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Allow broadhead arrows to break glass lamps


Allow broadhead arrows to break glass lamps  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. Should it be possible to use broadhead arrows to break and permanently disable fragile electric lights?

    • Yes, add the feature and enable it on all existing lamp entities that would be fitting.
    • Yes, add the feature and enable it on all existing lamps, but also compensate with a downside such as AI being alerted by smashed lights.
    • Yes, add the feature but only for new lamps or alternate definitions of existing ones without changing behavior retroactively.
    • No, the functionality would be bad for gameplay or not worth bothering to implement.


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I couldn't help thinking of another realism related suggestion, don't know if it was discussed before but it seemed like an interesting idea. If this were to be changed on existing lights by default, it would have minor gameplay implications, but the sort that make missions easier in a fair way.

So... electric lights: Like the real ones of the era, they're implied to use incandescent light bulbs... the kind that in reality will explore and shatter upon the smallest impact, and which like real lamps are encased in glass or paper. In any realistic scenario, shooting a broadhead arrow at a lamp or even throwing a rock at it would cause it to go through the glass and break the light bulb inside. Is it wrong to imagine TDM emulating this behavior as a gameplay mechanic? Just as you can shoot water arrows at flame based lights to put them out, you'd shoot broadhead arrows at electric lights to disable them... you must however hit the glass precisely, there's no room for error and it must be a perfect shot. As a way to compensate for the benefit, AI can treat this as suspicious and become alert if seeing or hearing a lamp break, or finding a broken lamp at any time if that's deemed to provide better balance.

A technical look at implementing this: Just as broadhead arrows can go and stick through small soft objects such as books, they should do the same if you hit the glass material on a lamp, while of course still bouncing off if you hit metal: Lamp glass would need a special material flag that sends a signal to the entity upon collisions but allows arrows to go through, unlike glass in other parts of the world which is meant to act as solid and changing that everywhere would break a lot of things. When pierced by an arrow, the lamp should immediately turn itself off while playing a broken glass sound and spawning a few glass particles. The glass material should be hidden if the model is a transparent surface, or replaced with a broken glass texture in case the glass is painted on a lamp model without an interior... obviously this would be done by defining a broken skin for the entity to switch to.

This does imply a few complexities which should be manageable: Existing lamps supporting this behavior will need new skins and in a few cases new textures, the def must include a new skin variable similar to the lit / unlit skins in this case a broken skin. Any electric light may be connected to a light switch, we don't want toggling the switch to bring the light bulb back to life... as such a flag to permanently disable triggering the light from that point on would be required. For special purposes such as scripted events to reset the world, we should allow an event to unbreak lamps, setting their state back to being lit / unlit while re-enabling trigger toggling.

What do you think about this idea and who else wants it? Would it be worth the trouble to try and implement? If so should it only be done for new lights or as a separate entity definition of existing ones, or would the change be welcome retroactively for existing missions without players and FM authors alike feeling it makes them too easy?

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Sounds like a good idea to me. I'm all for breaking glass, also windows (the "penalty" is that it should be very loud to A.I. So, a thing you surely will only do very rarely.).

I think this will take a lot of consideration on the mapper side, though. Amount of arrows in the starting gear and in the mission itself, consideration where to put destructable lamps, and where to avoid them. Not to mention that I don't know how much effort has to be put in the technical side (making the lamp destructable and killing the light it sheds). 

Thinking about it, I think it kinda defeats the "stealth" element, doesn't it? Why would you make loads of noise and possible alert half the A.I. in a mission, for pretty little benefit? A thief surely will do everything to avoid that kind of noise and attention.

Edited by chakkman
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This kind of mechanic would break a ton of existing FMs. Some (I dare say even most) mappers often choose electric lamps so that they can't be extinguished or turned off, forcing the player to time their movements through the light. There are of course switchable electric lights, but that is up to the author on how they want to implement those.

It would definitely be fun to see an FM implement this Splinter Cell-style mechanic, where the mapper has designed their map to function in such a way, but to add this as a core feature would break the gameplay of countless maps

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9 minutes ago, Amadeus said:

Some (I dare say even most) mappers often choose electric lamps so that they can't be extinguished or turned off, forcing the player to time their movements through the light.

While this might be true, a loud noise alerting everybody nearby would be a great compensation to this. On the other hand, even extinguishing oil-lamps never made it into the core game, so good luck with this ;)!

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3 minutes ago, wesp5 said:

While this might be true, a loud noise alerting everybody nearby would be a great compensation to this. 

Which would make me ask for the point of doing such a thing though. If you alert half the map anyway, then you can just shout "Hey ho! I'm the Thief! Here I am!". ;) 

In my opinion - interesting suggestion. Would it make sense in a real life scenario? Nope, not at all.

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This sounds like something suitable for a mod (or an individual FM where the author desires this kind of mechanic), but not as a core gameplay feature.

