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View Full Version : Invinvible Joseph Manderley vs. Untouchable Klara Sparks



eddiegorey
28th Dec 2007, 20:04
In both Deus Ex games it was necessary to have certain characters stay alive until the end of the game. This was important to maintain a plot.

In Deus Ex 1, they handled this issue by making some characters completely invincible. They just wouldn't die no matter how much you shot them. This was obviously very unrealistic and sometimes harmful to the plot. It was extremely annoying with Anna Navarrah. The whole game she was invincible, until a random moment. I played the game a million times before I figured out I could kill her on Lebedev's jet.

In Deus Ex 2, they went in a different direction. They made it so every character was vulnerable. If you could hit someone with a bullet, then you could possibly kill them. Characters who were important to future elements of the plot were never available to shoot at. This sounds better, but in practice it was kind of silly. At random times, characters would talk to you from behind bullet proof glass. Also, certain locations would send out a code to lock your weapons so that you couldn't kill important characters who were there. It was stupid and contrived. It took me out of the story

Which method do you prefer? Can you think of a better way to do it?

gamer0004
28th Dec 2007, 20:49
Yes. Being able to kill anyone you want but if you kill an important person the game's over.

binaryboy
28th Dec 2007, 20:49
Of those two options, the Deus Ex 1 method is less intrusive to the game because I rarely try to kill essential characters anyway. When characters are behind glass, you can't avoid seeing the obvious barrier.

Maybe the Half-Life method of simply fading out and displaying a failure message would be better.

imported_van_HellSing
28th Dec 2007, 22:15
The Half-Life method would indeed be the best bet imho. For a moment I thought about the HL2 method of the player character automatically lowering their gun, but that too would make the forced mechanics obvious, possibly spoiling some of the fun even, when we aren't sure a character is crucial to the plot.

Or maybe, after killing someone important, give the player an info about being unable to finish the game but let them still continue playing (IIRC Morrowind that)- that could be fun for, say, playing around with unique items crucial characters may posess, also providing the deliciously sick satisfaction when you kill a character that annoys the crap out of you ;).

Harakiribert
28th Dec 2007, 22:20
Yes. Being able to kill anyone you want but if you kill an important person the game's over.

But how do I know if the person I am about to kill is such an important person?
Trial & Error?

imported_van_HellSing
28th Dec 2007, 22:39
That's the best option. As I have touched upon in my previous post, having laid out who you can kill or not counts as a spoiler: you see this somewhat individualised character that doesn't seem so important however, and want to kill them for some reason, but your character automatically hides their weapon, you instantly know "Aha! This char will be important later on!". When you don't know if you can "safely" kill someone, you are less prone to killing anyone you want to. You can still try though - worst thing that can happen is you'll be forced to restart from the last quick or autosave.

SageSavage
28th Dec 2007, 22:55
At least show the player a message like "You have killed a person who was critical for [enter text] - You can resume the game but you won't be able to finish the storyline. [Resume] [Reload last savegame]"

imported_van_HellSing
28th Dec 2007, 23:03
Well, that's exactly what I was talking about.

Harakiribert
28th Dec 2007, 23:06
At least show the player a message like "You have killed a person who was critical for [enter text] - You can resume the game but you won't be able to finish the storyline. [Resume] [Reload last savegame]"

And then you wish they would have implemented an indicator that this person shouldn't be killed because your last savegame is 2 hours old.

imported_van_HellSing
28th Dec 2007, 23:09
That might have been a problem with DX1, where there was no autosave feature. These days every game has checkpoints or autosaves every 10 minutes or so. I'd rather waste those few minutes replaying the savegame than getting the plot spoiled.

SageSavage
28th Dec 2007, 23:17
Well, that's exactly what I was talking about.Right, I began writing my post before I saw yours. Anyway, it's not the perfect way, imo. I tend to find unrealisitic but more subtle methods better. Something that keeps the player from killing these persons.

imported_van_HellSing
28th Dec 2007, 23:21
But there's not much really you can do, except for that bulletproof glass from IW, or weapon check-ins at clubs etc. And this screams "FORCED MECHANICS" from a mile away.

SageSavage
28th Dec 2007, 23:28
No, I think the developers have to find believable solutions for every single character that is critical to the main-plot. We can't do this because we don't know the persons and situations. It could be a sniper shooting you before you can kill the VIP, it could be bulletproof glass, a shield, an active defense system, etc...

