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Gameplay Improvement / Extension For Veteran Players


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Hi, I'm new here and start a new topic as an introduction right away :ph34r: , but I searched available posts and found none that really covered my concerns.

 

I'm an Thief/Thief fanmission - player for some years now (not uncommon here I think) and I fell in love with your DarkMod thingy right away. I read through the posts here on the forum and was impressed with the good ideas and ongoing work.

There have been posted many new ideas for improving the thief experience, gameplay, realism and so on. I understood that many stuff that would be great to implement in the mod can't be implemented because it would take too much time and effort to program these new features - at least for the first more basic version(s) to come.

As this is very understandable, I think that you should implement some new features - features that no thief/fanmission had before. Why ? All missions I played were mostly different almost only regarding story and (to a much lesser extent) textures/models/maps. The core of the experience - stealth - hasn't changed much.

It's more or less always the same: stay in shadows, learn about guard routines, blackjack, ...

I mean, well, that's great and all, and it's challenging (a bit) even to longtime players of the series if the map is made difficult, but ,well - I would like to advance the whole basic gameplay a bit - if only as a optional feature for the fanmission designers.

I'm aware that those advancements have to be quite easy to implement, so the making of the mod is not delayed much.

 

So I have two ideas - implementing stamina/endurance and the introduction of hypnotics as weapons :

 

It alwayy vexed me that G. could sprint through the entire map, climb up a house in a hurry, carry some heavy bodies in the darkness and swim half a mile underwater - without having to breath heavily (loudly!) and being able to do difficult things like lockpicking right away. Gameplay could be improved (at least at harder difficulty levels) tactic-wise if one had to plan more : If you had a stamina-meter, and some actions (running, diving, heavy lifting...) would deplete it , a mission could be a bit more challenging and realistic.

Hiding silently - only possible when at least half stamina is available, if not G. is breathing heavily - loud enough to alert guards close by. Lockpicking ? Not possible unless rested to some extent or it would take a longer time. When drawing the bow a longer time, the more your stamina depletes and your shots become less accurate. Roping up along way ? Forget about immediately having max. accuracy with the bow or being able to lockpick in a short time. Probably much more stamina dependent things could be added.

I think that system could easily improve the gameplay / possible complexity of a mission in a positive way, and I think it could be comparably quick coded in.

 

 

My second idea is about hypnotics.

Well, we have gas arrows. But they are very powerful (dropping enemies instantly but nonlethal, and are very easy to use, too), so they can damage gameplay and are as a result usally very scarce.

If one had an regular arrow, tipped with an hypnotic drug, things could become much more interesting.

The arrow will not drop it's victim right away - it takes time, and the victim notices it, of course.

So, the challenge for the user is to use this arrow in a way the victim has not enough time to alarm others or do some other unwanted actions (alarm bell, locking doors, ...) before the "dart" takes effect and the guard falls unconscious - which could spice up maps considerably. They could work more or less like the tranquilizer darts in deus ex, but with some more time to take effect.

Also, I think this functionality is comparably easy to code in - just make an arrow that makes the victims hp to drop slowly - but could have a vast effect on the gameplay.

Edited by Outlooker

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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So I have two ideas - implementing stamina/endurance and the introduction of hypnotics as weapons :

 

Stamin has already been discussed long ago and we dismissed it. It doesn't add to the gameplay and makes it only tedious. Yes it is unrealistic to run through a whole map without stopping (if it's a large), but then, I always hate games, where I have to get from A to B because I need to fetch something and I have to crawl along. This doesn't further gameplay, it just makes it boring. Same league as extreme micromanagement.

 

and being able to do difficult things like lockpicking right away.

 

And why would he not? He is a master Thief, so I would expect from a master thief that he can open some locks with his lockpicks.

 

Gameplay could be improved (at least at harder difficulty levels) tactic-wise if one had to plan more : If you had a stamina-meter, and some actions (running, diving, heavy lifting...) would deplete it , a mission could be a bit more challenging and realistic.

