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LightWarriorK
23rd May 2009, 00:13
There isn't a thread specifically dedicated to the AI in the game (that I saw), so I figured this would be a good discussion topic. There was one a while ago, but that got merged into the Do's and Don'ts thread. Hopefully this one will be expansive enough to stand on its own.

We KNOW that Eidos Montreal is going to improve the AI for Thief 4 (sorry, I refuse to call it Thi4f), but to what level should the AI be improved? At some point does a too-realistic AI system ruin the classic gameplay of Thief? Here's some of the ways that the AI could be improved that I can think of right now:

Enemy AI

1) Being able to climb ladders and maybe scale platforms and even jump gaps.
- Benefits - Realistically, it's very silly that an enemy can't follow you around. It creates almost laughable moments when you climb a ladder and a guard just stops, like he'd never seen a ladder before and is unsure how to use it.
- Drawbacks - Of course, when you're not able to easily escape up a ladder, the difficulty in the game goes way up. Gone will be the days of the "climb and hide."
- Implications - New and innovative gameplay tools will need to be developed to help you escape pursuers, including (but not nessesarily or limited to) being able to knock the ladder down or pull it up, being able to blackjack even an attacking guard as s/he crests the ladder, having the speed of the climbing enemies lowered so you have time to lose them after they climb, and being able to set booby traps below, above, and even on the ladders to hurt or hinder them.

2) Better coordination between enemy groups.
- Benefits - Patrols ending up with guards right on top of one another are a little bit awkward. Natural guard shifts always coordinate who is where and when. Proper spacing on patrol routes, guards noticing (eventually) when members of their posts/patrols go "missing," division of labor so that if you're seen, maybe two guards stay and attack you while a third runs to sound the alarm, etc. Overall increase in realism to how the protectors react to an enemy intrusion.
- Drawbacks - Numerous, especially the increased likelyhood of death for every additional guard at a post or patrol.
- Implications - New or improved tools designed to take out larger groups of enemies, like maybe a Gas Bomb that has a greater area of effect than the Gas Mine. It'll also mean that taking out multiple enemies silently and quickly will need to be possible.

3) Additional levels of alertness.
- Benefits - I mentioned this in another thread. Having only the three levels, Idle/Patrol, Alert, and Attack, is fine in many cases, but especially with the Alert level it becomes a little hit and miss. Being curious about a random noise and knowing that you're there but not knowing where you are are two very different things. To allow for a dynamic AI, there could be at least one more level, and maybe several:
a) Idle/Patrol/Post - sitting or walking around, thinking about very little
b) Curious - hearing a noise or seeing a shadow move. Unlike earlier Thiefs, this level would cause a change in behavior where a patrol may deviate or a guard stand up and walk to the noise. But unlike Alert, this one would not be threatening in any way as the guard has no reason to suspect anything.
c) Suspicious - even if you're heard or seen briefly, unless the enemey gets a clear look at you, s/he would have no reason to think that you're not someone who shouldn't be there. HERE is where you'd get the sayings like "Stand forth and be recognized!" or "Hello? Is that you?"
d) Alert - needs to be a distinct level from attack in most cases, but once the enemy knows you're not familiar, there should be a period where s/he is actively following you and determining whether to attack.
e) Attack - cue the fight scene!
- Drawbacks - I don't know of any. Having a more dynamic AI opens more options for how to approach them.
- Implications - The biggest changes that would need to be made in order to take advantage of more AI alert levels is providing tools to keep the levels as low for as long as possible. Maybe you could carry a rat cage around to satisfy a Curious guard. Perhaps a disguise would keep a suspicious (but dumb) guard from attacking you. Maybe a letter or stolen form of I.D. would keep a guard on Alert from attacking you. Options, options, options.

4) Variable AI intelligence/ability
- Benefits - No one person is equal. Some people are dumb as bricks. They are typically the grunts in live and end up working mall security. But you don't get to be White House Secret Service without some high level of intelect, right? Enemies in Thief have traditionally all been the same level of difficulty, with the increased danger in later levels coming from more guards or increased environmental hazards like tile or too little shadow. Allowing for differences in AI could have some interesting consequences if, say, the gate guard is too drunk and stupid to notice you, but the roving patrol might have someone with them that can hear you better than the others, and it's extremely difficult to sneak around the captain of the guard, even in dead shadow on carpet.
- Drawbacks - Until you know what you're dealing with, you'll probably have to treat every guard like they were Sir Lancelot.
- Implications - The designers would probably need to use voicework, character models, and character animations to differentiate the level of a character. Which means you will have to study your opponents before moving in or deciding to avoid them. for example, if you're hiding from a patrol and one person says, "Hey, I thought I heard something over yonder," and the others say "I didn hear nuttin. (hic) Yer jus imaginin stuff," then you know which guard to take out first.

5) Stacking Alertness levels.
- Benefits - Common sense is that if a guard sees you and reaches a certain level of alertness, he's NOT just going to forget you were there. A Suspicious guard could remain Suspicious for quite some time, even if s/he goes back to the post or patroling. An Alert guard may stay on Alert for the rest of the level, and spread at least some level of alertness to the other guards. An Attacking guard would probably rouse the whole mission to Alert, at least, if you lose him/her.
- Drawbacks - Where to begin?! While realism is great, and this would certainly make the game very realistic, it'd be very hard to accomplish this to any ddegree without ruining the fun of the game.
- Implications - There would have to be a way for the guards to "clear" the mission location so that they would be able to return to Idle. In some cases this might take a while, especially if you've been knocking out or killing guards left and right. This might require making the whole game open-ended enough so you could leave the level and wait for things to calm down before going back in.

6) Gathering enemies.
- Benefits - In an open city, or a mission location, you might be raising the "crime level." Natural responses from law enforcement for this sort of thing is to a) increase patrols, b) station more guards, and c) increase defenses (better locks or traps. What this means is that if you prey on a particular area, you're going to find it increasingly difficult to get in and out of there alive. However, you could work this in your favor by luring enemies away from a particularly hard area. That's where it becomes A.I. and not just game design, since the enemies would alter their behavior, their patrol routes, and set up new guard posts by themselves in order to adjust to your thieving.
- Drawbacks - The biggest one that I can see is that it would remove the predictability out of the game. No one area would be "safe" to always thieve from repeatedly.
- Implications - If this were to occur, game design would play a major role in keeping the players from getting frustrated. There would almost have to be NO bottlenecks anywhere in the game to prevent an area from being closed off due to over-guarding. Also, to be fair, the guards would have to have the intelligence to wander back to their original locations if they're not needed in force for a while.

7) Better interactions with the environment.
- Benefits - it isn't enough that guards can open doors and relight gas lamps. TDS kind of helped with enemies carrying torches, but did they relight torches that had been extinguished? Or how about locked doors? Enemies carried keys all the time, but they never really used them. There were precious few times in all 3 games where the mechanical levers and items were manipulated by the enemies, and those could go a long way to activating traps, or closing off escape routes, or anything.
- Drawbacks - More interactions with the environment could mean that the enemies have more ways to hurt you.
- Implications - If the enemies are going to be able to interact with the environment more, there will have to be more things for them to do. This may increase the game's complexity too much if done arbitrarilly.


Bystanders

1) Self Defense.
- Benefits - It'll make you think twice about pickpocketing that young nobleman if he could whip out a dagger and cut you. Realism. Not everyone runs at the first sign of trouble.
- Drawbacks - Increasing the danger of pickpocketing might discourage it to some extent.
- Implications - In order to maintain a ballanced system, the individuals that are more likely to defend themselves should carry more gold on them in order to justify the risk.

2) Home Defense.
- Benefits - Where will people run to? In the other Thief games, they just ran willy-nilly up and down the streets, but realistically they'd run home and bolt the door. This could also work inside a level if the residents reach full Alert status. If you need to get something off a noblewoman and she runs and locks herself in her bedroom, you better hope that a) you have a key, b) your lockpicks work, or c) there's another way into the room.
- Drawbacks - Could get frustrating if you're THAT intent on getting in a house or room, but it should just require more care.
- Implications - On the streest of a TDS City, this means that there will have to be a house assigned to every AI bystander. Of course, that wouldn't be too controversial....I'm sure a lot of Thief players HATE decorative-only doors and windows.

3) Running to enemies.
- Benefits - A brave and fully alert bystander could run and bring enemies to you. This was already done with bystanders and Iron Beasts in the other Thief games, but improvements could be made so that the bystander may not be able to give a full description of what s/he saw, which may only make the enemies Suspicious and not on full Alert.
- Drawbacks - I don't see any drawback to the enemies not bellieving in a bystander's account of what s/he saw. It just means that you shouldn't murder or destroy things in full light and view of anyone.
- Implications - If the effectiveness of "stoolie" bystanders are reduced, it'd have to be balanced by allowing other bystanders to concur with the account and convince the guards that something is very wrong.

4) Give them a "purpose."
- Benefits - Random bystanders wandering around the City or through levels are all well and good, but there shouldn't be anything restricting a large number of scripts that direct them to "go shopping" or "go home for a while" or "go to this room and pick up this item," etc. For one, you could let a shopper buy an item you want from a store that you're not welcome in and then pickpocket from them, and secondly it makes the City and missions overall more vibrant as though people actually live and work there.
- Drawbacks - As before, some of the predictability is removed from the game, especially if the scripts are assigned at random to Idle bystanders.


Difficulty Setting-Dependant
I'm not sure how dependant the enemy AI was on the difficulty settings in the other Thief games. I only ever played on Expert. All I know was that the mission objectives changed.

However, with an increase in AI to more realistic levels, more novice players are going to have a harder time with it. Each of the above improvements could be adjusted to suit the difficulty of the game, as I see it:
E1) As difficulty increases, so does the speed at which an enemy can climb.
E2) As difficulty increases, groups would be better utilized on patrol, more watchful at posts, more thorough and coordinated in searches, and it'd be harder to fight multiple enemies in fights.
E3) As difficulty increases, enemies would go up an alertness level easier, and take longer to go down.
E4) As difficulty increases, intelligence would be scaled higher. For example, if the prowess of an enemy could scale from 1 to 20, a Novice difficulty might have enemies ranging from 1-7 in a level, but Normal might have 3-9, and Expert might have 11-17 all in the same level.
E5) As difficulty increases, alertness levels could stack quicker and spread more rapidly, and drop a lot slower.
E6) As difficulty increases, enemies could be more aware of where problems are occuring, and possibly realize that they're being drawn away from a critical area (if you're doing diversionary tactics)
E7) As difficulty increases, the AI could be more creative in what materials or devices the enemies could use against you. Like two enemies from above dropping a barrel on you on Expert, but not on Normal.

B1) As difficulty increases, there could be more bystanders defending themselves and it'd be easier for them to attack you.
B2) As difficulty increases, the doors people lock against you would be harder to open, and it'd take longer for them to feel comfortable coming back out, and their alertness level would be higher afterwards.
B3) As difficulty increaes, it'd take less persuading for bystanders to convince enemies that something was wrong.
B4) As difficulty increases, bystanders would be more varied in their behaviors, making it less likely that you could dicern a pattern from them. Maybe even fully random on Expert.


Anyways, That's all I have for now. Enjoy reading, and please feel free to debate, debunk, and add your own, but please keep it in the realm of the NPC AI. Thanks.:)

P.S.: I didn't seem to have a poll option, but what I'd like to know from everyone is
1) If you prefer the SAME AI that was in TDP, TMA, and/or TDS,
2) If you want better AI but want to stop just short of any realism, or
3) If you think that the more realistic it is, the better.

WVI
23rd May 2009, 00:21
Very nicely done. Comprehensive. I like it.

LightWarriorK
23rd May 2009, 00:29
Thanks.:) I enjoyed writing it. I'm also playing through TMA right now and will play TDS again as soon as I'm done, so I'll probably find more AI quirks to improve on.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
23rd May 2009, 02:09
Good post, LightWarriorK. Linked from 'Keeper Diary'. :) :thumb:

GmanPro
23rd May 2009, 02:44
Good stuff. I'd like to see some additions to the behavior AI also.

Hypevosa
23rd May 2009, 02:49
Specifically in regards to interacting with the environment, they should trip over dead bodies... and if they're listening closely enough to be aware of you walking behind them, they should notice if they step on moss (silence suddenly where they used to make loud noise) and become suspicious about it if only temporarily. Or maybe they should only care if their intelligence is of a high enough level. If I open a secret passage and they see it, they should investigate it "This wasn't 'ere before..." at the curiosity level of awareness.

DoomyDoomyDoomDoom
23rd May 2009, 06:56
What can I say? Any AI improvements are welcome. I personally believe that the more realism the better. I very much would like if the AI could alert other guards and give you a tough time the rest of the mission because you were careless. I don't see this as being too harsh. The game gives you (or may/should give you) plenty of ways to take care of guards that caught you. Can't kill on expert though so you will have to be creative or just plain more careful. I like it that way.

I would like them to have more believable senses. In particular I'm talking about how in previous games they seemed able to differentiate you from any other sound. Like they could tell your footsteps apart from anybody else or even hear it through loud machinery. Pretty annoying. I think it was that way in all the Thief games.

I loved the torch guards. I hope they keep those guys in :) Just a little while ago I was playing TDS with minimalist project and I played ring around the column with a torch guard as he was a little suspicious of whatever little sound I was making or something. Very tense moment and I actually got away. Great fun.

Overall I'm up for anything that makes the AI less predictable. I hate knowing where they all are every time. I hate knowing exactly how they will respond to any given situation. I hate knowing that in precisely 48 seconds he will make his way down the hall and back. Give me some variables. Maybe it took him 62 seconds to get down the hall the second time because he had a bad itch or he took some time to let out a big sneeze or something. Love that idea about the varied intelligence.

Make them search better. I want them to keep me on my toes. Not sure how to explain this. It seems that they often ignore some obvious hiding places. It would be neat if they moved, attacked, and searched as a team whenever they can. Like say two guards enter a room you're hiding in. I'd like them to split up and search the room rather than just both walking to the center of the room, looking around, and then leaving. While I'm on that, if they know for a fact that I went into a room, they should search the heck out of it. More so than if they merely suspected I was in a room. Did I run down a hall with several rooms branching? Maybe one could watch the hall as the others search the rooms. Yeah, getting a bit complex there. Just got carried away.

Espion
23rd May 2009, 09:54
Anyways, That's all I have for now. Enjoy reading, and please feel free to debate, debunk, and add your own

Lol, I'm not sure there's anything to debate here. I'd welcome every one of those changes :)

A suggestion on how you could descern one guards intelligence/skill from another would be rank insignia (something all three games were missing as I recall).

If you see two guards from a distance and one is the equivalnet of a Captain whilst the other is the equivalent of a Lieutenant, then you'd be able to tell that one is more likely better skilled than the other... Unless they paid their way to the top... I dunno, maybe have some guards talking bad about their Captain behind his back in that case, but you get what I mean.

LightWarriorK
26th May 2009, 14:28
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Sorry, I was mostly out this weekend.

And thanks for the additions, Hypevosa, DDDD, and Espion. I haven't decided whether I'm going to try and maintain a list on the first post of all suggestions, or just let everything unfold, but I'm thinking about it. It'd go well with the mods' plan to "keep everything where the developers can find it easy. If I did update the OP, though, I'd want to bring them in line (substance-wise) with the other entries. If anyone has an issue with me adding to their ideas, let me know.

The only idea that I've thought of over the weekend was the same as what DDDD said:

In particular I'm talking about how in previous games they seemed able to differentiate you from any other sound.

In the city levels of TMA, specifically, other residents don't trigger any sort of suspicion from the guards, but you.....hey, who are you?!? I think that would be particularly effecitve if the Bystander AI matched it so that the bystanders would sometimes wander into areas they're not supposed to be, or maybe you could scare them into a restricted area so that they occupy the angry guards while you slip by.

I also loved this:

Specifically in regards to interacting with the environment, they should trip over dead bodies...

We've never seen that, really, where the AI will make errors like that. I'd love to see it taken further, where you could move the furniture around, and they'd be tripping over everything, running into walls, smaking into each other, etc. Nice idea!

Smooogy
26th May 2009, 15:43
AI needs to be modified because it hasn't changed much in about 9 years. The formula isn't bad, just needs to be tweaked.

Gabriel
26th May 2009, 17:45
Very good ideas, all of them. I'm all for increasing the realism and, consequentially, the difficulty of the game.

I hope the devs are paying attention to this thread!

hexhunter
26th May 2009, 20:40
Good job LightWarrior, all good ideas...

Realism is important and I'd rather play harder difficults with more realistic gameplay than arbitrary objectives like don't kill guards or additional requirements like stealing non-story loot.

Some things:
- As discussed, different intelligence for different ranks
- If guards find a body or spot you they won't truly return to original awareness until the next day, they'll change their patterns so they cross more frequently and will team up on their routes, making getting some loot much more difficult
- AI use cover when under arrow fire and move objects to their advantage, of course you would have to be able to move them aswell
- AI can not only light torches, but light fire places, bonfires and can set buildings alite(sp?)
- AI can be more tactical than before, captains use maps to organise troops and sergeants keep a close eye on their guards
- AI keep in contact by different methods including visual, audio and binary radio and wired comms, bells, whistles, lights, periscopes and pipes which guards can speak through

DoomyDoomyDoomDoom
27th May 2009, 06:52
...I'd love to see it taken further, where you could move the furniture around, and they'd be tripping over everything, running into walls, smaking into each other, etc. Nice idea!

hah "I can keep this up all day." Would be neat to move some more stuff around to slow down the guards or block and trap them in a room. I used to like taking the guards keys and then getting them to chase me in a room and locking them in there. Hilarious.

I want to be able to do that again, and give them fun dialog about it like "OPEN THIS DOOR" and "LET ME OUT" or "HELP". I could stand there laughing at them for quite a while. Then I'd put oil in front of the door and unlock it for them. Whoopsie daisy. Guards are so damn fun.

Slickleg
27th May 2009, 12:42
Great post LW. I'd agree that the more realistic, the better.

Ideas that I really liked were:

Re-lighting of torches: If a guard comes across an unlit torch maybe they would leave their post to get the materials needed to turn the lights back on.

