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Thread: The Spread of Alarm and Information

The Spread of Alarm and Information

  1. #26
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    Originally Posted by Direlord
    I'd actually like to see guards first check the body if its knocked out they may try to revive them for a bit. If dead they might just go hey (name) you ok? Depending on the intelligence of the guard. If knocked out they might search around for a bit then go to a central point to report it. if death I think a search but then head for alarm would work.

    i would like to see with knock out if i put them in a chair or bed and someone sees them they'll just think they fell asleep.

    what i use to do is pile a bunch of bodies in a closet or off the way dark room.
    I can definitely see an intelligent guard checking for breathing, but I can definitely see a stupid guard prodding the guy with his sword instead XD

    "wake up you taffer *poke*"
    "OW! hey, what the taff is wrong with you benny? that hurt like the ins..."
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  2. #27
    enter GARRETT: Heh-heh-heh... Now I know I’m a master thief—Waltzing right into a bank vault. Time to find the recording.

    Diverse alarums, flourish

    GARRETT: Whatthe...? exeunt

    enter GUARD 1, GUARD 2: Come back out here, you taffer!

    enter BATTLEBOT: I have seen... a misguided soul. Please be warned...

    Exeunt All

    Curtain.

  3. #28
    We need enemies that follow an entirely different format. A lot of Thief enemies (at least, in Thief 1 and 2) were very unique in terms of how you could take them down, and that gave them a distinct flavor. However, their search patterns did not vary at all, which means that if you were a "ghost" style player who tried to get through the whole game without being seen, this differences didn't really mean much. What we need more than anything is advanced AI with different search algorithms.

    For example, the current AI just has three stages of alertness - unaware, alert, hostile.
    ====================
    Unaware (Does not notice anything amiss) - Creature follows a preprogrammed patrol path.

    Alert (Has noticed something "off") - Creature draws sword, claws, etc., wanders around for a bit, then goes back to unaware - or if it finds the player, goes to Hostile.

    Hostile (Has confirmed presence of the player) - Creature attacks. If the player escapes somehow, it goes back to Alert, then finally Unaware.

    =====================
    This is unrealistic and makes the game too easy because all a player has to do is wait for long enough and their mistakes will be erased. This is okay for lower levels of difficulty, but most Thief gamers play specifically because they WANT a challenge. Here are my proposed AI changes for a more realistic and challenging level of play.
    =====================
    Unaware (has not noticed anything amiss) - Creature follows a preprogrammed search path, with one minor variance to keep "patrol pattern spotters" on their toes. For example, the guard might walk three times around the entire top floor of the mansion, then on the fourth tour he heads downstairs to talk to the maid, use the bathroom, or something of that sort, before resuming his usual routine.

    Suspicious (Has definite confirmation of an intruder on the premises, although no reason to suspect the intruder is nearby) - Creature follows the same patrol pattern as before, but walks slower and is more alert. It modifies its normal patrol pattern slightly to peer into areas of deep shadow where people might hide.

    Alert (Has noticed something slightly "off", blood, a door being open, etc) - Creature draws sword, claws, etc., wanders around for a bit, then goes back to unaware - or if it finds the player, goes to Hostile.

    Alarmed (Does not see thief in the area but has hard confirmation of an intruder on the premises, like having found a unconscious body or personally seen the player at one point) - The creature behaves as though suspicious, but if there are areas of dark shadow along the patrol path (in other words, places where a Thief might hide) it will search through them. Furthermore, if it encounters another guard who is unaware, it communicates a verbal warning to that guard, setting his status to Suspicious.

    Hostile (Creature is aware of the thief's presence) - Creature attacks. If the thief escapes, it's status changes to Alarmed, and does not drop below that for the rest of the mission.
    ====================

    This would be a simple change in terms of programming - all you're doing is adding two new alertness states - but the overall effect on the AI would be profound. The net effect is that the messier the player is, the more the difficulty goes up exponentially. Kill a guard on one side of the estate, and any guard who finds the body becomes alarmed and will be very paranoid for the rest of the mission. Other guards whom he talks to might not entirely believe his story but they will be more suspicious. Furthermore, this change of alertness could be built into dialogue to add to the fun of the experience. Imagine you've just offed a guard and are sneaking down the hallway, when you see two guards pass each other. One of them says "Joe, there's a taffin' murderer on the premises! I found Johnny dead!" "Could it be a heart attack?" "No, there was blood. Keep your eyes open."

