View Full Version : Perfectionist Stealth in the Forts of Assassin's Creed III

09-11-2013, 10:22 PM
I recently completed my final video in my stealth challenge series for AC3. The original thread I made for these videos was ambiguously titled, and the series was far from complete at the time I made it, so I wanted to compile everything in one thread. The original thread is here: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/751076-So-I-decided-to-play-AC3-as-a-hardcore-stealth-game

If you haven't seen any of these videos yet, I highly recommend you watch this first: A Complete Guide to Fort AI Mechanics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POuIUCyeqa8) and read its companion document (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/16850050/Assassin%27s%20Creed%20III%20-%20A%20Complete%20Guide%20to%20Fort%20AI%20Mechani cs.rtf)as well. Together, they serve as a primer for the sometimes very unintuitive ways the AI operates, and they'll give you a greater understanding of the game's stealth mechanics in general. These also had a thread of their own, here: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/774486-Assassin-s-Creed-III-A-Complete-Guide-to-Fort-AI-Mechanics

The series itself is divided into 3 subseries:

1. Perfect Stealth (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJBVSEVpEwtPwL51tqC80rEpJTdQGNlmo) - Taking all 7 Forts in the game while never being seen and without killing or incapacitating any enemies other than Captains, which are absolutely necessary.

These were the first to be produced, and all of them are made obsolete by the Perfect Stealth Barehanded series except Fort Hill and Fort Monmouth Revisited. Fort St-Mathieu is arguably obsolete as well, but very entertaining.

2. Perfect Stealth Barehanded (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJBVSEVpEwtPNOQmiyQiSn6FFmdCP_nky) - A series that expands upon the Perfect Stealth concept by adding a new requirement: take down the Captains using empty hands. Some tool use may be necessary (Smoke Bombs mainly, absolutely no Poison Darts), but this is true pacifism, and even tougher than using just the Hidden Blade.

3. Silent Exterminations (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJBVSEVpEwtOJMYdZ6pftPS7KGesLfonX) - In this final challenge series the mission is to eliminate every enemy within each Fort's walls (literally inside the walls, since several have many guards posted out in the open within the restricted zone, but those would be extremely tedious or downright impossible to take down cleanly) without ever being spotted (of course), and without the use of any tools or distractions except where absolutely necessary. To make things even sweeter, I save the Captains for last.

In making these I strove to push the boundaries of the game as far as I possibly could. I've always enjoyed the navigation mechanics of the AC series, and in AC3 they've reached new heights. Combined with the level design of the Forts, they present the most interesting single player gameplay in the series yet in my opinion. Over and over I've seen the mechanics of this game described as broken, but rarely are they discussed in depth. I've delved deep, and I hope that people will find what I've found interesting and entertaining.

09-11-2013, 10:45 PM
Perfect stealth was pretty easy for me in every fort except Washington. I kept getting detected for no good reason. I'd be crouched in a hide spot watching a patrol go by, and all of a sudden the SSI would flash yellow and Connor stood up with no controller input. Pissed me off so bad.

09-12-2013, 04:12 AM
Wow, that makes no sense on multiple levels. Beyond the lack of input, SSI should immediately be red in forts, since they're all restricted areas. I've had notoriety stay at level one in them, but it's clearly a bug. Bad luck.

09-12-2013, 08:57 AM
Wow, that makes no sense on multiple levels. Beyond the lack of input, SSI should immediately be red in forts, since they're all restricted areas. I've had notoriety stay at level one in them, but it's clearly a bug. Bad luck.

Im not sure whats the name of the fort however if you look at the frontier map you will notice there is a fort on the far west / south corner , it was the fort where I had the most hard encounter for steatlh as Connor would stand for no reason in the tall grass , I already complained the issue however no response from Ubi, The best tip I can give for assassin Ninjas :P is to see the design of the fort as it clearly shows a hidden path where by you can assassinate the templar inside by taking that route , any other freestyle route would be more substantially challenging.

09-12-2013, 09:11 PM
That's a dang fine job, I wish I had the patience to do silent extermination (and it kinda perturbs me when some of the guards don't notice when a lot of the posts are missing). Love that ending with the explosion and hero pose! :P

09-12-2013, 11:58 PM
IMO these videos demonstrate that perhaps "broken" isn't the best way to describe the AI in AC3. "Non-intuitive" would perhaps be more accurate. All of the videos show at least one instance where a newbie (or even veteran) player would be completely baffled as to why the AI decided to react in this way and not that way. In your last silent extermination, for example (Fort Monmouth), you mentioned that taking out one corner guard with a whistle was pretty much entirely dependent on luck as it was impossible to predict whether the AI would act consistently from one playthrough to the next. This simply shouldn't happen. It's clear that you are well-versed in stealth tactics and have a good understanding of how the AI programming works, but for casual players it makes no sense why guards will sometimes seemingly 'randomly' change patrol routes (even if there is some internal logic to it within the game's coding) or why a guard will always become aware of a corpse slumping to the ground behind him from 100 feet away, even with his back turned. There may be an explanation to these mechanics as demonstrated in many of your videos, but I still maintain that the system is "broken" in the sense that it's very difficult and non-intuitive to figure out. High-profile = suspicious; low-profile = stealthy is much more intuitive and should really be the basis upon which this series needs to build its stealth. Games are about trial and error; a player should be able to do something wrong the first time and easily figure out the solution to the problem as they examine it. In AC3 the mechanics are so complex that it's pretty much impossible to figure out why things work the way they do unless you have some understanding of AI programming.

09-13-2013, 03:11 AM
Great post, Sixkeys. I think the example you chose might not be the greatest, but your general idea is dead on. In that particular case, it's all about animation loops. Non-patrolling guards have set animation loops that begin at a random point when they spawn. This randomness isn't necessarily problematic in itself, it's more the fact that some of those animations involve them sweeping their fields of view over very large areas, sometimes even directly behind the area they're looking at most of the time. For some enemies, this still won't ruin the idea of stealth completely because their actual lines of sight for detection aren't modeled to their animations (pretty much any enemy looking out from a fort wall is like this), but it's still disconcerting to have an enemy appear to look straight at you and not react even at close range. The problematic enemy in that video is one that covers a wide range with his animations and has that modeled accurately for detection. Since his animation loop begins at a random point there's no way for even me to control whether he'll be looking in my direction when I go for that corner. Basically, no enemy should be able to see such vast fields of view without warning. I don't even know if I can call this an AI issue because the logic behind it is so basic as to almost not exist; it has nothing to do with things one would normally call "intelligent," like navigation. This problem isn't particularly unintuitive at its heart, it's just unforgiving to the point of insanity. Removing the randomness of it wouldn't actually fix it, just lessen it.

Anyway, to get back to the more general point, I think that dissecting mechanics is the absolute best form of criticism; we don't even need to use generalizations to describe the game's systems when we can describe them in detail as they actually are. This kind of discussion is one of the reasons I started making these videos in the first place, and I'm very happy we can have it.