Alarm systems, such as bells: Once a guard knows you're in a level, they should rouse everyone else for a decent period of time. Maybe they systematically search the level or maybe they run around frantically searching (depending on the quality of the guard).

The purpose of civilians (and guards): This one always bothered me in the previous games. In the city and even in the levels, people should have more realistic tasks rather than predictably pacing back in forth on the same 15 ft path. Also on this note though, I'd like to comment on the over crowding of guards. Having 50 guards for a 2 level mansion is a bit overkill (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating too but still). Maybe re-revaluate the realistic placement of guards so that it's harder to get into a mansion but once you're inside there's not a guard pacing in every single tiny hallway.

One thing I wanted to add as far as alertness levels though, is the need for every guard to talk to himself. Instead of them announcing out loud that they suspect they see something out of the corner of their eye, they could turn their heads to look at where the noise came from and scan with their eyes. Now that technology allows, I think facial expressions could add a lot more tension and realism.

Fire_Is_Born
30th May 2009, 19:19
I think to some degree, the guards should still be as fun to play with as they used to be... Although they got pretty tedious after a while; getting spotted, climbing up somewhere, waiting for a minute or so; there was a lot of scope for baiting them, luring them places then dropping stuff on them... I once used a noisemaker to drown one :P
Although there is defininite room for improvement, and I agree with Slickleg in that they don't always need to talk to themselves, some of that quintessential guardyness should still be there.
I'd like to see better evidence following, better search procedures, and for them to alert other guards and carry on the search rather than just giving up and accepting that one of their colleagues has been killed.
Also, I agree with Lightwarriork, there should be guards of differing attentiveness, intelligense and sobriety ;-)

Yaphy
31st May 2009, 18:40
I think the guards should also be able to be afraid scared. Not even a guard is tough after his torch has been put out right in his hand and just some seconds later a broadhead arrow strikes inches from his head and get stuck in the wall next to him. He might a) run away for help or b) get in a defensive alertness, like pull his sword and stand with his back against a wall and make lots of noices to make other know that he is in danger. Guards are still humans, theire not super tough heroes.

If they keep climbing gloves let the guards search for stuff to throw at you when you are hanging on the wall. Instead of standing on the ground yelling and wave his fist agains you, he can try to get you down even if he hasnt a bow. Like in assassins creed when the guards throws rocks. Here they can throw glass and small barrels and such. If you fall you land on your back, lose some health and looks right up at the sky/roof/guards face.

K^2
31st May 2009, 21:22
1) Being able to climb ladders and maybe scale platforms and even jump gaps.
I was playing Saints Row 2 and running away from a couple of cops on foot, as the case often is. I decided to pull the same stunt I often used in San Andreas and climbed over the fence, thinking it will take the cops forever to go around. My eyes nearly popped out of orbits when I looked back and saw the cops scaling that fence same way that I did. Yes, this makes the game harder, but it does so by making you look for new ways of escape every time rather than recycling the same trick over and over. So it's is a certain plus. This needs to be done.


2) Better coordination between enemy groups.
Ideally, each NPC should be controlled by a unique instance of an agent, each with its own knowledge base. Very often, this isn't even used. An omiscient agent is typically used instead, which simply runs checks from each NPC to the PC. If one line checks, all NPCs know location of the PC. With unique knowledge bases, this can be avoided, but the question of communication still comes up. Should two agents within short distance be able to simply exchange any part of knowledge? Or should there be some audible communication or animation that indicates communication? The later would be preferable, but it increases complexity of such system dramatically.


3) Additional levels of alertness.
5) Stacking Alertness levels.
These two things should also be done with knowledge bases. Agent that saw "something" might go back to acting the same way as before after checking it out. We all see things in the dark. But an agent that visually verified that the Thief is here should not simply relax and go back to the same patrol after losing sight and wondering about it for a minute or two. Something should be different in the behavior, more specifically, the knowledge that the Thief is indeed nearby. For example, a guard who has seen the intruder might go into full attack mode immediately upon seeing "something", rather than just walking over to investigate. An initially curious agent can be created by giving him a few extra bits of knowledge about the situation.


4) Variable AI intelligence/ability
This may be a bit difficult to pull. Typically games simply scale health and attack ratings to achieve variable difficulty. There is a reason for that. Your AI has to be incredibly complex in order to make it scalable. Though, with the use of knowledge bases, and I hope you'll forgive me for going back to them, you can give agents some extra edge. Knowing some hiding spots, for example, and having AI check them out can make a very big difference to the player. A curious agent with a few hiding spots in its KB can appear as far a far more intelligent NPC to the one controlled by an agent with no such knowledge and general indifference towards surroundings.


My overall thinking is that situation-aware AI is absolutely necessary for this type of game. Typical AI, such as the one used in Thief and Deus Ex games to this date, has two levels. Top level AI is omniscient agent that checks lines of sight, switches alertness levels, and performs alliance checks. Bottom level AI performs path searches. It guides NPC towards a way point or last spotted location of enemy character. It will also fire if the alertness level is high enough and the enemy is in sight.

Such a knee-jerk AI is more then enough for shooters, tends to work for games with some stealth, but feels very stiff for games based on stealth. The two aforementioned levels may as well exist, but there needs to be an intermediate level that is evaluated for each NPC and that contains knowledge unique to that NPC. A simple inference base will do, though, something a bit more like a Prolog script would be ideal. A Prolog script can make ultimate decisions on determining friend or foe, deciding whether to follow way points or proceed towards the source of a sound, whether to be cautions or curious, whether to go directly towards target or try to cut it off, and whether to attack alone or call for backup. Prolog scripts are entirely dynamic, so the behavior will change as new information becomes available. Such an AI would behave a lot like real guards would, and would add immeasurably to the game.

tarhiel
26th Jun 2009, 14:37
How should AI behave in T4? what is your opinion about it?

I have some things in my personal list, which should be changed, compared to T2 and T1.
While back then it was good (considering the hardware of PC in those days), today it is unforgettable:

-NPC behaving:
In former Thief games, when NPC has spotted you, and you ran away, after a while of looking for you, guard will go back, performing his routine walk. Absolutley wrong.
I´d be glad to see NPC interact in this kind of situation like this:
If guard will see you, he´ll run after you and is trying to kill you (meanwhile he´s shouting for reinforcmenets, or at least, to rouse suspicion in other inhabitants- make it harder for you to escape). If he doesn´t succeed, he will inform other guards, who first will close ALL the gates to house (mansion, etc...) and will systematically be looking for you, until somebody will not find you. And kill you. This would really force players to stay unseen as much as possible. Of course, if you´ll kill the guard, and dispose of body, no one will know you are there. But in latter missions, where guards may know about other guards routine walks (and might be expecting thievery), and they do not see them standing (walking) in thier post, should go investigste, OR raise alarm.
Also, civlilans (servants in manors), will run inform guards (also shouting menawhile) then run to hide themselves, OR the braver ones, might try to find some weapon and start looking for you too.

- Sneaking in shadow: in former Thief games, when you were in some hall, where only in middle of the hall was stripe of shadow, and there was a guard going from one side to another, and you´ve been hiding there, guards didn´t saw you, unless they bum into you. They should see you! Because they would saw your silhoutette (shape) in shadow (because of the light in background), and EVEN if they would not know you are thief, they would know somebody IS there, they should at least shout at you "Who´s there? I can see you, identify yourself at once!"

This should be same in all difficulties. Also I didn´t like (in Hitman series let´s say), that some enemies were unrealistically strong - like you shot them three times to head, and only then they will die. No, no in T4 game. One arrow into face, throat, and guard is dead. Of course same goes for you, also damage for jumping from too high.

Acorn
26th Jun 2009, 17:15
I didn't like the ragdoll random way people fell in the game. When you knock a guy out there should be no ridiculous ways for them to fall.

Arrow and other weapon selection should be easy and designed for speed. Maybe a separate system for throwables like mines or frogbeast eggs so you don't unequip your weapon.

People shouldn't all say the same thing all the time.

Also its OK for fewer people to be on the streets at midnight when Garrett is out and about. Its night time. This cuts down on repetition of speech and AI visual styles.
Also, I didn't like trying to fight my way through crowds of twins in T3 when running from the law. They would bottleneck sometimes in narrow walkways and passages and I'd have to wait while they bounced off each other and tried to get through the 1 person wide space..
silly.

gryphos
9th Jul 2009, 21:46
The list at the top looks like the list that I wrote myself a couple years ago when I was thinking through what I'd like to see. I think a better AI is a BIG deal in T4.

I also had on my list these two:

Guards should be able to yank on rope arrows if you are just hanging there, giving you some incentive to keep moving

Regarding the variable level of intelligence, some really elite guards may actually have better hearing and vision, may notice you, but behave business as usual until they get close enough to draw sword at which time the whip it out with a gotcha'

jtr7
11th Jul 2009, 04:34
.....................

LordGervasius
11th Jul 2009, 14:57
This is a very good post. I was just replaying TMA today and the AI is absurdly stupid at times.

More intelligence, more levels of awareness, ability to relight torches, ability to find a light source to aid in searching...all stuff I would love to see.

Armored enemies. Sucks to be able to kill most unaware enemies with a well placed arrow shot. Why not give some armor that makes them invulnerable to arrows unless to the face?

Just a suggestion. Killing should be harder to do or very well justified as the only means of passing a point.

Also, why can't AI follow you on to a short pedestal, into a niche, these are all very easy moves to make. Climbing on a rope arrow, ladder or short pedestal should no longer be a viable escape route.

Burrick
11th Jul 2009, 17:16
I don't think killing should be harder, it was ok the way it was in deadly shadows.

Ravensnest
11th Jul 2009, 22:03
Wow awesome thread i love all these ideas.

One thing I would really like to see is guards being able to tell the difference between a dead guard and a knocked out guard and respond accordingly. In TDP and TMA (not sure about TDS) any guard you "dealt" with always dead according to other guards. I'd like to see something like black jacked guards having a lower chance of alerting other guards (if ypu knocked out a "stupid guard" like mentioned above perhaps other guards assuming he knocked himself out or fell asleep or is drunk or something) whereas if he was dead (had a arrow sticking out of him or a dirty great slash across his chest) they would cry murder and spend less time alone and instead patrol in groups, perhaps call in other guards because of the heinous nature of the crime. (For instance you knock out a guard while robbing a nobleman's house and he is discovered by another guard. The other guard is curious about what happened or maybe alerted but isn't sure there is anything untoward going one and acts accordingly. However if you had killed the guard the guard who discovered him would not only alert the other guards and start moving in groups but would also summon the city watch to help out because a murder is a murder). Just a thought

jtr7
12th Jul 2009, 00:18
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Hypevosa
12th Jul 2009, 00:33
making life harder for the player who kills people and making it harder to kill to begin with are two separate matters...

It should be relatively easy to kill someone.

It should be relatively hard on your gameplay for doing so. Cleanup, noise... murder should be easy, but damage control should be where the game becomes more difficult.

jtr7
12th Jul 2009, 01:02
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Platinumoxicity
12th Jul 2009, 10:44
Yeah. If you knock out or kill someone, you really need to find a good spot to hide the body in and you need to wash away the blood and hide any fallen stuff. The victim's work buddies are going to start searching for him, wondering why he's not at his post. And they will look for him in the most logical locations, like couches where to sleep on, the restroom, barracks or outside having a cigarette or something. They wouldn't automatically look for him in dark, dampy corners or cleaning closets or storerooms, except if they already know there's a murderer on the loose. ;)

gryphos
13th Jul 2009, 03:55
>>murder should be easy, but damage control should be where the game becomes more difficult.

Absolutely! I would really love to see the AI smart enough (though I REALLY don't expect or demand it as it is a very tall order) to incorporate the idea of plausible deniability. For instance, suppose you KO a couple guards - as long as you hide them in a dark store room and put a couple empty wine bottles by them nobody gets suspicious of you being there. Or if you can reverse pick-pocket an item on somebody and they get seen by other guards, they finger him instead while you sneak away.

jtr7
1st Aug 2009, 10:33
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PJMaybe
1st Aug 2009, 11:20
I'd also like to see civilians fight back once they are cornered - or at least to scream like mad and make LOTS of noise.

For me the AI was the only flaw in DP and MA. One improvement I like in DS was that some of the guards would get out of breath and have to pause. It makes sense to me that Garrett would be able to run faster/further than most guards.

jtr7
1st Aug 2009, 11:23
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Fatherwoodsie
2nd Aug 2009, 05:58
this place gives me the heeby geebies
hah! are you scared you little ***** willow?
no im just.....im just....ahh leave me alone!
i thought so. youve become a feeble swine to say the least, i dont know why you took up this job.
becuase it keeps the wife at bay!
wahahahaha!

jtr7
2nd Aug 2009, 06:06
......................

Rarefied Brains
2nd Aug 2009, 08:40
I recall Benny etc used to like getting drunk..

How about instead of you having to hide the body to avoid the guard/watch AI, you have the alternative option of 'faking' their passing out by first blackjacking them and then drop an incriminating bottle/jug by their body? :nut:

jtr7
2nd Aug 2009, 08:46
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Rarefied Brains
2nd Aug 2009, 09:20
Some people have mentioned doing that. :D

They could make it an objective for one mission, and it would play out like Framed on a smaller scale, and kinda like bringing Widow Moira wine.

Sorry jtr didn't realise you had already mentioned the idea.

Go easy on me I'm new 'ere :)

'Brains

Shadow Blade
2nd Aug 2009, 09:21
Brilliant thread there are excellent ideas here.

I also think the A.I should notice changes in the enviroment.

Say you put out a torch and the guard relights it then he comes across the exact same torch thats been put out a few minutes after he just lit it up again. He should at some degree become a little suspecious or atleast become irritable with the failing torch.

I also think that if you shoot out all the torches in a room (lets just say the room has 4 torches) the guards should atleast think that something funny is going on here. Whether they blame it on ghosts, witchcraft, the wind or they suspect an intruder can depend entirely on their intelligence level.

I also remember in TDS when you knocked out a guard his sword would fall on the floor and there was no way to move it. Now seeing a sword lying on the floor would look very suspecious maybe they could take it a step further by having someguards or servants wearing hats that fall when they are knocked out that guards can see and identify.

E.g some noble wife could wear a necklace that you are not aware of (That can be taken as loot) and when you knock her unconcious it could fall on the floor then when u move her body a guard walks past and sees the necklance and thinks "hey doesnt this belong to Madam Abbigale why would it be here" and raise his suspecions a little.

Im all up for more realisim i think itll suite the game nicely

What do you guys think?

jtr7
2nd Aug 2009, 09:25
........................

Fatherwoodsie
2nd Aug 2009, 15:34
[QUOTE=Shadow Blade;1091660]
E.g some noble wife could wear a necklace that you are not aware of (That can be taken as loot) and when you knock her unconcious it could fall on the floor then when u move her body a guard walks past and sees the necklance and thinks "hey doesnt this belong to Madam Abbigale why would it be here" and raise his suspecions a little.QUOTE]

its not a bad idea...but insead of things just being glued to the floor, id rather be able to pick it up and either hide it, or put it to good use. like the noble necklace should be a prized peice. that'll teach her to be more careful

Shadow Blade
2nd Aug 2009, 20:52
[QUOTE=Shadow Blade;1091660]
E.g some noble wife could wear a necklace that you are not aware of (That can be taken as loot) and when you knock her unconcious it could fall on the floor then when u move her body a guard walks past and sees the necklance and thinks "hey doesnt this belong to Madam Abbigale why would it be here" and raise his suspecions a little.QUOTE]

its not a bad idea...but insead of things just being glued to the floor, id rather be able to pick it up and either hide it, or put it to good use. like the noble necklace should be a prized peice. that'll teach her to be more careful

lol i kinda forgot to add the being able to move the objects that fall part glad u brought it up :-)

Fatherwoodsie
3rd Aug 2009, 06:27
sure thing. i just get mad when....how does someone not notice a sword on the floor?! lol

Albi
3rd Aug 2009, 07:45
the more realistic the better, its way too easy to sneak, i dont try anymore escpecially in TDS. the only reason i want multiplayer is because I know that it will be challenging and realistic but if we have the option of super realistic AI that is the equivelent of multiplayer for me and its probably easier to produce and benifits the entire game overall. too many times have i stood right infront of a gurad fully sillouhetted, too many times have i fired an arrow of right next to a guards face and they dont react, too many times have i just missed a guard with an arrow and they dont care. stupid. bring in the realism but keep the fun. thats were GTA IV stuffed up. it was so real there was no fun.

Tutterbug
3rd Aug 2009, 10:06
oh no, not again this old " I want realism for Thief" song again, grwon tired of it.

Shadow Blade
3rd Aug 2009, 12:16
sure thing. i just get mad when....how does someone not notice a sword on the floor?! lol

Your not alone.When i first saw a guard walk past his buddies sword and blankly look past it i thought
A. You must be blind
B. You must not care much
C. Wow that was not what i expected.

Another thing id like to bring up is when you open a door right infront of a guard and quite often they dont react.

Sure they might notice the door is open when they walk close to it and actually inspect it but often when ive opened a door while the guard is looking he did not react at all.

Has anyone else experienced the same thing?

Shadow Blade
3rd Aug 2009, 12:42
the more realistic the better, its way too easy to sneak, i dont try anymore escpecially in TDS. the only reason i want multiplayer is because I know that it will be challenging and realistic but if we have the option of super realistic AI that is the equivelent of multiplayer for me and its probably easier to produce and benifits the entire game overall. too many times have i stood right infront of a gurad fully sillouhetted, too many times have i fired an arrow of right next to a guards face and they dont react, too many times have i just missed a guard with an arrow and they dont care. stupid. bring in the realism but keep the fun. thats were GTA IV stuffed up. it was so real there was no fun.

Are you by any chance a fan of the splinter cell chaos theory multiplayer?

I to would love a proper stealth multiplayer game i hope it can be done but i think they should put the single player components ect first.

With regards to the GTA IV it is a great example of when more (perhaps to much) emphasis is put on realisticness than the actual fun of the game. Whats the point of an ultra realistic game if it becomes dead boring or extremely frustrating to play.