  4. #29
    As an addendum, here are a few examples of how the system above would work.

    Example 1: Garrett is spotted by a guard briefly, but it is through heavy shadows and the guard doesn't get a chance to recognize him as a thief ("probably just rats"). That guard goes to Alert, then back to Unaware if he doesn't find anything.

    Example 2: Guard comes across evidence of something amiss, like lots of doors being open or valuable items being gone from where they were left in plain sight. That guard becomes Suspicious for the rest of the mission, but other guards status is unchanged.

    Example 3: Guard comes upon a dead/unconscious body. That guard becomes Alarmed, and informs any guard that he meets of this incident, setting them to Suspicious. The net effect is that anyone along that guards patrol path will be more suspicious, but not as suspicious as the guard who actually found the disturbing scene. This makes sense - after all, they have reason to be more on guard now, but on the other hand, it's not like THEY saw it personally. It could just be Benny getting drunk on the job again.

    Example 4: Garrett is spotted and recognized as an intruder by a guard, who attacks. The Guards state becomes Hostile. If Garrett escapes somehow (or wounds the guard badly but allows him to flee) then the Guard becomes Alarmed for the rest of the mission and spreads the alert as in Example 3.

    What I like about this system is that it is realistic and allows for a more normal set of human reactions that the system that currently exists in any of the current Thief games. It also introduces the idea of "localized alarms" by which I mean alarms that only spread along the patrol path of the guard that personally saw the disturbance. This punishes players for making a ruckus, but it's not the all-or-one scenario where you are spotted by one guard and suddenly the whole place is on high alert. (Although in some scenarios - like the bank vault robbery - having a whole place go on alert might actually be appropriate.)

  5. #30
    right, so then the question is...in what situations would having the whole place go on alert be not appropriate? thats just what gaurds do. actually i think its unrealistic when a gaurd sees a flash of garrett for one second,says "what was that?....musta been nothing". any gaurd who wants to keep his job will check out the slightest peep.

    how about having a color code system? instead of a gaurd running up and hitting the alarm, maybe he can flip a switch that will run a signal chain of colored lights to the appropriate state of awareness. like if the gaurd is on subtle aware mode, then he can hit the yellow light. and all the lights will be yellow throught the building. and if he sees garrett he can flip the switch to red alert.?

  6. #31
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  7. #32
    like a facility lockdown.... sound the alarms! lock the gates! RELEASE THE HOUNDS! archors take aim from corner towers. the prized valubales and jewels are immediatley confiscated and put in a special vault (which later garrett will have to break in to)

  8. #33
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    and once more we are talking about rewarding a mistake, just like when you had to be caught to release an entire prison escape level in TDS, I still wonder if there's another level I can unlock if I screw up somewhere else because of that

    with the alarms and complex behaviours you would like and are discussing, you will get much richer and rewarding behaviour from the game when you alert the AI than when you actually achieve the objective and use stealth to get past them, which kinda goes against the grain of the game

    I spent hours tinkering with AI behaviour in my fan mission to make their behaviour more realistic until one of the beta testers gave me a sage piece of advice, "if one of the AI so much as twitches most players will KO or kill them before they have chance to alert the other AI, so having them exhibit complex behaviour when alerted is probably a waste of effort"

    I realised I was rewarding mistakes and concentrating effort in a part of the game which wouldn't be seen by a good player and the rest of the level was suffering because I was working to a deadline

    after that I concentrated on making the mission harder with normal unaware AI behaviour which players actually liked and found that if the player screwed up they were punished in short order for it which the players liked even more

    I guess what I'm trying to say is keep it simple, reserve design effort and advanced AI behaviour for normal situations rather than headless chicken time

    after all the aim is that the AI are unaware that the player is there right up until mission completion

  9. #34
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  10. #35
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    Originally Posted by jtr7
    ... I was hoping to make Garrett die if he screwed up...
    a well designed level usually achieves that without adding complex alert behaviour, I found that out the hard way and lost around a month of effort working on things no one saw .. well very few people saw them, instead you need to put the complex behaviours into the unalerted stage like the reference someone made to a patrol that works the same way a couple of times then the AI takes off for a leak before returning some time later, which is easy enough to do but surprisingly few people do it in FM's

    I had one AI who was a drug dealer, if you alerted him he went screaming to the watch and they came and kicked your a*se, but if you planted the evidence of his dealings on the watch captains desk beforehand he still went screaming to the watch but they kicked his a*se instead as he was a known criminal then, took about a week to sort out properly, I think 3 people other than the beta team actually found it, hope they appreciated the effort

  11. #36
    And how did the guards know it was his dope?