Dave W
29th Dec 2007, 00:17
In Deus Ex 2, they went in a different direction. They made it so every character was vulnerable. If you could hit someone with a bullet, then you could possibly kill them. Characters who were important to future elements of the plot were never available to shoot at. This sounds better, but in practice it was kind of silly. At random times, characters would talk to you from behind bullet proof glass. Also, certain locations would send out a code to lock your weapons so that you couldn't kill important characters who were there. It was stupid and contrived. It took me out of the story

It's far more "stupid and contrived" that a computer hacker can survive a GEP rocket to the face and yet a terrorist can't take a baton to the head. It also took me more out of the story that it's unclear when you can kill a character - for example, the jet. How is anyone supposed to know you can kill Anna at that point, especially if (like me) they tried to kill her earlier and found her to be invincible? And those moments that you can attack major characters, a lot of players probably do try it - and it reminds you're not supposed to do that when they somehow survive multiple grenades being shot at them.

IW did it best. It was clear when it was presenting you with a choice to kill a character, and it gets rid of the invincible characters which was just stupid. Whatever way you do it, it's going to 'scream forced mechanics' - except the way IW made sense and didn't confuse the player.

imported_van_HellSing
29th Dec 2007, 01:02
For instances like Anna in the jet, the simplest way would be to have a convo with one of the dialogue options being of the "I KEEL YOU" variety - which should make it kind of obvious that you can kill the character. But, this doesn't allow for a sneak attack.

Dave W
29th Dec 2007, 10:08
Either way, it's going to be obvious the game is forcing a character not to be killed. But it's far less 'immersive' for me to have a character right in front of me that I can't kill than one that's simply behind bullet proof glass or something. That said the deactivation thing was rather silly, it should have just taken in your weapons instead of "deactivating" them - because I don't understand how a deactivation procedure can work with a long piece of metal you hit people with.

gamer0004
29th Dec 2007, 14:19
Yeah. And high-tech sensors and camera's in a cheap bar in the slums? What the **** was my thought when I saw those.

the resolute girl
29th Dec 2007, 14:50
i pledge for a mixture of both.
since I hope for some social skill/reputation/alignment systems in the game that prevent you from having "non-combat" areas all NPCs should be able to manipulate in any way, only the consequences are different depending on where you are when and how you do it. I have no problem having NPCs behind glass or having to check in my weapon if the following area gives me new gameplay or justifies the action logically. But the "your guns get disabled" in the most run-down, sleaziest bar in town doesn't work for me.

Ah, and if you happen to design a character doing rounds on a basketball court, make him react accordingly if nano terrorists overtake the facility :rasp:

LuciusDeBeers
29th Dec 2007, 15:24
To use the example of Manderley, why not allow the player to kill him at any point- but in turn be killed by the UNATCO troopers/Gunther/Anna/Security turrets everytime- so it's effectively impossible to proceed in the game if the kill an important character before their time is up? That's probably the best approach.

the resolute girl
29th Dec 2007, 15:28
would be one example of doing it right without invincible NPCs.
I still think that it should depend on the situation as well.
If you happen to do it on a busy city street, the "police" or "army" should take care of you. just don't make an automatic "everywhere" system, that screams "mechanic".

LuciusDeBeers
29th Dec 2007, 15:35
just don't make an automatic "everywhere" system, that screams "mechanic".

True, it has to feel natural. You'd have to restrict the placement of key characters within the game world to locations where they're well protected by security. And if someone used a godmode cheat, it would really screw up the continuity (although that would be TS for them, the cheating b*stards!)

Dave W
29th Dec 2007, 22:14
I think the idea of having both is reasonable. As in, when you can kill an important character have major consequences so the player cannot continue. So if you kill Manderly for instance, troops continually come in from the enterance to kill you.

Jima B
31st Dec 2007, 12:43
I think i prefered barriers, to invincibility... Made it more realistic, because in real life, people can stand behind barriers; they cant be invincible.

But in the end, the best method is probably the "You die" one, involving you being killed by an amass of whatever, if you kill someone you shouldnt have.