ⓣⓐⓕⓕⓔⓡ
11th Aug 2009, 16:53
I also remember in TDS when you knocked out a guard his sword would fall on the floor and there was no way to move it. Now seeing a sword lying on the floor would look very suspecious maybe they could take it a step further by having someguards or servants wearing hats that fall when they are knocked out that guards can see and identify.


The game has to give you some sort of leeway dude.

What you're asking of the AI is for them to be real people, in which case Multiplayer is the answer.

esme
11th Aug 2009, 17:08
as the sword is dropped add a "suspicious" attribute to it

then make it frobbable so it can be picked up and hidden

it's fairly easy to do in TDP & TMA getting the AI to say something appropriate is the tricky bit, not sure about TDS but I wouldn't think it's impossible as AI can be made to treat open doors suspiciously

Yaphy
11th Aug 2009, 17:35
I remember in TDS that to hammers guarded a door, I took another way in and opend the door from the inside. The door pushed the hammerites to the side and between the open door and the wall. They didnt even notice until one of them "saw" the open door and started to investigate.

the_fish
11th Aug 2009, 18:19
I'm pretty sure that the only reason guards can't climb ladders is an animation issue - possibly gameplay. Same with jumping across chasms and mantling (though I can't think why they'd do either, they don't seem particularly athletic).

Framing guards is way outside the scope of the AI, and wouldn't even make much sense ("Hey, why is Benny slumped over there on the floor?" "Don't worry about it, you can see he's been drinking. Lets leave him to choke on his own vomit")

Suspicious objects is possible, but it'd rarely come up outside of dropped weapons (and it'd be annoying to dispose of the body and the weapon separately). As it'd link into the same suspicion system as missing loot or open doors, it might be worth adding as something that ups the realism at low cost. 'Missing guards' also ties into this system, but it shouldn't make them search, just heighten their awareness.

Relighting torches (and complaining about persistently extinguishing torches) is also very possible, but it was equally possible in the last 3 games. I suspect it was tested but didn't make it in because it's annoying for the player. You could potentially get 'trapped' in areas which would force a reload.

Finally, 'better searching'. The AI should already track the last known player position. It could potentially utilise the pathfinding node graph to work out the possible player positions (when it starts to get too big, they can give up and use the good ol' fashioned random walk). This'll allow them to corner you in a room and search the hell out of it. I *think* this'd still be fun as it provides added incentive to plan your retreats, instead of heading to the nearest patch of shadow - you'd only make that mistake once, or under pressure. Might be worth testing - but don't be surprised if it doesn't play well.

jtr7
11th Aug 2009, 18:41
Jumping across gaps and chasms doesn't mean long jumps or even jumps Garrett can do. In all the games, a one-foot break in the ground is enough to stop the AIs without an invisible solid for them to navigate across.

They did relight some lights, like the gaslights, so it's doable, it just needs to be balanced with gameplay.

I thought the TDS AIs were made to search more, including behind objects. In all the games there were instances when they'd come right at you from a distance and create a squirmy situation, even though there was no cheating going on in the program. If they don't know your last position, it's often because of the way sound traveled to them around things.

Yaphy
11th Aug 2009, 18:57
I think it looks kind of weird when you shoot moss arrow around guards and they dont even see it or notice anything at all.

jtr7
11th Aug 2009, 19:32
And yet, their main purpose could not work otherwise, but yes. Gameplay over realism.

Yaphy
11th Aug 2009, 21:55
Absolutly true. But I still wish that it was something they could do to make it look better.

ⓣⓐⓕⓕⓔⓡ
11th Aug 2009, 22:29
I think it looks kind of weird when you shoot moss arrow around guards and they dont even see it or notice anything at all.

You want them to get a brush and sweep it all up? :rasp:

HungryHungryHippogriff
12th Aug 2009, 01:48
This thread has quite a hefty list of demands. Frankly, I think that a great number of them are candy fluff that is unnecessary, or will even detract from stealth gameplay.

I recommend all of you delve briefly into DromEd, Thief 1/2's level-editing program. Get a taste for how difficult a task as simple as creating a patrol route that will be broken to ring an alarm is, then reconsider your shopping list of AI realism requirements.

Granted, I think that AI awareness stacking is a great idea. That is, two curious guards in close proximity will stack their awareness to give both those guards a suspicious rank, or two suspicious to alert, or two alerts to hostile. It would have to be tweaked and tested to see if it actually worked.

I highly disapprove of bothering to program all bystanders doing random crap. They had that in Oblivion, and frankly following someone to watch them sit down and read a book was boring and pointless. Sure, some AI could be given special tasks to perform that may be interesting (such as walking through an art gallery, pausing to look at the pictures on the walls) without too much additional trouble, but demanding a full routine for every bystander is just asking too much, I think. Sure, it could be done, but what would it add to the Thief experience? How would that enhance the ability to sneak around and steal stuff beyond what having them just randomly walk around would do? Consider what we're wanting; an enhanced Thief experience, which means neat places to go, neat secrets to find, and neat treasures to steal. Don't go too far into making the AI into some kind of Splinter Cell/Oblivion knockoff.

Platinumoxicity
12th Aug 2009, 07:23
I've got a small even though useless idea. Garrett could be able to steal swords from the guards' belts. It would alert the guard in any case, and he would start shouting and running for help. It should be a bit harder than standard pickpocketing though.

And also, if a guard dies/gets knocked out while his weapon is drawn, he shouldn't let go of the weapon. This eliminates the problem that TDS had where there were swords lying around and nobody noticed. Also, if the weapon is not drawn when the guard is knocked out/killed, the weapon should stay on the belt.

jtr7
12th Aug 2009, 07:28
Since TDS made it possible to steal Priests', Elders', and Shamans' wands, it should be doable. I would think it would be just like picking anything off an AI, but yeah, made more difficult. You could even throw Benny his own sword and say..."Run."

Zavier41
12th Aug 2009, 08:29
I'm posting this before I read the whole post, so you will have to forgive me if I state something that has already been said.

I would like to see an increase in the variety of ways you can hide bodies. Before, it was stash them in a dark corner and hope no one steps on them, or toss them in a deep body of water. One idea I had while playing TDS, is if you place an unconscious body in a bed and a guard sees them, they don't automatically think and declare, "This persons dead!" rather, "Oops, barged in on someone sleeping. Maybe that noise I heard was just him snoring." I would also like to see other concepts like re-locking doors and such.
-Z41-

esme
12th Aug 2009, 10:19
I have a tendency to put any blackjacked AI in any convenient beds that happen to be about, usually together, with little respect for gender or position

other places I use are in the rafters if there are high beams, inside secret rooms if there are any, on top of wardrobes or any place that's just weird, I like to imagine them waking up dazed and confused and wondering how the hell they got where they are and how they are going to get out or even with some of the more imaginative bed scenes someone bursting in and seeing them .. oh the scandal :D

it's the little things in life that give me the most joy :D

PlumsieTaker
12th Aug 2009, 10:42
I have a tendency to put any blackjacked AI in any convenient beds that happen to be about, usually together, with little respect for gender or position

other places I use are in the rafters if there are high beams, inside secret rooms if there are any, on top of wardrobes or any place that's just weird, I like to imagine them waking up dazed and confused and wondering how the hell they got where they are and how they are going to get out or even with some of the more imaginative bed scenes someone bursting in and seeing them .. oh the scandal :D

it's the little things in life that give me the most joy :D

Likewise.

Although I tend to be a bit pedantic and leave everything the way it was when I walked in. Sometimes when I'm bored, I tend to knockout everyone on the mission and place them on the same bed. Body sandwich.

esme
12th Aug 2009, 10:49
I just wish I could pose the bodies better, oh the scenes I could create :lmao:

PJMaybe
12th Aug 2009, 11:51
I would also like to see other concepts like re-locking doors and such.
-Z41-

You could lock doors in T1 and 2 if you had the key. If a guard had a key he could open it, if he didn't he couldn't - so you could pick the key from his belt and lock the door to a room after he's walked in and he'd be trapped. A lot of fun to be had with that.

I think that was another thing they took out for TDS but maybe I am wrong, its been so long since I last played it.

Definitely something that should be re-instated for T4.

fayfuya
12th Aug 2009, 23:37
The AI in TDS were just simply DUMB, no other word to express that, when I killed a guard, i took him to the corner, cleaned his blood but the sword was still there, and the man was missing, can't the guards figure that something is worng?! and they always talked so damn loud "propably the wind"...it's nice when they talk, but not that much, and when few AI were in a small place and alerted to my presence, it was just chaos, it was funny, I just rolled on the floor any time it happened, the guards attacked the woman and stepped on them and everybody started screaming and falling to the floor dying, wtf!!!

jtr7
12th Aug 2009, 23:42
Same thing for all Thief games. It's a game mechanic, not supposed to be a reality simulator.

Vae
12th Aug 2009, 23:48
Yeah, but it would be nice to improve on this.

jtr7
13th Aug 2009, 00:41
Absolutely. I'm all for improvement--especially if it doesn't get too far into divisive subjectivity and actually swing the needle too strong to one side away from the core. :)

I seriously believe this is one of those things that are designed the way they are because the difficulty and exclusion of favorite playstyles ramps up exponentially. It's one of those "sigh" decisions.

Vae
13th Aug 2009, 03:48
I believe this will change for the better and not stay as "dumb" as it has been. Primarily because of all the time there has been to work things out with the series, unofficial or otherwise.

jtr7
13th Aug 2009, 03:53
SOOOOOOO much potential!





I hope the Ion-Storm documents EM acquired includes playtesting reasons for keeping the AIs at a lower intelligence.





Oh hear the cry for less Artificial and more Intelligence! Sometimes...

citywolfdreams
17th Aug 2009, 02:47
Wow, this was a great post. You've covered so many things here that there isn't really anybody can do other than simply agree in awe. Which I'm doing now.

In answer to your question at the end, I feel like the more realistic the AI is, the better. I'm never challenged by stealth games anymore because they're too dumb. It also makes the game unrealistic. I specifically want to see an AI that has been attacked spread the alarm along their entire patrol route (although also in the name of realism, the AI that are alerted by another AI shouldn't spread it as well - otherwise you get an entire level on alert after just one mistake). Although you know - some hardcore uber-perfectionist gamers may like that, so maybe we should leave that option in for them.

Thief is an interesting game to have different difficulty levels for. In most shooters, increased difficulty comes from scaling up enemy hit points and damage. However, in Thief, the fundamental concept of the game has always been that your character is weaker than the enemies, so direct confrontation is to be avoided at all costs. In other words, the only way to actually scale up difficulty in a stealth game (short of adding more guards) is to make the AI more intelligent at different difficulty levels. Personally, I was to see escalating-force tactics, where the more violence you use, the more guards get called in, and the more alert people become in that area.

Of course, I'm sure a few mouth-breathers will complain about this "Oh noooo, you can't do that, it'll make the game too HARD!" I hate these guys with a fiery passion. Retarded folk should NOT be able to beat the game at expert level... ever if they really really really beg for an easier game. The whole point of difficulty levels is to offer different levels of challenge for different players, and AI is the most significant thing affecting the challenge of the game, so it should be able to be scalable.

Vae
17th Aug 2009, 03:06
Yes. I agree, and would add that an improved A.I. would be one of the select key areas to devote limited time/resources to. Along with a larger, more developed and dynamically interactive Thief universe. This is where the focus should be, not on "bells and whistles". We already have a winning formula, so let us expand on it, rather than deny the natural extension of goodness for other "stuff".

esme
17th Aug 2009, 12:16
*sigh* please don't call people retarded or mouth breathers because they disagree with your point of view, that way "flame wars" lie

I personally want Thief 4 to be a challenge, I want the developers to pick up on the ideas that will increase that challenge and improve the gameplay, if they pick up on anything from this board

but if the developers take away what I consider to be 'bad' ideas from this forum, the ones that dumb the game down or make it less challenging to attract a wider audience, rather than the 'good' ones, then that's my tough luck, it's not something I should be insulting people over

people are entitled to their viewpoints even if I disagree with them and they do not deserve to be insulted, denigrated or belittled for expressing them

you don't give your own expressed opinion any more weight or importance by personally insulting those who express the contrary

Zavier41
17th Aug 2009, 22:14
I do like citywolfdreams point, however, even if he went about the wrong way making it. The point being that not everyone should be able to beat the game on expert. I remember reading once that the reason the original thief did not have an 'easy' difficult setting, was because there was nothing easy about the game.
-Z41-

esme
17th Aug 2009, 23:49
yes TDP & TMA go "normal", "hard" and "expert" there is no "easy" and I agree if you don't personally have the skill then you should not be able to play on expert and expect to win

if you want to play on expert then be prepared to "walk the walk" as well as "talk the talk"

CerraMorgan
18th Aug 2009, 00:50
Wow, lots of interesting suggestions.

For myself, I don't think I'd want to see the AI become too realistic, that could make achieving the objectives impossible for a good percentage of people, but some improvements would be nice.

In particular, I have to agree with the people who mentioned the fact that guards always got suspicious when they heard Garrett, even if there's a whole crowd of other people or noisy equipment around. That was annoying and unrealistic. Loud equipment or the presence of other people should be able to at least partially disguise sounds Garrett makes. Guards shouldn't automatically assume every sound Garrett makes is suspicious while discounting every other sound.

Second, the non-frobbable swords in TDS really broke the immersion. Guards should notice if you leave a sword lying around. Either make them frobbable (and therefore noticeable/hideable) or leave them stuck to the bodies. And why can a seemingly non-existent object still stab an unconscious body? I've accidentally killed AI by walking over their unconscious bodies, not to mention the ones killed by falling on their swords after being blackjacked.

I would also like to be able to use disguises or passes to sneak into places, even if they're limited - good examples of this are "Undercover" from T1/TG and there's a T2 FM where you can steal a letter asserting your credentials so you can loot the museum. Anyone remember what it was called? I played it ages ago and it was awesome - it was very long and involved zombies and invisible monsters in the second half.

This may be slightly off topic, but did anyone else find it annoying in TDS that the dead/unconscious bodies weren't identified when you picked them up? Not just that they didn't have names, but also didn't bother to tell you if they were dead or not. For the other games, you at least saw it identified as "Corpse" or "Unconscious Body". Although I always liked it when FM authors gave everyone names. :)

Vae
18th Aug 2009, 01:47
For myself, I don't think I'd want to see the AI become too realistic, that could make achieving the objectives impossible for a good percentage of people, but some improvements would be nice.


I wouldn't worry about an AI becoming too realistic, since that's what difficulty levels are for. The AI's perceptions and reactions could be "dumbed down" accordingly.

jtr7
18th Aug 2009, 02:28
Most improvements will really just mean an increased set of variables, animations, and voice-overs. Some concepts are already built-in but proved to make the game too difficult. They are in there for the modders, if they can find them and figure them out.

TDS about doubled the number of everything at minimum for the AIs, and it still isn't considered at an acceptable level. More realism feeds a desire for more, when simplifying it makes it more acceptable to be just a game that happens to fuel the imagination.

CerraMorgan
18th Aug 2009, 03:54
simplifying it makes it more acceptable to be just a game that happens to fuel the imagination.

Well said. I'm all for more realism, but I still want it to feel like an alternate reality. And while I enjoy playing on Expert, Ghosting, etc, not everyone does. Some of the "real-life" AI scenarios posted earlier could be problematic for even the most expert players, and I'd rather not see T4 scare people off because dealing with the AIs is too complicated. I love Thief so much, I want to share it with as many people as possible. :D

jtr7
18th Aug 2009, 03:58
Absolutely. It's so much in a niche, though. I'd hate to see that ruined, really. I keep hoping it will catch on, rather than turning people off.

Vae
18th Aug 2009, 04:20
Most improvements will really just mean an increased set of variables, animations, and voice-overs. Some concepts are already built-in but proved to make the game too difficult. They are in there for the modders, if they can find them and figure them out.

TDS about doubled the number of everything at minimum for the AIs, and it still isn't considered at an acceptable level. More realism feeds a desire for more, when simplifying it makes it more acceptable to be just a game that happens to fuel the imagination.

That depends on what type of realism you are referring to. Certain types of improved realism would actually fuel the tension and imagination, e.g. Once spotted, a guard will pursue until he loses track or is unable to reach you. In which case he predictably will return to his post or patrol shortly thereafter, acting like nothing had ever happened. This very limited form of "response" is very predictable and repeats itself constantly throughout the game. This in turn invokes a repetitive reactionary response from the player instead of a thoughtful and creative one. Alternatively, if the guard was "smarter", he could choose not to return to his post and hide around a corner waiting to surprise you as you made your way back. This would increase positive tension and would present a more dimensional challenge, which stimulates the imagination. AI's being able to swim or at least avoid water that they could not traverse without drowning themselves seems basic to me, and AI's climbing ladders as well. I believe if there were at least a small variety of responses for the AI's in Thief, it would keep one thinking more and reacting less, whilst enhancing the uniqueness of Thief at the same time.

jtr7
18th Aug 2009, 04:23
It would still be predictable and built on sets of variables. There would have to be ways to have the AIs step from one state to another in a way that is not entirely predictable, but each behavior would be learnable, and it would only be a matter of seeing what comes next.

Vae
18th Aug 2009, 05:18
It would still be predictable and built on sets of variables. There would have to be ways to have the AIs step from one state to another in a way that is not entirely predictable, but each behavior would be learnable, and it would only be a matter of seeing what comes next.

Every "state" could have a random variable generated every time it is triggered.

Lost Intruder State: Random response generated (1-4):

1) Return to post
2) Hide and remain on alert (Random location 1-6)
3) Alert nearest guard
4) Sound the alarm

It wouldn't always be clear what the guard is choosing to do...alerting the nearest guard could be somewhere you have not seen, with the direction taken being apparently random and unclear...that same path by the guard could be to a randomized hiding place....this assumes that you are present to see him take route anywhere. Add to this the real fun, when multiple events are occurring simultaneously. A little bit of randomization can go a long way at making Thief enjoyably unpredictable and challenging...and would again add to replayability.

jtr7
18th Aug 2009, 05:24
That's-a what ahm a-talkin' about!





:D




And of course the impatient or murderous taffers would just eliminate the obstructing AIs if they didn't settle back down or look somewhere else for too long.

Shadow Blade
18th Aug 2009, 07:45
About the way the A.I react i think if the player attacks the guards and deals damage to them and has to slip away I think the guard should always alert nearby guards and remain on alert.

