers on how many players play TDM? Because the download number of 2.10 on ModDB shows a little more than 1000 downloads, but old players probably use the internal updater instead anyway.

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I have updated the code. The trace is now performed via a box which makes it easier (it appears I've used the constructor of the box wrong in my first attempt 🤪 rtfm lol).

 

I've uploaded the new files under this url: http://ftp.thedarkmod.com/upload/common_builds/blackjack/manifest.iniz

 

@stgatilovThe issue with the animation switching between idle and indicated occours if the trace is in an edge case so to speak, where you are just close enough and in the right angle to hit successfully, and the slightest animation of the ai changes that. I wasn't really able to reproduce this with the box approach, but you are free to take a look and show me if it reoccours.

@wesp5I have no clue. My main focus in regards to feedback lies on team or long time forum members. I can only speculate what people might want that are not in this forum or who don't give feedback and I don't like speculating.

1 hour ago, New Horizon said:

So yeah, go with some of the suggestions here to find a happy place between TDM and Thief and let people test it.  There's no harm in that.

Well, the harm could be that I invest quiet some time in doing something nobody wants. ;) In regards to the reliability of the blackjack it has been stated by several team members that it could work better and even those who generally don't have issues with it aren't opposed to the idea of changing the way how the blackjacking works.

In regards to the ruleset my first impression was that there is an opposition by the majority of the members to touch it, while now this seems not so clear. I need a more precise feedback by more members to get an impression on whether it makes sense fiddling with it.

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Once the new Blackjack arrives in the official Developer Builds it should get more attention by players so there will be more feedback.

There are probably a whole class of players like myself who rarely Blackjack or engage in combat to stay as close to the ghost ethos as possible. Players with that play style generally wont care too much if Blackjack is made easier because any use of the Blackjack is considered "cheating" from their perspective.

The current "Blackjack mini-game" ( skull baseball ) is pretty fun when you get the hang of it but the lack of visual cues to execute it are why most new players get frustrated with it. I think more players would enjoy that mini-game if there were something like a frob highlight on the head when the player is properly positioned to execute a successful Blackjack but that might also make the mini-game too easy ?

Rant time:

As a general proviso, I've always liked the Zelda lock-on combat design for this type of thing:

1) Engage a weapon with some sort of HUD, cross-hair, etc that highlights your target when you are pointed at it

2) Once you have activated a valid target hold down a "lock-on" button

3) The player is frozen in place and can only manipulate the weapon aim

4) A second attack button is engaged to attack the targeted enemy

In some Zelda games, when you do not use the "lock-on" mechanic the game tries to guess who you intend to attack based on your position and the position of enemies. It is a design that gives players the most control while allowing them to move freely.

To me a perfect design would also include a momentum mechanic where the amount of time you hold down the attack button increases the power of the attack. This would make the whole attack process feel very close to real-world manipulation and better match the "Immersive Sim" design.

We already have some of the basic implementation details for such a lock-on system with the combination safe entities that use the scroll wheel.

All this said, I guess anyone wanting this level of control during combat might as well skip past a "lock-on system" and simply wait until they can play TDM with VR and use actual arm swinging ( motion control ) to control Blackjack hits.

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9 minutes ago, nbohr1more said:

The current "Blackjack mini-game" ( skull baseball ) is pretty fun when you get the hang of it but the lack of visual cues to execute it are why most new players get frustrated with it.

I think the context cue from the animation driving this thread addresses this aspect potentially well, especially if the legacy blackjack systems stay in place. I would be of the opinion the issue is really with the inconsistency or ambiguities in the core mechanic and that addressing this at the root by simplifying (if not outright aping the thief rules) is the best way to go, and is certainly at a minimum time well spent developing and testing.

Not wishing to alter to core mechanics is also an understandable position, in that way I would find the context cue animation to at least be a promising improvement and helpful to players like myself who see the nuances as frustrating instead of engaging (kind of in the vein of the frob helper/bow aimer). To me the KO loop is predominantly about closing the gap and remaining undetected - adding this finicky positional layer has only ever added friction in my experience as a player.

More or less I am just happy to see this being worked on and I look forward to testing when it makes it to a dev build!

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  • Obsttorte changed the title to New Blackjack System (Download description in first post)
  • Obsttorte changed the title to [2.11] New Blackjack System (available via dev build)

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