View Poll Results: Do you want the "City Threat Level" feature?

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  • I want the CTL Feature…instead of using the “fixed difficulty” instant fail for killing.

    22 25.88%
  • I want the CTL Feature…working in conjunction with the “fixed difficulty” instant fail for killing.

    29 34.12%
  • I do not want the CTL Feature…l just want the “fixed difficulty” instant fail for killing.

    24 28.24%
  • I do not want the CTL Feature…AND…do not want the “fixed difficulty” instant fail for killing.

    6 7.06%
  • I don’t care if the CTL Feature is implemented or not.

    4 4.71%
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Thread: "City Threat Level" Feature

"City Threat Level" Feature

  1. #1
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    "City Threat Level" Feature

    A fail by killing in a no-kill mission has been a simple and effective way of making things more difficult in THIEF...but perhaps there is a better way to handle it.

    A variable "City Threat Level" (CTL) feature could be used to dynamically increase difficulty by means of a security response to killing in THIEF. This increase in security/difficulty would act as a counter-balance to any killing in the City, and could replace the "brick wall fail" for killing that is used with the fixed difficulty levels, or work in conjunction with it. This "City Threat Level" (CTL) feature is a form of dynamic difficulty, and its' effect could also be scaled in relation to the fixed difficulty levels.

    As the campaign progresses, the player would influence the CTL by his/her behavior. Killing in a mission would increase the CTL for the next one, and refraining from killing for a mission would decrease the CTL for the next...the more killing, the more difficult it will become for the player to achieve their objectives, as a result of an increase of security and alertness of the people of the City. These specific reactions are outlined below:

    1) Less available unsecured loot

    People are simply nervous about carrying or leaving valuables in unsecured areas, and are either locking them up and/or hiding them better, for fear of getting killed because they own them.

    Mechanics:
    This can work alone, or be used in conjunction with a randomized loot placement/amount system, and used as a modifier. The more killing, the greater this modifier would be, reducing available unsecured loot.

    For those unfamiliar with the random loot concept, I recommend reading "Randomized Loot" and "Death to the Loot Stat".

    2) More secure portals and containers

    Again, people are getting scared of all the killings, and are keeping more of their doors and windows locked for safety...they are also buying better locks for portals (doors and windows) and for secure containers (safes, chests, jewelry boxes, etc.). Some are even starting to trap their locks, trapping more locks, or are creating better traps for those locks that are already protected.

    Mechanics:
    This can work alone, or in conjunction with randomized locks and traps, as a modifier. The more killing, the greater this modifier would be, resulting in more locked and/or trapped portals and containers. The difficulty for picking locks and disarming traps, on the whole, would also increase. If enough killing is perpetrated, even some locks may become unpickable...permanently denying any goodies or places of delight...

    For those unfamiliar with the randomized locks and traps concept, I recommend reading "Randomized Locks and Traps".

    3) Heightened A.I. security

    People of the City are becoming more alert and wary, now that they're aware that there's a killer on the loose. They have become more sensitive to strange noises and peculiar shadows...and are assuming the worst when in doubt, just to be safe.

    Guards and the City Watch are increasing in their numbers and their frequency of patrols...and it's becoming less and less common to find one working alone. They also seem to carry torches more often.

    Commoners and noblemen alike are walking the streets less at night, and more of them are deciding to arm themselves or walk with a friend.

    Mechanics:
    This can work alone, or in conjunction with a randomized A.I. system, as a modifier. The more killing, the greater this modifier would be, resulting in a steady increase of militant A.I. numbers, perception, intelligence, and physical capability (relative to what is implemented, and relative to the fixed difficulty level) near or in secure areas, with a decrease of unarmed civilian A.I. in unsecured areas.

    Civilian A.I. could arm themselves with daggers or other small weapons, and some could have increased speed for quick attacks or flight. They would also be more likely to warn the nearest guard or the City Watch as the killings increase.

    For those of you interested in how a more advanced A.I. might be implemented in T4, I recommend reading "An A.I. Discussion".

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Reactions could range from subtle to dramatic, depending on the CTL.

    I believe the CTL feature would provide a more logical and believable reaction to the murders/disappearances in the City, and would discourage killing in a natural and immersive way...this is because the player would feel their impact upon the world as a consequence of their behavior...keeping killing and violence in perspective.