My reason for thinking this is i doubt anyone could shrug off an intruder after having taken a blow.

Vae
18th Aug 2009, 09:29
And of course the impatient or murderous taffers would just eliminate the obstructing AIs if they didn't settle back down or look somewhere else for too long.

They might try, if allowed, but they already do this on the easier difficulty levels anyway. This idea could be scaled with difficulty, of course.

matdmcc2
22nd Aug 2009, 23:59
All good posts. After reading them it occurred to me that Garrett could mess with the heads of the guards as follows: So you attract the attention of a guard, he goes and investigates, finds nothing and returns to his post. You attract his attention again, so he raises the alarm level and brings more guys over, but they all find nothing, so they upbraid him for continually "crying wolf" so maybe the next time he calls for help the other guards will be like "oh its old maximus, scared of his own shadow." Now obviously this sounds repetitive and a bit long winded (all of which are true). But what Im getting at is if a jumpy guard keeps raising false alarms, who would believe him? Id like to see more guard to guard interaction, think about how awesome Benny was and how the other guards made fun of him! Or maybe Garrett could somehow cause a fight to break out between two guards as a distraction for him to slip by unnoticed. So yes, is my answer to the question about more AI for the guards. I want them to be smart yet trickable, funny yet blood thirsty, and also carry some coin for the taking.

citywolfdreams
23rd Aug 2009, 19:00
*sigh* please don't call people retarded or mouth breathers because they disagree with your point of view, that way "flame wars" lie

I personally want Thief 4 to be a challenge, I want the developers to pick up on the ideas that will increase that challenge and improve the gameplay, if they pick up on anything from this board

but if the developers take away what I consider to be 'bad' ideas from this forum, the ones that dumb the game down or make it less challenging to attract a wider audience, rather than the 'good' ones, then that's my tough luck, it's not something I should be insulting people over

people are entitled to their viewpoints even if I disagree with them and they do not deserve to be insulted, denigrated or belittled for expressing them

you don't give your own expressed opinion any more weight or importance by personally insulting those who express the contrary

Esme, I don't believe in insulting people just because they disagree with me. I only believe in insulting them when they're being selfish or inconsiderate. For example, you're disagreeing with me but you're doing it in a very intelligent and well-spoken way. It's clear that you're taking the time to listen to the points that I'm making, and I appreciate that.

The reason that I was insulting the whiners who want the AI dumbed down is because they're selfish. These are people who want the bragging rights of being able to say "I beat this game on expert level" even though they don't have the skill or talent to be able to pull it off. So instead of accepting their limitations and playing the game on an easier difficulty level, they lobby for a dumber AI. Thus making the game much less enjoyable for the rest of us, simply so that they can have the brief thrill of feeling like they're intelligent people.

That's not "philosophical disagreement in game design." That's just them being selfish pricks and limiting other people's fun just to stroke their own egos. And shouldn't people be called out on that?

ToMegaTherion
24th Aug 2009, 09:11
And yet, citywolfdreams, you will be unable to find anyone on the forum who is making such a request for such reasons. So there doesn't seem to be much reason to bring up these mythical people and insult them, since they aren't here.

Mitumi
2nd Oct 2009, 19:45
I think the idea of comprehensive searching is excellent. Also, general city watch should have some improvements that might not work for a private guard in one of the missions. For example, if you kill a member of the watch, wait a 'night' or two, then replace him/her with a DIFFERENT model. Possibly on easier difficulties they could take the same or similar patrol, but on expert it changes things up more. If you kill or blackjack a ton of guards, patrols will be in pairs or threes, there will be more stationary posts, and general guard aptitude will be higher. If you ghost the whole game, guards might start guarding some houses more and better, but it would affect gameplay differently.

jtr7
3rd Oct 2009, 06:07
Those ideas sound like you want the same piece of City over and over again. Difficulty levels already changed how many and what type before, but I would like to see back to back missions that show a reaction to Garrett's presence. It also doesn't make sense for a city that's got such a high frequency of theft to act surprised about it and keep beefing up security.

huzi73
5th Oct 2009, 15:49
I found the best feature of TMA to be the randomness. How in Eavesdropping, the location of the correct key could be in one of more than TEN+ alternate places, and each time Garrett eavesdrops on the conversation, Karras dialogue changes toward the end to give away the correct location of the key. Or how in the BANK mission, every replay will alter the guard population, patrol routes, security system placement etc. If T4 has EVERY feature besides this, it will not live up to TMA.

Hypevosa
6th Oct 2009, 14:11
while I agree to a point with huzi, that randomness made the game a wee bit more fun - it's only that it was random to subtly important things like guard numbers and patrols, and where a key is placed.

I don't want a gigantic dungeon where I am stealing one item to have it randomly placed in 20 spots... my horn of quintus better be at the top of that tower, and never near the entrance.

I also don't want loot completely randomized, I want some consistency. Maybe WHAT loot is there would change depending on what it is (maybe gold silver and copper coins would switch places, same with goblets, paintings and the like) but I don't want to have a coin randomly spawn in a corner it was never in before, me frantically looking about the level for that last damn piece of loot. (I'm one of those people).

huzi73
6th Oct 2009, 23:28
while I agree to a point with huzi, that randomness made the game a wee bit more fun - it's only that it was random to subtly important things like guard numbers and patrols, and where a key is placed.

I don't want a gigantic dungeon where I am stealing one item to have it randomly placed in 20 spots... my horn of quintus better be at the top of that tower, and never near the entrance.

I also don't want loot completely randomized, I want some consistency. Maybe WHAT loot is there would change depending on what it is (maybe gold silver and copper coins would switch places, same with goblets, paintings and the like) but I don't want to have a coin randomly spawn in a corner it was never in before, me frantically looking about the level for that last damn piece of loot. (I'm one of those people).

Amen to that!

Randomising of "minor" factors, rather than key story elements. Id imagine if this was applied to TDP, maybe things like Cutty's holding cell would position would change, or certain important keys would move around. But certainly not valuable objectives such as the horn of Quintas, or the Eye, or even Baffords scepter. While the "means" to an "end" may vary, the "end" itself should remain constant. It would be SO wrong if the Eye wasnt where it was, or Baffords scepter was in the basement etc..

jtr7
7th Oct 2009, 00:53
while I agree to a point with huzi, that randomness made the game a wee bit more fun - it's only that it was random to subtly important things like guard numbers and patrols, and where a key is placed.

I don't want a gigantic dungeon where I am stealing one item to have it randomly placed in 20 spots... my horn of quintus better be at the top of that tower, and never near the entrance.

I also don't want loot completely randomized, I want some consistency. Maybe WHAT loot is there would change depending on what it is (maybe gold silver and copper coins would switch places, same with goblets, paintings and the like) but I don't want to have a coin randomly spawn in a corner it was never in before, me frantically looking about the level for that last damn piece of loot. (I'm one of those people).

That's exactly what we were pushing for with the loot randomization.

Hypevosa
7th Oct 2009, 02:10
That's exactly what we were pushing for with the loot randomization.

See you've never made it sound that way - I always was imagining my frustration when I went through a level and one of the random loots was spawned in some random place that made no sense. I got frustrated enough missing 25 loot in previous games where loot was static - and sometimes a little randomly placed (remember that gold gem encrusted necklace that's under the water near the switch by that gate in the sewers under bafford's place that blended in with the stone? No? EXACTLY)

If randomized loot is placed, please please put it in places that make sense... or at least refer to it by some means (Poor julia, she dropped her necklace down the drains today while powdering her face... it was such a beautiful piece as well...)

Hypevosa
7th Oct 2009, 02:12
Amen to that!

Randomising of "minor" factors, rather than key story elements. Id imagine if this was applied to TDP, maybe things like Cutty's holding cell would position would change, or certain important keys would move around. But certainly not valuable objectives such as the horn of Quintas, or the Eye, or even Baffords scepter. While the "means" to an "end" may vary, the "end" itself should remain constant. It would be SO wrong if the Eye wasnt where it was, or Baffords scepter was in the basement etc..

yes, I was kinda disappointed when I learned on my second playthrough that cutty was always in that one cell...

I always wished that bafford's scepter had been hidden a bit though - like in a false seat in his throne or something like that...

jtr7
7th Oct 2009, 02:38
See you've never made it sound that way - I always was imagining my frustration when I went through a level and one of the random loots was spawned in some random place that made no sense. I got frustrated enough missing 25 loot in previous games where loot was static - and sometimes a little randomly placed (remember that gold gem encrusted necklace that's under the water near the switch by that gate in the sewers under bafford's place that blended in with the stone? No? EXACTLY)

If randomized loot is placed, please please put it in places that make sense... or at least refer to it by some means (Poor julia, she dropped her necklace down the drains today while powdering her face... it was such a beautiful piece as well...)



I made it sound that way many times, getting frustrated it wasn't perceived, breaking it down, putting it in several ways, including the others stating the same, wondering why it kept getting lost in translation.

Hypevosa
7th Oct 2009, 03:34
sorry, I guess getting a confirmation of myself saying what I'd accept made it more acceptable. I didn't mean to cause any frustration on your part, I've only ever gotten the impression that the random loot was to be much more extreme than what I've suggested.

jtr7
7th Oct 2009, 03:38
The frustration made it seem that way. :p

No worries. I'm glad you see what we were getting at. :flowers:

Vae
7th Oct 2009, 03:56
Hypevosa, I can confirm what jtr7 is saying, as that was what I was saying also. I'm happy that you now understand where we were coming from...:)

huzi73
7th Oct 2009, 10:10
I completed TDP about a month ago (thorough playing, exploring EVERYWHERE!!!) Trying different tactics, following different paths, the works.... It was actually the first time i played the game, from start to finish.(I was only 10 when I got it, and it terrified me)

Now I did play TMA about 8 years ago, but I got myself another copy, just to really remember it, I complettely forgot about the whole story/characters. Im currently on level 4, and WOW if only other games were made with this level of backstory/story-telling

Namdrol
7th Oct 2009, 10:16
huzi73
When you've finished, you'll have to go back and play Thief Gold.
:p

huzi73
7th Oct 2009, 10:31
huzi73
When you've finished, you'll have to go back and play Thief Gold.
:p

No, luckily I played Thief Gold, rather than the origional TDP ...:o

Namdrol
7th Oct 2009, 10:39
No, luckily I played Thief Gold, rather than the origional TDP ...:o

Sweet
:thumb:

huzi73
7th Oct 2009, 15:30
Im still awe struck at the level of detail in the TMA story. Just in shoalsgate alone, the "trash"(excuse the pun) we pick up about Truart, Mosley, And the warden investigation unit, is nothing short of brilliant! From there, it was already starting to fall into place that Truart was a dirty cop(covering up for the criminal wardens, visiting the brothel,clear intent to blackmail Lady Von Vernon and attempt get her husband to fund the city watch etc), Hagen was blinded by his admiration for Truart,(but didnt know how crooked he was. His fanatic, and brutal methods of upholding the law ) Mosley's Pagan affiliations surfaced(the cleverly placed potplant, along with water/moss arrows. Her anxiousness to remain on the Pagan investigation). As im typing from my mobile, its difficult to go into greater depth about the politics in Shoalsgate, but suffice to say, the amount of depth in story, in that level alone, could go toe to toe with the entire TDS story. Not even Bioshock, or God of War, or Dead Space possessed such story telling genius. (i know this is a bit off topic in this thread, but please bear with my enthusiasm)

jtr7
8th Oct 2009, 01:19
I agree. The story in each game is far richer and epic than commonly understood, and the overarching story across the whole trilogy is a big multiplier.

huzi73
8th Oct 2009, 09:48
I agree. The story in each game is far richer and epic than commonly understood, and the overarching story across the whole trilogy is a big multiplier.

As I am to still Fully "research" TDS, I stand to be corrected, but I was highly dissapointed that the same story-telling consistency from TDP/TMA didnt follow on to TDS. Sure there were minor refferences to the Mechanists, but the criminal Wardens vanished! The City Watch simply lost all of its corruption? What happened to the continuation from the previous games. What im saying is, in TMA, there are refferences to Reuben and O Donnel, the Downwinders, Basso, etc. And thats only what i've come across just until level 3! TDS felt more like a stand alone expansion to the Thief univerese, rather then a direct sequel to TMA.

Namdrol
8th Oct 2009, 10:34
TDS was distanced from the previous releases so as not to alienate the console players who had not played them and would be lost and confused by the continuing story line.
Sad but true. The devs did there best to try and tie up what story arcs they could.
Poor TDS is a like a distant cousin with minimal links to the family.

huzi73
8th Oct 2009, 10:50
JEEZ, I have a distant cousin like that, he's a total pain in the ASS!!!

jtr7
8th Oct 2009, 23:54
As I am to still Fully "research" TDS, I stand to be corrected, but I was highly dissapointed that the same story-telling consistency from TDP/TMA didnt follow on to TDS. Sure there were minor refferences to the Mechanists, but the criminal Wardens vanished! The City Watch simply lost all of its corruption? What happened to the continuation from the previous games. What im saying is, in TMA, there are refferences to Reuben and O Donnel, the Downwinders, Basso, etc. And thats only what i've come across just until level 3! TDS felt more like a stand alone expansion to the Thief univerese, rather then a direct sequel to TMA.

Exactly. No war with Blackbrook or an aftermath, no crime lords--but there were independent 1930s mafioso types in the streets. No sheriff, no city council, very little riches in the richest district, and there's an unused letter that mentions the Thieves' Guild. Even the elemental crystals were no longer built into the story, and water crystals grew without water! TDS gutted much of what came before, dumbed it down so far that too many can't even perceive the heights the older titles achieved. They see a boring old dusty wall and can't grasp the splendor built atop that foundation.:(

cGREGgo
31st Oct 2009, 15:37
Nice suggestions you guys have here... :D

Here's a few more...

TORCHES! - LOOKSIE HERE FELLAZ
Great idea having the guards relight them. But technically it's not logical. Think about this for a moment... If you throw water on a stick that's burining, you're not going to relight it because it's all soaked with water...

But... If Garrett puts out a candle with his figertips, that's logical & could be lit again.

Ragdoll Effect - "UH-UH"
That was a nice addition in T3. But how many times did you guys here "uh-uh" when trying to drop a body in a hurry? Please be more lenient with this? I remember several times when that got me into a bind when I was in a hurry. It's not that I want it to be easier, but if it was really happening to me, that body would get dropped no matter what...

The City - Free Roam
This was awesome! But as the game progressed, it got pretty "goofy" in my opinion. If T4 is going to include a free roam city, it should be alittle "safer" for us to travel in. Sometimes it would take 30-45 minutes just to go buy the water arrows you needed for the next mission. By then you forget where you're going, what you're doing, etc...

LOADING - LOADING
Loading, Loading, Loading, Loading... need I say more? LOL
:wave:

hellwalker
22nd Apr 2010, 19:02
this was probably already said, but I would like some story enhancing AI behavior in game.
For example guards running and reporting murder to Guard captains and their lord, servants starting to whisper among themselves, and whole place becoming tenser and edgy everytime player reveals himself in some manner and then escapes.

Something like this was done in oblivion, Dark Brotherhood Quest. t'was epic

Yaphy
23rd Apr 2010, 08:20
The City - Free Roam
This was awesome! But as the game progressed, it got pretty "goofy" in my opinion. If T4 is going to include a free roam city, it should be alittle "safer" for us to travel in. Sometimes it would take 30-45 minutes just to go buy the water arrows you needed for the next mission. By then you forget where you're going, what you're doing, etc...


The Thief highway should be used more and go to more, if not all places. You just need to find the places where you can get up on the roofs.

Rahl
23rd Apr 2010, 09:43
Not even Bioshock, or God of War, or Dead Space possessed such story telling genius. (i know this is a bit off topic in this thread, but please bear with my enthusiasm)

If you like bioshock try system shock 2. You will be amazed by the story telling of LGS again.

Platinumoxicity
23rd Apr 2010, 10:29
I wish I could get SS2 working. :( It freezes 1 second into the game.

Namdrol
23rd Apr 2010, 10:47
Have you tried asking for help at Kolya's System Shock (http://www.strangebedfellows.de/index.php) site?

jtr7
23rd Apr 2010, 23:17
SS2 has the same issues as T1/TG/T2, so the same fixes should apply. Of course, you didn't say if you had set the core affinity to 1.

Nate
1st May 2010, 01:20
Excluding technology and graphics (obviously), I still prefer System Shock 2 over Bioshock. System Shock 2 had an imersive 'horror' atmosphere that Bioshock never achieved.

Vae
13th Jun 2010, 05:12
It's been awhile since it was mentioned, so I'll repeat it here for good measure: Old zombies should be slow and struggling to move, even when hurrying along, while fresh zombies should be quicker and more agile, but never move like the living. Randomization in areas where the devs choose to have the mere presence of undead could work well, but they'd still have to choose a type for specific areas to create the specific challenge or keep to the fiction. Difficulty levels could mean more or less fresh zombies. If I went all out and disregarded development limitations, I'd suggest zombies missing limbs, and moving accordingly, including pushing or pulling themselves along the floor on their backs, sides, or fronts, etc. Thief Gold had a necromancer that reanimated animals and insects, so those could be included, especially if corrupt Hand Mage Necromancers are involved. Twitching, but not patrolling or chasing undead insects, like giant spiders on their backs could provide uncomfortable atmosphere, and if they could hurt you if you bumped them. Bring back the zombies with the biting bug clouds swirling around them, which makes it harder to drop them with a backstab.

Fresh zombies would be fine (as long as they're not modeled after the ones in TDS...:mad:). Different variations of undead types would be welcome, but what is more important is that they may behave differently even though they look the same. This would be invisible to the player at first, until revealed by carefully watching or by surprise.

For example, with a movement value from 1-20 (Garrett walks at 10, runs at 20):

Old zombies (scaled with difficulty):

Walking - 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6
Running - 4-7, 5-8, 6-9, 7-10

New zombies (scaled with difficulty):

Walking - 4-6, 5-7, 6-8, 7-9
Running - 7-11, 8-12, 9-13,10-14

In addition, you could have three different behavioral sub-types randomly generated (1-3):

1) Drifting, tranced-out zombie - The classic THIEF zombie...the more consistent, and predictably moving zombie.

