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


Obsttorte
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11 minutes ago, nbohr1more said:

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 ?

That's one problem with the current blackjack design: the difficulty should come primarily from getting the timing and positioning right to use the blackjack without getting detected, not from directing the blackjack at a specific spot. Missing after getting yourself right behind the AI is frustrating. If we need to consider implementing a crosshair or other GUI features the hit zone is in all likelihood too small.

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2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Well, the harm could be that I invest quiet some time in doing something nobody wants. ;)

This will probably not happen. If the core team rejects it, I could always add it to the patch :)!

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@Obsttorte, I recommend searching for "ko_angle_horiz" spawnarg and bumping it at least to 180 degrees to improve situation with helmeted guards. I don't think you need to touch alerted counterpart.

Also, there is tdm_melee_debug cvar, under which I added some debug visualization.
With your changes, it is a bit messed up, but still usable.

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3 hours ago, nbohr1more said:

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

Well, it can already be downloaded via the installer.

1 hour ago, wesp5 said:

This will probably not happen. If the core team rejects it, I could always add it to the patch :)!

It a change in the source code, nothing scripted. So unless you want to ship your mod with a custom binary this won't work (and is not what I was aiming for. I don't work on this because I have an issue with the current system, it works perfectly fine to me, but because it was reported that others have an issue with it.)

1 hour ago, stgatilov said:

@Obsttorte, I recommend searching for "ko_angle_horiz" spawnarg and bumping it at least to 180 degrees to improve situation with helmeted guards. I don't think you need to touch alerted counterpart.

Also, there is tdm_melee_debug cvar, under which I added some debug visualization.
With your changes, it is a bit messed up, but still usable.

This would change the current system basically, too, even though if only minor. I can do this, though. I don't really need more debug information, though. The current setup works for me.

What I need is feedback from others whether it works for them and were they see room for improvement. Besides that I considered it more or less finished.

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

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  • Obsttorte changed the title to Blackjack animation needed. (Download description in first post)
13 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

It a change in the source code, nothing scripted. So unless you want to ship your mod with a custom binary this won't work (and is not what I was aiming for.

In that case I hope that it will make it into the core game. I always had issues with blackjacking myself, which is one reason I disabled the KO alert immunity in the first place.

Edited by wesp5
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  • Obsttorte changed the title to New Blackjack System (Download description in first post)

In my opinion it shouldn't be a box or a point trace — that is far too sensitive to aiming direction, as some of the feedback comments are already pointing out. If at any point the instructions involve things like "You are better off aiming at the shoulder blades because they are broader", the implementation is going in the wrong direction.

It should be a forward-facing cone (like one of those dog collars to prevent scratching) centered on the player position, and extending forwards. The angle and length of the cone will need to be determined via testing, for example it could be a 90 degree angle extending for 1.5 metres or something like that.

If the AI's head is anywhere within this cone, there isn't a wall or other surface in the way, and all of the other alertness conditions are met, the knockout should succeed.

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@OrbWeaverI've choosen the trace approach because the required code is already there. I haven't seen this for cone traces. And while it has shown that the point trace is too sensitive there is no feedback on the box trace so far. My own observation is that it works pretty relyable (the box is rather large). The hint "aim between the shoulders" is obsolate (point trace + a bug in the code I got sorted out).

27 minutes ago, OrbWeaver said:

there isn't a wall or other surface in the way

That would actually be a problem. Experimenting with the size of the box for the box trace has already shown that a too large box will easely "get caught" on surrounding geometry (which includes the support beam on the ceiling we want to avoid). A cone, especially a relative large angled one would probably cause similar issues, and with small angles I doubt it would make a difference to a box trace with a reasonable sized box.

 

It's nice to get some thoughts but it would be really more helpful if you guys would actually play a mission with this feature (with and without indicator) and report on your observations. It makes minor sense to discuss this theoretically if you can try it out practically.

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11 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

@OrbWeaverI've choosen the trace approach because the required code is already there. I haven't seen this for cone traces. And while it has shown that the point trace is too sensitive there is no feedback on the box trace so far. My own observation is that it works pretty relyable (the box is rather large).

If a box is easier to implement than a cone, then no problem. The shape probably doesn't matter too much, what's important it is that it is a volume not just a single line.