    Difficulty would become a dynamic and continual reaction to the player within the world. As more violence would invoke more security as a counter-measure to the threat. Excessive blackjacking could also be used to increase the security, although the reaction and modifier to the CTL would surely be less.

    This an example of how the CTL feature could be implemented...you need not agree with every detail in order to be for or against the basic concept.

    Tension points

    This is how tension could be quantified, without using the "instant fail" for killing on "expert" difficulty":

    Killing:
    Normal = 3, Hard = 5, Expert = 10

    Knock outs:
    Normal = 1, Hard = 2, Expert = 3

    Alternatively, this is how tension could be quantified, when used in conjunction with the "instant fail" for killing on "expert" difficulty:

    Killing:
    Normal = 5, Hard = 10, Expert = FAIL

    Knock outs:
    Normal = 1, Hard = 2, Expert = 3

    (These values are shown for relational purposes...actual assigned tension points will vary according to designer determined threat level thresholds and difficulty level variance.)

    Keep in mind, any prescribed objective that would cause an "instant fail" (such as no blackjacking), would of course supersede this feature.

    Threat Levels

    The amount of tension points that are generated through violence will influence the behavior of the people of the City when certain thresholds are crossed, thus creating different threat levels, and a reaction to the perceived threat. These levels represent various stages of concern or fear.

    Level 0 = 0-9 tension points
    This is the normal level of tension in the City, with standard behavior and security measures.

    Level 1 = 10-19 tension points
    This is a slightly elevated level of concern. The effects are subtle. A little less loot lying around, some locks/traps are a little harder to pick/disarm. Both civilian and militant A.I. have not significantly changed their behavior, but there is a concern in the back of their minds.

    Level 2 = 20-29 tension points
    There is a considerable level of concern with a nervous tone. The effects are easily noticeable.

    At least half of the valuables that were lying around have now been locked up or hidden away. Most of the locks/traps are harder to pick/disarm, and more of them are now in place.

    Militant A.I. numbers have increased, and are noticeably more sensitive to strange noises and peculiar shadows.

    There are less Civilian A.I. on the streets at night, and are less likely to carry any loot with them. They are also more sensitive, and are more likely to panic when facing an unknown.

    Level 3 = 30+ tension points
    People have now become scared or extremely nervous, and fear for their safety at night. The effects are obvious and pronounced.

    Almost all of the valuables that have been lying around are now locked up or hidden away. All of the locks/traps have become difficult to pick/disarm, with some now unpickable. Practically every portal/container is now locked.

    Militant A.I. have now doubled in number, and are staying together more often in pairs or groups. Many of them now also carry torches. Their perceptions have been heightened, and are now are on an alert status by default. Melee units are now quicker with their weapons and on foot. There are more ranged units and may even have gas or fire arrows at their disposal.

    Civilian A.I. rarely roam the streets at night, and if they do, are most likely armed with a small weapon. Even indoors, many are now armed. Those that are armed may fight or flee, doing so with increased speed...and they will likely flee to the nearest Militant A.I.

    (These threat levels are shown for relational purposes in order to demonstrate the CTL concept...actual assigned threat level thresholds will be determined by preferred and logical design.)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Variable assignment of tension point values based upon target type

    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
    Special = custom tp

    Social Class Modifier:

    Noble = +2
    Merchant = +1
    Servant = 0
    Beggar = -1


    (These values are shown for relational purposes...actual assigned tension points will vary according to designer determined threat level thresholds and difficulty level variance.)

    What's good about this, is that it 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.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fixed Difficulty + CTL Dynamic Difficulty = Dimensionalized Gameplay

    The nice thing about the CTL, is that it allows designers to be more flexible when considering how to implement difficulty, instead of just relying on the limitations of the "mission-fail" fixed difficulty. For example, killing an unaware militant AI could be a "mission-fail", while killing an alerted militant AI, whether intentionally or by accident, would allow the game to play-out with future consequences for the player. This would allow the designer(s) to completely prevent "cold-blooded murder", while still punishing the player with increased heat for "unprofessional" behavior.

    The CTL system could be used to seamlessly trigger events in many different ways, including auxiliary story events and may even be used to dynamically alter supply prices, or add fixed difficulty objectives, if desired.