2) Confused, erratic zombie - The more inconsistent and often unpredictable zombie...prone to intermittent dormant states and erratic actions.

3) Aggressive, angry zombie - The noticeably more angry and alert zombie...could possibly provoke a fight with another undead just by bumping into it.

Blue Ghost
13th Jun 2010, 06:11
There isn't a thread specifically dedicated to the AI in the game (that I saw), so I figured this would be a good discussion topic. There was one a while ago, but that got merged into the Do's and Don'ts thread. Hopefully this one will be expansive enough to stand on its own.

We KNOW that Eidos Montreal is going to improve the AI for Thief 4 (sorry, I refuse to call it Thi4f), but to what level should the AI be improved? At some point does a too-realistic AI system ruin the classic gameplay of Thief? Here's some of the ways that the AI could be improved that I can think of right now:

Enemy AI

1) Being able to climb ladders and maybe scale platforms and even jump gaps.
- Benefits - Realistically, it's very silly that an enemy can't follow you around. It creates almost laughable moments when you climb a ladder and a guard just stops, like he'd never seen a ladder before and is unsure how to use it.
- Drawbacks - Of course, when you're not able to easily escape up a ladder, the difficulty in the game goes way up. Gone will be the days of the "climb and hide."
- Implications - New and innovative gameplay tools will need to be developed to help you escape pursuers, including (but not nessesarily or limited to) being able to knock the ladder down or pull it up, being able to blackjack even an attacking guard as s/he crests the ladder, having the speed of the climbing enemies lowered so you have time to lose them after they climb, and being able to set booby traps below, above, and even on the ladders to hurt or hinder them.

2) Better coordination between enemy groups.
- Benefits - Patrols ending up with guards right on top of one another are a little bit awkward. Natural guard shifts always coordinate who is where and when. Proper spacing on patrol routes, guards noticing (eventually) when members of their posts/patrols go "missing," division of labor so that if you're seen, maybe two guards stay and attack you while a third runs to sound the alarm, etc. Overall increase in realism to how the protectors react to an enemy intrusion.
- Drawbacks - Numerous, especially the increased likelyhood of death for every additional guard at a post or patrol.
- Implications - New or improved tools designed to take out larger groups of enemies, like maybe a Gas Bomb that has a greater area of effect than the Gas Mine. It'll also mean that taking out multiple enemies silently and quickly will need to be possible.

3) Additional levels of alertness.
- Benefits - I mentioned this in another thread. Having only the three levels, Idle/Patrol, Alert, and Attack, is fine in many cases, but especially with the Alert level it becomes a little hit and miss. Being curious about a random noise and knowing that you're there but not knowing where you are are two very different things. To allow for a dynamic AI, there could be at least one more level, and maybe several:
a) Idle/Patrol/Post - sitting or walking around, thinking about very little
b) Curious - hearing a noise or seeing a shadow move. Unlike earlier Thiefs, this level would cause a change in behavior where a patrol may deviate or a guard stand up and walk to the noise. But unlike Alert, this one would not be threatening in any way as the guard has no reason to suspect anything.
c) Suspicious - even if you're heard or seen briefly, unless the enemey gets a clear look at you, s/he would have no reason to think that you're not someone who shouldn't be there. HERE is where you'd get the sayings like "Stand forth and be recognized!" or "Hello? Is that you?"
d) Alert - needs to be a distinct level from attack in most cases, but once the enemy knows you're not familiar, there should be a period where s/he is actively following you and determining whether to attack.
e) Attack - cue the fight scene!
- Drawbacks - I don't know of any. Having a more dynamic AI opens more options for how to approach them.
- Implications - The biggest changes that would need to be made in order to take advantage of more AI alert levels is providing tools to keep the levels as low for as long as possible. Maybe you could carry a rat cage around to satisfy a Curious guard. Perhaps a disguise would keep a suspicious (but dumb) guard from attacking you. Maybe a letter or stolen form of I.D. would keep a guard on Alert from attacking you. Options, options, options.

4) Variable AI intelligence/ability
- Benefits - No one person is equal. Some people are dumb as bricks. They are typically the grunts in live and end up working mall security. But you don't get to be White House Secret Service without some high level of intelect, right? Enemies in Thief have traditionally all been the same level of difficulty, with the increased danger in later levels coming from more guards or increased environmental hazards like tile or too little shadow. Allowing for differences in AI could have some interesting consequences if, say, the gate guard is too drunk and stupid to notice you, but the roving patrol might have someone with them that can hear you better than the others, and it's extremely difficult to sneak around the captain of the guard, even in dead shadow on carpet.
- Drawbacks - Until you know what you're dealing with, you'll probably have to treat every guard like they were Sir Lancelot.
- Implications - The designers would probably need to use voicework, character models, and character animations to differentiate the level of a character. Which means you will have to study your opponents before moving in or deciding to avoid them. for example, if you're hiding from a patrol and one person says, "Hey, I thought I heard something over yonder," and the others say "I didn hear nuttin. (hic) Yer jus imaginin stuff," then you know which guard to take out first.

5) Stacking Alertness levels.
- Benefits - Common sense is that if a guard sees you and reaches a certain level of alertness, he's NOT just going to forget you were there. A Suspicious guard could remain Suspicious for quite some time, even if s/he goes back to the post or patroling. An Alert guard may stay on Alert for the rest of the level, and spread at least some level of alertness to the other guards. An Attacking guard would probably rouse the whole mission to Alert, at least, if you lose him/her.
- Drawbacks - Where to begin?! While realism is great, and this would certainly make the game very realistic, it'd be very hard to accomplish this to any ddegree without ruining the fun of the game.
- Implications - There would have to be a way for the guards to "clear" the mission location so that they would be able to return to Idle. In some cases this might take a while, especially if you've been knocking out or killing guards left and right. This might require making the whole game open-ended enough so you could leave the level and wait for things to calm down before going back in.

6) Gathering enemies.
- Benefits - In an open city, or a mission location, you might be raising the "crime level." Natural responses from law enforcement for this sort of thing is to a) increase patrols, b) station more guards, and c) increase defenses (better locks or traps. What this means is that if you prey on a particular area, you're going to find it increasingly difficult to get in and out of there alive. However, you could work this in your favor by luring enemies away from a particularly hard area. That's where it becomes A.I. and not just game design, since the enemies would alter their behavior, their patrol routes, and set up new guard posts by themselves in order to adjust to your thieving.
- Drawbacks - The biggest one that I can see is that it would remove the predictability out of the game. No one area would be "safe" to always thieve from repeatedly.
- Implications - If this were to occur, game design would play a major role in keeping the players from getting frustrated. There would almost have to be NO bottlenecks anywhere in the game to prevent an area from being closed off due to over-guarding. Also, to be fair, the guards would have to have the intelligence to wander back to their original locations if they're not needed in force for a while.

7) Better interactions with the environment.
- Benefits - it isn't enough that guards can open doors and relight gas lamps. TDS kind of helped with enemies carrying torches, but did they relight torches that had been extinguished? Or how about locked doors? Enemies carried keys all the time, but they never really used them. There were precious few times in all 3 games where the mechanical levers and items were manipulated by the enemies, and those could go a long way to activating traps, or closing off escape routes, or anything.
- Drawbacks - More interactions with the environment could mean that the enemies have more ways to hurt you.
- Implications - If the enemies are going to be able to interact with the environment more, there will have to be more things for them to do. This may increase the game's complexity too much if done arbitrarilly.


Bystanders

1) Self Defense.
- Benefits - It'll make you think twice about pickpocketing that young nobleman if he could whip out a dagger and cut you. Realism. Not everyone runs at the first sign of trouble.
- Drawbacks - Increasing the danger of pickpocketing might discourage it to some extent.
- Implications - In order to maintain a ballanced system, the individuals that are more likely to defend themselves should carry more gold on them in order to justify the risk.

2) Home Defense.
- Benefits - Where will people run to? In the other Thief games, they just ran willy-nilly up and down the streets, but realistically they'd run home and bolt the door. This could also work inside a level if the residents reach full Alert status. If you need to get something off a noblewoman and she runs and locks herself in her bedroom, you better hope that a) you have a key, b) your lockpicks work, or c) there's another way into the room.
- Drawbacks - Could get frustrating if you're THAT intent on getting in a house or room, but it should just require more care.
- Implications - On the streest of a TDS City, this means that there will have to be a house assigned to every AI bystander. Of course, that wouldn't be too controversial....I'm sure a lot of Thief players HATE decorative-only doors and windows.

3) Running to enemies.
- Benefits - A brave and fully alert bystander could run and bring enemies to you. This was already done with bystanders and Iron Beasts in the other Thief games, but improvements could be made so that the bystander may not be able to give a full description of what s/he saw, which may only make the enemies Suspicious and not on full Alert.
- Drawbacks - I don't see any drawback to the enemies not bellieving in a bystander's account of what s/he saw. It just means that you shouldn't murder or destroy things in full light and view of anyone.
- Implications - If the effectiveness of "stoolie" bystanders are reduced, it'd have to be balanced by allowing other bystanders to concur with the account and convince the guards that something is very wrong.

4) Give them a "purpose."
- Benefits - Random bystanders wandering around the City or through levels are all well and good, but there shouldn't be anything restricting a large number of scripts that direct them to "go shopping" or "go home for a while" or "go to this room and pick up this item," etc. For one, you could let a shopper buy an item you want from a store that you're not welcome in and then pickpocket from them, and secondly it makes the City and missions overall more vibrant as though people actually live and work there.
- Drawbacks - As before, some of the predictability is removed from the game, especially if the scripts are assigned at random to Idle bystanders.


Difficulty Setting-Dependant
I'm not sure how dependant the enemy AI was on the difficulty settings in the other Thief games. I only ever played on Expert. All I know was that the mission objectives changed.

However, with an increase in AI to more realistic levels, more novice players are going to have a harder time with it. Each of the above improvements could be adjusted to suit the difficulty of the game, as I see it:
E1) As difficulty increases, so does the speed at which an enemy can climb.
E2) As difficulty increases, groups would be better utilized on patrol, more watchful at posts, more thorough and coordinated in searches, and it'd be harder to fight multiple enemies in fights.
E3) As difficulty increases, enemies would go up an alertness level easier, and take longer to go down.
E4) As difficulty increases, intelligence would be scaled higher. For example, if the prowess of an enemy could scale from 1 to 20, a Novice difficulty might have enemies ranging from 1-7 in a level, but Normal might have 3-9, and Expert might have 11-17 all in the same level.
E5) As difficulty increases, alertness levels could stack quicker and spread more rapidly, and drop a lot slower.
E6) As difficulty increases, enemies could be more aware of where problems are occuring, and possibly realize that they're being drawn away from a critical area (if you're doing diversionary tactics)
E7) As difficulty increases, the AI could be more creative in what materials or devices the enemies could use against you. Like two enemies from above dropping a barrel on you on Expert, but not on Normal.

B1) As difficulty increases, there could be more bystanders defending themselves and it'd be easier for them to attack you.
B2) As difficulty increases, the doors people lock against you would be harder to open, and it'd take longer for them to feel comfortable coming back out, and their alertness level would be higher afterwards.
B3) As difficulty increaes, it'd take less persuading for bystanders to convince enemies that something was wrong.
B4) As difficulty increases, bystanders would be more varied in their behaviors, making it less likely that you could dicern a pattern from them. Maybe even fully random on Expert.


Anyways, That's all I have for now. Enjoy reading, and please feel free to debate, debunk, and add your own, but please keep it in the realm of the NPC AI. Thanks.:)

P.S.: I didn't seem to have a poll option, but what I'd like to know from everyone is
1) If you prefer the SAME AI that was in TDP, TMA, and/or TDS,
2) If you want better AI but want to stop just short of any realism, or
3) If you think that the more realistic it is, the better.
Holy major-coding-investment, Batman! Maybe we ought to just build a Disneyland like "Thief Park". and pack it with robots or security actors dressed up in costume :lol:

Seriously, this is something to strive for, but do you know how much coding this is? Wow, dude. I remember when I first programmed KARLO to do his little "scan the box" exercise, which was a type of AI. That was several pages. :rolleyes:

Coding current AI is many-many pages, and many-many moons of work. You're essentially asking for the moon. Me, I'd like some nice AI. Something a little bit above and beyond what's in the current crop of Thief games, but I'm not holding my breath. :gamer:

Tryst
13th Jun 2010, 07:50
Program a neural net and have it learn all that stuff by itself :D

Now that would definitely be a game for the distant future, one that learns from your tactics and adapts accordingly. Can you imagine doing something and running around a dark corner to hide somewhere, the next time you head for the same corner, two guards are standing there waiting for you... "Not this time Taffer!"

jtr7
13th Jun 2010, 08:29
Speaking of zombehs, and also about the reasoning behind never having children in the games, there could be undead children! That way, it's sad and tragic, but it's also a way to allow players to attack "children" in a way that's not questionable and considered a kind of mercy, putting them to rest. They're undead, they aren't really children, but it will play on the morality and emotions and creep players out. Since having living children and animals would just lead to people killing and maiming and drowning and making them fall from a height and everything else, when they aren't causing accidents to them or having AIs killing them, this is another way to add the presence and knowledge of children in that world, other than empty cradles and bedtime stories and toys. Yeah, the children are always ghosts or undead or monsters in disguise, but it eliminates the ugliness of the player. Yeah, it would be interesting to have children and animals (not just rats and cats that both are so mechanical in presentation, it takes a bit to see them as real creatures), and force the player to confront the morality of stealing from the mouths of babes, or doing something that kills them before the player's eyes...

Platinumoxicity
13th Jun 2010, 09:12
The reasoning with the devs adding children in the game would be "Who would kill anyone in a Thief game, let alone kill children? What are you, insane?"

Or alternatively: "Excuse us, dear nitpicky consumers, but we as developers don't have a twisted set of morals or a mental disorder, so the thought of maiming children in the game didn't even occur to us during development. In fact, you who discovered the ability to murder kids in our game is the one who's sick and you should really get help."

Ceri
13th Jun 2010, 09:30
I... am not too sure about the children. Yes, it is strange to go into a city with absolutely no children at all, but killing them... there has to be a reason aside from "I felt like it," yes? In BioShock killing children would allow you to gain more of their ooey gooey life source and increase your chances of survival (if at least for a while -coughs-), but I don't see much to be gained from killing a child in Thief. Unless they're that creepy subset of demonic ghosts that are often found in Asian horror movies? Of course I've no idea why Sadako would be anywhere near Garrett...

I'm a bit hesitant on the view that the average video game player would also be curious for an opportunity to kill children in a game, but I'm sure that the average video game player would also not like to be forced to kill innocent children, even in a game.

jtr7
13th Jun 2010, 09:46
Over the decade of Thief fandom, people have proudly posted (not always trolling) about brutal and unnecessary and extraneous things they've done with AIs in Thief, sexual and murderous, when not engaged in the silliness of the "Silent Project" (gathering all objects into one space and taking a screenshot, and all AIs are included, as well as crates and zombie parts, bones, boulders, and everything that can be picked up and carried and dropped).

Examples that come to mind from actual posts concern a broadhead into the Widow Moira's face, picking off the cats, and a video of rape, throwing unarmed AIs into fires, drowning them, bludgeoning servants and women twelve times as they plead for their life and die from the blows. It happens more often than you know, and it's quite in the average gamer range. It's a minority of gamers who don't harm AIs. It's a conscientious choice by the devs to have all children AI only alluded to or untouchable.



But the player can also do things that kill an AI indirectly or accidentally, and that would have to be dealt with. Anyway, it's a shame we can't have a full population represented without it getting ugly or without creating invincibility or insta-fail mission objectives against intentional player behaviors.

Blue Ghost
13th Jun 2010, 13:20
Program a neural net and have it learn all that stuff by itself :D

Now that would definitely be a game for the distant future, one that learns from your tactics and adapts accordingly. Can you imagine doing something and running around a dark corner to hide somewhere, the next time you head for the same corner, two guards are standing there waiting for you... "Not this time Taffer!"

Yeah, dude. Let's just download whole minds onto some servers, and make this thing a subscription game, where you can log on and play against "real AI" anytime you want :nut: :lmao:

Ceri
13th Jun 2010, 22:04
It's a minority of gamers who don't harm AIs.

I know that a majority of gamers love doing jackass things in games, including harass NPCs. If there was a game where I could hip thrust and be fully naked, I would do so in front of old ladies. But it's the murdering children for no apparent reason part that really, really gets to me. I... honestly don't think the average gamer would like to murder children. Sure, maybe dance naked in front of children as their mothers desperately cover their children's eyes, but not bludgeon them to death or slice them in two with my sword!

Also... I'm not sure how the option to slaughter zombie children is related to enemy AI.

I definitely would like tougher AI. If things get too tough, there's always the difficulty levels, right?

Hypevosa
13th Jun 2010, 22:37
reminds me of Deus ex how you could actually kill the kids. I went on a rampage for fun just running around shooting all that moved, and couldn't help but feel a bit guilty when I killed the kids - which ended the urge to rampage for fun - but I still would have appreciated it more if one kid ran up and tried to fight me off.

Rindill the Red
14th Jun 2010, 07:44
I always thought it would be neat if when a general alert was sounded, the guards would immediately secure all/most of the exits (definitely all of the obvious ones), in a sort of "lock-down" effect, making it not just more difficult to complete the level and your objectives, but then more difficult when it comes time to leave because they don't want to let you escape (if you are in a building or other structure). This would mean you would need to be inventive in discovering
A. an alternate escape route
B. some way to distract the guards so that you can escape

Rindill the Red
14th Jun 2010, 07:51
Holy major-coding-investment, Batman! Maybe we ought to just build a Disneyland like "Thief Park". and pack it with robots or security actors dressed up in costume :lol:

Seriously, this is something to strive for, but do you know how much coding this is? Wow, dude. I remember when I first programmed KARLO to do his little "scan the box" exercise, which was a type of AI. That was several pages. :rolleyes:

Coding current AI is many-many pages, and many-many moons of work. You're essentially asking for the moon. Me, I'd like some nice AI. Something a little bit above and beyond what's in the current crop of Thief games, but I'm not holding my breath. :gamer:

Please. I think with all the money developers are spending on things like graphics and marketing, that it would be more than worth it to spend more on AI programming and game mechanics (the actual heart of a game). This wouldn't be a project for one man, but a team.

jtr7
14th Jun 2010, 11:27
Please. Have you seen a modern game with the AI you want, or even close? Is it even being done?

