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Player Guard alertness suggestions. Realism argument

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  • Player Guard alertness suggestions. Realism argument



    This suggestion describes some changes that I feel would make the immersion factor of the game greater, increase realism and make the game more fun.

    One of my complaints is that the player guards are alerted from the getgo. Unless you've set off an alarm or been spotted and the word has spread amoungst the guards, why should they know you are there? Yes, I know game balance reasons but I'd prefer realism and game balance. Make the guards work to lay a perimeter of traps. Or just start with default alarms laid. I want a reason they know I'm there. Not some immersion invasive "game balance."

    What I loved about Thief was the immersion factor. Having the guards all running around looking for you the second you come in and having Thief objectives posted to the guards who shouldn't have any clue really carves up the immersion factor.

    I think all guards should be open to critical strikes as they were in Thief. If this means increased guard respawns to balance the game, so be it.

    I think all guards should not be able to run except very infrequently unless they have spotted or heard a thief in that match or been alerted to by another guard that has spotted or heard a thief. The same triggers that alert the AI guards to a Thief's presense could be used to allow a player guard to be on alert. The argument here is, normally these guards guard night in and night out and it's not all that interesting. They want to keep their jobs yes but running a marathon in armor every night? I don't think the most diligent of guards would ever do that but this is what we are supposed to accept? No. Guards will walk their rounds and try and do a good job but running is not likely to be a normal activity.


    An additional implementation (that might be difficult to code or take up too many resources) would be that if a guard sees something suspicious like a door to a room being open that shouldn't be or opens without a guard there would trigger a temporary alert. An alert could also be raised if a guard notices more than a certain cash value of items missing or a major objective object missing. Also too many wet torches would be a good sign that something is wrong and an alert should be raised.

    I think there should be realism arguments for any knowledge that guards have about the thieves. From a realism argument player guards could be considered elite members of the guard and given special information by their employers or others that other guards aren't BUT any such information should make sense. The intro for guards could detail the information came from an informant, a mage with divinatory powers or maybe some ancient magic wards that raise an alert when "enemies" are about. Obviously, that guards ALWAYS know that the thieves are about and have completed their objectives is not realistic.


    If game balance is affected by these changes, guard respawns could be increased, default traps could be laid in maps before even starting, additional flares placed in supply chest or in other areas of the maps, etc.


    I think it would greatly enhance the immersion and playability of the game if the guards were not omniscient about the thieves' presence and objective completion. This non-omnicience means all guards should be susceptable to critical strikes until the guards realize that thieves are there. Guards should not be able to run but infrequently until such time as thieves are detected or something substantial enough occurs to cause the guards to raise the alarm.

    Some of these changes would likely require more serious coding than others but I think all of them would greatly improve game play.

    I would like to hear comments and suggestions about these ideas.

  • #2


    As changing the default alertness of the guards would greatly change beginning game strategy toward gaining awareness of a security breach new capabilities might be interesting.

    Alarm switches could be installed like in Thief.

    Horns (like a warhorn. I'm not thinking trombones or tubas here) could be given to guards to sound the alarm. A guard shouldn't be able to blow a horn within say two seconds after being damaged.

    Thieves might purchase silence arrows to silence a guard for three minutes or so. If thieves have this ability then guards should be able to convey an emergency merely by being seen by another guard (the guard can be assumed to wave his arms or something). If that guard is not silenced he can pull an alarm switch or blow a horn if purchased. A guard shouldn't be able to blow a horn within say two seconds after being damaged.

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    • #3


      This one is trickier but still important. I'm not trying to make the whole idea of realism seem impossible here.

      Where this game started was Unreal Tournament. As Thievery advances it becomes less and less like UT.

      In UT there was technology to explain the ingame chat ability. Video comms in everybody's helmets flashed up the face of the person chatting and their voice or text. For story purposes this was to allow everyone in the tournament to communicate.

      In Thievery is there reason that thieves would want to communicate with guards? I can see reasons they would want to communicate with other Thieves. I can see reasons guards would want to communicate with other guards. However does such technology/magic exist that allows instant comunication with each other by some device? If so it should be integrated into the story more properly.

      If devices exist that allow this communication could it be a possibility that an informant could give either side the ability to listen in? This could be a an unlikely random chance entered into each map or a plot device specific to a particuluar map.

      If a thief talks on open channel (guards can hear) than that should be reason for a guard alert.

      A separate channel maybe called "OOC" for "Out of Character" could be used for player to player communication that would not affect alert status or game at all for that matter.