    Multiple CTL's could also be used, and they could be made to be sympathetic to each other, depending on preferred and logical design.

    The CTL feature would enhance and dimensionalize the core design of THIEF, creating an even more immersive and dynamically responsive experience.

  2. #2
    But would the players killingspree be enough to get the city in panic? Sure, murdering the whole staff of a noble would probably send some tremors of panic into various parts of the cities citizens.
    Just thinking about if the consequences feels natural.

  3. #3
    A rising paranoia, what about the story? any impact on cutscenes, extra objectives?

  4. #4
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    If EM decided to implement a city hub between the missions, I would like to see this CTL placed in the city hub, but not effect the actual missions them self.
    Hello EM!
    *akward silence*

  5. #5
    Is this meant to work as the one in Assassins Creed 2? If it is there should be some way to lower the CTL other then just wait for it to go down. But I dont want the ripp-down-wantedposter like they had in Assassins Creed 2. Everything else is good.

  6. #6
    When killing's not allowed mission MUST fail if you kill someone. If killing's allowed, mission doesn't fail but then those penalties.
    On expert killing people should never be allowed.

  7. #7
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    I like the idea and voted for it AND working in conjunction for instant fail if the difficulty level is maxed.

  8. #8
    Me too, I find it those ideas good, and be used when you kill when it's allowed. If you aren't allowed to kill, the mission must fail.
    I myself never kill people, and rarely other humanoids. Killing people should be always forbidden on expert.

  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by Loup
    A rising paranoia, what about the story? any impact on cutscenes, extra objectives?
    There would be no impact on the cutscenes or the story. However, the feature could be made to alter or trigger new objectives if the CTL reached a certain threshold. This would be optional for the designer. The CTL feature would mainly act as a tension barometer that is influenced by the players violent actions...the more killing/violence, the more the security is increased. This would be sutble at low threat levels and dramatic at high threat levels.

    Originally Posted by Yaphy
    Is this meant to work as the one in Assassins Creed 2? If it is there should be some way to lower the CTL other then just wait for it to go down. But I dont want the ripp-down-wantedposter like they had in Assassins Creed 2. Everything else is good.
    This would be nothing like Assassins Creed 2 or any other game. No story changes or visual changes. There would only be an increase in security and tension in the City, making things naturally harder for the player to complete the objectives prescribed in the "preset or fixed difficulty" that the player has chosen. So for example, if the player is playing on "Hard" and there isn't a "instant fail" for killing on the objective list, normally the player would then be able to go on a murderous rampage without consequence. Having this feature would discourage killing even when no "instant fail" exists and provide a continuity from mission to mission in the THIEF world that isn't presently there, thus adding to immersion.

    Remember this is THIEF, and this feature would not change its' core design in any way...only enhance the experience by discouraging killing in a immersive way.

  10. #10
    Mission must fail if you kill when it's not allowed. Those consequences should be used when you kill, but it is allowed.

  11. #11
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    Cross linking with my thread of similar idea
    http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=88710

    I do think that a system that moves us beyond the brick wall "game over" system that is in place now, would be a good one.

    This combined with the idea of receiving less cash for loot for killing during a mission sounds like a good enforcer to me, and would effectively relay that killing is discouraged to any players.

    The idea that Garrett would spontaneously die, or all the sudden lose so much morale from killing that he'd just get up and go home is ludicrous in my opinion. I see no reason the game should end, just make it very evident that that behavior is discouraged.
    signature image
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  12. #12
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    How about this: Start the mission on Expert-difficulty, do some failing, get cornered and be forced to kill a guard. Finish the mission and the stats say:

    Mission completed on difficulty level Hard "wut?" -you say. You managed to complete the objectives of the hard-difficulty, because you failed to complete the "don't kill anyone"-objective set by the expert-difficulty, but you still completed all the other objectives including the loot requirement. This also works when you kill an innocent bystander, and then the completed difficulty resets to Normal because that's the only difficulty level that allows all killing.