 

Nope, that's not an improvment, it's exactly the opposite.

 

My second idea is about hypnotics.

 

Hypnotics doesn't work on all people, and it's bloody slow. It doesn't work on me, as an example, and even for people where it works more or less, it takes a lot of time. Defintely enough time, to kill a thief who would be stupid enough to employ such a technique.

 

Also, I think this functionality is comparably easy to code in - just make an arrow that makes the victims hp to drop slowly - but could have a vast effect on the gameplay.

 

Why would such an arrow drop the victims HP?

Gerhard

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Slow poison. It's like the way Deus Ex handled poison darts.

 

Unlike gas arrows, which would KO an AI right off (so if he's behind other AI they'll never be the wiser), with a posion arrow the AI would be able to run a little to get the attention of nearby AI, and even fight before he goes down.

 

It's a nice compromise arrow, not as powerful as gas arrows, but it lets you take out at least one AI from a distance before you go in, but at a price. I think it's an idea with some good potential.

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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Poison arrow - I was thinking about that as a weapon of pagans'. If player gets hit with that the view gets green, everything is blurred or waving (like heat haze effect) and player moves slowly, so he has to run away if he can or just hide for a while, until he gets back to normal. Then we could have some antidote potion, to fasten the healing time.

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Not possible unless rested to some extent or it would take a longer time. When drawing the bow a longer time, the more your stamina depletes and your shots become less accurate.

 

We discussed stamina early on, as Sparhawk said. I was the original proponent of the idea, and we were actually planning on including it originally. After a LOT of discussion/debate on the issue, it was decided that it didn't really add a lot to the game. Running around the map when there are AI present is already dangerous (you make more noise and are more visible) so there's no need to make it more so. And while it's unrealistic to run around an empty map, no one wants to have to trudge around through places they've already been because their stamina has run out.

 

(as for the bow draw issue you mention above, that's already in, just like the Thief games)

So, the challenge for the user is to use this arrow in a way the victim has not enough time to alarm others or do some other unwanted actions (alarm bell, locking doors, ...)

 

Well, if the AI is in a place where they can alert someone else or just run and attack you, then an arrow like that wouldn't be much use. If they're in a place where they can't alert anyone else AND can't run and attack you, then you might as well use a few regular arrows to take them out.

 

A weapon like that might be neat in a FM, or as an alternative to the gas arrow, but it isn't useful enough to include in a toolkit where gas arrows already exist.

 

I think that you should implement some new features - features that no thief/fanmission had before.

 

Don't worry, we are. :)

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It alwayy vexed me that G. could sprint through the entire map, climb up a house in a hurry, carry some heavy bodies in the darkness and swim half a mile underwater - without having to breath heavily (loudly!) and being able to do difficult things like lockpicking right away. Gameplay could be improved (at least at harder difficulty levels) tactic-wise if one had to plan more : If you had a stamina-meter, and some actions (running, diving, heavy lifting...) would deplete it , a mission could be a bit more challenging and realistic.

Hiding silently - only possible when at least half stamina is available, if not G. is breathing heavily - loud enough to alert guards close by.

No, sorry. Stamina is alright with me and all, but strictly in this context. Spar is right, having the thief slow down would piss me the hell off--that is, unless we intend to add a sprint ability (why?). On the other hand, it might be useful for our thief to get tired, getting louder and louder as he does--but not slower. Do you really need a stamina bar when you can hear your heart pounding?

 

Lockpicking ? Not possible unless rested to some extent or it would take a longer time. When drawing the bow a longer time, the more your stamina depletes and your shots become less accurate. Roping up along way ? Forget about immediately having max. accuracy with the bow or being able to lockpick in a short time. Probably much more stamina dependent things could be added.

I think that system could easily improve the gameplay / possible complexity of a mission in a positive way, and I think it could be comparably quick coded in.