11 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

That would actually be a problem. Experimenting with the size of the box for the box trace has already shown that a too large box will easely "get caught" on surrounding geometry (which includes the support beam on the ceiling we want to avoid). A cone, especially a relative large angled one would probably cause similar issues, and with small angles I doubt it would make a difference to a box trace with a reasonable sized box.

I don't think the volume itself should handle obstructions, since it would be tricky to work out if an obstruction is actually blocking the blackjack or just an irrelevant intrusion into the edge of the volume. Quite possibly you would need a ray trace in addition to the volume: i.e. the volume is used for AI head positioning, whereas a ray trace is used to check if there is a window or something between you and the AI head.

11 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

It's nice to get some thoughts but it would be really more helpful if you guys would actually play a mission with this feature (with and without indicator) and report on your observations. It makes minor sense to discuss this theoretically if you can try it out practically.

I'll gladly test it out if and when it makes it into SVN and can be tested easily (e.g. with a cvar).

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4 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

I'll gladly test it out if and when it makes it into SVN and can be tested easily

It's already both commited to svn as well as downloadable via the tdm_installer. It's not toggleable via a cvar, though (only the indicator), as the respective code gets called via the viewmodel definitions frame commands.

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

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Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

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It's nice to see some movement towards improving the blackjacking system. :)

I don't know how relevant it is to the thread (probably not much), but, what I found out in the last few months taking a bit closer look on what makes me miss most blackjacks: It's not really the system itself so much (even though I had issues with it as well, before I absorbed the several tips I got, like, not BJ'ing when I'm too close, or aiming for the neck instead of the head). It's rather the alertness of the guards. On most surfaces, they simply will notice your foot steps, and go into an alert state which makes them invulnerable to the BJ'ing, when you walk a few steps behind them, to catch up when they're walking before you. That's just totally different to the original Thief's, where you could even ran towards them, and knock them out on the dead run. 

They simply shouldn't be in that alert state, just because you walk 2 steps up to them. It makes KO'ing very hard, e.g. if you're walking through tight spots, corridors etc. (probably more of a case of adjusting the default alertness of the guards, I don't know)

That said, it's highly appreciated that you try to revise the actual BJ'ing system as well though. It's been my primary issue with this mod pretty much since the beginning. It's totally alien when you come from the original Thief's.

Edited by chakkman
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38 minutes ago, chakkman said:

On most surfaces, they simply will notice your foot steps, and go into an alert state which makes them invulnerable to the BJ'ing, when you walk a few steps behind them, to catch up when they're walking before you. That's just totally different to the original Thief's, where you could even ran towards them, and knock them out on the dead run. 

They simply shouldn't be in that alert state, just because you walk 2 steps up to them. It makes KO'ing very hard, e.g. if you're walking through tight spots, corridors etc. (probably more of a case of adjusting the default alertness of the guards, I don't know)

That's more of a general difference between Thief and TDM: AIs are meant to hear you when you run near them on most surfaces in TDM, unlike Thief where only metal and tiles are noisy enough. You can safely walk or creep right up to them without getting noticed, but this is slower than the typical patrol speed so you have to find a dark spot along their route where you can wait for them to come by (or a carpet/moss arrow). The AI becoming unKOable would be the punishment for being too noisy, but by your account I suppose it's not communicated well enough that this was the reason.

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Walking won't work on most surfaces either. I had it loads of times that AI's turn around if I just walked up on them, and, obviously, weren't KO'able in the process. What I usually do now is observing the guard path, and just wait until they cross me, and blackjack them hiding in the shadows. Or, I wait in places where I only need 1 or 2 foot steps to reach the guard, or use lean.

That's the thing: KO'ing moving guards is simply too hard/impossible. The game penalizes this approach too much.

Edited by chakkman
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4 hours ago, chakkman said:

Walking won't work on most surfaces either. I had it loads of times that AI's turn around if I just walked up on them, and, obviously, weren't KO'able in the process. What I usually do now is observing the guard path, and just wait until they cross me, and blackjack them hiding in the shadows. Or, I wait in places where I only need 1 or 2 foot steps to reach the guard, or use lean.

That's the thing: KO'ing moving guards is simply too hard/impossible. The game penalizes this approach too much.

If you go into Settings / Gameplay / Difficulty, what are your AI Vision and AI Hearing set to?  I think a lot of people don't realize that these can be adjusted to help approximate the behaviour in Thief.

