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Small Question About Doors And Locks


Maximius

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It sounds fun, and very rewarding.

Fun is good for games.

 

Therefore, keep it. Have it take time, maybe if you set it so lockpicks make some noise if the AI is already very alert he will hear and stop you with his sword.

 

A greater concern must be blocking doors with your body. In TII and TI the AI opened doors through you. What will happen in TDM? They will knock down the door with their swords?

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If players can lock AI behind doors, then we'll have to deal with what the AI will do. A real guard in that situation would probably try to bash the door down, and if that failed, would pound on it and call for help.

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Mixed blessings in some FMs: The author would remove the key from your inventory once you unlocked the door. It was nice not to have to cycle through so many keys you no longer needed, but there went any possibility of being able to relock the door! I too remember a few FMs where it was great fun to lock guards and monsters into a room or cell. Especially if they had those cursed helmets where you couldn't blackjack them. Even more fun if you could lock them in someplace where there were ZOMBIES!

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Mixed blessings in some FMs: The author would remove the key from your inventory once you unlocked the door. It was nice not to have to cycle through so many keys you no longer needed, but there went any possibility of being able to relock the door!

Keyring a la "Gathering at the Inn" is the optimal solution.

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Still, being able to relock a pickable door isn't really any different than being able to relock a door that you have the key for. As for the unfair to AI argument, you could argue that even having a set a lockpicks to begin with is an unfair advantage over the less equipped AI. Don't forget that most FM designers choose to only allow you pick a handful of the locked doors in a level, making most not even pickable in the first place.

 

Great, now I have the T2 "unpickable lock" sound stuck in my head. Click click. Click click.

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I remember it not being often you can really set up that scenario.
Yeah, very rare in FMs. Which is why I always appreciated the disappearing key after use trick to keep your key clutter down. But as for locking doors using lockpicks, I bet the ghosters would appreciate that one. Leave the scene exactly as you left it (minus the loot of course) with nobody ever the wiser.
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Funny that, I kind of liked the key clutter, imo it added that extra bit of tension as you were in a hallway half-lit and could hear the cclop clap of a guard coming from a tiled room...

 

Though when you got 10,000 keys it was a bitch to try and even find the compass. I think if there was one item (keychain) which held all the keys and you had to surf through them to find the right one it would be good.

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Funny that, I kind of liked the key clutter
While I never liked key clutter I've always preferred the individual keys to a keychain. Their different colors, their different models (e.g., Earth key, Fire key, etc.). It seemed more realistic and you knew for sure when you found the right key (say, if you stopped playing the FM for a few days then came back to it). I always thought key clutter was a design flaw on the part of the author, not Thief's key mechanism. If your mission requires more than 5 keys something is wrong with it, key clutter or no. Using keys so much to control gameplay and guarantee a certain progression just seems so pedestrian and unimaginative.

 

But I definitely understand your point about tension, though for me it's more annoying than tense. It reminds me of the very first time I played the Haunted Cathedral, there was this one certain locked door directly beneath a light where zombies shambled by regularly. It required 3 uses of the lockpick and I remember being scared to death and panicky as I tried to pick it and dash back into the shadows before the damn zombie shambled by again. Good times.

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Well, i could imagine some FM's would require more then 5 keys, for example a massive castle map with a forest caves etc. Though even then, it would probably result in the player dumping unneeded keys (and fucking up potentially) hmm

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Well, i could imagine some FM's would require more then 5 keys
I can't (and sorry to get so off topic, but I'm in a chatty mood). Instead of finding yet another key to get through the massive wooden door at the end of the hallway, how about putting a couple of security cameras there and you then have to find the room with the switch to turn them off. Or in a cave someplace, instead of a key to open a locked door, what if it was surrounded by explosive frogs and you had to find enough broadhead arrows to kill them before you could get close enough to the door to pick it. Those are just off the top of my head, whatever, something like that wouldn't work for all situations and then you get dangerously close to using too many switches to control gameplay, but it represents the idea I'm trying to get across. Something new and different will always be funner than finding yet another key, or trying to open yet another door that is unpickable. And it gives the FM more variety and color. Variety is GOOD. And I'm not saying eliminate all keys, sometimes they're just what the doctor ordered. Moderation in all things, that's all. I would think of it as a challenge, an author saying to herself, the player shouldn't be able to get to this area until these things are done or my mission will break. But instead of requiring a key, how can I change it to do something interesting and fun? Even if keys *aren't* overused, it still sounds like a recipe for a better FM.

