View Full Version : Seeing Environmental Interaction

3rd Jun 2009, 00:21
Those who've played the first 2 games can attest to the fact that you never see any interactions take place other than those involved with weapons. You never see Garrett pick a lock, you never see him cut a purse, you never see anyone turn a door handle, pull a lever, or even push a button.

In TDS, you could see Garrett picking a lock, and going up a ladder, but that's as far as it went, and was mainly due to the 3rd person perspective. In Thief 4 I was hoping that we could actually see more interactions, instead of doors being instantly opened, and levers instantly pulled and what not.

Maybe see Garrett quickly grab a piece of loot and put it in his bag. Maybe even watch him untie or cut the string to someone's purse when he pickpockets them.

I think it could lead to a lot of possibilities for improving gameplay. Here's my scenario:

Garrett caused a little ruckus downstairs by planting a dead rat in the soup in the kitchen, causing the captain of the guard to leave his chamber and head downstairs to the kitchen to sort things out. After sneaking past a few guards Garrett reaches the captain's private chambers, he picks the lock and then reaches out and slowly pulls the door handle (creep button + use button would be a good, easy way to "do things" stealthily) and opens the door a hair so he can lean and look inside (E button). Seeing that nothing is inside, he opens the door the rest of the way (release creep button, using the door again would close it stealthily). Garrett enters the room and quietly closes the door behind him (creep+use) and starts to relieve the captain of his property. He comes accross a diamond ring next to a note on the desk, that reads to be a proposal of marriage. "Aww, how sweet... hmph, he should have asked her in person... too late now" He picks up the ring and puts it in his bag only to hear the sound of a key being inserted into the door. "That's funny, I know I locked this door..." Garrett quickly heads for the shadowy corner in the back of the room, watching the handle turn as the door opens slightly and the Captain peers around the edge of the door, then opening it the rest of the way with his sword drawn. He probes the room with his eyes for a few seconds, and, not seeing any danger, sheathes his sword, turns around, closing the door and locking it behind him. He sits down at his desk and resumes writing for a second, then turns his head only to see that the ring is gone! His eyes widen as he begins to stand and *thwack* Garretts blackjack ends all the captains worries. Garrett then lifts anything else in the room, inserts the captain's key into the lock, opens the door and looks for patrol again, and heads on his way.

Take the plain lockpicking in T1 and T2, and add "dynamic hands". In Far Cry 2 the character had dynamic hands that grabbed things that you wanted to frob by calculating where the object is on the screen and how far it is from the player. This could be used for lockpicking in Thief, where the game calculates where the lock is located on the screen and positions Garrett's hands & picks onto the lock. You need to get to arms reach, and the game doesn't lock the player to the position in front of the door. You can use the "frob" -key (And maybe some other lockipicking-specialized keys) to manipulate the lock, but you can cancel the lockpicking at any moment you wish by simply stepping away from the door or turning around so that the lock is no longer "frob highlighted" -and the dynamic hands let go of the lock.
http://old.filesmelt.com/Imagehosting/pics/183638a3f745f1283884308004292684.PNG (http://old.filesmelt.com/Imagehosting/#183638a3f745f1283884308004292684.PNG)

Dynamic hands could work very well for this :D

The Mental Age
3rd Jun 2009, 00:57
Not only that, but if the player did something to push the AI off-course, they would not align with the intended target at all.

Yes, indeed... I've had to open doors for guards and mechanical beasts before, when they suddenly forgot how to... although sometimes they got mad. Dunno why, I was just being polite. :hmm:

As for Hypevosa's summation, there, you have really good thoughts. I think in the first few Thief games, they weren't so concerned with AI interacting with the environment as they were about AI interacting with Garrett. I think and really, truly hope that in Thief 4 they've worked all of that mess out... Otherwise, we have problems.

3rd Jun 2009, 01:14
Yes, in thief 1 and 2 there were obviously more severe limitations, and I'm glad they had 2 more missions instead of having people interact with the environment better (just an estimation). But I'm just putting this up there, because I feel it's something that could be overlooked, and I'd rather it not be. Watching doorhandles turn and doors open would be awesome, and not all doors open to 90 degrees perfectly. I'm thinking if you use the run button when interacting you could do something quickly, like push a door open hard, and it would slam against the wall/stop behind it. When picking up loot that means you might make a little noise.

3rd Jun 2009, 04:22
If they use motion capture, they could "quickly" build up a set of motion data to support this. The hard part is getting the AI in position to look correct.
Oh, I wouldn't use the word "hard" in there. There is no particular challenge. Your path finding algorithm needs to account for that, and some of the details of tunning it might be tedious, but it is not hard if you know what you are doing. If you don't, then everything about making the game is hard, so I really hope that EM is going to be wiser about who they let near the game's code than IS was. It is more time consuming to do this than to do without, but again, that's true of many things.

3rd Jun 2009, 10:01
I love the simple solution of using creep or run buttons while doing something to make it stealthier or faster.

I wouldn't mind if they animated Garrett's hands and such doing things. I can do with or without, not a big deal. You do notice it though and it is neat to see your character interacting with the environment (grabbing loot, pulling himself up, reaching for doors, actually holding his flashbombs, etc). Like in the games that do that I still think 'neat he actually reaches for the health kit.' I definitely want to see and hear door handles being turned. If an actual hand is doing it then it would look a lot better. As is, well you know. Door opens, figure walks through, door closes behind figure. Looks creepy.:eek:

I've been playing Penumbra lately. It's so fun how you interact with the game. Sliding drawers, swinging doors open with your mouse, dragging stuff around, etc. It's kinda new to me. I'm so used to just pushing a button to do those things. Feels weird, but in a cool way. Pretty sure you're not talking about that level of interaction though. I love how the item manipulation looks in the Dark Mod. Wonder if they will do something like it in thief 4.