Tryst
14th Jun 2010, 11:58
Please. Have you seen a modern game with the AI you want, or even close? Is it even being done?
The last Hitman came quite close to having a decent AI. They couldn't really beef it up much more without making the game insanely impossible. I think it was Blood Money where you kill the son in the hot tub, if you elected to shoot out the glass botom, all the guards headed to where you were and didn't just run around like headless chickens up there by the hot tub.

If you are one side of a room and shoot an arrow at a guard, at least let him have the sense to search in the direction the arrow came from and not turn around and start searching away from you. Hold on, that arrow hit me in the chest so it must have come from behind me :lol:

Platinumoxicity
14th Jun 2010, 15:45
If you are one side of a room and shoot an arrow at a guard, at least let him have the sense to search in the direction the arrow came from and not turn around and start searching away from you. Hold on, that arrow hit me in the chest so it must have come from behind me :lol:

I noticed a peculiar thing in Splinter Cell (I played it for the first time last friday). The AI is way superior to the AI in for example TDS. And Splinter Cell came out 2 years before TDS. The guards actually can deduce which direction projectiles came from and investigate accordingly. They can also climb ladders, and the smartes thing I've seen so far is paired guard patrols. If 2 guards are standing around guarding and they hear a noise, one goes to investigate while the other stays behind to cover him and keep a lookout on the area they're supposed to be guarding. Also their vision isn't based so much on distance than it is in Thief. If you run across a well-lit hallway far away and a guard happens to be looking in that direction, they know something's going on there and run to investigate. And their vision is also fixed on the animations of the head model, so any idle head-turning animations determine which direction they're looking at, and when they walk past a hallway or a room they usually turn their head while they're at it.

Also a very funny and realistic situation: A guard dog got my scent and started tracking me. I climbed into an unreachable dark location. The dog trailed me there and started barking and it's master was all wtf?. After a while he said to the dog "Shut up you stupid animal, there's nothing there." and walked away. The dog followed soon after. :D

Tryst
14th Jun 2010, 21:38
I noticed a peculiar thing in Splinter Cell (I played it for the first time last friday). The AI is way superior to the AI in for example TDS. And Splinter Cell came out 2 years before TDS.
Don't compare to TDS, even Pacman had a better AI than that :D
For example, you can run and hide in a dark corner. Gem is black so you are invisible and the guards would start searching for you. However, if you ran to a wall and climbed up to a dark spot where your gem was also black, they would stand underneath and shout at you all night and if you shimmied sideways, they would move with you even though your gem is still black and you have not become visible to them again.

Also while TMA and TDP would have guards run off for help if they become too injured, in TDS they would fight to the death and never call for help. They would even stand there until they died ranting at you and stamping their feet while you shot arrows into them from a drainage hole that they couldn't get into to hit you back.

Hypevosa
14th Jun 2010, 21:49
Your scenario with shooting TDS guards reminds me of a quote:

"NOW SCURRY OFF! OR YOU'LL ACQUIRE SOME UNNECESSARY VENTILATION!"

:D My favorite threat ever.

Guards traveling in pairs sounds like a good idea to me for increasing the difficulty a bit - specially if there's one with a bow and one with a sword...

jtr7
14th Jun 2010, 23:33
Referring to a serious earlier post, this is the kind of thing Thief has yet to grant players:
http://forums.eidosgames.com/showpost.php?p=1418677&postcount=1

Hypevosa
15th Jun 2010, 00:00
Thinking about it, the only kid we've run into in game (either body or spirit) has been too central to the story to allow to die.

I assume all other kids are off sleeping somewhere.

I don't believe in immortal NPC syndrome personally...

jtr7
15th Jun 2010, 00:01
I wouldn't like it either.

Tryst
15th Jun 2010, 06:22
Shoot a kid and get surrounded by several guards that rush in on you. I can almost hear Benny saying "Hah! You're not so brave now are you."

jtr7
15th Jun 2010, 06:27
Headhunt!

Hypevosa
15th Jun 2010, 07:16
I'm pretty sure most of us would reload a save where we killed a kid... but if someone finds a dead kid I totally agree that a manhunt needs to be issued. Guards in groups of three, two archers and a swordsman, the swordsman using a bullseye lantern in his off hand to light up everything they find. Yeah... epic, the entire world hates you now **** should go down.

Vae
15th Jun 2010, 08:00
Just assign a high value for killing a kid in the CTL, and there you have it...civilian women could also have a higher value than men...this is easily done in the CTL...ahhh, the possibilities...;)

Example: Killing/Blackjacking

Children = 10/5 tension pts
Elderly = 8/4 tp
Women = 6/3 tp
Men = 4/2 tp
Militant A.I. = 2/1 tp

What's good about this, is that makes the player think about the increased consequences of violence towards specific types of people, and eliminates generic thinking...promoting a richer, thoughtful experience, that goes beyond the surface when contemplating tactics...doing so in a simple, elegant manner. This would provide a more mindful and immersive experience, immediately adding dimension and meaning to different types of people. It would naturally leverage the player away from committing a violent act towards the more vulnerable individuals, while preserving the value that they would add to the game.

Vae
12th Jul 2010, 05:06
I just had another thought on making More Interesting Bad Guys.

While replaying TDS I am noticing all these instances where Guards turn their backs to Garrett and just beg to get Blackjacked.

Improving AI and relying less on predictable routines would really make KO'ing a Guard more of a challenge.

Recap:
- NPCs that move and wander more like a real person would i.e. no more rails
- Guards that don't turn their backs on every shadowy crevice they pass by
- Dynamic patrols

Yeah, that was one of the TDS dumbed-down A.I. decisions.

I'm for naturally randomized A.I. movement and behavior.

jtr7
12th Jul 2010, 06:17
Indeed.

Taking niche market games and making them for the mainstream seems really unnecessary, though, when they could borrow concepts and attempt a whole new franchise and eliminate needless confusion and disappointment from mixing two very different markets. Thanks for stopping in, jordan_a.

Yaphy
12th Jul 2010, 09:00
It would be fun if there was some random things happening rather than just patrolling guards and unarmed AI standing in the hallway; doing nothing.

What if the Land Lords son needed to go to the bathroom at night and walks trough the castle with a candle and warbles for himself.
What if the fat chef needed a midnight snack and stands in the repository stuffing himself.
What if the teenage daughter sneaks out at night to meet her boyfriend.

All these things will surprise you and make you react quick. It would be fun. :D

jtr7
12th Jul 2010, 09:22
That's how it's been before, so yeah. :)

Asadar
12th Jul 2010, 09:38
Yep, it would be fun and realistic.

Rockn-Roll
4th Oct 2010, 06:44
I think the AI in Thief TDP was excellent. The Metal Age turned me off because the NPC models would poke through doors like they weren't even there...really made me lose immersion. Deadly Shadows had some improvements, but it also made their behavior more obvious. It was kinda cool when the NPCs would go at it with themselves. But, it wouldn't be a very smart guard to stop chasing a thief just to start wacking on a religious zealot.

And, it would be totally cool if garret meets someone just as clever as him and has to shake him/her off and/or compete with him/her in a heist.

massimilianogoi
4th Oct 2010, 06:53
...Here's some of the ways that the AI could be improved that I can think of right now:

Enemy AI

1) Being able to climb ladders and maybe scale platforms and even jump gaps.
- Benefits - Realistically, it's very silly that an enemy can't follow you around. It creates almost laughable moments when you climb a ladder and a guard just stops, like he'd never seen a ladder before and is unsure how to use it.
- Drawbacks - Of course, when you're not able to easily escape up a ladder, the difficulty in the game goes way up. Gone will be the days of the "climb and hide."
- Implications - New and innovative gameplay tools will need to be developed to help you escape pursuers, including (but not nessesarily or limited to) being able to knock the ladder down or pull it up, being able to blackjack even an attacking guard as s/he crests the ladder, having the speed of the climbing enemies lowered so you have time to lose them after they climb, and being able to set booby traps below, above, and even on the ladders to hurt or hinder them...

I would add "being able to swim" too!! I'm sure that there will not be too difficult for us. ;)

Fizbop
13th Mar 2011, 16:24
I think it's time to res-erect this topic. I want to talk about AI. What went wrong in all 3 games? Thief : The Dark Project/Gold, Thief: Metal Age , Thief: Deadly Shadows.

I'll talk here about the one I know about TDS, AI problems. Even on pathing they wouldn't notice you if you were clear with your back to a wall. Experimented with the light. If you weren't totally in darkness they should be able to see you or even think they see something thus causing them to be a bit more aggressive.

Problem 2. The AI tires, and you are able to keep running. Am I the only one that thinks this is a flaw that you can run forever, but the AI can't?

Problem 3. AI stands in place until it notices you. Now this is common in gaming. Where a trigger sets off the AI. Half the time if you didn't make any noise they would still not notice you even if you were emerged in full light, because you sneaked your way.

Anyone else feel that you should have been able to defeat the Hag other than place the final piece to release the final glyph?

AI never re spawned until you finished a mission. If you knocked out a guard, or even dread I say it killed one. They wouldn't reappear in time. You could literary go through out the mission and knock all the guards out and then collect your loot with out worrying about being detected.

Trigger AI, Example Lights for the museum. I like the fact they came back on after a certain amount of time. The problem was if you zoned out into the next section they stayed out permanatly. I'm thinking that was an error on the AI script.

These are just some of the things that could be improved on. My idea, is to have one smart AI who is after you the entire game. He picks up your trail. He's expected to hunt you down. Who does he work for is unknown. He's set to capture you. You find clues that lets you know you are being followed. You say something profound about being followed.

Maybe even he has to give you a mission, but finding you is like a needle in a haystack but he still eventually does. You find that he has set off guards into an alert status thinking it's you..

something like that.

Nightwynd
13th Mar 2011, 16:45
Although guards in chainmail or such shouldn't be able to swim and they ought to get fatigued, sooner than Garrett at least.

Platinumoxicity
13th Mar 2011, 18:20
A new AI mechanic: When a guard has seen or heard something suspicious multiple times, he no longer announces that he has noticed something. And if he happens to go to full alert (player is seen) when the player happens to look in the wrong direction, he will not say anything and will just walk up behind the player and then attack. If the player turns to look at him while he's coming towards the player, then the guard starts shouting like normal.

Also if a guard has heard suspicious noises multiple times, he could sometimes stop on his tracks to listen, for more than just 5 seconds, and if he hears something during that time, he would instantly run to the direction of the sound to see what's going on.

Tryst
14th Mar 2011, 06:47
Yes Plat, a slightly more intuitive AI would be welcome.

DarkDagger
31st Mar 2011, 11:59
Would you people like to have some of the servants not alerting.I mean like in Ramirez's house the ones talking about "his fatness". The first time i heard them i thought that showing up in front of them will be beneficial for some loot information. :)

jtr7
31st Mar 2011, 12:35
What do you mean? All AIs that aren't dead or knocked unconscious may become alerted, but about a third of them may have informing conversations.

Tryst
31st Mar 2011, 12:55
Could Darkdagger mean maybe an idea that the servant doesn't like his lordship and offers information if you leave them alone.


Servant: "I'll tell you a secret if you don't kill me."
Garrett: "I'm listening."
After which, they proceed to tell you of a hidden switch for a cache of loot and then move around ignoring you as if you weren't even there.

DarkDagger
31st Mar 2011, 13:16
:thumb:

Platinumoxicity
31st Mar 2011, 13:25
Could Darkdagger mean maybe an idea that the servant doesn't like his lordship and offers information if you leave them alone.


Servant: "I'll tell you a secret if you don't kill me."
Garrett: "I'm listening."
After which, they proceed to tell you of a hidden switch for a cache of loot and then move around ignoring you as if you weren't even there.

I don't think a servant or a guard could be trusted. At least if I was Garrett I wouldn't trust them. Okay I'm taking here from a ghoster perspective, but Garrett is good enough in his job to clean out a place without anyone knowing he was there. If there's no evidence of a break-in, the guards and servants are the first ones to blame. No matter how much a servant or a guard would despise their master, they would get their heads chopped off if they would allow anything to be stolen without fighting back. If Garrett would ask a servant for information, the servant would immediately go alert the guards and tell his master, in hopes of getting a reward, and because otherwise he would probably end up with concrete feet. Garrett would need to tie the informant up and hide him in a closet.

Hypevosa
31st Mar 2011, 14:03
Not all people react to the situation the same way though plat... speaking of which, where on earth did that thread go to that talked about multiple kinds of personalities amongst guards? I see no reason that non-guard NPC's shouldn't have the same level of depth.

Tryst
1st Apr 2011, 10:44
Although you make a good point Plat, the servants automatically think you are going to kill them when most of Garretts victims actually receive little more than a headache. That, together with their dislike of their master, would lead them to reveal anything if they thought it would save their lives right here and now. Thinking long term under those circumstances is not really an option for them. If you were standing between them and the only exit, they would chew off their own hand at Garretts request if they thought it would save their lives.

There can always be a scroll carried by a guard with the same information on further into the mission. Something like the lord telling the guard to make sure a particular drawer of the desk is closed while on their rounds, no reason for it but obviously Garrett would be inqusitive enough to want to learn why. Another alternative is that the guard checks the drawer and asks himself aloud why the lord was so insistant on the guard making sure it was locked, this also adds a hint that you pick the lock but need to lock it again with the lockpicks after you trigger the hidden switch so the guard won't be alerted to it being unlocked on his next patrol.

This would be the alternative if you kill or KO the servant or are ghosting. Although the same information can be found elsewhere, it just adds a bit of depth into the otherwise predictable reactions of the NPC's.

Madigan
18th Apr 2011, 13:42
is anyone from EIDOS actually reading this?

I think this post should go straight to the AI programers.

Turzt
7th Sep 2011, 08:00
Some of my ideas.

Investigated areas memory:

AI guards should keep track of which areas they have investigated recently and which areas not. They could
"paint" their own knowledge map by walking and watching. If they have not checked somewhere for a long time,
they should check that. Guards could have their responsibility area instead of walking route (or it could
depend on guard).
This would also benefit the "alert" mode. Now they just sneak randomly to "search the area" but they don't
really try to search for all the places, because it reality they don't keep track of what they know and
what they don't.

In the spirit of the area memory above, it would make sense that it they notice/hear something (but not 100% sure),
they should check it, instead of going on. If they as a guard see something slipping behind a corner, wouldn't
they be intereseted to check if it was just "rats".

Other thoughts about hearing/seeing:
* Immediate recognition of noise source is a bit weird. Without seeing, how do they know who makes those steps without checking it?
(they are lots of guards and lots of noise sources yes! some workaround should be done in order to prevent them to overcheck everyting)
maybe a noise-saturation state. If they constantly hear noises, which are not dangerous, they just get used to them and don't care anymore!
* background noise ("sum of other noises") should affect guards hearing you. There have been many hammerite factories
working but still they hear your light steps. How?
* Some actions like opening and closing doors is now almost ignored by guards. There should be no such illogicalities. All that makes noise should be hears by others, and reacted accordingly.

Guards chasing you should actually chase the point you are running into. Now it is too easy to bypass guards by running next to them.

Ankle
7th Sep 2011, 09:50
It's been too long since I played TDS to remember clearly, but I got the feeling anyone would attack you on sight walking the street regardless of whether you were brandishing a weapon or provoking anyone in any other way. It was the same in "Ambush!", wasn't it, everyone attacking you in a seemingly neutral environment? Anyway, If there are neutral areas in levels and/or a city hub (shudder) in T4, I'd like to stay unmolested there, even by patrolling guards, as long as I don't bother anyone else.

jtr7
7th Sep 2011, 09:59
I like the TDP/Gold/TMA variations of areas (rather than buying allies who all know simultaneously about Garrett's actions affecting Faction Alliance Status changes), ranging from areas where Garrett's type wasn't seen as a threat and he was passed by unless he had a weapon drawn or he started something, areas where if Garrett really wasn't supposed to be there he was a threat, areas where Garrett went where few were stupid enough to try and we discover why, areas where Garrett would be fine if it wasn't for unusual circumstances. Keep it organic and reasonable for the story, territory by territory and who there would know him, if at all, and why. And I hope they keep Garrett's character intact, meaning, he shouldn't be well known by so many, if he's the main character.

Ankle
7th Sep 2011, 11:02
As a matter of fact, shouldn't Garrett be virtually invisible to someone not looking for him? Being a Keeper and all? Civilians shouldn't even notice you unless you bump into them.

jtr7
7th Sep 2011, 11:56
Garrett never had that ability except in deep shadows, or with an invisibility potion. Keepers used Glyphs to remain absolutely unnoticed in the open and in bright light. Garrett was only a Glyph-user for most of 7 days, and then destroyed all Glyph magic, yet still never used any Glyphs for non-detection. He still needs deep shadows to remain unseen as always.

Hypevosa
7th Sep 2011, 14:00
The keepers abused glyphs to make people willfully ignorant of their existence, and then supplemented that with learning how to move and behave in non-intrusive ways as to not break the illusion they created. If a keeper was walking by you in a crowd you wouldn't know it, and if he acted as a normal person and walked beside you down a normal corridor you'd likely just ignore him - but if he stood right in front of you (you being a guard now) and he wasn't supposed to be there, you'd will it enough to overcome the wards against recognizing him. If the glyphs were all powerful, there would be no reason for the keepers to also be trained in subtlety. Garrett had a strong enough, raw willpower to penetrate the wards outright, which marked him as very different from the normal sheep that are the people of The City.

Thugo
8th Sep 2011, 16:52
So a guard hearing Garrett's footsteps in an odd place/time = his alert status goes up.

But if a guard hears Garrett's footsteps (walking, not running) in a place where guards often walk through = his alert status remains unchanged......but if Garrett's footsteps are running in this location = alert status goes up.

jtr7
8th Sep 2011, 20:26
Garrett doesn't walk like a guard or wear their boots.