  12. #37
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    Originally Posted by FriendlyStranger
    And how did the guards know it was his dope?
    the evidence comprised an unfeasably large bag of dope and a ledger in his handwriting with his name in it detailing his transactions and profits

    the point I'm trying to make is I sacrificed level design for complex post alert AI behaviour and the mission suffered because of it, the bits that I did get right were the ones where the AI remained unalerted and the puzzle was to keep them that way while achieving the objectives

    --EDIT--
    just in case you wanted the technicalities, once both items, dope bag & ledger, were dropped in a volume of space just over the captains desk they triggered a requireall trap that triggered an objective completion, made both items frobinert so you couldn't pick them up again and changed the dope dealers team alliance from neutral to bad4 so he'd still react the same way to Garrett but the Watch AI would see him as being on a different non neutral team and attack him, I'd already used bad 2 & 3 in the cells for another scenario I wasted hours on and very few people saw

  13. #38
    The only chance a guard is going to find an unconcious guard or corpse is if he wakes up from the pile of coprses or unconcious guards he/she is in, then there wont be much they can do as shouting wont help as everyone else is in the pile with him/her, and they're also in a place they can climb out of. Although this seemed a bug in TDS as guards in a pile could see other guards even thou they were unconcious, and it would add to the guard found unconcious guard tally in mission status.

    In TDS if an AI found a corpse or unconcious body and had not seen Garrett/player they would still attack garrett/player if you came out of the shadows even if you had absolutely nothing to do with the unconcious body/corpse this seemed totaly wrong as why would you be attacked, no AI had seen you done the deed, and in some cases they saw who had done the deed, but would then ignore them and go searching for garrett/player this is broken AI with alarms there needs to be a better way for the alert guard to recognise who has done what and not attack the player if they are not involved. Thoses stupid wanted posters in TDS where there was a picture of garrett and what deeds been done, how would they know it was garrett, the game asumes there's only one thief working in a city that has a thieves guild as mentioned in thief gold, it just assumes too much, just the game designer were just too narrow minded on what the game was about.

    For in a building or guarded area if a corpse or unconcious body is found then the guards would go to intruder alert, and suspicious alert, so they would look for an intruder and if found would attack intruder, and they would raise the alarm by shouting that there's and intruder in the building/area or by blowing a whistle, or by ringing an alarm, if they had not seen garrett/player then they would not know that garrett was there so they would not shout 'garrett is in the building' it would be 'there's an intruder in the building'. If loot goes missing then guards would alert for intruder in the building and the possibility of the intruder being a thief, but if garrett/player has not been seen then the guard would still no shout that garrett is in the building. Same with if a security door/window is found open the guards would alert for intruder, although if you had someone working in the building who opened the window for you then the alert for that window would be turned off.

    If AI are in conversation and you knock one of them out then the other AI should break out of the conversation and go to high alert, if its a civilian they should run to the nearest guard and do an alert signal, then the guard would follow the civilian back to where the event took place then go into search mode if other AI body not found or alert other guards if body is found, if the civilian had not seen garrett/player durring the knockout then it would be something of along the lines of thug alert, it wouldn't be a garrett alert, nor a thief alert. At no point unless the civilian is actually armed would they attack the player, especially if they had not seen them they wouldn't suddenly be able to see in the dark, like some of the AI in TDS seem to be able to do, and they wouldn't carry on there side of the conversation if the person they were talking to was no longer there, like at one point in TDS.
    Tuna, the chicken of the sea.