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1 hour ago, Amadeus said:

This kind of mechanic would break a ton of existing FMs. Some (I dare say even most) mappers often choose electric lamps so that they can't be extinguished or turned off, forcing the player to time their movements through the light. There are of course switchable electric lights, but that is up to the author on how they want to implement those.

It would definitely be fun to see an FM implement this Splinter Cell-style mechanic, where the mapper has designed their map to function in such a way, but to add this as a core feature would break the gameplay of countless maps

Yeah, that is a true aspect. Which is why I think there could be one of two approaches if this happened: Either make breakable lights a new entity for some lamps that want to feature them, so just as you have "atdm_lamp_1" and "atdm_lamp_1_unlit" you'd have an "atdm_lamp_1_breakable"... or if we implemented it for all lamps retroactively, it should come at the cost of AI becoming suspicious whenever they see a broken lamp just like when they notice a rope arrow, in which case the player choosing to go down this route comes at the cost of attracting attention and possibly ruining their stealth score.

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Yeah, I guess I didn't consider making a new entity for future mappers to implement in their future maps when I responded to you (sorry!), but that is not a bad idea. The changes should be done in a way where it wouldn't affect older FMs, and it would be a fair chunk of work. I actually have a few breakable lights in my WIP, although they are kinda glitchy and far from perfect. 

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1 hour ago, Amadeus said:

Yeah, I guess I didn't consider making a new entity for future mappers to implement in their future maps when I responded to you (sorry!), but that is not a bad idea. The changes should be done in a way where it wouldn't affect older FMs, and it would be a fair chunk of work. I actually have a few breakable lights in my WIP, although they are kinda glitchy and far from perfect. 

It's okay! I'm down with any option hence why I asked. But I agree: Most players would likely not approve of such a change being done retroactively and affecting all old FM's, so it would likely be best as a derivative entity for mappers to use in the future based on new or existing lamps that can provide one.

In any case it would likely require engine changes, not something you can currently do with a script: Lights already use their own hardcoded script classname which can't be overridden. Even if it weren't for that I don't think there's a way to intercept broadhead arrow collisions and check what kind of surface they hit, even with the Stim / Response system.

There should probably be two new spawnargs: A breakable boolean enabling the feature on an entity, and a skin_broken to specify the skin used when a light was smashed.

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Breakable lights might be an interesting concept so long as they are not implemented retroactively. Add a loud sound or other punishment for breaking them as you see fit, but it would still change the difficulty and design intended by level authors if you applied it to all previously made levels. I would also suggest that if you instead intend to make breakable variants of existing light models that you add a clear visual indicator that the light is breakable, otherwise it would require explicit messaging to the player that electric lights are breakable in that particular FM. I’m hesitant to see something of this sort added as it is in stark contrast to Thief precedent, but I would be more supportive of it if it was added carefully and responsibly.

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1 hour ago, Ansome said:

Breakable lights might be an interesting concept so long as they are not implemented retroactively. Add a loud sound or other punishment for breaking them as you see fit, but it would still change the difficulty and design intended by level authors if you applied it to all previously made levels. I would also suggest that if you instead intend to make breakable variants of existing light models that you add a clear visual indicator that the light is breakable, otherwise it would require explicit messaging to the player that electric lights are breakable in that particular FM. I’m hesitant to see something of this sort added as it is in stark contrast to Thief precedent, but I would be more supportive of it if it was added carefully and responsibly.

It might then be best to add it to new light models designed for the purpose. The visual cue should be making them more glassy and fragile looking: Existing lamps look pretty solid, we can argue those were made of reinforced glass built to withstand powerful impacts, something something Inventors Guild... in contrast we'd have a few lamps with very transparent glass that show the light bulb inside, their design shows their fragility and makes it clear those are meant to be shot.

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19 hours ago, Amadeus said:

This kind of mechanic would break a ton of existing FMs. Some (I dare say even most) mappers often choose electric lamps so that they can't be extinguished or turned off

And making it possible for the new electric lights to be broken adds a psychological problem: how will players know that they are breakable if in 99% missions they are not?

Recall lootable paintings and frob-extinguishable unmoveable candles.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, stgatilov said:

And making it possible for the new electric lights to be broken adds a psychological problem: how will players know that they are breakable if in 99% missions they are not?

Recall lootable paintings and frob-extinguishable unmoveable candles.

That's why last night I went with the idea of making new lamps with this mechanic: They should have transparent clear glass casing and show the light bulb inside, making it obvious they're different and can be shot. Something like this should make them easy to distinguish:

UrOIz8L.jpeg

uKi2W5F.jpeg

Indeed I run into the painting problem myself: I always check every painting to see if it highlights and can be looted. Then again it's the same with doors in some FM's, which don't use a special door handle to make it clear that's a decorative door and not one you can go through.