Or alternatively, why not just have our thief take a little bit longer to pick the lock?

 

My second idea is about hypnotics.

No. No hypnotics. Have a guard survive a gas attack and be a bit woozy, sure, but only for a little bit.

 

Poison arrow - I was thinking about that as a weapon of pagans'. If player gets hit with that the view gets green, everything is blurred or waving (like heat haze effect) and player moves slowly, so he has to run away if he can or just hide for a while, until he gets back to normal. Then we could have some antidote potion, to fasten the healing time.

I like that idea better, but I don't see much purpose for it as a player's weapon. Leave it just as a weapon for pagans.

 

We discussed stamina early on, as Sparhawk said. I was the original proponent of the idea, and we were actually planning on including it originally. After a LOT of discussion/debate on the issue, it was decided that it didn't really add a lot to the game. Running around the map when there are AI present is already dangerous (you make more noise and are more visible) so there's no need to make it more so. And while it's unrealistic to run around an empty map, no one wants to have to trudge around through places they've already been because their stamina has run out.

Exactly. The only time a serious stamina system makes sense is when you're dealing with an Action-Adventure or RPG context, where running from one side of the map to the other is expected to take over an hour, and the player is expected to subsist with what (s)he has and can find. Likewise, this is the only context where a full wound modelling system, a la Call of Cthulhu, makes sense either. Generally, those types of games are operating around the principle of having a single humongous area to roam freely, as opposed to the one-shot mission design currently in place.

 

Well, if the AI is in a place where they can alert someone else or just run and attack you, then an arrow like that wouldn't be much use. If they're in a place where they can't alert anyone else AND can't run and attack you, then you might as well use a few regular arrows to take them out.

 

A weapon like that might be neat in a FM, or as an alternative to the gas arrow, but it isn't useful enough to include in a toolkit where gas arrows already exist.

Exactly my complaint. The only way to really argue it's inclusion (in the general toolset) is if we were to go to great lengths to construct a detailed inventory where the player would have to make the choice between poison and gas arrows.

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Well, then.

I'm not saying my ideas are gold, but I have a certain desire for more complexity - and even small, easily implementable things can greatly add to that.

 

It's like, I have the feeling (and hate it) that in the last few years games have been "dumbed down" somehow -

well, I can't put it right into words ... it's not that I want ultrarealism (that would be tedious) .

 

But I grew older :o

and I still like computer games - but I'd like to have games that are not easily beaten by eight-year-olds,

if you know what I mean.

While story and some styling are in the hands of FM authors, I'd welcome a bit more complex and interdependable gameplayfunctions - somehow taking the stealth/thieving thing a step (or two) further.

 

 

And for the arrows :

It's like the gasarrow is the ultraouttaker-weapon in the game: instant, silent, non-deadly, easily used.

So there can only be a very limited supply for good gameplay, to use it in really tough spots or as a last resort-weapon.

Yes, ultimately an hypnotic tipped arrow has the identical effect - but much later, and this is gameplay-wise its great plus - you have to use it in a skilled, planned manner, or he will be useless. So, there can be more of those than gas arrows.

You don't even have to make a new arrow - a standard broadhead could be "used" on some potion in the inventory (dipped in the liquid) and there you are, your ready to use tranquilizer dart.

 

Edit:

Thinking about that concept/reading about pagan weaponry above, I think that concept is expandable:

Water arrows could be "dipped" (used on) in potions - you could have an tear-gas arrow in this way,

pagan-kind-of - it only stops the AI if shot in the face, makes it scream (alerting), but allows for passing by or taking keys off the gurdle etc.

Moss arrow + potion X ->slippery surface (aka T3)

Rope arrow + potion Y ->sticky arrow, for towing objects in (G. could sit in some beams in the ceiling, shooting an sticky arrow down to rope up things like a key or loot from a table in some otherwise unenterable room because of guards)

fire arrow + potion Z -> smoke arrow, for escapes ninja style :ph34r:

Edited by Outlooker

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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Well, then.