      Maybe this one doesn't really need any changing. It's more a matter of how you look at it. I don't see the chat channels going away. I suppose if they did, silent hand signals could evolve amoung thieves and maybe even guards but I seriously doubt the chat channels are going anywhere.

      If anyone is interested, silent handsignals would, I believe, be easy enough to implement. You hit a button for something like "follow me", and a little text message pops up above your head saying follow me. A gesture animation could replace this if anyone wanted to code one or more but this would certainly take care of the matter. With this, each team could code in their own custom messages to appear above their heads.

      Comment


      • #4
        In response to your third post, the reason for everyone being able to chat is simply a gameplay issue. It is too difficult to NOT have the means to communicate with others in a multiplayer situation. As for animations, we aren't getting that for a while at best. Maybe a pointer of some sort. But you can always wave or dance for others witht the taunt commands.

        I would like to see some sort of guard trigger as well, but the means of how has been argued over and over again. No solution is currently forseeable.

        Kiech
        Kiech

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kiech Bepho
          In response to your third post, the reason for everyone being able to chat is simply a gameplay issue. It is too difficult to NOT have the means to communicate with others in a multiplayer situation. As for animations, we aren't getting that for a while at best. Maybe a pointer of some sort. But you can always wave or dance for others witht the taunt commands.

          I would like to see some sort of guard trigger as well, but the means of how has been argued over and over again. No solution is currently forseeable.

          Kiech
          The in game chat I understand the need for. If there was any way to make it seem less like UT and more like Thievery it would be cool. Maybe just have a translucent Metal-Age looking device appear in the corner when sending messages would do it.

          As far as a guard trigger, would there be some way to have the players kind of overlap the bots somehow in terms of having partial AI which governs whether they are alert?

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps one way to issue player guard alertness would be to introduce a kind of "alertness reserve" for guards (player guards, that is). By the simple press of a button, a guard can change between alert mode and normal mode, which is just like unalerted AI guards (no running, same vulnerabilities, maybe better observation powers). In alert mode, the reserve continually decreases. In normal mode, the reserve slowly replenishes. Sighting a thief, being attacked, or other "obviously suspicious" events immediately add a certain amount of "alertness" to your reserve.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ammatai
              As far as a guard trigger, would there be some way to have the players kind of overlap the bots somehow in terms of having partial AI which governs whether they are alert?
              The problem with this is that there's no way for the game engine to know what you personally have heard or seen. The AI often fail to see a thief from a long distance, where a human player may have noticed him. Conversely, a human guard may completely miss a thief they've just run past. There simply is no good way for the game to judge what a human player is or isn't aware of.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LaughingRat

                The problem with this is that there's no way for the game engine to know what you personally have heard or seen. The AI often fail to see a thief from a long distance, where a human player may have noticed him. Conversely, a human guard may completely miss a thief they've just run past. There simply is no good way for the game to judge what a human player is or isn't aware of.
                What you've described seems functional enough to me. If the AI spots something the guard could say somethink like "What was that" to himself where only the guard could hear it kind of like what happened in Thief when Garrot thought something was odd. This could then give the Guard the ability to run for two extra minutes to see if he could see him a second time (a temporary alert). Or if the AI was able to see the thief quite clearly then the guard is automatically able to be on full alert and sound the alarm.

                If as you say the human spots the rogue but the AI does not, the human has the ability to run for a short period of time to give the AI a chance to detect it. The in story reason would be that he thought he saw something but wasn't really sure.

                I'm not sure what the limit for running in non alert guards should be. I guess I would say only 1 minute for every five but what the precise implementation should be would probably take a bit of time and testing.

                All of this assumes that the AI could be given to players. This may not be the case at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The issue is that the game doesn't know what a human player sees or hears, though, so it has no way of knowing that it should allocate "run time" or "alertness" to a given human player. You coule very well end up with a situation where a human player is perfectly aware of a thief, having spotted him across the map, but can't do anything about it, because the game doesn't consider him "alert". I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, this added "realism" would greatly detract from the game and simply make it frustrating to play.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arrowgrab
                    Perhaps one way to issue player guard alertness would be to introduce a kind of "alertness reserve" for guards (player guards, that is). By the simple press of a button, a guard can change between alert mode and normal mode, which is just like unalerted AI guards (no running, same vulnerabilities, maybe better observation powers). In alert mode, the reserve continually decreases. In normal mode, the reserve slowly replenishes. Sighting a thief, being attacked, or other "obviously suspicious" events immediately add a certain amount of "alertness" to your reserve.
                    I like that one allot. Covers running and other aspects of increased alertness.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LaughingRat
                      The issue is that the game doesn't know what a human player sees or hears, though, so it has no way of knowing that it should allocate "run time" or "alertness" to a given human player. You coule very well end up with a situation where a human player is perfectly aware of a thief, having spotted him across the map, but can't do anything about it, because the game doesn't consider him "alert". I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, this added "realism" would greatly detract from the game and simply make it frustrating to play.
                      I agree it would be frustrating to see a thief but not be allowed to act on it because the computer doesn't think you saw him. Assuming a way to give player models or an item they carried or some bizzare method was found to introduce AI to a human player, I assume the sensory range could be increased eliminating the problem.