Hypevosa
8th Sep 2011, 20:46
I think that may work for someone who's hearing a sound THROUGH something else, like a wall or a floor since you lose alot of the fine details of a sound when it has to travel like that. However, it's pretty distinguishable in other circumstances. Assuming Garrett doesn't wear guard boots, despite the sound, you'd notice that someone you can normally hear from all the way down a 40 foot hallway is suddenly unable to be heard until they're already half way down it. Garrett's lack of armor/boots and quiet nature would betray that he's not a guard, even if he could match their gait.

Tryst
9th Sep 2011, 22:18
Some of my ideas.

Investigated areas memory:

AI guards should keep track of which areas they have investigated recently and which areas not. They could
"paint" their own knowledge map by walking and watching. If they have not checked somewhere for a long time,
they should check that. Guards could have their responsibility area instead of walking route (or it could
depend on guard).
This would also benefit the "alert" mode. Now they just sneak randomly to "search the area" but they don't
really try to search for all the places, because it reality they don't keep track of what they know and
what they don't.

In the spirit of the area memory above, it would make sense that it they notice/hear something (but not 100% sure),
they should check it, instead of going on. If they as a guard see something slipping behind a corner, wouldn't
they be intereseted to check if it was just "rats".

Other thoughts about hearing/seeing:
* Immediate recognition of noise source is a bit weird. Without seeing, how do they know who makes those steps without checking it?
(they are lots of guards and lots of noise sources yes! some workaround should be done in order to prevent them to overcheck everyting)
maybe a noise-saturation state. If they constantly hear noises, which are not dangerous, they just get used to them and don't care anymore!
* background noise ("sum of other noises") should affect guards hearing you. There have been many hammerite factories
working but still they hear your light steps. How?
* Some actions like opening and closing doors is now almost ignored by guards. There should be no such illogicalities. All that makes noise should be hears by others, and reacted accordingly.

Guards chasing you should actually chase the point you are running into. Now it is too easy to bypass guards by running next to them.

Some good points. As a security guard myself, I know that remaining unpredictable is important. Changing you patrol routes and times, checking particular areas more than once in a single patrol and so on will throw off someone who is trying to find a pattern so they can get in and out without you noticing. From a game perspective, it would require you to be far more alert than normal.

Okay, you can't have that level of difficulty in a game as standard, for the younger players or those not experienced in this type of game, it would be too much. However, maybe a toggle for "unpredictable guards" would make for a more enjoyable game for the experienced players.

While guards having better hearing and vision makes it difficult, just having the guards become unpredictable would make it much more difficult even with the same hearing and vision as easy mode. Add in better hearing and vision to it and you have the equivalent of a "nightmare" difficulty for a stealth game.

GepardenK
13th Sep 2011, 23:35
Here is an (probably already mentioned) idea for making gameplay interesting. Make guards have a lot better hearing than in earlier games, but to compensate; make guards unable to differentiate sounds the player makes from sounds made by other guards and civilians.
Now tweak AI so that they won’t go being alerted by each other all the time, but still react if they hear something suspicious. The result is an effective guard AI that has human faults and can be fooled, which again equals awesome. Guards would also end up hunting each other on rare occasions, which is just hilarious.

Another idea: make environmental sound matter! A guard standing next to a busy machine should be almost deaf to external sounds. A guard standing alone in an empty garden should have dog ears. A guard talking to another should be somewhere in the middle. My first idea would make the dog eared guards not overpowered.

Last idea: Same system for light. A guard standing near a fireplace should be blind to any dark area. A guard standing in almost total darkness would have eagle eyes. Same thing should apply to the player. This would make an interesting lightness vs darkness dilemma when moving through a level with water arrows at hand (sometimes making everything dark is not a good idea).

Okay, one last idea: Make zombies have terrible vision but instead have an excellent sense of smell. Flip the whole “lightness vs darkness” gameplay to an “upwind vs downwind” thing when facing the undead. Have a wounded player being swarmed when they smell his blood, scary stuff!

The nice thing with gameplay elements like these is that the player gets conscious about his environment and immersion rockets up tenfold. Suddenly the level is more than fancy graphics and corners to hide behind, it’s a real place.

Rockn-Roll
14th Sep 2011, 04:53
I think the best idea is to use the original Thief: the Dark Project as a template and give us a deeper story...use the same timeline and mission types....guaranteed fun.

jtr7
14th Sep 2011, 06:01
:cool: :thumb:

xAcerbusx
14th Sep 2011, 12:05
I think the best idea is to use the original Thief: the Dark Project as a template and give us a deeper story...use the same timeline and mission types....guaranteed fun.

I'd go with Thief II as the template, personally. More thieving, less Indiana Jones-ing. But that's just my personal taste. Dark Project is great, too.

Platinumoxicity
14th Sep 2011, 13:06
I agree. Thief 2 - Inspiration for gameplay and missions. Thief 1 - Inspiration for atmosphere and gloom.

Thugo
15th Sep 2011, 17:01
Hehe, they can exchange Garrett's vine/rope arrows for a whip and his hood for a Fedora = WIN!

Just imagine how epic Thief 4 would be with Indiana Jones theme music!

GepardenK
15th Sep 2011, 20:20
Well, try going through The Lost City while having the indy theme in the background. All that level need is a couple of snakes and it would be a truer jones adventure than anything lucasarts has managed to produce

Duckie
18th Nov 2011, 00:37
Important thing:
IIMMPPOORRTTAANNTT - Very bad thing can be in Thief 4:

Silly bots:

In a game Skyrim 2011,there gamers can take something to cover a head from the person ( BOT ) and then they steal things easily without disclosure. I don´t want it in THIEF 4.
It´s funny but it´s not good.

rt5aUdijAN8

Hlav
31st Mar 2012, 22:11
Who can swim ?

I think that some people in T4 must swim and also some animals can
I thought about reality, my idea is that some people (animals,kids) can swim and some other people (animals,kids) can´t

tarvis79
31st Mar 2012, 22:24
I want enemies that are much smarter than anything we've seen so far. On Expert, I don't think guards should ever settle down. If they spot you, they shouldn't ever stop trying to find you. I want them to notice ANY change caused by our presence, be it a doused light, an open door, or a fellow guard not checking in according to his usual route. This would create some tension with blackjacking entirely separate from simply having to hide the body, and I'd very much like to see it. When guards are searching, I'd like them to be smarter about it-they should work in a team and cover all the exits while one or more guys sweeps the room with a torch and checks EVERY possible hiding spot. In short, I want the consequences of getting caught to be much more severe, and I also want our actions to reverberate throughout a mission in a way they never have.

I think the segments of Human Revolution where guys are searching for Jensen and know he's there are a good template for what I'm talking about. I think the behavior of guards as you take them down one by one (if you're so inclined) could draw a lot of inspiration from Arkham Asylum. Who else has some thoughts on AI, to get this thread back on track?

Hlav
31st Mar 2012, 23:07
I want enemies that are much smarter than anything we've seen so far. On Expert, I don't think guards should ever settle down. If they spot you, they shouldn't ever stop trying to find you. I want them to notice ANY change caused by our presence, be it a doused light, an open door, or a fellow guard not checking in according to his usual route. This would create some tension with blackjacking entirely separate from simply having to hide the body, and I'd very much like to see it. When guards are searching, I'd like them to be smarter about it-they should work in a team and cover all the exits while one or more guys sweeps the room with a torch and checks EVERY possible hiding spot. In short, I want the consequences of getting caught to be much more severe, and I also want our actions to reverberate throughout a mission in a way they never have.

I think the segments of Human Revolution where guys are searching for Jensen and know he's there are a good template for what I'm talking about. I think the behavior of guards as you take them down one by one (if you're so inclined) could draw a lot of inspriation from Arkham Asylum. Who else has some thoughts on AI, to get this thread back on track?
Yes,in the game enemies must be smart. The enemies in Deus Ex HR are very dangerous...

tarvis79
1st Apr 2012, 00:43
In the vein of smarter enemies, I'd also like them to be smart enough not to blame me for the bodies that occur after they get into a fight with a different set of NPCs. I couldn't believe it when TDS didn't manage to fix this.

I'd also be interested in a more complex system of sound propagation. I mean, if guards are loud, then a) their friends should notice the silence if a guard disappears, BUT b) our protagonist should be able to use that sound as cover for his/her own movements. I always thought it stretched the imagination that a guy 2 floors away could distinguish my footsteps from his buddy's.

george12123
2nd Apr 2012, 18:04
Another thing to add is what kind of enemies do what.
As in the city guard wont do anything until the alarm is raised and then a whole company led by a captain burst out of the barracks and start searching the area they think you are in.
The Hammers first intention is to protect the chapel area.
Mechanists would have one Iron Beast with thier patrols.

trentwalker
3rd Apr 2012, 03:37
Every time I play thief 3, the AI are somehow able to say some random phrase that I have never heard them say before. It is so cool. I hope the AI in T4 have a similarly broad (or broader) spectrum of random stuff to talk about.

Platinumoxicity
3rd Apr 2012, 09:41
Every time I play thief 3, the AI are somehow able to say some random phrase that I have never heard them say before. It is so cool. I hope the AI in T4 have a similarly broad (or broader) spectrum of random stuff to talk about.

Modern games have less random stuff that people talk about. Because that would cause stupid players to get confused, wondering how exactly what they say has something directly to do with what the player can do in the game. Because they think in videogame logic, and refuse to immerse themselves in the game world.

For example if a guy talks about how "his back hurts because he bolted his back trying to reach for spices on the upper shelf." There would be complaints that it's misleading because nobody could find that upper shelf, or the spices on it. I don't remember much flavor text or NPC dialogue in TDS that wouldn't be directly related to something in the main story, or something found in that game specifically. Only the hammerite religious books and the keeper documents about mechanists. There's no mention of any other goings-on in the City, no mention of the wardens or guilds, or the other districts, or the baron. Nobody talks about how his garden at his flat in Downtowne quarter is doing. Nobody talks about a street fair in Dayport or a post office robbery in Wayside market. Everything is kept strictly TDS-related so players would never get confused.

But games have gone a long way since 2003. And DXHR had a lot of flavor text. Even if it was just in the form of magazine articles and all the random dialogue was still related to the story that the main character is experiencing.

Yaphy
3rd Apr 2012, 09:59
I don't remember much flavor text or NPC dialogue in TDS that wouldn't be directly related to something in the main story, or something found in that game specifically. Only the hammerite religious books and the keeper documents about mechanists. There's no mention of any other goings-on in the City, no mention of the wardens or guilds, or the other districts, or the baron. Nobody talks about how his garden at his flat in Downtowne quarter is doing. Nobody talks about a street fair in Dayport or a post office robbery in Wayside market. Everything is kept strictly TDS-related so players would never get confused.


You should really play that game again.

Nightwynd
3rd Apr 2012, 10:49
In the vein of smarter enemies, I'd also like them to be smart enough not to blame me for the bodies that occur after they get into a fight with a different set of NPCs. I couldn't believe it when TDS didn't manage to fix this.

I'd also be interested in a more complex system of sound propagation. I mean, if guards are loud, then a) their friends should notice the silence if a guard disappears, BUT b) our protagonist should be able to use that sound as cover for his/her own movements. I always thought it stretched the imagination that a guy 2 floors away could distinguish my footsteps from his buddy's.

I was positively surprised when the premise "a)" you described occurred in my recent play through of TDS: I knocked out a guard from his post and a little later when another guard came by on his patrolling route, he went into first stage search mode (walking a bit more slowly) and said something like <Benny's voice>"Hey, isn't there supposed to be someone on guard here"</Benny's voice>.

I thought that kind of feature was absent from TDS but apparently it is not!

Looking forward to seeing sound cover in T4.

@platinum:
There is flavor text that is not in direct relation to the events in TDS, tho admittedly there is less of it than before. The museum level, for instance, had a mechanist gramophone which had some kind of spooky Karras' indoctrination playing.

You should really play it again, it has some pretty good moments in it.

Platinumoxicity
3rd Apr 2012, 10:50
No thanks I just played it two weeks ago. And I just checked with the Thief wiki ingame text resource. Each mission in TDS has on average 2,5 texts that are not directly related to the main story, or something worth checking out or stolen by the player. The missions with the most pure flavor text are St. Edgards and Pagan sanctuary, because of the hammerite texts, and the diary of the family who abandoned the area where the pagans moved in.

And the only, and I do mean the only unrelated NPC flavor conversation is "Benny's ailment." Everything else that the NPCs talk about in the game is directly related to the main story or the gameplay and quests. No bear pits here.

I actually found in teh archive, one instance of the Thieves guild being mentioned but I have never seen that text ingame. Bafford is mentioned several times, and Ramirez and Soulforge once. I don't know whether the Hand Brotherhood was mentioned... But still no mention of Truart, Cragscleft, Shoalsgate, the opera house, First City Bank and Trust, Angelwatch, Raputo, Webster, Lady van Vernon and Master Willey, Rampone Shipping, the sealed Old Quarter section, Bram Gervaisius... And all the City disctricts not directly found in this game in particular are as if they have never existed.

Nightwynd
3rd Apr 2012, 10:53
There are references to Gervaisius and van Vernons on the museum level, check it out. :)

Platinumoxicity
3rd Apr 2012, 10:58
There are references to Gervaisius and van Vernons on the museum level, check it out. :)

Nonation notices on display cases don't count because they are direct references to treasures the player can steal. So, directly related to gameplay.

But I know what you mean with referencing past characters in the series. TDS just doesn't have nearly as much lore and backstory of the Thief universe. It's all limited to gray lady this and Auldale that. Just like the physical playable area of the game, it's all very strictly kept in a narrow area.

tarvis79
3rd Apr 2012, 12:21
The Cradle had the most flavor text by far, as I recall. I still don't understand Platinum's total disdain for any and all things TDS, but he's right that there was less flavor text than was typical of the other games. Probably yet another technical constraint from the original XBOX that we no longer need to worry about.

Does anyone else have any AI ideas? It seems like every thread eventually devolves into arguing about TDS, but AI advancements are one of the places where I think T4 can really distinguish itself (positively) from all its predecessors.

Platinumoxicity
3rd Apr 2012, 13:36
The Cradle had the most flavor text by far, as I recall. I still don't understand Platinum's total disdain for any and all things TDS, but he's right that there was less flavor text than was typical of the other games. Probably yet another technical constraint from the original XBOX that we no longer need to worry about.

I guess you just don't want to understand, and I understand that. It has become almost like an unfair stereotype that there are people who dislike TDS, and legitimate grievances are starting to look like jokes. They have all been thoroughly explained by anyone who ever had something against the game.

But it's not a technical constraint of the Xbox. Text strings are the least memory consuming resource in any application. So there's no reason to have less flavor text other than the obsessive compulsive extreme avoidance of inconveniencing players with insufficient attention spans. Voice files take more space and development resources for recording and editing and such so that could be excusable. I still don't understand why it was so necessary to confine all ingame information so closely to things directly TDS related. It really contributes to the illusion that the game is a standalone spin-off. It's really weird.

I'm not trying to say that TDS should be considered a non-canon spin off or anything. But for me it looks like the developers did everything they could to make it look like a standalone game for new players, by minimizing references to the other games to the extreme. That, and they catered to the attention-handicapped by including a very small amount of useless flavor content.

Maybe there's some secret agenda that I'm completely oblivious about. I dunno. :scratch:

tarvis79
3rd Apr 2012, 15:32
The funny thing is that I agree with you about the flavor text. People just don't like to talk about the things TDS did better, and there were several. I also agree that there were some more significant things it did worse. I just think disdain should be reserved for games that are actually crappy. TDS was great, just as AS great as the original.

I don't know that they were too focused on not alienating newcomers. There's an interview with Harvey Smith and Warren Spector out there. They're discussing Deus Ex and Invisible War, but I imagine it applies to TDS as well since it was also developed at Ion Storm. Not only does Smith admit they "****ed up" Invisible War, but he says the biggest mistake they made was listening to advice from other game designers. IIRC, he says that it was other designers' advice that led them to make their sequels easier and simpler, design decisions he retrospectively admits were flawed. He also says they screwed up tech management, which makes you wonder why they used the same tech for TDS. It's a fascinating video, and I think anything said about DX2 could be generally applied to TDS as well. Here's the link: Interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=don-oWbjq3E&feature=related) He gets to the sequel discussion at about the 90-minute mark.

Nightwynd
4th Apr 2012, 10:22
Nonation notices on display cases don't count because they are direct references to treasures the player can steal. So, directly related to gameplay.--

There are also guestbook writings from several past characters including lord Bafford.

If recall correctly, the van Vernons were wondering why there were so little paintings as they liked paintings very much.

I think the sparsity of flavor text is directly related to the complications that ailed TDS during the development.

I think the real and most disturbing grievances of TDS are getting stuck into the falling animation and mantling failure. It was so annoying trying to climb on a ledge while the character turned to face wrong direction in midair and failed to reach the platform, falling to the ground (sometimes causing terrible ruckus)!

RE: AI
I'd like there to be "restricted areas", areas where no-one is supposed to be. That kind of areas would be locked rooms and such. Should the AI hear sounds from those kind of areas, they would investigate.

Case: A guard hears rumbling behind a door where shouldn't be no-one during his/hers patrol. Guard opens the door with a key and quickly investigates the room. The guard's awareness is slightly elevated for a certain period of time.

It would also be a nice touch if they could separate doors which should be locked. In that case the previous instance I described would cause the guard to be even more suspicious if the door to the room to be investigated wasn't locked.

If they hear footsteps from corridors/other areas that are free-to-access, they shouldn't react or be too suspicious.

However, they should react if they tracked footsteps in their vicinity and couldn't trace the source. That would be the case of hearing footsteps right behind them, for instance.

Platinumoxicity
4th Apr 2012, 13:15
AI
I'd like there to be "restricted areas", areas where no-one is supposed to be. That kind of areas would be locked rooms and such. Should the AI hear sounds from those kind of areas, they would investigate.

Case: A guard hears rumbling behind a door where shouldn't be no-one during his/hers patrol. Guard opens the door with a key and quickly investigates the room. The guard's awareness is slightly elevated for a certain period of time.

It would also be a nice touch if they could separate doors which should be locked. In that case the previous instance I described would cause the guard to be even more suspicious if the door to the room to be investigated wasn't locked.