I'm not saying my ideas are gold, but I have a certain desire for more complexity - and even small, easily implementable things can greatly add to that.

 

Vanilla doom 3 had the player slow down as he ran over distances. We tried it, and disabled it. It was a huge pain in the ass. It's also not a simple matter of enabling the feature and all is hunky dory. The game play would have to be balanced to properly take advantage of such a feature...otherwise, you're left with a situation like the TDS guards who huffed and puffed after a few seconds, and always let Garrett get away.

 

The straight scoop.

 

We will do our best to 'enhance' the core gameplay of the original games. In other words, build upon the existing foundation and make it stronger....without adding a bunch of superfluous features. Subtlety is the key in a Thief styled game. Why heap a bunch of new features onto a system that already works quite well, but just needs to be further enhanced? This allows us to more easily fine tune the game play, because we know what to expect from it...by comparing what we have to the originals, tightening up the gaps and extending existing systems where it is logical to do so.

 

Edit:

Thinking about that concept/reading about pagan weaponry above, I think that concept is expandable:

Water arrows could be "dipped" (used on) in potions - you could have an tear-gas arrow in this way,

pagan-kind-of - it only stops the AI if shot in the face, makes it scream (alerting), but allows for passing by or taking keys off the gurdle etc.

Moss arrow + potion X ->slippery surface (aka T3)

Rope arrow + potion Y ->sticky arrow, for towing objects in (G. could sit in some beams in the ceiling, shooting an sticky arrow down to rope up things like a key or loot from a table in some otherwise unenterable room because of guards)

fire arrow + potion Z -> smoke arrow, for escapes ninja style ph34r.gif

 

Those types of weapons can be left up to FM authors to create. It's not our intention to go far beyond the basic Thief-Styled toolset and provide a ridiculous amount of redundant weaponry. We certainly don't want to have anything to do with 'slippery surface...ha ha' of T3. People seem to dream of ways of over complicating Thief gameplay...when at it's purest, it's also at it's best. It's not an RPG.

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I'm not saying my ideas are gold, but I have a certain desire for more complexity - and even small, easily implementable things can greatly add to that.

 

It's like, I have the feeling (and hate it) that in the last few years games have been "dumbed down" somehow

I know exactly where you're coming from. Nobody wants to make TDM too easy, believe you me. It's just all this extra complexity doesn't add enough to basic gameplay to warrant the extra time spent. This is especially so when you consider that the first release is simply a toolset for mappers to use. If there is ever a campaign for the mod, it will only be started after the toolset is released.

 

[TDM]'s not an RPG.

Is it bad that I've had a longstanding dream to eventually make it into one?

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...when at it's purest, it's also at it's best. It's not an RPG.

 

Yes, that's very true.

I also wouldn't like a Thief with a barrage of colourful crazy superweapons throwing around.

It's kind of taking the style, the "seriousness" out of it.

 

Even the gasbombs in T3 insulted me - what's the point of jumping around with half a dozen of those and

K.O. a whole street.

 

Mhmm... what about an grappling hook then ? it would be puristic, and could enhance gameplay - the player would not be limited to wooden beams such as designated "shoot rope arrow here" places.

It would be puristic; but I already see the problems ... difficult to implement and it would be hard to stop the player to "hook about" too much in maps.

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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but I already see the problems ... difficult to implement and it would be hard to stop the player to "hook about" too much in maps.

 

Yup. We entertained the idea, but stuck with rope arrows since they're already quite flexible...plus our vine arrows will grow on walls to allow a different mode for climbing hard to access areas.

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Maybe all settles with the stealth system itself - that better be good.

One could take out all the tools of Thief in ones thought and it should be, stripped of every weapon, climbing ability, potions etc. , perfectly playable then (on a map that not needs this abilities of course).

