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Stealth score


bobber1

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11 hours ago, Baal said:

Does anyone have a strong opinion about that?

Sure: Prominent items are expected to be noticed missing by guards whichs' sole reason to be there is to pretect that items from getting stolen...

There are some missions using this mechanic and at least one of them even provides the player with a replica crown to swap for the original - fooling the guards. When the mechanic is used, it is important to somehow mark the loot as being special - for example by putting it on a pedestal and lighting it like the holy grail in Indiana Jones. Just outright warning the player in the briefing obviously also works and is easy to disguise as a warning about actually vigilant guards...

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11 hours ago, Dragofer said:

I've already debugged the cause of the issues and wrote about it in the relevant bugtracker issues, but it's going to require some reworking of the stealth code that someone will need to dive into when they get the time and energy. Just changing the logic of the existing functions wasn't sufficient to cover all the cases in my experiments.

Oh that is good news!  Thank you for the update.

Regarding the other other part of the conversation about guards alerting on missing items, it doesn't trouble me, though I agree this should really only be for conspicuous items!  A voice-over "that's going to be missed" would certainly be a nice touch.

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43 minutes ago, Araneidae said:

Oh that is good news!  Thank you for the update.

Regarding the other other part of the conversation about guards alerting on missing items, it doesn't trouble me, though I agree this should really only be for conspicuous items!  A voice-over "that's going to be missed" would certainly be a nice touch.

I've used that mechanic in my fan mission on items that are clearly exposed, even standard gold vases or paintings. It made sense to me that the guards will notice but without getting them on a high alert level. I just liked that they comment this. Should I consider removing it because it harms the stealth score?

Gameplay wise for me the solution was always to dim the lights there were these loot objects stood or knock out the guards to avoid the missing items being noticed.

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"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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The problem is alert attribution. A mere alert state elevation, e.g., the guard seeing non-player enemy, should NOT count towards the player's Stealth Score! Don't do that!

If the stealth score registration applies only to guards seeing absence markers, then I think there are good arguments on both sides whether a guard alert should register against the player. It's in a similar category as AI seeing blood, bodies, and weapons. But in this case I think it's okay to count to the stealth score because other AI can kill other AI, but other AI do not steal, so unlike the other examples, the absence marker is uniquely the player's fault in the game. So making only that count to the stealth score is fair I think. But yes, some bark or other indication would also be fair.

Re: the proposal for the spawnarg for guard's noticing loot being removed, I think it should not be removed IMO because now you're directly contradiction a design decision made by an author. You can criticize the author and say that's a stupid mechanic, sure, or there are cases where there are bugs and the design intention isn't be followed that should be fixed to meet the intention, but I think intentional design decisions that work as intended should never be changed because authors should have absolute autonomy over their own design.

Edit: Informing authors that that mechanic can ruin ghosting runs, which many players value, and then leaving it up to them to decide whether or not to change it for that reason, that's a valid thing to try to do IMO, as long as its the author's final decision what to do.

Edit2: There is an argument there to leave it alone too. It punishes the player by putting the guard on alert to create more challenge, but it doesn't count to the stealth score so people can still do ghosting runs & be validated for them according to traditional ghosting rules, which have never counted stolen loot to a ghosting bust. So that's the argument to tolerate guards going on alert seeing stolen loot but it not counting to the stealth score. And it's a good argument IMO, since the stealth score has always been linked to people caring about ghosting attempts, or how close they can get to it, and it follows the rules better. Don't fix what isn't broken.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I have added only a small alert raise if a missing item is detected. So I think it won't even add to the score as long is the ai isn't mildly alerted before already. Have to double check this though. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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Raising the player's stealth score on detection of missing loot by a guard is probably too unfriendly.  One argument against doing this is that this can happen long after the player has left the scene; suddenly your score would jump up by 1 or more for no detectable reason ... and there's nothing at all you can do about it.

Think this kind of alert needs to be decoupled from the player.

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If players can prevent the alert by replacing the loot item with a fake or sealing it off from view then it would be fair to add to the stealth score.

If, on the other hand, the absence marker is just added willy nilly to any exposed loot pieces for realism and challenge, then that would brick a ghost run because youre expected to take it all. That would imo fall in the same category as AIs noticing they were pickpocketed.

