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March 25th Update


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Anyway, I'm sure veteran Thief players have already figured out exactly how the AI in Thief works, and the community still seems to thrive...

 

Yes, but the behaviour of AI in Thief is quite predicatble in most cases. It will hopefully not be so fir TDM. So ideally, even if you know exactly how they work, you shouldn't really have much of an advatnage of it. Otherwise it would be pointless for me to play maps after we are finished. ;)

Gerhard

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You are certainly a good modeller, but nothing much of a programmer. ;)

 

I know they were gameplay decisions by LGS, because the AI in Thief are actually capable of noticing opened doors, or relighting torches, but they hardly ever do, their abilities were deliberately tuned down.

There were other things as well, I remember from an old TTLG thread about it. The Thief AI were programmed to be more intelligent than they appeared in the finished game. They were quite literally dumbed down.

I'm quite certain that them not noticing moss on the floor was equally a gameplay decision, and not one of resources or power limitations.

It was just another one of simplistic gameplay's concessions to realism.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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I know they were gameplay decisions by LGS, because the AI in Thief are actually capable of noticing opened doors, or relighting torches, but they hardly ever do, their abilities were deliberately tuned down.

There were other things as well, I remember from an old TTLG thread about it. The Thief AI were programmed to be more intelligent than they appeared in the finished game. They were quite literally dumbed down.

I'm quite certain that them not noticing moss on the floor was equally a gameplay decision, and not one of resources or power limitations.

It was just another one of simplistic gameplay's concessions to realism.

 

Well, then there is also the consideration of the time it takes to balance the gameplay against all the extra things AI notice. I can't remember exactly what they were at the moment, but I recall there were a few features turned on in T2 that didn't see the light of day in T1. I might be wrong. It depends on what type of gameplay there were going for. They wanted the AI to be a bit more forgiving, so that Thief could still be 'played' and not just turn into a stress fest. Yes, there are some areas where the AI could be a bit more observant...absolutely, but if you ramp them up too much..you might as well strap electrodes to your balls...turn on the power, break off the switch and sit there, because those AI are never going to come down off of high alert. Overly sensitive AI sounds like a great idea in theory, "WOW, THEY WILL NOTICE EVERYTHING AND KICK MY ASS", but it would get boring really fast. Game play is like music, there are highs and lows, dips and turns. Thief gameplay should be like a fine piece of classical music....not death metal.

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No, I'd be happy to have them behave as close to real people as possible. That can only make for better gameplay.

What that gives you is a stark reality of either being the perfect silent ghost of a thief that you would if you really were breaking in somewhere and never letting anyone know you are there, or losing.

In effect, yes, I do what a realism simulator, or as close as it's possible to get to one with current technology.

The fun for me comes from beating that realism simulator, not from running rings around some dumb AI, because all that ever feels like is cheating or exploiting the limited code.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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You wouldn't really see an arrow going past you in most situations, unless you were expecting it. Arrows are FAST. You might hear a slight noise, but if anything it's really the impact that will draw attention.

It depends on the local lighting conditions, and for how it stays in your vision. Obviously, they would be less likely to notice an arrow that is far away, in the dark, and is only visible for a very short time. Furthermore, most people still wouldn't react to an arrow heading straight at them until it has already either flown past them or hit them. The only way they could defend against an arrow heading at them is if they spotted it early to react to it. If they already know that they are at risk of being pelted by arrows, that drops the reaction time to about .2-.27 seconds for most people (as low as .15 for elite guards), but if they don't, it might take upwards of a second or more to recognize the danger (until it already passes).

 

The exception would have to be the TDS firework "arrows" though. I think you would notice a bloody great firework streaking past your nostrils. :P

Just one more example why the guards in T:DS were retards.

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Thief universe is not a realistic one, so i dont like the term realistic to define some behaviors of some of their characters, like the Guards that we are discussing here, i prefer to use the term convincing behaviors when they are confronted with some situations. No matter you program a character to react at some events you can allways find some way to make it react as a dumb one, as an example lets supose that you open a door the guard react to that and make a decision, well at least investigate it, what about if you begin to open all doors, what about if you decide to begin shoot moss and noise arrows all over the place how do you think the guard will behave? Most with certainty with a CTD.