  14. #39
    Originally Posted by esme
    and once more we are talking about rewarding a mistake, just like when you had to be caught to release an entire prison escape level in TDS, I still wonder if there's another level I can unlock if I screw up somewhere else because of that

    with the alarms and complex behaviours you would like and are discussing, you will get much richer and rewarding behaviour from the game when you alert the AI than when you actually achieve the objective and use stealth to get past them, which kinda goes against the grain of the game

    I spent hours tinkering with AI behaviour in my fan mission to make their behaviour more realistic until one of the beta testers gave me a sage piece of advice, "if one of the AI so much as twitches most players will KO or kill them before they have chance to alert the other AI, so having them exhibit complex behaviour when alerted is probably a waste of effort"

    I realised I was rewarding mistakes and concentrating effort in a part of the game which wouldn't be seen by a good player and the rest of the level was suffering because I was working to a deadline

    after that I concentrated on making the mission harder with normal unaware AI behaviour which players actually liked and found that if the player screwed up they were punished in short order for it which the players liked even more

    I guess what I'm trying to say is keep it simple, reserve design effort and advanced AI behaviour for normal situations rather than headless chicken time

    after all the aim is that the AI are unaware that the player is there right up until mission completion
    if you can complete it without the gaurds on alert then great.but its not that your being "rewarded"...rewarded is the wrong word. no one gives you anything. no ones giving you a reward. but if you steal it,WHILE on high alert, which is EXTRA HARD, then you DESERVE it

  15. #40
    Originally Posted by esme
    the evidence comprised an unfeasably large bag of dope and a ledger in his handwriting with his name in it detailing his transactions and profits

    the point I'm trying to make is I sacrificed level design for complex post alert AI behaviour and the mission suffered because of it, the bits that I did get right were the ones where the AI remained unalerted and the puzzle was to keep them that way while achieving the objectives

    --EDIT--
    just in case you wanted the technicalities, once both items, dope bag & ledger, were dropped in a volume of space just over the captains desk they triggered a requireall trap that triggered an objective completion, made both items frobinert so you couldn't pick them up again and changed the dope dealers team alliance from neutral to bad4 so he'd still react the same way to Garrett but the Watch AI would see him as being on a different non neutral team and attack him, I'd already used bad 2 & 3 in the cells for another scenario I wasted hours on and very few people saw
    Yeah very cool ty, I hope they put stuff like this into the game.

  16. #41
    [QUOTE=Fatherwoodsie;1052377]right, so then the question is...in what situations would having the whole place go on alert be not appropriate? thats just what gaurds do. actually i think its unrealistic when a gaurd sees a flash of garrett for one second,says "what was that?....musta been nothing". any gaurd who wants to keep his job will check out the slightest peep.
    QUOTE]

    You're proving my point. A guard who wants to keep his job would check and make sure it was a thief BEFORE causing the whole household to erupt in an uproar.

    In answer to your question, if the guard heard a noise, but didn't know what it was... if he noticed doors open that weren't open before... if torches were put out... all of these kind of things would arouse suspicion, but not be enough to warrant an alarm on their own.

  17. #42
    Originally Posted by esme
    and once more we are talking about rewarding a mistake, just like when you had to be caught to release an entire prison escape level in TDS, I still wonder if there's another level I can unlock if I screw up somewhere else because of that

    with the alarms and complex behaviours you would like and are discussing, you will get much richer and rewarding behaviour from the game when you alert the AI than when you actually achieve the objective and use stealth to get past them, which kinda goes against the grain of the game

    I spent hours tinkering with AI behaviour in my fan mission to make their behaviour more realistic until one of the beta testers gave me a sage piece of advice, "if one of the AI so much as twitches most players will KO or kill them before they have chance to alert the other AI, so having them exhibit complex behaviour when alerted is probably a waste of effort"

    I realised I was rewarding mistakes and concentrating effort in a part of the game which wouldn't be seen by a good player and the rest of the level was suffering because I was working to a deadline

    after that I concentrated on making the mission harder with normal unaware AI behaviour which players actually liked and found that if the player screwed up they were punished in short order for it which the players liked even more

    I guess what I'm trying to say is keep it simple, reserve design effort and advanced AI behaviour for normal situations rather than headless chicken time

    after all the aim is that the AI are unaware that the player is there right up until mission completion
    I agree with what you're saying, but your conclusion is absolutely nonsensical. Using the same logic, you could argue that players are going to beat the game anyway, so why waste time making it challenging? In fact that's pretty much what you ARE arguing.