 

OK, no more. I'm sorry to have hijacked your thread. Please carry on.

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im currently replaying t2 for some inspiration, and the one thing thats annoying me about the inventory is not

the acumulation of various keys.. its just selecting through the inventory items to actually get to a key...

 

it would be a nice idea to have a seperate way of selecting keys not with the inventory way.. like the

keyring type of thing, where when u press whatever key on your keyboard, a keyring would pop up and

cycle through the various keys you have picked up so far.

 

just an idea id thought i would throw out

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A mission can include many keys, they just don't all have to be mandatory for progression. For example, you could either risk lockpicking a door @ a place where guards often pass by, requiring great lockpicking skill and speed, or you could wander off in an attempt to locate the key for it and open it quickly with little risk of getting caught...

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But I definitely understand your point about tension, though for me it's more annoying than tense. It reminds me of the very first time I played the Haunted Cathedral, there was this one certain locked door directly beneath a light where zombies shambled by regularly. It required 3 uses of the lockpick and I remember being scared to death and panicky as I tried to pick it and dash back into the shadows before the damn zombie shambled by again. Good times.

 

I forget the name of the FM but it was essentially the same thing, but with TankMechs clanking back and forth, droning on in that fanatical sneering voice, and you had to dash out, play with the picks, then run back to cover, then back, like three times. The suspense was awesome, you could hear them getting closer by the pitch of their voices but you wanted that damned lock open sooo bad.

 

If locking AIs in could be done with some balances, like the guards start yelling and you have only a few minutes or so to get the job done and bolt or they bash down the door in a few minutes and are after you like devils, it would be neat. But maybe there are other problems to consider.

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Whatever the actual mechanics of it are, I never thought of relocking doors with lockpics as general gameplay knowledge. I'd use keys for that, but it wouldn't occur to me to use picks, even if I pick-unlocked the door; it's not a general expectation, right or wrong.

 

Maybe you can argue this is just because using the pick on an unlocked door would immediately give the *can't do it* click and I quickly learned from that, and if it an unlocked door started picking I'd learn from it and have the expectation that picks can lock doors... which raises another issue by the way (a quick aside): What if a person begins "picking" a door, taking the beginning of the process as the obvious cue that it needs to be picked, and completes the task only to realize that he's just picked it *locked* and it was unlocked all the while! For a lot of people expecting (even if by "unfair past experience") picks only lock doors, it would come as a rude shock. For the key, people might pay more attention to what's been locked & unlocked with the key (they're usually for 1 door), but even then you could imagine making the occasional mistake and accidentally locking an unlocked door, but they're still able to quickly remedy the situation. But for a 45 second pick-sequence it could lead to big trouble, and it doesn't make as much sense to toy with players' expectations like that and leave the possibility even open.

 

Also, an important thing to keep in mind, I have an idea that a lot of authors won't have it in their mind that lockpicks can lock doors either, and so having it as a default possibility will screw with their mission planning and their own balancing because of wrong expectations in making decisions about what doors should only have keys, what doors have keys & are pickable, and what doors are only pickable (no keys). So even if it's possible to add, I wouldn't like to see it as a default feature.

 

I mean, it's not the most critical feature in the world one way or another ... I didn't know in Thief you could bash wooden doors in with the sword for a long time, but after I did know that it actually didn't make that big a difference except opened up a few new possibilities here and there. So I wouldn't be mortally appalled at the idea and could happily live with it. I just have the intuition that locking doors with picks might be trouble because it plays against players' general expectations in a way that could be troublesome. My 2 cents on it.

Edited by demagogue

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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Which is odd because in real life you have a horizontal handle, push it down till it's vertical, then the door opens...

Are you sure about that? Make more sense to be locked vertically, then your lockpicking moves it up to horizontal, then you can push down and open the door...?

 

 

Of course doors do have round handles, something to think of.

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Of course doors do have round handles, something to think of.

 

Round doorknobs are pretty modern.

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Actually, when I think of a locked state having a visual cue with a round knob, it's of a horizontal knob below it either vertical or horizontal depending on the lock status ... but maybe that's anachronistic.