Edited by MirceaKitsune
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18 hours ago, MirceaKitsune said:

They should have transparent clear glass casing and show the light bulb inside, making it obvious they're different and can be shot.

What Stgatilov mentioned about the psychological aspect of some lights being breakable and others not is going to be the toughest hurdle for you to overcome with this idea. Realism with the clear glass casing idea is nice, but you are still fighting against the rigid Thief programming that electric lights are always unbreakable. It needs to be very obvious, perhaps best identifiable at a glance, that it can be broken by the player.

Consider how all explosive barrels in video games are red: it immediately differentiates them from regular set dressing barrels. I don’t believe that I would be able to consistently identify or interpret a clear glass bulb as different from any electric light. Add a red stripe to them, give them a specific recognizable light texture, make them look inherently damaged, etc. You may need to sacrifice a degree of realism in order to communicate what is thus far a contradictory mechanic to the player effectively.

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20 hours ago, MirceaKitsune said:

That's why last night I went with the idea of making new lamps with this mechanic: They should have transparent clear glass casing and show the light bulb inside, making it obvious they're different and can be shot. Something like this should make them easy to distinguish:

 

Spoiler

UrOIz8L.jpeg

 

uKi2W5F.jpeg

Indeed I run into the painting problem myself: I always check every painting to see if it highlights and can be looted. Then again it's the same with doors in some FM's, which don't use a special door handle to make it clear that's a decorative door and not one you can go through.

I think it's a good idea if done that way - a new light asset that mappers can use. Seems to lend itself especially well to streetlamps.  Could be fun to use.  I might try to make one using stims, just for schitzengiggles.

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3 hours ago, Ansome said:

make them look inherently damaged, etc.

This is probably the most practical way of indicating breakable electric lights and can be done with existing models if the effect consists of something like sparks + flickering.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Ansome said:

What Stgatilov mentioned about the psychological aspect of some lights being breakable and others not is going to be the toughest hurdle for you to overcome with this idea. Realism with the clear glass casing idea is nice, but you are still fighting against the rigid Thief programming that electric lights are always unbreakable. It needs to be very obvious, perhaps best identifiable at a glance, that it can be broken by the player.

Consider how all explosive barrels in video games are red: it immediately differentiates them from regular set dressing barrels. I don’t believe that I would be able to consistently identify or interpret a clear glass bulb as different from any electric light. Add a red stripe to them, give them a specific recognizable light texture, make them look inherently damaged, etc. You may need to sacrifice a degree of realism in order to communicate what is thus far a contradictory mechanic to the player effectively.

Yes, definitely needs to be distinguishable. Clear glass with light bulb visible would be the best way: You know that if you see clear glass and the bulb inside you can shoot it. The distinction isn't always possible to make without first trying it out though... paintings are the best example, you always need to get close to see if a painting can be looted.

As for players learning about this, we should add those lights to the tutorial level where the basics of TDM are taught: In one of the hallways we'd have examples with the message "solid lights can't be shot, but ones with fragile glass and a lightbulb can be broken with broadhead arrows", the player is given arrows and can shoot at different lamps to compare.

As for explosive barrels those would be cool to have too! In their case they should already be doable with a script, just that no one's ever done them: Remove the barrel, spawn the same explosion as the fire arrow or mine, and some temporary lasting physical debris if possible. Breakable lights would need support added to the builtin spawnfunc.

Edited by MirceaKitsune
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Here's one I made just using spawn_args and a couple effects on a custom streetlamp. The arrow has a S/R set to trigger the lamp.

[EDIT]: S/R is not required, the arrow will inherently break a glass object that has the break and broken spawn args.

 

image.png.78f577a016b87b1c72b169230cbf1139.png 

Edited by grodenglaive
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33 minutes ago, grodenglaive said:

Here's one I made just using spawn_args and a couple effects on a custom streetlamp. The arrow has a S/R set to trigger the lamp.

 

that's a really nice particle effect, is that custom?

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48 minutes ago, grodenglaive said:

Here's one I made just using spawn_args and a couple effects on a custom streetlamp. The arrow has a S/R set to trigger the lamp.

 

image.png.78f577a016b87b1c72b169230cbf1139.png 

Oh wow, that is amazing! It must require a custom script I imagine? Didn't think that was possible even with one and the S/R system, that's very impressive. Definitely curious about a few things:

  1. Does it distinguish between collisions with the glass and frame? If the arrow hits a metal part it shouldn't do anything, it should only break if the glass in particular was hit.
  2. If the lamp is triggered by a switch, does flipping it no longer turn the light on once it's broken?
  3. Can you use a broken skin rather than model? With some lamps it would be easier to only change the skin and replace the glass, of course both should be supported based on what works best for each lamp.
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2 hours ago, grodenglaive said:

No, it's a TDM asset called sparks.

oh duh, that was a stupid question on my part. On my phone it looked like shards of glass.

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