I just hate stuff like fade-out to "You phail" messages, and invincible NPCs, and i love trying to kill unreasonable masses of nasties :)

gamer0004
31st Dec 2007, 14:57
I think the idea of having both is reasonable. As in, when you can kill an important character have major consequences so the player cannot continue. So if you kill Manderly for instance, troops continually come in from the enterance to kill you.

Or (better): If you kill JM Jock won't come so you can't get out.

@Jima: Barriers are at least as unrealistic as invincibility. In real life people can't really be protected so people can't kill them (like glass, there is no glass that stops rockets). The systems they used in DX:IW felt very unnatural.
Besides that, you won't notice invincibility if you play the game you're supposed to play, but you always notice barriers.

RÆPËR
1st Jan 2008, 23:07
What happens if you save the game after you kill jock...then realize you need to restart when he doesn't come to get you. What happens if you save the game after you kill manderly before someone comes and kills you? Some ideas need to be thought out more clearly...

LuciusDeBeers
1st Jan 2008, 23:40
What happens if you save the game after you kill jock...then realize you need to restart when he doesn't come to get you. What happens if you save the game after you kill manderly before someone comes and kills you? Some ideas need to be thought out more clearly...

The mech-enhanced barmaid behind the bar shoots you dead if you take out Jock (that's the only oppertunity to kill him in the game). Also, if you kill an important character before their time the game prevents you from saving due to your imminent demise. There's always a solution :).

Harakiribert
1st Jan 2008, 23:59
What happens if you save the game after you kill jock...then realize you need to restart when he doesn't come to get you. What happens if you save the game after you kill manderly before someone comes and kills you? Some ideas need to be thought out more clearly...
Well, if you kill an important person, they could just disable the ability to save the game.

@topic: If an important person is killed, I'd prefer a simple fade-out to a "Mission failed" screen with the options [Load Game] [Main Menu] [Quit].

Red
2nd Jan 2008, 01:05
Solution for that is an autosave (checkpoint) system. In DX1 you were fu* if you forgot to save for a longer period of time. That was one of bigger drawbacks of the game.

maddermadcat
2nd Jan 2008, 02:20
Solution for that is an autosave (checkpoint) system. In DX1 you were fu* if you forgot to save for a longer period of time. That was one of bigger drawbacks of the game.

I started playing again today and that really pissed me off.

The size of the save files annoys me as well. >_>

gamer0004
2nd Jan 2008, 09:39
Lol I'm a save-geek. In my first playthrough I had more than 400 saves. The game crashed and I THINK it was because of the proposterous amount of saves :P But you had to in DX. In my DX no-item run the game struck back once more by corrupting the save-system. When I choose a new save game it overwrites my last savegame. So I had to keep overwriting other savegames. But in a new map I discovered I had too little health left to survive. So I had to load an old save two missions back. That really annoyed me. So a checkpoint system which saves every new mission would be good.

v.dog
2nd Jan 2008, 09:44
The save game files are huge because of the amount of info it needs to track; who you've talked to, what you said, the heath of each part of your body, the state of every item in your inventory, the location of every item on the level, the decisions you've made so far in the course of the game...

Of course you could compress all this info, but then people would moan about the loading times. With today's HDDs, bigger, faster saves are probably the better option.

Back on topic: Portal has two sets of auto saves; one where you're completely safe, and the other where you could be stuck (must most likely aren't). This allows for more frequent saving, with a fallback if you royally mess it up. Dx3 could possibly do the same.

Even more on topic: I like the idea that you can kill anyone, but if you kill someone important, you're dead. Unlike the HL games however, I'd prefer a plausible death (as opposed to 'evaluation terminated', tho' that might actually work- kill switch?) as a result of in-game events, akin to what happens if you shoot Jock.

Nathan2000
2nd Jan 2008, 12:00
The save game files are huge because of the amount of info it needs to track; who you've talked to, what you said, the heath of each part of your body, the state of every item in your inventory, the location of every item on the level, the decisions you've made so far in the course of the game...
I believe, that the save files are so big because the game saves a copy of all maps visited in current mission with modifications that occurred during gameplay (relocated pawns, items, movers, etc). This is an issue of Unreal Engine. I don't know if this was fixed in modern versions.