  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by Platinumoxicity
    How about this: Start the mission on Expert-difficulty, do some failing, get cornered and be forced to kill a guard. Finish the mission and the stats say:

    Mission completed on difficulty level Hard "wut?" -you say. You managed to complete the objectives of the hard-difficulty, because you failed to complete the "don't kill anyone"-objective set by the expert-difficulty, but you still completed all the other objectives including the loot requirement. This also works when you kill an innocent bystander, and then the completed difficulty resets to Normal because that's the only difficulty level that allows all killing.
    That would eliminate any predetermined difficulty level challenge, and changes it into a rating system.

  14. #14
    and rating systems is for games which needs to compensate because of lack of content or a bad way of trying to get people to play the same thing more than once. One of those or because of gameplay that is so bad that the only way to get people to play it is to try to beat the earlier attempt. I don't like rating systems. Sorry for the rant and I do understand that this was not your purpose Plat ^^

  15. #15
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    This an example of how the CTL feature could be implemented...

    Tension points

    This is how tension could be quantified, without using the "instant fail" for killing on "expert" difficulty":

    Killing:
    Normal = 3, Hard = 5, Expert = 10

    Knock outs:
    Normal = 1, Hard = 2, Expert = 3

    Alternatively, this is how tension could be quantified, when used in conjunction with the "instant fail" for killing on "expert" difficulty:

    Killing:
    Normal = 5, Hard = 10, Expert = FAIL

    Knock outs:
    Normal = 1, Hard = 2, Expert = 3

    Keep in mind, any prescribed objective that would cause an "instant fail" (such as no blackjacking), would of course supersede this feature.

    Threat Levels

    The amount of tension points that are generated through violence will influence the behavior of the people of the City when certain thresholds are crossed, thus creating different threat levels, and a reaction to the perceived threat. These levels represent various stages of concern or fear.

    Level 0 = 0-9 tension points

    This is the normal level of tension in the City, with standard behavior and security measures.

    Level 1 = 10-19 tension points
    This is a slightly elevated level of concern. The effects are subtle. A little less loot lying around, some locks/traps are a little harder to pick/disarm. Both civilian and militant A.I. have not significantly changed their behavior, but there is a concern in the back of their minds.

    Level 2 = 20-29 tension points
    There is a considerable level of concern with a nervous tone. The effects are easily noticeable.

    At least half of the valuables that were lying around have now been locked up or hidden away. Most of the locks/traps are harder to pick/disarm, and more of them are now in place.

    Militant A.I. numbers have increased, and are noticeably more sensitive to strange noises and peculiar shadows.

    There are less Civilian A.I. on the streets at night, and are less likely to carry any loot with them. They are also more sensitive, and are more likely to panic when facing an unknown.

    Level 3 = 30+ tension points
    People have now become scared or extremely nervous, and fear for their safety at night. The effects are obvious and pronounced.

    Almost all of the valuables that have been lying around are now locked up or hidden away. All of the locks/traps have become difficult to pick/disarm, with some now unpickable. Practically every portal/container is now locked.

    Militant A.I. have now doubled in number, and are staying together more often in pairs or groups. Many of them now also carry torches. Their perceptions have been heightened, and are now are on an alert status by default. Melee units are now quicker with their weapons and on foot. There are more ranged units and may even have gas or fire arrows at their disposal.

    Civilian A.I. rarely roam the streets at night, and if they do, are most likely armed with a small weapon. Even indoors, many are now armed. Those that are armed may fight or flee, doing so with increased speed...and they will likely flee to the nearest Militant A.I.

    Note: I have updated my first post with this example...

  16. #16
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    Great idea Vae. Well thought out!

  17. #17
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    Thanks, I welcome any comments that might improve on this idea...

  18. #18
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    Well, there was some concern about Expert Difficult and not being allowed to kill, and your system.

    But you've tied it all together very well. Expert Diff still won't let you kill, but knockouts still increase the City Tension.

    Makes sense too. If stuff just goes missing, people prob suspect inside jobs and dishonest servants. When you go around KO'ing people, they now KNOW that there is a madman on the loose. And obviously, a killing spree (only possible for lesser difficulty levels) puts the city into a panic mode.

    Makes perfect sense to me!

  19. #19
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    I'm glad you agree....

  20. #20
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    Yup, I love the idea of a dynamic world where knockout/killing sprees actually cause change that effects you in return.