 

After 1/2 a second of reflection: actually, what am I saying?! That's essentialy a hand lock which you can lock/unlock just by turning ... so obviously a stupid idea from the outside of a door if the whole point is you need to pick it or find a key.

 

Then again, now I wonder if it still couldn't be implemented on 1 side of a door for some rooms, that might be cool. Although then it's maybe more work to make than it's worth.

 

Now I can see the sorts of things T1 developers were thinking when they thought of using the knob-orientation as the cue.

 

By the way, in most post above, I had in mind my sometimes-practice of just leaving my picks readied for use on any door, and the first thing I'd do when I reached a new door I'd use them right away and use the click as the cue it's unlocked, not even really paying attention to the knob. I suppose my practice would just change under a new system. It just generally rubs me the wrong way I guess.

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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Just to complete my thought, and then I'll shut up about it (Sorry about length. If you read nothing else, read the last paragraph about my suggestion if back-picking is to be done):

 

I've thought more about this back-picking possibility and think my primary gripe with it is the following. Authors often want to make pick-opening a lock a more-or-less long, tedious process, modulating the difficulty to build tension or whatever. But back-picking a lock to locked wouldn't make sense unless it were relatively quick. If it were long and tedious, then who would ever want to use it because you mainly use it to lock an AI inside, which will normally be in motion, so players would want the interface to let him act quickly or they'd be legitimately annoyed if they couldn't. The alternative is it would tempt people to start back-picking and they'd have to stop.

 

You'll very likely get a volley of annoyed comments (if asked about it, anyway) saying "why won't you speed up the back-picking so I can actually use it when I need it??!!11" (By the way, an aside, what happens to a half-back-picked lock? A half-picked lock remains unlocked until it's fully picked, and that makes sense. But does a half-back-picked lock remain unlocked until it's fully back-picked? And you can come back to complete the back-pick later?? And what about a half re-picked lock after back-picking? Issues may vary depending on the answer to these questions; generally it would lead to cases of half back-picked locks ambiguously lying around, but all this is an aside to the general grumbling slow back-picking would create in any event.) So I'm thinking that there will be pressure to speed up the process in the face of a bunch of grumbling if it isn't, the alternative being a persistent feeling that the function is just frustratingly off if it's left slow, or at best the feeling that it's just irrelevant to normal gameplay because it's so slow.

 

But the *real* problem I'm thinking about is what happens if back-picking should be made to be relatively quick to cater to the legitimate desires of players, that is, to make sense in implementing it in the first place. That will tempt players to quickly back-pick a lock to get out of a sticky situation only to discover that it's a long and tedious process to re-pick the door unlocked when they need to get in there. Generally speaking, I frown on gameplay features that seduce the PC into making on-the-fly decisions that make his life particularly troublesome later on. It isn't irreversible, of course, but it sure is a pain to have to spend another minute to re-pick a lock after the 10 second on-the-fly decision to back-pick it locked (esp if it's a central part of the author's design to make that lock difficult enough to take a minute to pick for whatever reason). You might answer that PC's should just keep that in mind before they start back-picking, but I don't like that answer when it involves the sort of on-the-fly, half thought out decision which is almost always going to be involved with back-picking in the first place: trap this moving AI in this room. It's an invitation to later frustration.

 

But the key point I'd make here is that this situation will occur essentially *every* time a lock is back-picked. It's much different than the half-second decision to re-lock a door which only involves another half-second decision to re-unlock it. So whether the back-picking is fast or slow (the only 2 options you have), either way it's an invitation to legitimate gripes of annoyance or frustration for players, or a feeling that it's just irrelevant to their gameplay (in a way that key-relocking isn't), so not worth the trouble to implement it. So, like I said before, it just rubs me the wrong way.

 

At least some real thought should go into these issues before thinking about doing it. For example, maybe once a lock if fully picked as tediously as the author intended, *then* both back-picking and re-picking would be relatively quick, or maybe even automatically like a key (to stay away from the trouble of half back-picked and re-picked locks)... Then you have for all practical purposes transformed the lockpicks into a key or key-like once the door is fully picked the first time. It's not greatly intuitive, but that would probably be the best way to do it if it's done at all, IMO. Actually, the only real gripe I'd have about this way is that it's unintuitive and might just look odd (you can imagine someone asking: why does picking a lock take 1 minute the first time and 1 second the next?), but at least it avoids the above pitfalls.

Edited by demagogue

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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