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what about if you decide to begin shoot moss and noise arrows all over the place how do you think the guard will behave? Most with certainty with a CTD.

I certainly hope not! :blink:

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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Yes, but the behaviour of AI in Thief is quite predicatble in most cases. It will hopefully not be so fir TDM. So ideally, even if you know exactly how they work, you shouldn't really have much of an advatnage of it.

Ummm, unpredictable AI in a stealth game is a Very Bad Thing. The designers of Thief have said repeatedly that this type of gameplay is about manipulating the environment to your advantage. You cannot meaningfully manipulate the AIs if their behavior is unpredictable.

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Don't be a fool, you can manipulate an environment to your advantage in real life with real enemies.

It's not as easy as running rings around predictable computer programs, but that's why real life is more interesting than a game.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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The AI in Thief were unpredictable to a certain extent. They would sometimes get hung up on doorways or objects for a few seconds, then resume their patrol, which changed where they were in their patrol relative to other AI. On the one hand, it made replays more exciting because the patrol timing was not exactly the same. On the other hand, if the mission author set up a tiny time window in which you could get by unseen, that could get screwed up by this behavior. The other random factor was when they'd get triggered by the player. Based on the route the player took, different AI could be activated at different times, and again have different patrol timing relative to eachother.

 

I agree that randomness has to be added in careful measures, otherwise it becomes impossible and not fun (for everyone but Odd :)) if every 2 seconds the AI says ("hey, I think I'll turn around suddenly and go over there! Now I'm going over here!").

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I remember I added ideas such as guards pretending to give up the search and wander off, but then hide somewhere, wait for you to pass, and then jump out at you.

Not fun?

It's that sort of sly and unpredictable behaviour that I want, the sort of thing a real person would do.

The guards in thief may as well be simply programmed robots, since that's essentially what they behave like.

In T2, the boiler bots and the guards displayed exactly the same level of intelligence.

'Unpredictable' only means what you'd reasonably expect a real guard to do. You wouldn't expect a real guard to turn into a bat and fly around looking for you, but you might expect him to hide somewhere silently and wait 5 minutes to see if anything moves, and therefore, it really is predictable behaviour, it's just that there are a lot more options that the AI might choose to do, so predicting which one becomes really difficult.

'

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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For me, having to wait 5 real-time minutes to out-wait the AI that may or may not be hiding and waiting 5 straight minutes for you to make the smallest sound falls into the "not fun" zone. If that were implemented, we'd have to offer a readable novel to buy on mission load, so that the player could read the novel while they wait, otherwise that's what I'd be doing in RL. :)

 

You could argue that a good player should always leave an escape route that's not guarded, but in some areas with tons of AI, that's just not possible.

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This is where useful realistic tools comes into play, ones that would actually be used in reality, since all the guards aren't conveniently standing around in clearly visible positions and constantly humming and coughing to let the player know exactly where they are.

If checking around a corner, either by leaning/peeking or using a tool such as a small blackened mirror to see if anything is there, before simply blundering around it like a bull, is too much trouble for a stealth game, then maybe you should stick to an FPS.

 

Also, it's up to you to make sure that guards aren't tricking you in such a way, this is where the fun and gameplay is improved. You don't just sit around hiding like a sheep, but follow the guards to see where they go.

The simplicity and predictability of Thief makes it too boring for me to play these days.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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I don't agree with all of Odditiy's ideas, but making the AI more realistic and challenging is definitely worth pursuing. Thief Ai is so predictable by now that it's not really fun to play it anymore. I installed that mod that makes it harder, and this gives back some live, but I'm not sure if this is because it simply powered up the awareness or wether it made the AI really better. Hadn't had time to play with it much, but it was definitely harder.