Traits in this "ultrapure" experiment would be recognized as of the same key importance as in every imaginable"ability-improved" version.

I guess those would be sound, lighting, and the behaviour of the AIs.

 

The AI should have a rich reservoir of behaviour - making it more difficult to manouver them out.

They should not always shout their staus out ("Is there something", "I see you", "This was nothing", "Must have been a rat",...) like in T3. Some could be more ... cunning. Already a small random change in patroling routine or a sudden random turn around would add thrill and immersion.

Edited by Outlooker

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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The AI should have a rich reservoir of behaviour - making it more difficult to manouver them out.

They should not always shout their staus out ("Is there something", "I see you", "This was nothing", "Must have been a rat",...) like in T3. Some could be more ... cunning. Already a small random change in patroling routine or a sudden random turn around would add thrill and immersion.

 

Again though, you're talking about unbalancing a system that works. The player 'needs' visual and audio clues, otherwise you break the gameplay. The AI give feedback so the player knows how loud they are being in a certain area...this is going to vary from place to place. That being said, the AI in T3 were far too obvious in their remarks. Statements like..."I'm BLIND!!!"...aren't really needed...the guards in the first games only staggered around when blinded by a flash bomb. There are places where subtlety would have been nice.

 

At any rate, it's a game of audio/visual clues. You can't go removing them without completely changing how things work.

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Already a small random change in patroling routine or a sudden random turn around would add thrill and immersion.

Remember cragscleft factory? The guards would hear you, pretend to search and give up, notify the others, go back to work while keeping their ears open, and pounce on you when you're near when you think they don't see or hear you.

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Already a small random change in patroling routine or a sudden random turn around would add thrill and immersion.

 

This is already planned and partially implemented. Guards look around randomly as they patrol already, and the intention is for them to take other random behavoiur that real people might do--stopping to look out a window, going over to a fire to warm their hands, sitting in a chair for a moment, etc. However, everything that gets added like this has to be tested to see how it affects basic gameplay. The more random head-turning you get, the less control you have over whether you're seen or not.

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This is already planned and partially implemented. Guards look around randomly as they patrol already, and the intention is for them to take other random behavoiur that real people might do--stopping to look out a window, going over to a fire to warm their hands, sitting in a chair for a moment, etc. However, everything that gets added like this has to be tested to see how it affects basic gameplay. The more random head-turning you get, the less control you have over whether you're seen or not.

 

You just gave me the coolest idea. Remeber Thief2's Benny? It might be cool to see a guard that has an alcohol problem be tempted to swipe every bottle of alcoholic liquid he comes to and slowly see him get drunk and act stupid. For instance at first he acts like every other guard. Then his eye catches the Whiskey. He goes to grab for it, but hesitantly pulls his hand back. Then by the third patrol around he looses control and dives for the bottle. Then he drinks it while on duty hiding it form the other guards. Maybe he glances around for a second or two before pulling out his bottle and taking a quick swig. Then as he slowly gets drunk he may wobble and stumble. The he may go sneaking in the girls bathroom only to be chased out by all the women. He may even pick up a lampshade and wear it on his head, who knows. That would really be cool, but I always wondered if it was actually possible to do this. You could call it Random Alcoholics Annonymus Behavior. LOL!

Edited by AtariThief
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Amusing, but probably not worth the implementation effort. :)

My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.
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Heh... yes indeed. :)

My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.
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Sounds like something an author would want to do custom for his/her own FM, anyway.

 

I recall one AI in Emilie Victor kept squirming at his post, and finally he would suddenly bolt for the bathroom yelling and close the door, sit on the toilet and do his thing. After a while he would come out swaggering back to his post, a new man. Until about 5 minutes later when he'd start squirming again.

 

If it's possible in dromed to do this kind of stuff, I can only imagine it's all the easier in D3. I'm sure creative builders will be able to do all the sorts of things you were talking about.

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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