If they hear footsteps from corridors/other areas that are free-to-access, they shouldn't react or be too suspicious.

However, they should react if they tracked footsteps in their vicinity and couldn't trace the source. That would be the case of hearing footsteps right behind them, for instance.

Doors that are supposed to be closed could cause AI to close them and cause minor idle suspicion. Doors that should be locked but are not, should cause them to become a little suspicious, perhaps asking "Who's in here?" and checking the room. But high-security doors that should be locked at all times outside business hours, should cause serious suspicion. There should be a distinction between low security and high security areas.

Running footsteps should be very suspicious. Walking footsteps shouldn't be that suspicious. And if there's supposed to be someone in an area, and you have knocked them out, walking in that area should cause absolutely no suspicion in any guards nearby, because they would assume it's the footsteps of the person who is supposed to be there anyway.

tarvis79
4th Apr 2012, 14:45
Agreed with all of the above.

JamesPup
26th May 2012, 00:27
1. Fix the latter and jump gaps and make it so the AI can follow you, no where to run and hide is better. In the 3rd game the other characters are very different but I still saw doubles and it can work on this and work on different people and what they could do as abilities go in seeing and fighting and speed.
2. You should keep the way it was and add new ways the guards behave. In the 3rd one all people had same behavior and in hiding the people would just forget about it if you a wanted man ran by them and they noticed you, if you hid well. Have them do more and never forget you were there.
3. I like what LightWarriorK has to say. I think the shadowing could be done tougher because I can see a guard in a dark area and the guard in the same dark area can not see me. Its like Garrett can see better then others and that’s not true, unless its his robot eye. Sometimes there’s a real dark area and you can walk and see the guard and the only way he knows your there is if he bumps into you and you could fix it so you can’t see either. Make the hiding tougher and the seeing of you and others the same and very difficult.
4.Yes the AI should all be as individual as possible with as much difference all around as you can.
5.keep what you have and add in more alertness where you can, there all good ideas.
6. I like this and use the old ways too. If your robbing peoples houses for fun, why would there not be more help by the towns people and the guards around these areas. All it had was that a person would talk in his sleep and be more alert when robbing him in his home the next time.
7. I see how guards would act different when finding a gas lamp not lit and a door left open that wasn’t and have different reactions every time. It will make it tougher and less predictable. You could show the guards arms and keys opening the doors.

I like everything LightWarriorK has to say.

I didn't like the portals in the 3rd one because if a guard was after you and you went through the portal. The next time you return back through that portal the same guard is there and kills you. Make it so they would leave or something over time. It would be used as a hack escape trick but I always do that and when I return though the portal I get killed. Guards end up leaving anyways over time if they find nothing or if you go some where else. This keeps a guard at a portal till you go back through it and it is not fun. Or make it so if a guard is in chase after you and your a certain distance from a portal then it will not work and you have to settle things first.

In the 3rd game when fighting the Kurshok sometimes, all I had to do is kneel and there attack would not hit me and then you could finish them off with the dagger.

Hamadriyad
26th May 2012, 09:26
Doors that are supposed to be closed could cause AI to close them and cause minor idle suspicion. Doors that should be locked but are not, should cause them to become a little suspicious, perhaps asking "Who's in here?" and checking the room. But high-security doors that should be locked at all times outside business hours, should cause serious suspicion. There should be a distinction between low security and high security areas.

Running footsteps should be very suspicious. Walking footsteps shouldn't be that suspicious. And if there's supposed to be someone in an area, and you have knocked them out, walking in that area should cause absolutely no suspicion in any guards nearby, because they would assume it's the footsteps of the person who is supposed to be there anyway.
After all fo these ideas and discussions, I will be highly disappointed If they give us exact the same AI in previous titles.

Platinumoxicity
26th May 2012, 13:28
That would just show that their only concern is graphics. You don't develop a game for years and years and have no real features.

Think about what DXHR basically had. Its features were:

-Hacking and conversation minigames
-Wall-flattening mechanic
-Level hubs

Only those 3 things were major features that required special attention to develop to the stage they eventually were. All the rest was just very basic gameplay mechanics, linear level design and extensive amounts of graphical content, animations, pre-rendered CG cutscenes and carefully crafted art direction. Gameplay was secondary.

Hamadriyad
28th May 2012, 09:38
I haven't played DX:HR yet. Didn't you like it? I don't know, I have hopes for that game, I think it couldn't be worse than DX:IW. -it was fun though- Or am I wrong?

Platinumoxicity
28th May 2012, 22:47
DXHR is a good game, and I had lots of fun with it. Though it could have been better. And obviously it was way too stylized. Everything was about unique cool looks and lots of different content and styles. They spent too much time designing a whole future and making it seem like a reality today. The gameplay was less about gameplay and more about animations and showing off. That's why shadow- and sound based stealth was cut too. What was left was "automatic cover mechanic- and 3rd person camera exploitation" -based stealth with optional x-ray vision. Everything was about animations, and I believe the game suffered the same fate as swimming in TDS did. They wanted more animations. Why is DXHR a hybrid of 1st person and 3rd person? Because they spent all their effort on a good-looking cover system animations, so they didn't have time to make a fully dynamic standard movement animation system. So they left fluid and fully interactive and dynamic movement into the 1st person, and all static and locked-down, reliable animations were done in 3rd person because their implementation was easy. Why were those 3rd person moments even necessary? Because for some reason they couldn't manage to produce a real stealth system, so 3rd person camera exploitation became the only solution to the problem of stealth. So they kept the cover system. The remaining functioning static animations were left to make all those special moments constistent with one another, even if they were inconsistent with the 1st person camera of normal navigation. All the actions that could be performed in a static location were 3rd person. Climbing ladders, melee attacks...

With TDS it's obvious that swimming had nothing to do with the engine, because any remotely Unreal-based engine supports water by default. Ion Storm wanted 3rd person mode. Therefore they wanted animations. Time constraints made them cut water from the menu because that would have meant a whole new animation system on top of the normal movement animations. Actually several, because there's a difference between swimming on the surface and diving underwater with full 3D movement freedom.

Why was it so hard for EM to make full 3rd person camera support for DXHR. Well, it wasn't. But what is hard is to make a system that plays well, while still looks perfect. They didn't want to be like Assassin's Creed, where the player character barely does what the control input is, sacrificing playability and interactivity for looks. But they also didn't want Elder Scrolls, where control is precise but the movements don't fit perfectly in the world environment.

I'll have to wait and see this next week whether Rockstar really managed to do what they promised with Max Payne 3. Exact 1st person type player movement, with fully dynamic contextual 3rd person animations that interact with the world realistically while not influencing player character control in any way. Which is exactly one of my earliest suggestions when the discussions about camera modes first sparked on this forum regarding Thief 4. Except my suggestion was related to the unnecessity of lock-down cover mechanics, and how dynamic animations could give Thief the kind of "wall-hugging" that simply happens when you're close to a wall, instead of being an unimmersive game-like separate mode that you activate with the press of a button.

Hamadriyad
29th May 2012, 09:02
Thanks for the information, really. You are a good observer. Game seems fair enough.
And for Max Payne, I don't how will be the gameplay, but character really looks cliche. I hope the game is good though.

contrarian
29th May 2012, 11:42
I can't remember what game I played long ago (Metal Gear maybe) that was so loaded with animations at every level, that I felt like I was watching the game and not playing it.

Animations are one of the quickest, easiest elements to incorporate into a video game. They are nothing but padding and equate to lazy programming.

If I weren't a practicing Agnostic, I'd be praying that EM keeps the animations to a bare minimum.

MasterTaffer
29th May 2012, 19:44
Animations are one of the quickest, easiest elements to incorporate into a video game. They are nothing but padding and equate to lazy programming.

I take it you've never animated something before.

Platinumoxicity
30th May 2012, 08:03
I take it you've never animated something before.

I take it you've never read contrarian's posts before.

contrarian
30th May 2012, 11:29
Must I always preface what I say by saying "Relatively Speaking"?

The simple fact is that if it's crunch time, inserting a 5 minute cut scene as opposed to actually making the game 5 minutes longer (with actual gameplay) is, at a conservative estimate, 5 to 6 times quicker and easier.

I'll not bore you all with the mechanics and what's involved, but "relatively speaking" animation (with software like MAYA) is like using a cookie cutter. Blammo! Instant animations. I've seen full blown animations--top notch trailer quality--created in mere minutes..yes...mere minutes!

You want to tack on an extra 5 minutes of gameplay? You know how many different departments need to work in perfect synchronicity to achieve that?

The bottom line is that animations--whether it be in-game or cut scenes--is quicker and easier. It's the quick coat of paint on your rusty car because you're too lazy to actually cut out the rust, weld in a new piece of metal, sand, prime, and paint.

Sorry all you animators. Not meaning to disrespect what you do, but we all know you got it easy.

MasterTaffer
30th May 2012, 16:35
Must I always preface what I say by saying "Relatively Speaking"?

The simple fact is that if it's crunch time, inserting a 5 minute cut scene as opposed to actually making the game 5 minutes longer (with actual gameplay) is, at a conservative estimate, 5 to 6 times quicker and easier.

I'll not bore you all with the mechanics and what's involved, but "relatively speaking" animation (with software like MAYA) is like using a cookie cutter. Blammo! Instant animations. I've seen full blown animations--top notch trailer quality--created in mere minutes..yes...mere minutes!

You want to tack on an extra 5 minutes of gameplay? You know how many different departments need to work in perfect synchronicity to achieve that?

The bottom line is that animations--whether it be in-game or cut scenes--is quicker and easier. It's the quick coat of paint on your rusty car because you're too lazy to actually cut out the rust, weld in a new piece of metal, sand, prime, and paint.

Sorry all you animators. Not meaning to disrespect what you do, but we all know you got it easy.

Yeah, you've never animated anything before.

Meridius
31st May 2012, 23:27
Oh great prophet of E3, just so you know, your entertainment value is wearing really thin.

contrarian
1st Jun 2012, 00:12
Meridius, I am not here to entertain, although it pleases me that some find humor in what I post.

Every single sentence I have ever uttered on this forum since September 2011 has been based on pure, hard, cold facts. Sure, there has been an opinion or two, but even my opinions are based on logic and the universal laws of common sense.

I shall endeavor to thicken the thinness...just for you.

DarkDagger
1st Jun 2012, 11:58
Every single sentence I have ever uttered on this forum since September 2011 has been based on pure, hard, cold facts.

Yep. Keep telling that to yourself.

MasterTaffer
1st Jun 2012, 16:35
Every single sentence I have ever uttered on this forum since September 2011 has been based on pure, hard, cold facts. Sure, there has been an opinion or two, but even my opinions are based on logic and the universal laws of common sense.

Oh boy, be careful there. Nothing brings me more joy than pointing out logical fallacies in arguments and claims like this just make someone a target. It makes me salivate more than Garrett staring at an unguarded coin collection.

TafferPants
1st Jul 2012, 16:54
Must I always preface what I say by saying "Relatively Speaking"?

The simple fact is that if it's crunch time, inserting a 5 minute cut scene as opposed to actually making the game 5 minutes longer (with actual gameplay) is, at a conservative estimate, 5 to 6 times quicker and easier.


It is? I am kinda confused what you mean there...


I'll not bore you all with the mechanics and what's involved, but "relatively speaking" animation (with software like MAYA) is like using a cookie cutter. Blammo! Instant animations. I've seen full blown animations--top notch trailer quality--created in mere minutes..yes...mere minutes!

So hiring someone as a Rigger is pointless as the program does it for you? If that's what you are implying. From what I remember when I was learning 3D animation is that: A) it's harder then it looks and B) that I had to put the bones in myself and animate each one to a key frame. What do you mean by mere minutes? If so, then that animation you saw was either a WIP or crap.


You want to tack on an extra 5 minutes of gameplay? You know how many different departments need to work in perfect synchronicity to achieve that?

Same with Cinematics. Modellers, Texture artists, character/environment artists, concept artists, creative directors, marketing, lighting, rendering, QC, Audio, Visual effects....yeah lots of people. And it depends on how complex the tagged on gameplay is.


The bottom line is that animations--whether it be in-game or cut scenes--is quicker and easier. It's the quick coat of paint on your rusty car because you're too lazy to actually cut out the rust, weld in a new piece of metal, sand, prime, and paint.

Sorry all you animators. Not meaning to disrespect what you do, but we all know you got it easy.

Easy eh? Yeah **** testing your new animations, texture, and audio out as well as making sure it doesn't break gameplay or the level itself. No its not easy...maybe you should try it out for yourself.

:-D
26th Apr 2013, 08:17
Hey, if the AI isn't anywhere near complete, perhaps EM can take on some of the suggestions here.

Here's mine.

1. Do NOT have an instant, sitewide enemy alert on being spotted, where every guard instantaneously knows where you are, all across the map. Deux Ex 3 did this and it was a prime example of lazy, moronic AI design.
2. Fix the alarm posts so that (if you can actually break/hack them), guards don't try and activate them, ad infinitum, after they have been broken. This was absolutely PITIFUL AI design by EM in Deus Ex 3, having to watch a trained killer pawing pathetically at a hacked alert panel like a frightened poodle after he had seen me. Gah! That tainted the entire experience for me, and is generally how I remember the game.
3. Make guards actually recognise different states of guard AI, such as panic, fear, bravery, cowardice, etc. and react according to their own experience.
4. Oh, and implement these states! Don't just have binary alerted/patrolling states. That's for LAST CENTURY'S GAMES, thanks.
4. Have guards work in pairs (co-operatively) on the highest difficulty.
5. Develop effective and varied rooftop pathfinding - better than assassin's creed! Base it on AI emotional states, too so that guards either try to leap that gap on the Highway or pull up short and stick an arrow in your knee.
**edit
6. Oh yes, as MAKE THE GUARDS ACTUALLY NOTICE THAT THEIR PATROL HAS DIMINISHED once you begin taking them out. This is actually becoming a joke in modern games. Dishonored's AI failed at this, consistently. If EM want to better Dishonored's AI, they should make guards notice this.

And we'll know that if point 1 or 2 exists in Thief, then EM simply do not listen to us and are lazy developers who are merely interested in selling a pretty moving picture without substance.

Tryst
26th Apr 2013, 23:11
I take it you've never animated something before.

With modern animatronic techniques, it's not as hard as it used to be. No more frame by frame movement and hand drawn cells. Just a few years ago, a movie like Ice Age would have taken several years to animate but now, it can be done in weeks. A 5 minute animated clip can now take longer to create the characters in a 3D package than it does to animate them.

SolkaTruesilver
28th Apr 2013, 00:11
Shamus Young wrote a little something (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=19327) regarding Thief4's AI. Beside his (affectionate) ranting, he makes a great point regarding the importance of a good AI not necessarily be super-intelligent, but more human in behavior. And he acknowledges just how plain hard its programing might be.

:-D
28th Apr 2013, 22:13
Shamus Young wrote a little something (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=19327) regarding Thief4's AI. Beside his (affectionate) ranting, he makes a great point regarding the importance of a good AI not necessarily be super-intelligent, but more human in behavior. And he acknowledges just how plain hard its programing might be.

Good post. Shamus Young makes a salient point


Again, Thief could be a great game. It might even have mind-blowing, groundbreaking AI. Eidos did Deus Ex: Human Revolution and I was a fan of that game. But this initial round of press does not inspire confidence and their claim that the new hardware will open up new frontiers in AI is either foolishness or sophistry.

in regards the latest Polygon article.

KenTWOu
6th May 2013, 18:36
I've read the whole thread, I admit it has lots of great ideas. But some of these ideas were given from strictly players point of view. So they don't think about design, don't think how they'll explain these ideas to the player, they don' think about feedback.



3. ...I think the shadowing could be done tougher because I can see a guard in a dark area and the guard in the same dark area can not see me. Its like Garrett can see better then others and that’s not true, unless its his robot eye. Sometimes there’s a real dark area and you can walk and see the guard and the only way he knows your there is if he bumps into you and you could fix it so you can’t see either. Make the hiding tougher and the seeing of you and others the same and very difficult.
Maybe It sounds great on paper, but if they do this thing we will have the same s$%#storm as we've already got with Hitman:Absolution. People will start saying that shadows don't work anymore and EM ruined the most important game mechanic!

Also it's almost impossible to explain this system to the player using standard light gem. Because right now light gem indicates your level of illumination. So if it's dark you know that you're not visible from any direction. But within that system gem indicator will be irrelevant, not clear enough and not complete. Moreover, you and your enemy will notice each other simultaneously. Yeah, it's realistic, but it will ruin the game, cause now you literally can't hide in the shadows.


- Sneaking in shadow: in former Thief games, when you were in some hall, where only in middle of the hall was stripe of shadow, and there was a guard going from one side to another, and you´ve been hiding there, guards didn´t saw you, unless they bum into you. They should see you! Because they would saw your silhoutette (shape) in shadow (because of the light in background)...
I can say almost the same thing about silhouette recognition. It's a fascinating idea, but you can't clearly explain this system to the player, especially in the first person game. You can try to play any Thief game and pretend like the game has that silhouette recognition. It's better to choose Thief 3 Deadly Shadows, cause it has the third person view mode.

Let's say you stand in the middle of the room, despite absolutely dark light gem you have different visibility level from any angle because of silhouette recognition. And to get this info without light gem you should look around yourself in the third person view mode and stare at your own silhouette from low angle, We need really cumbersome 360 degree light gem to explain this information to the player. And that won't be enough!

Because TDP has complex shadows, after two or three hours you can play the game without light gem at all, cause you can clearly see all shadows and you can predict your visibility changes during navigation through the level. But you can't predict your silhouette visibility changes so fast and so easily, because it's a complex parameter with complicate dynamics. It depends on lots of things: color of nearby wall, its illumination, number of light sources, number of enemies around you, lights in next room and opened doors, light from any window...

The easiest way to minimize your silhouette visibility is to walk along the wall where it's safer. And that will be the easiest way to play the game. So it makes navigation through the level significantly linear. I don't want that.

Moreover, I'm guessing, devs don't want that either, because level debugging will be a nightmare for a level designer. More enemies, more angles, more variables, more possible silhouettes... And level designer might sure that you can ghost any area and enemies won't notice your silhouette.