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Shouldn't a direct impect on gameplay and immersion have a higher value then some artificial score?

It is believable that guards recognize stolen item, if in prominent spots, which adds to the immersion, making the world more believable, and it adds to the gameplay if the player is put in a spot where he has to decide on whether and when to steal an item, or whether and what measures he performs to avoid the item to be missing (like creating darkness, if possible, or taking out nearby guards).

The whole "but it messes with my stealth score, it's unfair" argument sounds like if we were talking about Doodle Jump. Besides the fact that an uniform scoring system does neither take the missions size nor the overall setting into account, which is very individual among missions and can make the difficulty in reaching a specific score differ vastly. You notice whether or not you cause a mess when playing a mission and how often you get spotted. Do you really need a piece of code to tell you how well you've done?

In regards to what @demagoguewrote: It is always a good idea to question an author decisions in regards to what said author was aiming for, to which extent this was reached by the measures applied and whether and how the specific design goal could have been reached better by applying those measures in a different way. IMHO TDM is heavely lacking such discussions. But changing something just because some players say they don't like it and for reasons that have nothing to do with the original design intent is a terrible, terrible idea. But if the player understands what you wanted to achieve and can give reasonable arguments on why he thinks a different approach would work better, it is worth thinking that through and see if there are ideas worth adopting.

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4 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

Shouldn't a direct impect on gameplay and immersion have a higher value then some artificial score?

It is believable that guards recognize stolen item, if in prominent spots, which adds to the immersion, making the world more believable, and it adds to the gameplay if the player is put in a spot where he has to decide on whether and when to steal an item, or whether and what measures he performs to avoid the item to be missing (like creating darkness, if possible, or taking out nearby guards).

The whole "but it messes with my stealth score, it's unfair" argument sounds like if we were talking about Doodle Jump. Besides the fact that an uniform scoring system does neither take the missions size nor the overall setting into account, which is very individual among missions and can make the difficulty in reaching a specific score differ vastly. You notice whether or not you cause a mess when playing a mission and how often you get spotted. Do you really need a piece of code to tell you how well you've done?

In regards to what @demagoguewrote: It is always a good idea to question an author decisions in regards to what said author was aiming for, to which extent this was reached by the measures applied and whether and how the specific design goal could have been reached better by applying those measures in a different way. IMHO TDM is heavely lacking such discussions. But changing something just because some players say they don't like it and for reasons that have nothing to do with the original design intent is a terrible, terrible idea. But if the player understands what you wanted to achieve and can give reasonable arguments on why he thinks a different approach would work better, it is worth thinking that through and see if there are ideas worth adopting.

Thank you. I fully agree with your opinion.

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"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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5 minutes ago, SeriousToni said:

Thank you. I fully agree with your opinion.

That speaks for you. 😃

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On the subject of missing loot alerting ai:

I think that could be interessting and fun, only if the player can actively prevent the guards from noticing it. You could, for example, turn off the lights, knock out guards that could see it or close and lock doors on their patrol routes etc.

Otherwise you might have to just leave it alone, and I think that would be unfun and frustrating.

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22 minutes ago, Baal said:

Otherwise you might have to just leave it alone, and I think that would be unfun and frustrating.

This depends on how the mission is setup. Surely, in the current way missions typically handle loot your statement would be true, but the way loot should be handled has always been a flaw in TDM mission design. In the original games there is no loot to be found in the last missions, simple due to the fact that the player wouldn't have any use for it. In TDM, due to the single mission setup we have most of the time, the player also has no use for it (besides some missions featuring in game shops), but still he is required to gather it. Mappers have thus far haven't come up with creative ways on how to deal with that issue or haven't even tried to deal with that at all. And just making the loot objective optional is not what I consider creative ;)

So it makes sense to think this concept through eitherways considering how crucial it is both for gameplay as well as the whole setting (you are a thief, so it is a basic part of your character) and I personally think that a design that does not rely or require the player to gather as much loot as possible, but instead tries to get the player to weigh the risks and the effort against the potential benefits, could indeed lead to a fun and extremely rewarding gameplay, if done right. Another benefit could be that if the part of the existing loot the player is supposed to gather is way lower then in usual fms, the risk of the player getting into the situation of not beeing able to finish the mission although all the main objectives are done, just because he is missing that few pieces of gold, is much more unlikely.