    As a ghost player myself, I've felt the same kind of frustration from Thief. But the solution is not to keep the AI dumb - instead, they need to make the AI smarter so ghosting will be much more difficult. In fact, I would prefer for ghosting to be almost impossible. It's way too easy as it is. If people want the "Ghost" title, make them freakin EARN it.

    I wrote a post in the "Enemies" thread about the three most common ways to ghost and new enemies that should be implemented to counter those tactics. I don't want to repeat the whole thing here, but to sum up in brief:

    1) We need enemies that can track by scent (guard dogs, guard burricks, etc) to prevent players from "turtling" (hiding in a nearby shadow until the alarm goes down)
    2) We need enemies that fly (pagan beasties, mechanical copters) to prevent the yawn-inducing "high ground = safety" tactic.
    3) We need enemies that phase through walls (ghosts) or regularly break patrol patterns (twichy guards) to foil the pattern-spotters.

    Just having those three things will increase the difficulty of ghosting exponentially. So you're not rewarding people for failure, because almost EVERYONE will fail, and then get to see some cool AI behavior. And for the scant handful of pros that don't get spotted - that actually manage to ghost through a thief with those three safety nets removed - well, they'll be so thrilled to have done it that they probably won't MIND not seeing the AI alarm system.

    Also, I'm telling you as a former programmer that adding two awareness states is absolutely NOT a huge challenge from a development standpoint - in fact, it's ridiculously simple. I'm guessing the reason you had such trouble adapting the AIs behavior in your mod is simply because you were doing it post-development - when the AI only had three overly simplistic awareness states. Of COURSE that would be hard - the programmers didn't give you the tools you needed to do something like that. What you were doing was the equivalent of trying to make pizza without an oven, or a stovetop - doable, but insanely challenging. If you had been able to modify the original source code, I think it would have been a snap for you.

    That's part of the reason why I feel the developers should give us an enhanced spectrum of awareness states. Not only would it lead to more realistic and perception reactions in the AI, but it would give modders a much bigger variety of behaviors to work with when creating their own levels.

  18. #43
    It should be different in different missions, like in the T1 and 2 some of the missions had alarm buttons, some didn't. But I would like to see even more alternatives. My favourite idea is to have a sort of 'barracks' with lots of guards in (if it is appropriate for the type of building he's in). If a guard finds blood or an unconcious body he becomes suspicious. If he finds more or if a guard finds a dead body in the first place - or if you fight him and he escapes when wounded - he runs to the barracks to alert them and the guards are released into the mission. This would give you a real good reason to try to hide bodies and wash away blood.

    If there was loot in the barracks it could be necessary for the expert thieves to arrange for the alarm to be sounded so garret could get into the barracks once the guards had started their patrols.

    I would be fairly happy with the old Thief game alert system but just as long as they remained continuously alert once a body was discovered - and not seem to forget about it and walk over it on his patrol.

  19. #44
    I don't like it when guards are alerted in Thief and chase you all around -- can be hard to get away. The problem is that you sometimes have to keep running and running, and this causes you to unfortunately run through a lot of areas and see too much of the level. Thief is meant to be slow-paced, methodically exploring the areas. When trying to escape, it messes that all up. Maybe I just need to get better at using the tools (i.e., flash bombs)? Until then, though, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself in terms of exploration, so I just QuickLoad instead of run and run. I QuickSave often.

    As such, I would like Thief IV's alert levels, spread of alarm, guard run speeds and guard intelligence to be such that if I'm caught red-handed, I can get away relatively easy by quickly slipping away into the shadows without using tools like flashbombs or mines. Not sure what the best way is to do that, but to promote stealth gameplay and slow-paced exploration, there should be some way, imo. Otherwise, we might run all over a level trying to get away. I guess I just prefer to quietly slip away into the shadows, than to use a flashbomb or some other tool that creates a lot of noise or fanfare. Personally, I think I'd prefer guard run speeds to be a bit on the slower side compared to Garrett's, and would also like the shadows to maybe work extra well when they're alert. The last part sounds counterintuitive, and it might not be a good idea... but on the surface it seems like this would solve the problem. I wouldn't need to QuickSave/QuickLoad as much and the gameplay would be improved, imo. I'm a patient and decent taffer, yes -- not a ghoster but try to -- but I can get a little impatient and mistakes do happen. So I would like the game to be a tad more forgiving so we can get away easier. Having guards chasing you all around, and adding more and more to the trail of guards as you run is not an ideal situation or solution, imo.