 

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I'm aware of it. I just think that the default settings (which is what I'm playing with) are not optimal. And, a lot of people who get into the mod are not aware of the settings, or might not want to change them until they're familiar with the game. That's also why I always cricitized the blackjacking. Because I think it is not very beginner friendly.

I get it. This mod was created by veterans, and, a lot of mappers also take the veteran approach. In fact, I haven't come across a single mission which, in combination with the difficulty of the mod, could be described as having the same difficulty as the original Thief's. It's a lot tougher. 

Edited by chakkman
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I only mention those settings because they do indeed make blackjacking more beginner friendly and the entire game in general.  The default settings are definitely geared toward players who want a tougher go at it but it would likely be beneficial to give more attention to the specific settings that can bring the experience closer to classic Thief.

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Quote

That's the thing: KO'ing moving guards is simply too hard/impossible. The game penalizes this approach too much.

I remember the last time someone made this claim, someone else posted a video showing that you could actually walk behind AI without alerting them on most floor types.  Only the loudest ones (dry leaves, gravel,  metal) cause problems, and that's exactly what moss arrows are for (what is the point of them otherwise?)

 

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4 hours ago, Springheel said:

I remember the last time someone made this claim, someone else posted a video showing that you could actually walk behind AI without alerting them on most floor types.  Only the loudest ones (dry leaves, gravel,  metal) cause problems, and that's exactly what moss arrows are for (what is the point of them otherwise?)

 

I believe I suggested the hearing settings back then too.

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10 hours ago, Springheel said:

I remember the last time someone made this claim, someone else posted a video showing that you could actually walk behind AI without alerting them on most floor types.  Only the loudest ones (dry leaves, gravel,  metal) cause problems, and that's exactly what moss arrows are for (what is the point of them otherwise?)

 

For sure, it was @AluminumHaste. He always posted skillful blackjacking videos. 🙂

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14 hours ago, Springheel said:

I remember the last time someone made this claim, someone else posted a video showing that you could actually walk behind AI without alerting them on most floor types.  Only the loudest ones (dry leaves, gravel,  metal) cause problems, and that's exactly what moss arrows are for (what is the point of them otherwise?)

 

Not every mission has moss arrows, let alone enough moss arrows.

And, I'd like to see that video. There are some surfaces which allow that, but, I'm pretty sure even normal pavement won't allow it.

Unless there are other factors which I'm not aware of. Can there be a difference in terms of sensitivity of alertness between the difficulty settings? Or, is there a difference between the different guard types?

Edited by chakkman
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2 hours ago, chakkman said:

Unless there are other factors which I'm not aware of. Can there be a difference in terms of sensitivity of alertness between the difficulty settings? Or, is there a difference between the different guard types?

 

There is a difference...professional guards have slightly higher acuity settings than generic thugs, for example.  Drunk guards have much worse acuity.  Alert guards might even have their acuity boosted--can't quite remember.  Mission authors could also affect those settings based on difficulty, though I don't know if many do.

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16 hours ago, Springheel said:

I remember the last time someone made this claim, someone else posted a video showing that you could actually walk behind AI without alerting them on most floor types.

You can crouch and creep right behind stationary AI and blackjack them, even on tiled floor. But I discovered that through my mapping experiments, not by playing missions. I it seems like noone bothered to teach players this.

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35 minutes ago, peter_spy said:

You can crouch and creep right behind stationary AI and blackjack them, even on tiled floor.

Yeah this.  And if you creep, every 2 or 3 steps you will make a small noise.  All you need to do to stop then resume creeping before the noise happens and you can cross a noisy surface silently.  

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I may humbly note that the intention of this thread was a replacement of the current animation based knockout system, not the discussion of the rules under which a knockout should succeed. This is a different matter (and should therefore probably be discussed in a different thread).

But as you are all around now why don't you grab yourself a copy of the current build (see op) so you can give me feedback on whether you are ok with the system or suggesting improvements.

And yes, you can easely approach stationary guards from behing and even (not so easely) patroling ones, although the latter not necessarely on loud surfaces. But that's the point of loud surfaces, they are loud. ;)

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

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1 hour ago, Frost_Salamander said:

I get this error when I try to get the build.  If I put that URL in a browser I get a 404 error.

image.thumb.png.8fcafa03dc83e7e8f330df1f45fdb121.png

Ah, curse it. It's custom_builds, not common_builds. Sorry, typo. :(

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

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  • Obsttorte changed the title to [2.11] New Blackjack System (available via dev build)

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