  21. #21
    I don't like it in games when enemies are somehow automatically alerted of where you are just because you get within 50 feet of them -- even though it would've been impossible for them to see you. Similarly, I also don't like it when all enemies in a map or area are on high alert just because you wronged one guy or did one thing wrong in one area of the map, like in Assassin's Creed 1.

    Thief takes place in medieval-like times. They don't carry walky-talkies. And they're not aliens with a collective mind. If I kill one guy, the whole map should not arbitrarily be on a higher alert. It's not realistic and it's frustrating whenever I see this in a game (e.g,. AC1). It sounds like something Ubisoft Montreal would do. LOL, oh wait, they made AC1!! LOL Seriously, that was an accident -- and funny

    In Thief 2, guards or nobles would sometimes go running off to alert other guards if you were caught. I wish for the same in T4, as this is more realistic way of doing it. And if on Expert an objective says, "Don't kill anyone," then I say 'just don't kill anyone and you'll be fine' Or if you do, then it's end of mission for you!! Or, if you prefer, just let the player keep playing the level, even though they botched the mission, and don't let them have a successful mission. They'd have to replay it -- and 'not kill anyone', just as the mission objective states.

  22. #22
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    Originally Posted by DarknessFalls
    I don't like it in games when enemies are somehow automatically alerted of where you are just because you get within 50 feet of them -- even though it would've been impossible for them to see you. Similarly, I also don't like it when all enemies in a map or area are on high alert just because you wronged one guy or did one thing wrong in one area of the map, like in Assassin's Creed 1.

    Thief takes place in medieval-like times. They don't carry walky-talkies. And they're not aliens with a collective mind. If I kill one guy, the whole map should not arbitrarily be on a higher alert. It's not realistic and it's frustrating whenever I see this in a game (e.g,. AC1). It sounds like something Ubisoft Montreal would do. LOL, oh wait, they made AC1!! LOL Seriously, that was an accident -- and funny
    I agree.......and the CTL feature wouldn't create anything like this...I hate that crap...

  23. #23
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    Of course......the CTL feature would have to make sense in order to maintain an immersive effect.

    Also, this same feature could be applied independently to different communities outside of the City...if there were consecutive missions in that community.

    This would also be useful in future FM campaigns and mini-seriesesesseseeses...

  24. #24
    I see, Vae. I thought you were saying killing in a mission would increase the CTL for the next "killing" in that mission, when you said the below

    Killing in a mission would increase the CTL for the next one, and refraining from killing for a mission would decrease the CTL for the next...the more killing, the more difficult it will become for the player to achieve their objectives, as a result of an increase of security and alertness of the people of the City.
    I don't see it working very well because there would be (or should be, anyways) too big of time gaps and different locations in Thief, as Jtr7 points out. That is, unless T4 (heaven forbid) takes place in a city hub over 7 days like TDS. So, in the end, it would be inconsistent. It might make sense for two missions, then not for 6 missions, then maybe 3, then no more -- assuming EM makes a good story and timeline and balances the locations well so we feel like we're in a Thief universe rather than a small Thief town.

    Did every T1/T2 Expert mission say, "Don't kill anyone"? Not sure. Regardless, sometimes I need to kill to get out of a dicey situation or get through an area. Very rare, but it happens. So I think the idea could be seen as counter-intuitive for some players. For example, if you make the next mission harder, then more dicey and dicier situations come up, and so we might be more apt (might need) to kill more to get out of the tougher situations... and then the same for the next, next, next missions. Maybe? Not sure, just thinking this might happen.

    PS: From a player's perspective, it'd be hard to tell them this was happening -- and not sure they would observe very well that this happened. And even if it was evident to the player, if I bumped back down from Expert to Normal mid-way through the game, I would expect to no longer have this CTL thing going on.

    Just trying to think this through. I'm not really sold yet. I'd rather have Expert difficulty retain the "don't kill anyone" objective, but if you do kill someone don't have the mission end right away. Instead, give the player the option to quit out and re-try rather than force right away. Same goes for when I successfully complete all objectives. Let me stay on the map if I want to. (These are a couple improvements I see being made to the T1/T2 style.)

    PS: I miss the old Jtr7 who resisted new ideas more..

  25. #25
    I seriously LOL'd at the T3 ones I hope EM gets a good writer or two so we don't suffer the same fate as T3.

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