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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54 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

Besides the fact that an uniform scoring system does neither take the missions size nor the overall setting into account, which is very individual among missions and can make the difficulty in reaching a specific score differ vastly. You notice whether or not you cause a mess when playing a mission and how often you get spotted. Do you really need a piece of code to tell you how well you've done?

That's a fair reason for a person to not pay attention to the Stealth Score, but I think it still has value.

Regarding the FM-size issue, we moved it to an additive system so it goes up forever for that reason. It's like golf. Big FMs can have big par values, and small FMs can have a small par value. I even tried to get the community to come up with par values for every FM to standardize it, and I still think that's a fun idea.

The value of having the code tell you something you probably already know is because then the game is officially registering your victory, which for some people gives a nice feeling of recognition for their effort, and for others, it allows them to post a screenshot of the Score to verify their accomplishment, e.g., in a ghosting run tread.

But it's a small part of the stat screen, so no real bother to anyone anyway.

54 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

But if the player understands what you wanted to achieve and can give reasonable arguments on why he thinks a different approach would work better, it is worth thinking that through and see if there are ideas worth adopting.

I agreed with all of that. I'm all for more discussion of issues an author might not have thought about. In that respect it's a kind of extended beta-testing, which is a really important part of the process making a map, and no reason in principle it can't continue even after it's been released. It's just changing something without their input that crosses the line.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Looting, for me, is part of the core gameplay of Thief. It's very basic, but simply fun and rewarding. Find something shiny, stick it in your pockets with a satisfying bling. 🙂 

It doesn't really matter if you can't use it for anything and I would not complicate that simple principle.

You wouldn't spare a monster in Quake just because you don't have to. You blast it away with your shotgun because it's fun.

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54 minutes ago, Baal said:

Looting, for me, is part of the core gameplay of Thief. It's very basic, but simply fun and rewarding. Find something shiny, stick it in your pockets with a satisfying bling. 🙂 

It doesn't really matter if you can't use it for anything and I would not complicate that simple principle.

You wouldn't spare a monster in Quake just because you don't have to. You blast it away with your shotgun because it's fun.

I completely agree! Also I never even look at the Stealth score, I am on Obsttorte's side that immersion is more important. I always try to finish all goals, but I don't care whether any imaginary numbers were good or bad while I did so...

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1 hour ago, Baal said:

It doesn't really matter if you can't use it for anything and I would not complicate that simple principle.

Well, from that perspective TDM simplifies a "complicated" principle considering that in the original games there was the intention to use the loot for something (hence non of it in the final mission). Actually any game that allows you to acquire valueables intent the player to use it for exchange. I don't think this is overly complicated.

1 hour ago, Baal said:

You wouldn't spare a monster in Quake just because you don't have to. You blast it away with your shotgun because it's fun

That's probably one of the reasons I find arena shooters like quake or the latest doom installment rather boring. It's only satisfying to a certain degree, and still needs to serve some purpose.

Pushing a button just because you can feels like small child logic. I don't have to put my fingers into the power point, but I do it either way because it's fun. 🤪

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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14 minutes ago, Obsttorte said:

Pushing a button just because you can feels like small child logic. I don't have to put my fingers into the power point, but I do it either way because it's fun. 🤪

Well, not just because, but because it's fun. Are you telling me power outlets are fun? I have to try one then. 🙂

I do think that in-game shops are a great idea. But you don't need them to justify nicking everything; you are a thief after all.

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Couldn't the inventors guild invent a small device that lets you transaction your gathered loot immediately from your void loot bag over to a client account which makes you able to use the value right in the mission to order stuff from Amaz... I mean Bridgeport24?

Joking aside, I think talking about loot in general or how to make use of it besides only collecting it is worth another thread instead of this one. I'm really curios to hear your design ideas and personal experience there. Maybe we can gather some results that people who are participating in the xmas contest already can take into account. :)

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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