Even more on topic: I like the idea that you can kill anyone, but if you kill someone important, you're dead. Unlike the HL games however, I'd prefer a plausible death (as opposed to 'evaluation terminated', tho' that might actually work- kill switch?) as a result of in-game events, akin to what happens if you shoot Jock.
I can't say, I like the forced death solution. The way Deus Ex resolved the problem is much better, IMHO. Whatever you've done, you could still finish the game. I think, that freedom was a main reason to incorporate Omar Ending into DXIW. The devs wanted to make sure, the player is able finish it whatever he tries to screw it up.
PS. Jock is invincible, however you can kill Jordan Shea with no trouble.

Dave W
3rd Jan 2008, 10:22
Or (better): If you kill JM Jock won't come so you can't get out.

@Jima: Barriers are at least as unrealistic as invincibility. In real life people can't really be protected so people can't kill them (like glass, there is no glass that stops rockets). The systems they used in DX:IW felt very unnatural.
Besides that, you won't notice invincibility if you play the game you're supposed to play, but you always notice barriers.


No they're not, they make sense. Someone standing behind bulletproof glass (note: IW is 2070, not 2008) makes sense. One thing I always find amusing about IW/DX discussions is that people overlook the flaws in Deus Ex - and complain about the same things in IW. Does shooting some weak computer hacker with a rocket, and having him survive not feel "unnatural" to you?

gamer0004
3rd Jan 2008, 10:38
No they're not, they make sense. Someone standing behind bulletproof glass (note: IW is 2070, not 2008) makes sense. One thing I always find amusing about IW/DX discussions is that people overlook the flaws in Deus Ex - and complain about the same things in IW. Does shooting some weak computer hacker with a rocket, and having him survive not feel "unnatural" to you?

No, as I like Alex so I didn't shoot him (which is, now I think about it, really strange as I always do everything you're NOT supposed to do in a game - having this way encountered many bugs. I guess DX1 was different :P).
Anyway, people can be behind bulletproof glass. I agree. But why would they when they are your friend (and augmentated agents like you)? Ok, it may happen once, but when it occurs every time you see someone it feels unnatural to me. And rocketproof glass isn't going to be available in 2070.
Yes, there are many flwas in DX. But this wasn't one.

And like I said, you always notice barriers but you don't (always) notice invincible NPCs.

Dave W
3rd Jan 2008, 10:46
No, as I like Alex so I didn't shoot him (which is, now I think about it, really strange as I always do everything you're NOT supposed to do in a game - having this way encountered many bugs. I guess DX1 was different :P).
And rocketproof glass isn't going to be available in 2070.
Yes, there are many flwas in DX. But this wasn't one.

And like I said, you always notice barriers but you don't (always) notice invincible NPCs.


[QUOTE=gamer0004;718829]Anyway, people can be behind bulletproof glass. I agree. But why would they when they are your friend (and augmentated agents like you)? Ok, it may happen once, but when it occurs every time you see someone it feels unnatural to me.
Every time? Play the game for 1 minute and you'll see why that is outright false. And it's not always bullet proof glass anyway, other times it's through a hologram (commonly used in Deus Ex, as well) or through a weapon deactivation system. And the major flaw with the invincible system, apart from being just plain unbelievable, is that on some ocassions the characters aren't invincible. That IS a flaw if you're unsure whether you can kill a character or not.
At least in IW you know if you have a gun, and the person is in view, you can kill them. Yes, it's an obvious forced mechanic, but so are invincible characters and I'm sure even more casual gamers noticed it, even if they were just messing around. Casual gamers are far less likely to notice stuff like bullet proof glass, but just accept it as the game telling you "you can't kill this character yet".


And rocketproof glass isn't going to be available in 2070.

You know this for a fact, then?

gamer0004
3rd Jan 2008, 11:03
Every time? Play the game for 1 minute and you'll see why that is outright false. And it's not always bullet proof glass anyway, other times it's through a hologram (commonly used in Deus Ex, as well) or through a weapon deactivation system. And the major flaw with the invincible system, apart from being just plain unbelievable, is that on some ocassions the characters aren't invincible. That IS a flaw if you're unsure whether you can kill a character or not.
At least in IW you know if you have a gun, and the person is in view, you can kill them. Yes, it's an obvious forced mechanic, but so are invincible characters and I'm sure even more casual gamers noticed it, even if they were just messing around. Casual gamers are far less likely to notice stuff like bullet proof glass, but just accept it as the game telling you "you can't kill this character yet".