3rd Jun 2009, 10:07
the most realistic looking ai in any game utillising motion capture is cod4

3rd Jun 2009, 10:19
I saw some Penumbra videos. Yeah, that can be interesting, but consoles will probably kill that idea.

3rd Jun 2009, 10:37
I'm right now laughing at the thought of somebody twiddling their thumbs and going "THIS WAY YOU POS!"

ps. I started Black Plague (penumbra pt.2) last night. Is extra fun for me because it has that mystery that the show Lost has/had. Damn that show could've been so much better if it stayed scifi instead of being all soap opera dramatic and ****.

3rd Jun 2009, 17:51
Garret could also put up the hes hands when getting to near a wall head front. You see the hands go up and hold the wall from his face, this would work perfectly even when you run into a wall. Who doesnt put the hands up for protection when running into a wall?! But at the instant moment you go away from the wall; the hands will go down again.
If you stand with one shoulder against the wall; one hand will go up and you might see the whole underarm and hand go up. If you walk and push yourself against the wall, you can see the fingers move over the rough surface. This is a neat and goodlooking visible. interaction. To bad its not for any use.

3rd Jun 2009, 19:01
I love the simple solution of using creep or run buttons while doing something to make it stealthier or faster.

I was trying to come up with something simple and executable so that it wouldn't break game flow, rather than each thing having it's own button. I'm glad you like it :D

7th Jun 2009, 01:32
I was also wondering about watching garrett cut out a painting with his dagger, or maybe the player would have to do it? Paintings tend to be valuable, and it would be a risk vs benefit decision to cut it out if you might be spotted.

7th Jun 2009, 15:49
I can attest to the fact that making AI appear to interact realistically with the environment in TDP & TMA is a painful unreliable slog I once took a week making an AI do a patrol and return to sit in a chair reliably

the first iteration always missed but all the following ones were fine

the effort far outweighed the reward, even though I did do the YESSSS!!! and punch the air bit when it finally worked, but that's just me being OCD

it may be easier in TDP and I know the dark mod guys can do things like this like shelling peas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YTtkRk26zQ)

7th Jun 2009, 17:07
heh 'behold the wonder!' AI that can sit down. Seriously though, those guys are doing a hell of a good job. I can't wait for Dark Mod to release. I'm gonna buy Doom 3 just to play that mod.

7th Jun 2009, 17:37
I have doom 3 but I can't play dark mod. I did what they told but it didn't happen. I want to play so much. Anyone can help me?

23rd Aug 2009, 18:57
I miss doomy :( where'd he go?

24th Aug 2009, 11:11
I have doom 3 but I can't play dark mod. I did what they told but it didn't happen. I want to play so much. Anyone can help me?

have you tried contacting the people at the dark mod forums ? (http://modetwo.net/darkmod/index.php?showforum=1)

24th Aug 2009, 11:58
Im not to fussed so long as it adds something to the gameplay. The idea of sneaking round doors etc seems to me to have the potential to add alot to the gameplay (as described). Things like animations showing how close to a wall someone is or cutting a purse of doesnt seem to add much apart from the look (though the counter to that is that it adds to immersion I suppose).

24th Aug 2009, 18:21
Motion Capture can solve so many things in the game, just use it.

24th Aug 2009, 22:14
I dont see how this can be a bad idea. Crysis implemented this and it worked very well.

25th Aug 2009, 01:19
Motion Capture can solve so many things in the game, just use it.

Motion cap restricts characters to doing a single thing a single way, or if you want to waste memory, a single thing 5 ways. Using dynamic hands would be much better.

25th Aug 2009, 02:04
Motion cap restricts characters to doing a single thing a single way, or if you want to waste memory, a single thing 5 ways. Using dynamic hands would be much better.
Perhaps mo-capped dynamic hands would work better. Regardless, I'm still not sold on seeing any appendage coming from Garrett's point of view. I personally don't need it. T1 and T2 were fine for me in this regard, and even less memory than the above two ideas would get used.

25th Aug 2009, 03:09
of course it's not a necessity, but I think it would add to immersion as long as it wasn't game breaking... more so than instant disappearance in my opinion >_>

It could be something to be turned on and off as well...

25th Aug 2009, 22:51
this sort of thing has become a must in todays game market, i cant really imagine EM would omit them as features this time around

26th Aug 2009, 18:06
These things were not needed in Thief DP and TMA, and it didnt lessen the experience. If they are included in Thief 4, then they may add to the immersion, so long as it didnt break the game. However, one of the current arguements against multiplayer is that it would add to the time and cost of the development of the game. I would claim that motion capture would go down this road. As for animated player appendages, if it doesnt take long to incorporate AND it adds to the experience, fine. In my opinion, im not convinced that it would.

Also, if Thief is developed purely in 1st Person, then i dont think that anything other than the sword and box arm is required.

26th Aug 2009, 20:01
Still, one thing that spoiled me after playing TDS was the "body awareness". I know it was a result of the third person view, the consequences of which spoiled much of the gameplay, but it was a bit strange to play the first two games after that and looking down and seeing only a circular shadow where Garrett's supposed to be.

Even if it looked fairly horrid in TDS (oh the clumsy sausages!), It's one of those things that you find yourself unexpectedly missing afterwards, even if you never missed in the first place.

I'm conflicted on this. I suspect this is going to be a bit of a 'headscratcher' for Eidos Montreal, as it is for me.

26th Aug 2009, 22:33
Thats very true, it was useful knowing where your shadow was being cast. Unless this actually effects the guards perception though it is something that can probably be left out. Id imagine though that if the body is rendered then player shadow will feature a large part of the new games.