                      Unfortunately, I don't know fully what the developers are up against here. I'm doing my best to outline what I think would be an ideal implementation in conceptual terms that I think could be implemented. If implemented in this way I don't think the experience would be frustrating.

                      The game starts and guards are about doing their job making sure nothing get's stolen as ussual. They're not running around as there's no reason to be. They can still run through a possibly dangerous ambush point or if they think a thief could possibly be hiding out in such and such position. But really. Running nonstop? In armor?

                      Critical strikes from the shadows? Yes that's annoying. But you just had an arrow put through your neck. You should be dead. You are dead. Next guard comes on duty. Extra guards on reserve should fix the balance issues here. Placement of guards quarters (where guards respawn) near critical objectives will discourage some of the guard killing and Blackjacking.

                      Additional flares will help flush out thieves. Having extra traps laid for thieves on each map would help too.

                      My point is the beginning of each game should involve the guards not knowing the thieve's are coming unless for some specific reason they do know. The guards should not know what objectives the thieves have completed unless there is some specific reason for them to know.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What the developers are up against is that there is no technological way of implementing this in a way that's fair to the guard players. Perhaps one day if we develop direct neural interfaces, there will be.

                        But even then, you have a situation you can't remedy. The human guards know they're in a multiplayer game, and that there are thieves about. Even if the game somehow imposes movement/awareness limitations on those players, they will still play (as well as they can) as if they know there are thieves present.

                        Realism is nice. So is imersiveness. I think once you actually play online some, you'll become quite immersed. And really, the guards' awareness of the thieves is only a realism problem for the first couple minutes of any round. After it's discovered that thieves are present, the actions guards take for the rest of the round can be justified on the knowledge that thieves are indeed present.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LaughingRat
                          What the developers are up against is that there is no technological way of implementing this in a way that's fair to the guard players. Perhaps one day if we develop direct neural interfaces, there will be.
                          I'm not asking for neural interfaces. I think you're exagerating the technical problem vastly. If a thief is in shadow with his lightgem black, then no guard, player nor AI should, will see him.

                          I think the use of an alert button as described by Arrowgrab would be an excellent implementation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ammatai
                            I'm not asking for neural interfaces. I think you're exagerating the technical problem vastly. If a thief is in shadow with his lightgem black, then no guard, player nor AI should, will see him.

                            I think the use of an alert button as described by Arrowgrab would be an excellent implementation.
                            A reserve of endurance I could see. But a reserve of ALERTNESS? How do you run out of alertness? That's introduces even more unrealism into the game than it's attempting to fix. It leaves us with the preposterous situation of a guard running out of "alertness" when a thief is right in his face? How is that more realistic?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Almost changing the topic...

                              One point mentioned is "Why do the guard's get to see the thieves' objectives?"

                              There's a simple solution: have maps designed so that thieves have an OR-type victory condition. For example, what if a map could be won by the thieves doing:
                              (a) steal the big important thingy and Z loot and exit from a certain place
                              (b) steal the big important thingy and 3 of any 5 minor thingys, and exit in a 2nd place
                              (c) steal 4 of the 5 minor thingys, and Y loot, and get to the 1st exit
                              (d) steal the big important thingy and X loot, and 2 minor thingys, have no guard kills/KOs, and not need to exit

                              Then the guards would have to monitor which loot/thingys were being attacked, and guard appropriately. The thieves, in turn, would need to use teamwork to have a consistent goal and change it mid-game in attempts to out-think the guards.

                              The map would have to be designed so that such a change of goals would be either difficult or lengthy -- otherwise thieves would always adopt the simple "Go for it all and report what you get, and then we'll decide which goal we're closest to" strategy of minimal teamwork.

                              A variant is to have the map contain certain special ability-granting items that the thieves would very much want to get. How much do the guards initally invest in protecting those, or the final-goal items? (For example, what if Asylum had a potion of "Greenie likes me and follows me for 30 seconds".)

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