    PS: Assassin's Creed has to be the worst with respect to alert levels and the spread of alarm. (I don't understand why people think this game is so good.) I frequently had to fight off what seemed like 50 guards. And then do it all over again. There's more to my hatred of the Assassin's Creed alert system, but I'll save you from the nonsense. I haven't been too impressed by Ubisoft lately.

  20. #45
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  21. #46
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    I'm trying to say, and apparently doing it very badly, that you don't need much of an improvement in the AI intelligence to be able to punish the player for breaking stealth and spending lots of time on this will cause the design of the level as a whole to suffer

    yes if an AI becomes aware that something isn't right they should go and investigate and any AI around then should also go to a heightened alert state because they notice the one AI going to investigate

    and if an AI sees Garrett then it should move heaven and earth in an attempt to find him, only giving up when every nook and cranny has been searched multiple times dragging in other AI to help if possible

    also if it's absolutely certain there's a thief about, say with the discovery of a dead or unconscious, about a general alarm could be sounded and the entire area can go on high alert for the duration

    I've no problem with any of that and it's fairly simple to do I'd even suggest that some AI should be able to climb thus expanding the search capabilities

    but I think it's the level design, the physical puzzles, the guard placements, the patrol timings and so on that should give you the thief experience and not how the AI react when they spot you

    this is just my opinion

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  23. #48
    Darknessfalls....you can't be serious? Have you heard these people? They want it harder not easier! Heck, I'm not hardcore, and even I wouldn't mind it being harder rather than easier!

    I agree that the a.i. could be much better but that it's the levels and the multiple ways of getting the mission done that makes this game so fun. The freedom to go wherever as long as you have the ability to outsmart your opponent was always my fav part ^_^

  24. #49
    Originally Posted by DarknessFalls
    I don't like it when guards are alerted in Thief and chase you all around -- can be hard to get away. The problem is that you sometimes have to keep running and running, and this causes you to unfortunately run through a lot of areas and see too much of the level. Thief is meant to be slow-paced, methodically exploring the areas. When trying to escape, it messes that all up. Maybe I just need to get better at using the tools (i.e., flash bombs)? Until then, though, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself in terms of exploration, so I just QuickLoad instead of run and run. I QuickSave often.
    That's precisely what lower difficulty levels are for. If you want things to be easier, just play at a lower difficulty level. Asking for the GAME to be easier just because you feel challenged is a bit selfish because it ruins things for the rest of us who have higher challenge thresholds.

  25. #50
    Originally Posted by esme
    I'm trying to say, and apparently doing it very badly, that you don't need much of an improvement in the AI intelligence to be able to punish the player for breaking stealth and spending lots of time on this will cause the design of the level as a whole to suffer

    yes if an AI becomes aware that something isn't right they should go and investigate and any AI around then should also go to a heightened alert state because they notice the one AI going to investigate

    and if an AI sees Garrett then it should move heaven and earth in an attempt to find him, only giving up when every nook and cranny has been searched multiple times dragging in other AI to help if possible

    also if it's absolutely certain there's a thief about, say with the discovery of a dead or unconscious, about a general alarm could be sounded and the entire area can go on high alert for the duration

    I've no problem with any of that and it's fairly simple to do I'd even suggest that some AI should be able to climb thus expanding the search capabilities

    but I think it's the level design, the physical puzzles, the guard placements, the patrol timings and so on that should give you the thief experience and not how the AI react when they spot you

    this is just my opinion
    I agree with everything you've said here. Good level design is critical to an enjoyable Thief game. My general point was simply that if it comes down to a choice between spending time on level design or spending time on improving the AI, the developers should absolutely focus on the AI.

    Why, you wonder? Because as you've said modders can easily design great levels on their own. In fact, level design is most of the fun of modding. Trying to mod the AI, on the other hand, is a massive pain in the ass (as you've already found out). By focusing on the AI, developers can give modders like you a much better overall toolkit to play with, which means endless replayability value as the modding community goes wild. Focusing mainly on the levels in Thief 4 means that you may have more fun in the short-term, but you will have much fewer cool mods in the long term. If that's cool with you, well - you're entitled to your opinion. Personally, I'm a long-term planner and I prefer to consider the bigger picture in terms of how this new game will affect the modding community.

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