You know this for a fact, then?

You are right that it's strange that suddenly you CAN kill an NPC. But the game tells you when you can. I had tried to kill Anna and Gunther at UNATCO, which proved impossible. At the jet however I tried again as the game was telling me I was able to kill her and so I did.
Like I said, the way DX handled this wasn't the best option.
But I still think it ws better than in DX:IW (a code to disable all your weapons, even the baton??).

About the rocketproof glass: we'll see in 2070 ;)

Dave W
3rd Jan 2008, 12:39
My point is the game doesn't tell you when you can kill a character. It just turns off the invincibility setting, sometimes without warning. Obviously with some it's obvious (killing Anna after the breakout, Gunther in Paris etc.), but not all the time.

gamer0004
3rd Jan 2008, 17:54
My point is the game doesn't tell you when you can kill a character. It just turns off the invincibility setting, sometimes without warning. Obviously with some it's obvious (killing Anna after the breakout, Gunther in Paris etc.), but not all the time.

After you've been captured it's logical that you can kill all hostile UNATCO guys. So only Anna may not be obvious but as I think you can say to her that she mustn't touch him that's quite obvious too.

AgentSmithereens
3rd Jan 2008, 18:01
Best method (or at least funniest) is in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way, where if you shoot Armstrong (some massive ginger Scottish bloke who's your friend) you lose the game and a message comes up saying:
'Upset at being attacked by a so-called friend, Armstrong punches you in the face so hard you die.' Then again NOLF2 is a bit of a silly game.

Dave W
4th Jan 2008, 00:51
After you've been captured it's logical that you can kill all hostile UNATCO guys. So only Anna may not be obvious but as I think you can say to her that she mustn't touch him that's quite obvious too.

As I said, sometimes it's obvious. But if you see a character randomly in the street - you not sure if you can shoot them because they might be invincible. That to me is a rather annoying game mechanic. Take Gordon Quick - the first time I played I figured 'screw this' to his sub-mission and started shooting him, and quickly realised he wasn't supposed to be killed.

ThatDeadDude
6th Jan 2008, 14:22
Wow, in all honesty, I never had a problem with this. The only time I can recall finding myself trying to kill someone who was invincible was Gunther at the airfield, after the end of Lebedev. The first time I played the game I killed Anna there... I can't remember why but I shot her in the head and she exploded and that surprised me. I personally have little sympathy for people complaining about unrealistic methods for keeping people alive when they are trying their hardest to act in a completely unrealistic manner.

Think about it, chances are that in addition to a lack of invincible people; in real life as soon as you started killing everyone (here everyone EXCLUDING important characters) you would probably be cut loose as a crazy liability.

If you had to have a solution, the ideal one would be to build a robust enough script that it could survive the death of anyone. This would obviously be quite hard, but assuming there are key characters who you never meet until the endgame, it is somewhat possible. I've seen some fantasy RPGs that have managed this. They got around it there through resurrection/summoning spells. Obviously those would be somewhat out of place in Deus Ex, but my point is that ideally it's possible to create solutions that allow the killing of anyone, but without any Game Over screens; things that to be honest I would hate to see.

gamer0004
11th Jan 2008, 18:29
Update: it should be "Invincible Joseph Manderley vs. Invincible and Untouchable Klara Sparks". People behind the barriers can't be killed or harmed in any way.
They do not have health bars and you can't set them on fire (I tried, but it doesn't work).

LuciusDeBeers
11th Jan 2008, 23:49
A further idea- how about weapons automatically lower when pointed at story-critical characters a la Half-life 2? That would indicate who can and can't be shot at.

It should also be considered that the Deus Ex story was crafted around the premise that certain charcters had to be invincible (at least for a limited time). Deus Ex has an incredibly linear story with little impact from the player's actions when you step back and look at it (micro decisions vs. macro decisions as they discuss in the developer bible); if they story is designed to be more dynamic from the outset (a mammoth undertaking, admittedly) then this discussion could be rendered effectively moot.

Scenario: player meets Manderley...player takes instant dislike- shoots Manderley in the head...Unatco troopers open fire on player...player escapes Unatco HQ...Paul contacts player via infolink stating that he works for the NSF and asks to meet up with player in New York...player steals ship from the dock and heads to Battery Park...alternate set of missions in the same locations ensue...