And I never understood the praise about TDS either. In my opinion the AI was pretty much the same. It only became more challenging when you cranked up the stats, but that's not really fun. It just makes the playing more tedious.

Gerhard

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I remember in Thief2 if you made a guard really mad and they went to walk away from you sneaking up on him had about a 80% chance of the guard turning around and hitting you with his/her sword. I also remember my bot disabling technique that didn't always work. You know using those corners. It definately showed off the dullness of the AI, but every now and then it would correct itself and navigate around to make the kill. The trick was done by getting the big bot to chase you to a corner and then have the the gun side of the bot near the corner to where you didn't see that portion. Then it would fire up its gun and the bomb would bounce off the wall hit the bot drop to the floor and explode on the bot. :rolleyes: Definately one of the best bot disabling tricks. Using the predictablity of the AI against it, but every now and then even a mistake in the AI can be a surprise to you and any surprise made every mission seem just a bit different.

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We're hoping to implement a slider in the menu that allows the player to control the amount of randomness AI demonstrate (how much head-turning, how often they interrupt their routes, perhaps even how consistantly they vocalize, etc). That way players can tweak it to their personal preference.

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Not really the sort of thing that makes the game more fun however. That's not making the guards more intelligent, just more irritating.

Making them more intelligent is things like being sly like I metioned above with the hiding tactics, or if they notice a fellow guard gone missing, they ask the nearest guard or the next one they see about him, and if they get say, 3 negative replies from other guards they report to whatever central guard station is available on the map so all the guards know, and if more than say, 3 guards go missing in this way, the whole map is on high alert, and things like if they find a body, they block all the main exits from the building, or things like calling in the city watch when they discover a murder. If you kill someone and it's discovered, 5 minutes later you'll have a bunch of extra city watch elite (or some equivalent depending on the map) roaming around and all the regular guards will be blocking every exit and be on high alert.

That sort of intelligent realistic behaviour is what makes the game more fun, not adding random automaton behaviour.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Not really the sort of thing that makes the game more fun however. That's not making the guards more intelligent, just more irritating.

 

Randomness can be part of a higher intelligence. As long as this randomness is a realistic aspec, it should be ok. After all, if you sneak up on somebody you always have the chance that he turns around. It's more unrealistic, if he wouldn't do it, and stand still all the time.

 

Making them more intelligent is things like being sly like I metioned above with the hiding tactics, or if they notice a fellow guard gone missing, they ask the nearest guard or the next one they see about him, and if they get say, 3 negative replies from other guards they report to whatever central guard station is available on the map so all the guards know, and if more than say, 3 guards go missing in this way, the whole map is on high alert, and things like if they find a body, they block all the main exits from the building, or things like calling in the city watch when they discover a murder.

 

The problem with such things is, that this is highly dependent on the context of a map. If you are in museum with expensive exhibits, you are right. If you are in an abandoned ruin it might be entirely different. Many if these issues would have to be solved by the mapper. That's why we plan to provide parameters to describe properties of the map, in order to be able to tell whether a dissapearance of an object should be suspicious or not.

Gerhard

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Randomness can be part of a higher intelligence. As long as this randomness is a realistic aspec, it should be ok. After all, if you sneak up on somebody you always have the chance that he turns around. It's more unrealistic, if he wouldn't do it, and stand still all the time.

 

Only if he suspects something, people really aren't in the habit of looking behind them all the time for no reason at all, and this doesn't add anythng to the gameplay either, that would just be annoying if you skillfully sneak up behind someone without being seen or heard, and he just randomly turns around for no reason at all.

The realistic behaviour I'm talking about still keeps everything within the control of the player, the actions of the AI are all caused by, and therefore controlled by, the player. They respond to your play style.

I really don't want to see guards discover a dead body, look around the area for a few minutes, and then stroll off whistling. NO amount of randomised head turning will make up for that.

Vague words like 'randomness' and 'unpredictability' aren't really useful here, what I'd like to see are appropriate responses and consequences from the AI according to your actions.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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